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I am looking at/interested in a 2004 9-5 Arc Wagon. My one problem is that it is three hours away. It's a single-owner car, and it appears to be in good condition from the pictures so far. The price seems fair. But, arranging an independent inspection by a mechanic in that area is going to be a royal pain. So, I ask myself whether I am comfortable taking that risk.

On a complete side note, I'm slightly concerned that I'll be disappointed in the ride firmness going from my current Aero to an Arc. Please speak up if you've made this switch too!

As for the real question, anyone that wants to weigh in on whether you'd skip that important step (independent inspection), please do! I'm half-considering it because it's been to the dealer with relative frequency for seemingly normal things, and the owner did things like get the serpentine belt replaced at 60K and the transmission fluid changed, both things that COULD have been skipped but were actually performed at the proper interval. So, it implies he took care of the car mechanically. But, there's always the chance of the "sleeper" issue that even the current owner doesn't know about (but again, I'd think that the dealer would have told him about it) or that just popped up recently and is the hidden reason for selling the car.

The Carfax service history details are below. I've cleaned up the service provider names, but just know that every entry for service was from a major Saab dealer in the area.

Thanks!

=========CARFAX REPORT==========

12/19/2003
US Customs Vehicle exported from
Sweden
and imported to
Newark, NJ

12/29/2003
Pre-delivery inspection completed

04/02/2004
Vehicle serviced

07/29/2004
Pre-delivery inspection completed

08/03/2004
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Title or registration issued
First owner reported
Registered as
personal vehicle

06/11/2007
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Registration issued or renewed

12/20/2007
48,015
Maintenance inspection completed
Automatic transmission fluid flushed
Fuel tank replaced

04/25/2008
51,419
Tires rotated
Maintenance inspection completed

06/01/2008
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Registration issued or renewed

12/29/2008
60,264
Maintenance inspection completed
Serpentine belt replaced
Four wheel alignment performed

06/02/2009
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Registration issued or renewed

06/24/2009
66,126
Maintenance inspection completed
Emblem replaced
Engine/powertrain computer/module checked

04/29/2010
73,646
Oil and filter changed
Maintenance inspection completed

05/31/2010
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Registration issued or renewed

06/03/2010
74,502
Maintenance inspection completed
Engine/powertrain computer/module checked
Washed/detailed
Cooling system checked
Electrical system checked

07/22/2010
76,454
Maintenance inspection completed
A/C and heating system checked

09/27/2010
80,572
Maintenance inspection completed

04/20/2011
86,679
Maintenance inspection completed
Brakes checked
Body electrical system checked
Electrical system checked

06/06/2011
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Registration issued or renewed

11/18/2011
93,985
Maintenance inspection completed
Engine/powertrain computer/module checked
Electrical system checked

04/27/2012
97,914
Oil and filter changed
Tires rotated
Maintenance inspection completed
A/C and heating system checked
Engine/powertrain computer/module checked
Brakes checked
Engine checked

05/31/2012
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Registration issued or renewed

06/01/2012
Damage Report
Accident reported
Involving rear impact
It hit another motor vehicle
Minor damage reported

07/12/2012
99,447
Brake pads replaced and rotors resurfaced
Maintenance inspection completed
 

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In my case, the previous owner of my wagon from near Allentown Penn. lied about every single direct question I asked. The car actually had a "hidden" head gasket leak and other issues. If I had the experience then that I do know with these cars, I would have caught it, but then I missed it. Even after I got there and realized that he had lied about various small things, I was still blown away with the car and bought it, knowing I could correct the issues. After I purchased the car, I took it to a dealer and an independent shop & none of them could properly diagnose the head gasket leak..so I hate to say it, but if you expect people to outright lie about issues with the car, you won't be surprised...
 

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CarFax promotes a service where they send a mechanic out to the car for you to look it over. It's like ~$160? I did that for my current car as I purchased a Car Fax as well.
 

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eBay motors has a lot of links for getting independent evaluations of cars from a distance. I've not used any of the services, but do know that if you go and look at cars on ebay you'll find the links for people who have made a nationwide business out of inspecting cars for ebay purchasers.



My experience in buying two 9-5's on ebay (my first black 99 5-speed and my current Merlot 03 Aero) was pretty good. The feedback helped though, the buyers had sold many cars previously. And the price was right on both, to the point that if I had found something wrong I could have paid to have it fixed and still come out ahead from what I could have paid locally.

From an individual seller is a bit more tricky. I'd try to find someone to evaluate it.


Oh, and on the ride difference. I have an 03 Aero, my son has a 99 LPT 9-5. The change in ride is significant when I drive his car, but I'm not usually driving his car like I can drive mine. I'd say that the lower-profile tires probably have a lot to do with it. I've always said that I was going to swap the tires from one to the other and see how it changes, but never got around to it.
 

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THree hours away? not far really, rent a car from enterpise and take the chance.

If the seller is really interested in selling, have him take to a mechainc of your choosing, he can have the inspection as part of stuff to help him sell it if you change your mind or dont show to buy it, if hes not willing to spend 75 bucks to sell a 6000 car I would wonader why Alternitively, offfer to pay the mechainc ( I did that for a car in Florida just called with a credit card. I did not buy it because the paint was faded ( the mechanic told me that, common in Fl but the owner did nto think it was an issue ) but it was a saab shop and he said the car was fine and actually bought it from the seller! made her happy...

eBay motors has a lot of links for getting independent evaluations of cars from a distance. I've not used any of the services, but do know that if you go and look at cars on ebay you'll find the links for people who have made a nationwide business out of inspecting cars for ebay purchasers.

From an individual seller is a bit more tricky. I'd try to find someone to evaluate it.
Some of those services are a rip-off an old girlfiend paid for one and then called me sicne I was only an hour away so I go to do her th efavor. Low and behold the inspector is in the office talking about the car as I show up, so I jsut hang aroudn and wathc, The guy takes out a clip-board wlaks around teh car and checks stuff off, NEVER EVEN OPENS THE HOOD! He calls my x as I'm standing there and says it checks out ok ( looks at the car for not even 10 minutes, did not even drive it! ... Watch this stuff its like those home inpsection ....
 

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I bought my 05 linear wagon 6 hours away (nj). I live in Rust-chester, NY, so I like to go south to get rust free cars. It was a dealer. I didn't do the inspection and I got a pretty significant oil leak and I have a hum that I've yet To figure out. But there were enough good points to encourage me to buy it. The dealer was the nicest guy on the planet, but after I bought the car, he started ignoring me. Still hasn't returned my call about the warrantee. But, I figure it's like buying a car from a private individual -- you just do your best and take your chances. I figure a big purchase like this, it's worth blowing a day to get exactly what you want.
 

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Oh and if its a Saab dealer car and serviced there the service manager will ussually let you know waht the service records say, they used to be able to look in Cirrus I think its called but I think that may have been a Saab ap and may not exist any longer but I know my service amanger woudl do it for me ( DO NOT GO THEROUGH THE SALES GUY) he may not wnat you to know, call teh seervice writer directly and talk to him give him the VIN and tell him YOU ALREADY BOUGHT THE CAR and want to schedule serive to go over what it needs
 

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An per purchase inspection is just as good as the person who gives it. If not a Saab specific mechanic I think it would be a waste of money regardless.
 

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ride firmness? An Arc is closer to an Aero than an lpt. Remember an Arc is "Aero spec" - same turbo, etc. only a little less HP, and a different front bumper and wheels (16" on the Arc vs 17" on the Aero).
 
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