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Old saab -- winter blues

for the past few winters (overnight temps @ or below freezing)the front suspension of my Saab 9-3 creaks like an old wood squeaky floorboard whenever I go over bumps in the road. In the past few weeks, the emergency brake won’t disengage on cold mornings, even though the brake handle has been fully released. Is it time to get a new car???

Since you did not see fit to share either the model year or the odometer mileage of this car–and since I am not good at guessing–I really can’t answer your question.

However, I will advise you to have all of the suspension bushings (front and rear) lubricated the next time that the car is in the shop for service. The creaky, squeaky symptoms that you describe are very likely simply dry bushings on this mystery Saab.

Also, until you get the car into the mechanic’s shop, I would advise that you NOT use the hand brake on nights when it is below freezing and you have recently driven through any kind of precipitation. The combination of low temperatures and moisture can cause an e-brake cable to freeze.

Although it is really a good idea to use your e-brake when parking, in your situation you should not do so currently. Just be sure to park on level ground, cut your wheels to the curb, and leave the car in gear (manual trans) or in Park (automatic trans). When it is in for service next time, have your mechanic lubricate the e-brake cable.

You want to get a new car just because the parking brake cable is frozen? OK, then maybe it’s time for a new car.

You said the suspension creaks every winter, just like millions of other cars. The only difference this year is the parking brake, which can be fixed.

If you can put the car in a garage with a temperature above freezing the parking brake will thaw out. Then figure out whether the problem is the cable or the parking brakes themselves (the parking brake acts on the rear wheels).

Fix whatever is allowing water to get where it shouldn’t, in either the cable or the brakes themselves (or both) and you should be good to go.

This will be much less expensive than a new car.

On the other hand, this is a GREAT time to go car shopping. Dealers are desperate for any sale, and good deals can be made.