Car-dumb and need advice



Last summer I bought a used SAAB 9.3 with two years left on the warranty. My last car was a Honda-CRV - which I had for 10 years without a minute of trouble. I fell in love with the look of the SAAB. It’s cute and fast! I am wondering if I made the right decision. I was talking with a friend recently who knows a bit about cars. He said a Honda is STURDY, and a SAAB was a more fragile car (in thinking of the long term). I like pretty trouble-free cars and do the minimum maintenance. I have a feeling that’s not a SAAB. I love my heated seats and sun-roof and don’t want to give them up. I’m wondering if I should trade the SAAB now - but if I do, for what car? An Accord feels big, I don’t think I can get the heated seats in a Civic. Can someone who knows about cars help me?


The Saab is bigger than the Accord, I thought. How many miles on the Saab, what year?

Why not another CRV?

You do need to do the maintenance on the Saab, just as on any car.


No, a SAAB is not “fragile”.

That being said, maintaining a SAAB will be more expensive than maintaining a Honda, the SAAB will inevitably cost more to repair than a Honda, and the SAAB will undoubtedly need repairs more often as it ages.

As the old saying says, “You pays your money and you takes your choice”.


You may be better off keeping the Saab. It may have a reputation for needing more repairs but you will likely lose a lot in the transactions to get another vehicle. If you like the Saab so much why not enjoy. There is no guarantee it will need any repairs, just probablilties.


They’re solid, well built, and very safe vehicles. SAAB even makes this offer…

The only issue I have is your comment about doing “the minimum maintenance”. That’s not good on any car.


The SAAB has 28,000 miles and is a 2004. I wanted something smaller and sportier than a CR-V. It was the first car I have bought that I had complete freedom of choice - not need for a family car, something to haul things, money wasn’t a huge factor. I looked at VW Passats too, but love the luxury feel of the SAAB. I’m worried it was infatuation!! I don’t like having to pay big bucks for car repair. Just general maintenance.


Re Saab Million mile-club, I have not idea how to provide “verifiable proof that the odometer hasn’t been tampered with”. Very difficult to prove a negative.


I don’t need a million miles out of the car - just a few years after the last car payment! I don’t know what you mean about “minimum maintenance”, but I change the oil regularly and get the belts and fluids changed when they are recommended. I did the standard maintenance checks on the CR-V and relaced batteries, tires, etc.


Sometimes you just need to buy whatcha like, so enjoy. There really is not bad car built these day.


I must have misunderstood your comment about “minimum maintenance”. It came across to me as “doing as little as possible” and that is the norm unfortunately. To some people, changing the oil every other year is fine but it does not sound like this applies to you.

It’s not likely the million mile owner tampered with the odometer. Regular maintenance and predominantly highway driving will get you a long ways. It’s also not likely these odometers were tampered with…

As an ex-SAAB tech I’ve seen a number of very high mileage cars come into the shop although nothing in the half a million plus range.


It won’t hurt to keep it. I have no problem with anybody who has a Saab and wants to keep it. It isn’t likely to cause you any grief. It’s just that you hear about it when they do break down. Consumer Reports rates your cars reliability as much worse than average, but you will lose more than that will cost you if you trade it. If you like reliability ratings, I suggest that you get the subscription to CR and read every page of the auto issue which is an April edition. It says ANNUAL AUTO ISSUE right on the top. If you just buy that one issue it may be better. Then you won’t get plagued with unstopping renewal threats. It’s the one bad thing that they do.


who said the odometers were tampered with? What I said is that Saab requires the owner to PROVE that they were NOT tampered with.

And on second thought I guess the owner could prove that with a stack of maintenance receipts with the mileage numbers on them.


OK4450 was referring to your own statement:

“I…do the minimum maintenance”.

And, as he aptly stated, that is not good for any car. Also, changing the oil “regularly” has different meaning for different people. Those who push their oil changes to the limit stated in the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule are more prone to problems such as sludging of the engine and accelerated engine wear.

More often than not, the “Severe Service” or “Extreme Service” schedule for maintenance is what is needed, as more drivers fit those patterns than the “normal” maintenance pattern mentioned in the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. So, minimum is not necessarily a good idea, especially if one is trying to avoid repairs in the long run.


If you don’t have problems with it, don’t worry about it. It sounds like the car has been fine so far. Why worry about something that may never happen?


I agree. IF you were asking what to do before you bought the SAAB, it would be different. But, as long as it is running good, why take that financial loss? Drive it until it needs one or more expensive repairs, while doing good maintenance on it. When it needs repairs of some serious cost, then is time to think dumping it.

Constant trading increases your costs dramatically. At least get some miles on this vehicle, and when it gives you problems, then worry about it.

Last time I checked, depreciation, the loss you take when you buy a car over the time you own it, is the greatest expense. Even on a SAAB, you can do a lot of repairs for the loss on a trade.

This is especially true if you haven’t paid it off. Some of the saddest individuals I have ever known are the guys who trade so much they have to come up with cash even to sell their car. Drive this one until you have paid it off, and until it needs a bunch of repairs, then look at Consumer’s Reports BEFORE you buy the next one.


The issue of Consumer Reports is at the bookstores now. Mine will be mailed to me soon. It’s not the one with the cardboard cover. It has the regular magazine cover and has a lot of red on it. For your next car, of course, but it wouldn’t hurt to study the ins and outs of this issue.