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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Sorry for the long post. I'm venting a bit, but there's also a very relevant story here. If you would mind reading it and offering advice, I'd appreciate it.

I purchased my 2007 9-3 Aero SS (manual transmission) in June, as a brand-new car, from SAAB of Richmond (one of the Moore dealerships). I had my reservations about the dealership from the get-go. Understaffed, and the salesperson was intellectually about as sharp as a butter knife. But they were the only one that had the car I was looking for, so I made the plunge. Bought the car for $32,700.

Overall, the car has functioned just fine, but there have been some minor maintenance issues (I've posted about them earlier on this forum).

The first maintenance issues were the driver's seat leather coming unhooked from underneath the seat and the aluminum foil underneath the hood insulation coming off. The seat was repaired quickly, however, the hood insulation had to be ordered. It was delivered promptly, but the service advisor refused to let me bring the car in at my convenience to have this 10-minute repair performed. He wanted me to schedule an appointment for it....which meant cancelling patients. He also refused to give me the part under warranty so I could install it myself. I had to contact the service manager, who then told me to bring my car in at my convenience. The repair was performed.

There were two other minor things for which I brought the car in.

The first time the car was returned to me, there was a scuff on the edge of the passenger's side front door. it had clearly been opened into another car. The other two times, they left grease stains inside the car. The second time, the grease stains were on the cloth of the A-pillar.

Just today, I brought my car in (on appointment) to have two maintenance issues examined:

1. A problem with the interior lights not regularly going off immediately when the car is locked with the key. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't (i.e. it takes 15 seconds to turn off.

2. A vibration in the stick-shift that sometimes occurs in 3rd gear above 2500 RPMs.

From the get-go, the service advisor's response was that these were normal. Expecting this response from him, I showed him a printed copy of page 131 of the Owner's Manual (I printed it the night before) which stated clearly that the interior lights go out when the door is locked with the key fob. He seemed to acknowledge that this was abnormal.

As for the vibration, I wated in the reception area for 75 minutes while my car was being test-driven to see if they could duplicate the problem, DESPITE my suggestion that I accompany them in order to help reproduce the vibration. Both a technician and the service dept foreman drove my car, and neither could duplicate the problem.

I discussed it with the foreman who repeatedly made two points: 1. if we can't see it, we can't fix it. and 2. your car is working perfectly. I asked for an explanation as to how it's possible that such a vibration can only occur in third gear, only above 2500RPMs, and not do it regularly....if such vibrations were normal.

I asked to speak with the service manager, who came out. We talked. He insisted everything was normal (the service advisor had clearly briefed him before he came out). He got in the car and test drove it with me, and continued to insist that my car was fine. After two minutes, I turned around and brought him back to the dealership.

I asked him again about the lights. With the car closed and locked, I unlocked the car then locked it. Lights stayed on. He insisted that the door had to be opened and closed first....which was not stated in the manual. I asked him why, then, what he just saw didn't occur all the time. He had no answer. Despite seeing page 131 of the Manual as well as the light not going off, he just continued to insist that there was nothing wrong with my car, and that I needed to get a second opinion. And when I got this second opinion, I had to have them call him...both about the interior light AND the vibrations.

What blows my mind here is how they can say that something that occurs inconsistently under the same conditions can be normal. If the vibration is normal, then it should occur every time I accelerate fast in 3rd gear (and reach 2500 RPMs). Similarly, the interior light should do the same thing every time I lock the car from the outside. And again, the service manager simply flat-out ignored what was written in the manual. Anyways, at this point, God himself could not convince this dealership to look further into these issues.

Despite their claims that "they want to help", it is clear to me that their attitude, every time I bring the car in, has been to deny the existence of problems unless they can be clearly demonstrated. Looking into something because the customer himself noticed something abnormal is out of the question as far as they're concerned. I can somewhat understand their position on the vibration, as being proactive in dealing with maintenance issues is probably uncommon for GM dealerships. But their refusal to deal with the abnormal function of the interior light is, as far as I'm concerned, a flat-out refusal to acknowledge a problem and perform a warranty service.

Now, I realize that I can be a tough person to deal with. But I NEVER knowingly ask for something to which I am not entitled. I did not ask them to replace my transmission. I just asked the guys "what could be the cause of what I'm experiencing, and why does it only occur in this specific situation." Nobody there had a f-ing clue. They just told me it was normal.

When you buy a car, you're buying more than 4-wheels and a seat. You're buying a relationship with the dealership that consists of an entire support apparatus to troubleshoot and identify problems....even the ones that don't jump out and bite them on the nose. This is especially important when you buy a car whose list price is nearly $40,000. This SAAB dealership, I am convinced, is somewhat uninterested in carrying out that part of the customer-dealer relationship. They are lax, uninterested, and to be totally honest, suspect where competence is concerned. And unfortunately, they're the only game in town. The next dealership is in Charlottesville, VA, almost 1-hour away, or Norfolk, VA, 1+ hours away.

So, where do I go from here? Moore Family dealerships has many chains, so there's definitely someone well above the service manager with whom I could lodge a complaint. But to be totally honest, the very fact that I have to go this far does not bode well for the "relationship" I have with the dealership, as a SAAB owner.

I looked into trading in my SAAB. I could get about $28k for it, which would mean I'd eat about $5000. But if doing so (and buying a Mercedes or BMW) would save me this hassle (as these brands tend to have dealerships with impeccable service), then I'm willing to pay $5000 for the peace of mind.

Am I being unreasonable here? Should I simply expect to experience such abnormalities in my car, i.e. until the transmission fails catastrophically or until the interior light fails to turn off altogether and drains my battery?

If I sold someone a car at this price, I'd want everything to be perfect for them. If they insisted that something strange was occurring, I would look into it, not tell them, "well, I can't find it, so everything must be hunky-dory."
 

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I don't think I would say you are unreasonable but if you think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, you're probably wrong. Is the MB and BMW dealer in your town, know for impeccable service or are you just making a generalized statement. I know the BMW dealer is is certainly not known for quality service. Generally, VW dealers are notoriously bad but my local dealer has been great; same with my Saab dealer. You really can't generalize who has good or bad service because it is completely up to the dealership themselves.

As far as you problems are concerned, they are intermittent and I don't know of any dealer that would fix something they can't validate. This goes for BMW and MB you know. Obviously they need to validate there is a problem that they can fix. Anytime I take my car(s) in, I just hope that the issue is still acting up so I can duplicate the issue in front of the service writer. If not, I don't expect it to get fixed on that visit.

I would suggest you pay very close attention to when the transmission acts up - keep a note pad in your car to take notes and see if you can get duplicate the issue. Then take the service manager out for a ride and duplicate the vibration.

As far as trading it in, that's your call but as I mentioned before, make sure the dealership in your area is good so you don't have the same disappointments you do now.
 

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Often, you are stuck with the dealer. There is sometimes no other dealer close by.

Try to see if you can figure out the problem. Once the problem is identified, they may be able to fix it.

The manual says that ultimately, all problems have to be fixed at the dealer level. Therefore, I would be reluctant to complain to Saab unless you didn't have good alternatives and it's something that Saab can do (such as compensation).

Don't think of freedom and justice. Think in terms of they are Stalin and you are Comrade Ivan the nobody. Help them solve problems and implement it. Part of the problem is they may be poor in diagnosis and only know how to change parts.
 

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first of all, it is always faster to schedule an appointment when taking your car to the dealer. service advisors most always put people who made an appointment first into the garage over walk-ins. after all, they made an appointment to keep a schedule. most jobs in the garage take half an hour...it's actually getting your car in there that takes the longest...so whether it's a 1 hour job or 1 minute job, i would make an appointment.

secondly, for every warranty repair, the technician and the part(s) used are logged. manufacturers typically don't approve warranty of a part without the corresponding technician who worked on it (and his computer logged time stamps from start to finish).

lastly, as far as your light problem...why didn't you just ask them to try it with another car there? there should have been plenty to choose from. if they were unwilling, i would have walked to the sales department, who i'm sure would have been more than happy to help you. as far as your shifter vibration, if it didn't act up in their presence, there really isn't anything they can do. i disagree with their attitude and unwillingness to let you ride with them, but i'm not sure what kind of tone you were using with them either. generally speaking, i would never piss off someone who could potentially put my life in danger...no matter how much i wanted to.
 

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My initial thought is to take it to the dealer an hour away.

Get that second opinion. Make an appointment and go. Wouldn't you be surprised if you went there and in a half hour they fixed your lighting problem by changing out the timer module in the light switch. Then purhaps they diagnosed your transmission problem! It may happen...I'd try another dealer.
 

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You mentioned C'ville and Norfolk. I'm not sure where you call home, but Newport News (Suttle Motors) would also be an option for a second opinion.

I purchased my car there and have had it serviced once which went fine.

You note that:

Now, I realize that I can be a tough person to deal with.
We have seen this on this board already. Dealers are much more fickle than us users and can get very defensive very quickly if you rub them the wrong way. Is this acceptable? ... In your case it may not matter as the end justifies the means. You will either get satisfied or sell the car.

My question is ... if you are so dissatisfied with the interior lights staying on for 15 sec and a vibration in third is worth you losing $5,000 of depreciation on your car ... what are you waiting for? This car will never satisfy you (nor will any other).
 

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Go to Saab Canada directly and speak with them regarding the problem. If necessary they can contact the dealer and you can put them in the uncomfortable position of MAKING them fix your car.
 

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Tommeh said:
Go to Saab Canada directly and speak with them regarding the problem. If necessary they can contact the dealer and you can put them in the uncomfortable position of MAKING them fix your car.
He bought the car in the US ... not sure what talking to Saab Canada would do for him. :roll:
 

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The dealership issue is also a problem for me. Both distance and competence are issues. For my next car I will most certainly be considering this.

I will also be looking at the cost of diagnostic tools. These are getting more complicated for all brands. Reading the manual for a Tech2 reminds me of the DOS manuals that used to come with a PC. This whole approach to troubleshooting needs to become more intuitive for the average tech.
 

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Not much to add, but as you area aware you are not tied to that dealer for service just because they sold the car to you, any Saab dealer can do the scheduled maintainance and warranty work.

If the other dealer is too far away would spending an hour with an independant who might have an opinion on the 2500rpm vibration be worthwhile?
 

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You want to take a $5000 loss because your lights stays on for 15 seconds? Seems a little extreme. Give a while to see if it persists or gets worse.

The vibration should not be a problem until is becomes constant. From their perspective how are they suppose to fix something that can't be felt? Start swapping all the bushings? Replace the transmission? Also seems extreme. I think I would give it awhile too.
My guess is that it is a little harmonic vibration. Maybe temperature related as well. Nothing to worry about IMHO.

Every car has some little noise, vibration or quirk.
 

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Disputes are generally solved with supportive facts. The degree of the issue also plays. As it seems the degree is low. You can prove the lights and the majority of dealerships would address and fix that issue. The vibration may just require a small adjustment but it's hard to quantify a vibration as abnormal or suspect. Do you like the car? - you never mentioned or maybe you regret the purchase. Saab interiors just don't stack up with with higher priced MB and BMW - maybe that has nothing to do with it. If it was me and 5k (and I liked the car) I'd take the 2 hour round trip drive. Call them up for an appointment and tell them your story. Politely dog out the other dealership, that you love Saab and can't wait to buy an XWD in January and your looking for a new dealership to build that relationship you mentioned. There are hundreds of Saab dealerships that are solid - but do you like the car or is it just functionally fine?
 

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Get the MB or BMW...you won't regret it. I have had a 9-5 Aero since it was new (2000) and I have hated the dealerships (they do exactly what yours does) and the car itself has been rather unreliable. Two years go we got a MB E350 wagon and the car has been wonderful as have the dealerships. It is so nice to have a car that you love and dealerships that “love” you back! :D

I will add that getting the second opinion at the dealer farther away is definitely the smart thing to do first, but if it is owned by the same guy I wouldn't get your hopes up.


So, really it is all up to you, but you are certainly not being unreasonable to suggest the purchase of MB or BMW and I would, personally, buy the MB or BMW. But before you do this, talk with someone who uses the given MB or BMW dealership and see what they think of it. Best of luck!
 

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Before you get rid of it, ask to have the Saab Service Area Manager get involved in the issues. From what I was told, the Area Manager oversees numerous Saab Service Departments within a certain region. They may be able to help. I had to get them and SaabUSA involved in order for the dealership to replace all four tires on my car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Aspen said:
You want to take a $5000 loss because your lights stays on for 15 seconds? Seems a little extreme. Give a while to see if it persists or gets worse.

The vibration should not be a problem until is becomes constant. From their perspective how are they suppose to fix something that can't be felt? Start swapping all the bushings? Replace the transmission? Also seems extreme. I think I would give it awhile too.
My guess is that it is a little harmonic vibration. Maybe temperature related as well. Nothing to worry about IMHO.

Every car has some little noise, vibration or quirk.
No. Not because my lights stay on for 15 seconds. It's because I have a dealership whose first inclination is to deny and disprove the existence of a malfunction, even if it's staring them right in the face.

Remember, this car is JUST FOUR MONTHS OLD! If I'm already getting this kind of disinterested and borderline dishonest treatment from the dealership, just imagine how sh**ty the service will be when the car is two years old and suffering from multiple glitches. Not to mention the fact that, at least judging from the level of competence of the service advisor, their ability to diagnose and repair the less-obvious problems is dubious at best.
 

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SaabScott said:
He bought the car in the US ... not sure what talking to Saab Canada would do for him. :roll:
I suppose I should have read more than Richmond Saab. Richmond is one of the dealers in BC... which is in Canada.
 

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DrSandman said:
No. Not because my lights stay on for 15 seconds. It's because I have a dealership whose first inclination is to deny and disprove the existence of a malfunction, even if it's staring them right in the face.

Remember, this car is JUST FOUR MONTHS OLD! If I'm already getting this kind of disinterested and borderline dishonest treatment from the dealership, just imagine how sh**ty the service will be when the car is two years old and suffering from multiple glitches. Not to mention the fact that, at least judging from the level of competence of the service advisor, their ability to diagnose and repair the less-obvious problems is dubious at best.
Well, you obviously do not feel too happy about continuing to drive your car while using that dealer, so I see 2 options -

1. Drive further to another dealer, and hope they meet your expectations

2. Ditch the car, and eat the 5 grand, and hope whatever you buy has a dealer network with service more in line with what you require

Good luck with whatever decision you make.
 

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I would recommend trading it in or selling it outright, but not complaining about losing your butt on depreciation. Cars depreciate horribly the first year. Loans are also front end loaded. Plan on eating about 7K-10K for your four months of ownership.

Reading your posts over the time you have posted here provided the distinct impression that you had unreal expectations for this vehicle. You are very anal about your vehicles and to be frank, I doubt any vehicle would have withstood your intense scrutiny.

I have enjoyed many of your posts about topics other than the minor service issues you had and will miss your contributions, but agree that you should let the Saab go.
 

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DanS said:
I would recommend trading it in or selling it outright, but not complaining about losing your butt on depreciation. Cars depreciate horribly the first year. Loans are also front end loaded. Plan on eating about 7K-10K for your four months of ownership.

Reading your posts over the time you have posted here provided the distinct impression that you had unreal expectations for this vehicle. You are very anal about your vehicles and to be frank, I doubt any vehicle would have withstood your intense scrutiny.

I have enjoyed many of your posts about topics other than the minor service issues you had and will miss your contributions, but agree that you should let the Saab go.
I agree...
 

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DanS said:
I would recommend trading it in or selling it outright, but not complaining about losing your butt on depreciation. Cars depreciate horribly the first year. Loans are also front end loaded. Plan on eating about 7K-10K for your four months of ownership.

Reading your posts over the time you have posted here provided the distinct impression that you had unreal expectations for this vehicle. You are very anal about your vehicles and to be frank, I doubt any vehicle would have withstood your intense scrutiny.

I have enjoyed many of your posts about topics other than the minor service issues you had and will miss your contributions, but agree that you should let the Saab go.
Very well said.
 
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