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Hello,

I'm looking into purchasing a USED 2003 Saab 9-3 Linear 5 Speed Manual Turbo, with 54,096 miles for $11,997. Now before I buy anything I always look at reviews of the product, and so far, I've heard 50/50 on Saab's and their reliability. I hear the famous "Buy Now, Saab Later", Saab's are always in the shop, the cost of repair is VERY EXPENSIVE, the insurance rates are higher due to turbo, and other factors. But then I read reviews from owners that say its the best car they've ever owned. Main thing I'm concerned with is high insurance rates due to turbo, repairs, repair costs, reliability, etc. I really like this Saab's, and this one I found. It has a great exterior, interior, and has a lot of bells and whistles for just a Linear! What do you think?


Pictures of the 2003 Saab 9-3 Linear :cheesy::



http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail/photos/multiPhotoPopup.jsp?paId=244280326&tracktype=usedcc&isuper=true&aff=national
 

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My insurance went down $80/year, to turbo from a non turbo car. If you want reliability, you have your work cut out for you with a Saab or ANY used car with 50k miles.


I think the 03 was the introduction year. The upside is that one could assume (with 50k miles) most of the bugs had been worked out under the warranty period.
 

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Just because it has turbo does not automatically mean it will be really expensive to insure. Just talk to your agent before you buy; no surprises.

One of the reasons I traded in my Subaru WRX for my Aero was because the insurance was so outrageous. Double the coverage amounts, half the deductible, and my 9-3 Aero costs half as much to insure as my WRX. 25k vs 36k car. Both turbocharged, both 'performance' oriented, nearly equal in performance. I was amazed, as was my agent.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well thats good to hear about turbo. Have you ever had any reliability issues with a Saab? If so were the repair costs extremely expensive? I read that they are since it's an import car.

Thanks!
 

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My '03 has 68k and haven't had any issues in the last 30k. I just replaced my clutch helper spring 2 weeks ago, but that was less than $40 and did it myself. I got all issues taken care of during warranty. You should have them do a courtesy diagnostic and show you the printout. That will give you some peace of mind. Also find a nearby Saab mechanic to do an inspection on your test drive. You will have to schedule it before hand, because they won't just drop everything for you. This way you have no surprises before you actually buy it.
 

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Be careful with the '03. I keep an eye out for posts like this because I have the same car you are looking at, and noticed that a good majority of people who have problems.......soon after leave the site. You are going to mostly get posts with people who are happy with theirs because they are still active on the site. I have an '03 and although it is has been okay for a euro car(lets face it, they all have bugs) I wouldn't recommend buying it. First of all, the linear feels like it is carrying around an elephant, I would go with the higher output turbo. Also its not really worth the risk when you hear of people's trannys failing. Go for the 04, its not that much of a jump.
 

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The '03's seem to have more than their fair share of problems represented on the board. It's hard to say whether they really are more problematic, or if it's just because they're the oldest current-gen 9-3. I have an '06, so I can't comment from direct experience.

Repairs can be more expensive on these cars. An oil change, for instance, requires synthetic oil and most dealers will charge $100 or so to do it. Sure you can do it yourself or take it to a quickie-place, but it still requires synthetic oil and a Saab filter, which the quickie-lube place is unlikely to carry (ok, at least where I live).

Some things will require trips to the dealer or specialized garages due to the electronics in the car. Of course, many things are doable by you or a regular garage, but some things aren't. It seems that it's often these electronic things that become problematic over time, so I've read around here. Things like the various control modules that are highly-specialized and specific to the 9-3. These aren't cheap parts.

Is this 9-3 you're looking at a CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) car? If so, you get a 100k warranty backed by Saab/GM and you'll be in pretty good shape, repair-wise. If I were buying an out-of-factory-warranty 9-3, I'd make sure it was a CPO, but that's just me.

One thing to watch out for though... Is this an automatic? If so, there was a problem with the automatic transmission cooling system in the '03 9-3 where engine coolant could leak into the transmission which requires the transmission and various radiator parts to be repalced (I think, don't quote me). There are a lot of folks around here that discuss that. If you've got a CPO, Saab will take care of it. If you don't, and your transmission starts acting funny, it could be a pretty serious repair bill. That's about the only 'major' thing I've heard about 2003's in particular.
 

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It was the Launch Package 03 Linear that seemed to have the most Bugs, the software issues were worked out. The Auto Tranny O ring issue was straigtened out, and that coolant leak/transmission replacement issue it caused was not as widespread as some would have you believe. The CPO factor is important, but I think now that the 08's are out it makes 03's more than 4 model years old, (a CPO car can not be over 4 MY's) although the In-service date may be a factor.

Go to Edmunds or KBB, see what you'd get for a trade-in if you were going to trade one in. Ignore the Selling prices, there high. Offer the Dealer 10 percent over the trade in number for starters. Also see what the selling prices are on cars.com , remember they are the ask prices and are sometimes 30 percent more than a dealer got the car for.
 

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TR3GO said:
Hello,

I'm looking into purchasing a USED 2003 Saab 9-3 Linear 5 Speed Manual Turbo, with 54,096 miles for $11,997. Now before I buy anything I always look at reviews of the product, and so far, I've heard 50/50 on Saab's and their reliability. I hear the famous "Buy Now, Saab Later", Saab's are always in the shop, the cost of repair is VERY EXPENSIVE, the insurance rates are higher due to turbo, and other factors. But then I read reviews from owners that say its the best car they've ever owned. Main thing I'm concerned with is high insurance rates due to turbo, repairs, repair costs, reliability, etc. I really like this Saab's, and this one I found. It has a great exterior, interior, and has a lot of bells and whistles for just a Linear! What do you think?


Pictures of the 2003 Saab 9-3 Linear :cheesy::



http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail/photos/multiPhotoPopup.jsp?paId=244280326&tracktype=usedcc&isuper=true&aff=national
Well my friend, you could be a lucky one or you could be the person who is getting someone elses pain in the a** :roll: that the previous owner finally decided to call it quits on. But on a brighter note those who are not having problems have a much quieter voice (because they dont have a reason to complain) then those who have a buch of problems... :lol:

Take a look at this link and do a search for the saabs on the same site, you'll find interesting info from transmissions to the OnStar drop off in 2008....

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/09/saab_story.html

Dont let this keep you from buying the car, but its a heads up from a potentially big expence that you could come across especially if you have to replace the transmission. Its the little things on these cars that you wouldnt expect to happen on any production car before even 150k miles for example window regulators :roll: and the rubberized dash pealing! :( If your a hands on person and like to poke around in a car and fix little things it will keep you busy. If your a turn the key and drive it person who is afraid to dissasemble a Bic pen, I wouldn't even concider it. Poke around Saabcentral for a bit and see for yourself. There are the happy owners and there are the angry ones.
I am currently a happy owner and love my car, style is awsome, performance it good and handles great! :p
Thats currently my $0.02

2003 may not be the best year, are they offering or giving you a warrenty?
 

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Some mostly good and true comments here except for Jayarekay338:roll:
First off you're looking at a manual, not the auto with coolant issues.
Secondly, the 2.0t has more than adequate power for most people.

Now do a CarFax report, go to a local Saab dealer with the VIN and pull all service records, and as already stated have a good mechanic check it out.
It should have had several trips to the dealer for electrical issues like the Dumbstar upgrade.

Powertrain wise you should have little concern as with most modern powertrains they are pretty bullet-proof. It's the little stuff which has already been mentioned such as a window regulator, fan blower motor, fuel pump, etc. that can be headaches for the owner and their wallet:p

Upon speaking to several dealer techs about the 9-3SS, most said it's an excellent car once the bugs are worked out. However on my last service on my 06' I was talking to a younger tech who has only worked on Saabs for 4 years, opposed to my main techs that have worked on them for over 20 years, said you couldn't give him an 03'.:suprised; I said why and he said things like the coolant in the auto trannys and the porous blocks which I was surprised to hear. He said many just eat coolant--no leaks just uses it like oil. Sorta strange.

Also it appears the car you're looking at is a launch model which is an early one which some say on here is more problamatic--not sure about that.

Now with all that in mind I drove my 03' 105,000 miles without any major problems, only the electrical everyone talks about.
In the spring I traded it for a new Sport Combi Aero:cheesy: Surprisingly my 03' with 105,000 miles and 4 years old drove as well as a brand new one--not many cars can do that.

Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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I just got my MY2003 9-3 Linear w/ Launch package about 6 months ago. I now have over 60k miles on the odometer.

When I purchased it I expected to have a lot of problems by the way people talk on this forum. When I bought it the emblems were peeled off and a bushing was warn. I have fixed both and have not spent another dime on the car except to tint the windows!

I have no squeaks or rattles, the car isn't winning any races but it has really nice passing acceleration, it handles very well, and everyone thinks I spent twice as much money on the car then I actually did.

I love this car and look forward to the day I can buy the new all wheel drive version.

*Edit: Looking at the photo's gives me that excited feeling I had when I bought my car. If you love driving... do yourself a favor and buy that car! :D
 

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new92xowner said:
you have your work cut out for you with a Saab or ANY used car with 50k miles.
I don't think you should worry about purchasing a car with 50K + mi on it. That mileage isn't going to make it any less reliable, you just will need to start maintaining it, ie clutch, brakes, timing belt.

I have never owned a car with less than 90K on it, and all have been reliable except for my jetta. i have owned 4 cars, the saab i am picking up this weekend will be my 5th
 

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I bought my 9-3 Linear last November (almost one year ago). Since then it has been in the shop 8 times for various problems (listed below):

- CEL for bad turbo (first changed turbo manifold... when that didn't work, they performed a software update... no problems scince)

- CEL for emmision problem (Bad gas cap)

- Several peeling/worn buttons/surfaces in the interior

- Driver's seatbelt stopped retracting (replaced seat belt/innertia reel)

- Front hood elmblem peeled (replaced emblem)

- Rear hood emblem peeled (replaced emblem)

- Trunk making loud BONG noise when opening (Removed metal burrs from spring)

- SID problems where incorrect mileage was being displayed. Reset SID.
Next fillup the SID crapped out again. Dealer reset again (no problems since)

- Coolant low light came on three times in three months. Took it in each time and they never found anything. Coolant was low each time. They put dye in the resevoir to see if they could use a black light to find the leak, but nothing ever showed up. It hasn't happened again since April of this year.

- Twice this past summer I was pulling out of the parking lot at work and the car completely shut off (driving about 8-10mph). It has not happened since and it is not reproducable, so I don't even know where to begin with this one.

So far that is all that has gone wrong with the car (that I can remember). :D

Many suggested not buying a 2003, but I didn't listen. The 04s were just a bit out of my price range. I even knew what the reliability ratings were and still bought it anyway. One user even said something along the lines of... "No problems the first week? Give it time... they will come!" He was right!

Now, don't get me wrong, this car is a blast to drive and so far the majority of the problems have not been very severe, but it is a HUGE hassle having to take it to the dealership to get worked on all the time.

If I could do it over again knowing what I know now... I would probably pass on the 9-3 (at least the 03 model). My time is precious and this car seems to take a lot of it away from me!

On a possitive note, I just got back from a couple of 600-800 mile road trips and I managed to average 36.0mpg highway (according to the SID)

My next vehicle will be a truck as I really miss having a truck! My kids are going to get the 9-3 as they start drving in 2 years (if it lasts that long). Lucky punks... my first car was a 30 year old VW Bug!

Not telling you not to buy the car, but if you do, be prepared for problems (as others tried warning me about).

I know it's a tough call, because these cars are sooooooooo nice looking!

Just my 2 cents... take it for what it's worth!

Forgot to mention... the dealer printed out a list of things the previous owner had done to the car... it's 2 (yes TWO) pages long! I bought the car with 39,000 miles on it and am now sitting at 52,000 miles.
 

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I didn't pay one cent out of pocket because there is NO WAY I was about to buy this car without it being a CPO! :)

Although, you could figure in the wages I lost having to miss work to take the car to the shop, get a ride back to work from the dealer and then the opposite when the work was completed! I would put that number somewhere in the $400.00 range! ;)
 

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Robo,

You've got a porous block it appears. Did the dealer ever talk about that to you? I don't know how they rectify it though.
 

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im currently driving an 03. the only problem i have is still a warranty issue and it involves the washer fluid. I bought mine with 66000km for $12.7 Canadian.

I think thats an amazing deal and i love the car
 

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Cosmicflash said:
Robo,

You've got a porous block it appears. Did the dealer ever talk about that to you? I don't know how they rectify it though.
I thought that was only a problem in the automatics?

In any case it has not happened again since this past April. It stays at the correct level all the time now. The last time I had it in they said they re-filled it, pressure checked it and used a black-light on it (previously had put dye in it). They could find no leaks. They also said that if it continued then they wanted me to bring it in "hot" and let them keep it over night so they could test it first thing in the morning when it was cold. I don't know what that would accomplish, but I have not even bothered with it since it has not happened in several months.
 

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2003 9-3 Linear, bought used 10/21/06 w/ 27k miles

Numerous small problems

3 headlight bulb failures
Gas Gauge failure
Rattling noise from under trunk (still not corrected)
Replaced fuel pump ($900) my fault for running it out of gas.
Check Engine light at 40,000 miles ( probably an emmissions part)
Left front turn signal socket failue, (recommending new headlight assembly $535)

Recently thought about trading it and going with something reliable like a Honda or Nissan at the recommendation of my Indy Saab mechanic of all people. Decided to stick with her because other than my 2001 9-5 no other car has ever felt so good to drive. Still kicking myself for getting rid of that 9-5. These cars are a joy to drive. Im too addicted to make a logical desicion. Hi may name is Ed and im a Saab addict.
 
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