I have a 2000 Saab 9-5 SE with 96,000 miles.
Overall I like the car and bought it new.
However the repairs have been numerous and very expensive
over the years. My original intention was to keep this car
for a very long time. However this ‘buy and hold’ mentality
I am thinking may be a mistake. I used this approach in the stock
market and now my net worth is down 40%. Dumb idea.
But back to the car, should I be faithful to the Saab name and keep
it hoping the stream of repairs will abate or dump this car
and get something more reliable?
I have a 2000 Saab 9-5 SE with 96,000 miles.
Personally I’d dump it. It’s history is a likely precursor of things to come.
But it’s a personal decision. New cars are not cheap, so nobody should fault you for trying to keep it running since you like the car.
You are not giving any specifics on what repairs you’ve made to date on the car. So it is hard to answer. Saab’s generally are solid cars, but at 10 years old lots of things will need replacing. Tires, batteries, brakes, shouid not bother you too much. CV joints, struts, tie rod ends, steering and front suspension parts are subject to wear and likely will need replacing someday. Then there are all the sensors, electronics, and transmission.
Here is the deal, a new car will cost you how much per month? Repairs to the Saab will likely be far less than whatever that monthly figure is over the course of the year. Next, how easy is it for you to live without the car for a few days while repairs are made. If that is no biggie then consider how do you feel about breakdown potential while you are on the road? If you keep the car tuned up, have newer belts and hoses you still should be able to dependably get where you are going with confidence.
If these things make sense to you keep the car. Realize you will likely spend $1,000 to $2,500 per year over the next 5 years on repairs or maybe a better word is reconditioning. Parts wear out, and you are simply replacing them. Since you bought the car new you have a good idea of how solid or shakey it is. For those who buy used those are “unknowns” in most cases.
A Saab is an expensive car to repair. Parts are often 2 times what the same part is for an American car. I know, from experience with a '98 Volvo. The fuel pump was $1,000 just for the part and it was only available from Volvo. Stuff like that is similar with a Saab. From reading your post I’m guessing its time for you to trade the Saab for something newer. Now is not a bad time at all to buy another car.
If you are using a dealer to service this vehicle you may want to try a trusty independent shop, except repair prices to drop 25-50%. If not using the dealer and its too much for you than move on. Realize this car has little value used.
We need more information about those repair cost.
First cut out all maintenance cost, they are not repairs and that includes timing belt which you likely are coming up on.
Have you had all this service done by the dealer? If so you likely could have saved a bundle by finding a good local mechanic. Buy and hold, when it applies to cars, is as valid today as it always has been. It is the least expensive way of owning a car. If you just want a different/new car, then you don't need my approval, that is your business, but frankly with the overall economy today, I would be less likely than usual to buy a new car now, you will just loose more.
Agree with above posters; if the repairs are becoming a burden to you it’s probably time to trade. In addition, SAAB is in receivership, and may go into bankruptcy, leaving you with an orphan. It’s guaranteed that GM will not take any future responsibilty for SAAB parts and service availability. People who bought Daewoo cars some time back can testiy to that.
I would look for a good 3 year old used car with low mileage; there are lots available. A 3 year old Ford Taurus or Malibu would be very cheap and also inexpensive to service, as well as more reliablr than your SAAB.
A friend of mine was the long-suffering owner of an aging Mercedes which cost a small fortune to keep running. They bought a new Mercury Grand Marquis and are still happily driving this after 8 years. The reliability and easy and cheap service of the Mercury made them completely forget the Mercedes.
So, define what repairs have been done.
Many people consider tires, maintenance, and brakes to be signs of a bad car.
Thanks to the replies so far. I don’t have an itemized list of the repairs to post but I was not referring to regular maintance items. Off the top of my head I can think of the following:
- Crankshaft position sensor (hall effect) failed leaving me stuck on road. Many hundreds of $$ to repair.
- 1st Ignition coil pack failed, again stranded on road, Many hundreds of $$ to repair.
- Then the other 2nd half ignition coild failed, same result.
- Exhaust system replacement, should be normal cost, but was several times that of a normal car.
- I have brought the car in to have the code read at least a dozen times. To the point now where I ignore the check engine light. Too many false positive readings but I know this is not a good practice. Just tired of going to service station every time the light goes on. Usually an evaporative recapture (or the like) indication. I have this pressure checked a couple of time but nothing was found. I should really consider buying my own ODB2 diagnostic reader.
- SID display had to be replaced but that was years ago and under warrenty.
- The latest item which is prompting me to think it is time to bolt, is that the power steering lines need replacing, about $1000 but the kicker is that parts cannot be obtained anywhere. It has been sitting at the service station for 3 weeks. Finally they found some used parts. The car is only 9 years old!
I have had other repairs over the years but just can’t remember details to post here. But it seems like anytime I bring the car in it never is less than $300.
Again I think this Saab 9-5 is a near luxury car, nicer ride and fit and finish from my Honda accord and Pontiac Vibe but the repair costs are at least 2x or 3x that of my other cars.
Who was doing those repairs? If it was the dealer, that would explain a lot. Independent mechanics are no better (or worse) than dealer mechanics and they don’t generally offer you designer coffee in a plush waiting room, but they almost always charge less. In your case I believe you have reason to suspect whoever has been doing all the work.
Regardless of the cost of the repairs mentioned, NONE of these items would likely need to be repaired or replaced on a Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Mazda 6 or several other inexpensive cars I can think of.
We get the same complaints from Volvo owners, who like their cars very much but wonder why these great Swedes can’t build something as reliable and durable as those lowly Japanese!
I agree that an independent garage who knows SAABs can do this work for much less, but the future of SAAB is very uncertain, and there are not enoughs sold so you can go to your local wrecking yard for a body part, for example.
My last reply seems to have been dropped, so I have nothing better to do today so I will repost it
The other item on this car that has been troublesome is the alarm system. If I lock the car, the alarm is set but it will at random times set off, sometimes in the middle of the night. The dealer response is to replace the alarm for about $1000. I did some research and found this is a problem others have seen. Some guy in Europe disassembled the unit and discovered that the unit has non-replaceable and non recharging lithium batteries. These batteries eventually discharge but before they discharge to zero they randomly set off the alarm. He wrote up a procedure how to remove and disassemble the unit and how to unsolder the batteries.
So I took this printout along with the Sanyo part number of the batteries to my service guy (not the dealer) and he said that looked like a modest effort to perform. So rather than spend $1000 on a replacement, we decided to repair it. He charged $150 including parts. That was the cheapest repair I ever had on the car. Unfortunately it did not work. the alarm still goes off randomly. So my solution is to never lock the car. Hopefully someone will steal it and force me to get another hopefully more reliable car. But its been 2 years and no one has stolen it yet.
A friend of mine’s CPS just crapped out in her SAAB too. Is this a weakness with SAABs?
My '98 Volvo V70XC was in many ways a great car, super seats, great in snow, yadda yadda. The repairs were frequent and always expensive. European cars (esp. Volvo and Saab) are very expensive to own when they move beyond 5 years old. I sold the Volvo.
From your litany of repairs I would definately retire the Saab and get another car. You did the best you could for the car, let it go.
I’m just going to post this as a data point. I paid $900 in 2014 for my 1999 Saab 9-5 and bought it with 200k. I’m passing 290k right now and in the past 6 years I’ve put about $3500 of work and maintenance into it. I’ve driven it across country twice and it carried me the 300 miles round trip to the airport for work without issue for 4 years.