SAAB 900SE ('95) the costly timing belt

My SABB is running like a dream thanks to $1400 of recent maintenance/repairs like fuel filters, suspension etc. Here’s the problem: It’s a '95 with almost 150K and I am 10K overdue for the timing belt (incl.water pump) replacement, and getting estimates for $1200-1400. I want to keep this car on the road for another 50K at least, so I think I should take the leap but I hesitate. Any old SAAB owners out there who could provide me some confidence in doing so… or some caution, at this stage?

Whether it’s a Saab or not does not matter. If your timing belt is due for a change you have to do it or risk very expensive engine damage.

You don’t need to have this done by a dealer, many good independent shops will and can do this for less. Typical figures we hear for Hondas and Toyotas are about $900 for the work quoted. So I would start shopping around right away!

thanks again for your feedback. I paid a fortune after doing a month of research, then bit the bullet. You’re right I was running on borrowed time, and ultimately just had to do it to avoid the inevitable break. By the way estimate was $1200 at least, from 4 independent mechanics. I guess my next care will be a Honda!

Glad you got it done. Saabs are more expensive to keep running than the more garden variety cars like Hondas and Toyotas. Now that you have fixed a number of normal wear items, you should enjoy your Saab for another 50,000 miles.

If you want to forgoe that timing belt maintenance item just find a car with a timing chain. The 2003+ Saab 9-3 and many newer Honda and Toyota have timing chains. Just inquire before purchase.

That being said timing belt replacement varies wildly. For example on Subaru which is typically a pricier Japanese car to repair, timing belts replacements are only $400-$600 dependent on how much extra pieces go in.