Product Type: Saab cars
Newest Review: ... solidity of the doors, robustness of the interior trim, it all adds up to give you the Saab experience. So with ten years of ownership... more
Ten years with the Saab
Member Name: Spellbinder4
Ten years with a Saab. Saab 900 1996 talladega 2.3 petrol bought 1998 with 38,000mls on the clock. Sold with 160,000 on the clock.
Ten years ago this car still looked fab - a little different, a little funky, a little classy but alongside today's car you would never once think this was a special car in any way. Cars now dwarf it in muscularity and wheel size ( even with the talladega's then big 16'' wheels) and funky chic-ness.
None the less, if you can get hold of one with a not too high mileage at a cheap price (and let no-one fool you that they are still worth any chunk of money: they are not) - then you could have a solid and reliable second car or run around.
I'd rather be sitting in an old Saab than something totally bland from that price-range/era. Treated well and regularly serviced the car should go on and on. Petrol engined models can be a little heavy on the liquid money stuff - 29-31mpg (2.3 engine but I belive the smaller engine mpg is slighty lower).
The thing is solid almost tank-like. Robust little touches like the door handles that will last until eternity, the little metal direction controller ball in the hot air blowers, the intelligent simplicity of replacing bulbs, solidity of the doors, robustness of the interior trim, it all adds up to give you the Saab experience.
So with ten years of ownership under my belt I feel I can put together a list of problems that Ive had that may give a feel of what to expect with a Saab to any prospective owners.
Front tyres wear far more than rear. Front wheel drive does this. Once had to replace the original rear tyres at an M.O.T. even they were not worn but had been on so long the sidewalls's were rotting. Cheap tyres are available - shop around.
Engine - just keep it regularly serviced. Had no engine problems at all.
Spark plugs are very expensive but are designed not to need replacing as often as other cars- so eventually works out at similar price.
Once had a warning on the dashboard saying take to dealer - but it was nothing. Some miniscule tube to do with air or something going into fuel injector caused no noticeable difference and took a minute to fix.
Only had one new exhaust. I regretted not going to Saab dealer for this as never quite had the same nice engine tone again.
NOTE: Saab dealers are not always expensive. Some so-called cheap Saab parts and secondhand suppliers are actually more expensive than the main dealer. Always ask the Main dealer first for a price. (I.ve seen bonnet badges dearer on ebay than fromn the dealer. My nearest dealer (Chingford) has done small little repairs for me for £1.50 and even once at no charge.
Replaced one clutch.
Replaced one starter motor.
Replaced two batteries. Battery type was a little difficult to find at a few places - eventually found somewhere who had no trouble in understanding what I want. (Two shops had sent me home with the wrong battery.)
Replaced some bulbs. (easy to do)
There is some sort of pulley for one of the belts in the engine compartment. This pulley is set high on the left as you face the engine. It's about 3-4'' dia. Can't remember exactly what it's called but this disintegrated once - the only time I could have broken down and been left high and dry. But it didn't: I still managed to get home - though i wasn't far away. Apparently, the dealer told me, this is a common failure.
General stuff like brake pads etc have been replaced but nothing extraordinary and I like to think that things on the Saab don't generally just fail - they sort of give you warning.
Over the years the car has suffered from a bit of tiredness on the exterior tand rim department as this car was never garaged.
Bonnet badge fell off. Matt black doorpost trim started to crack and fray. gearlever surround got a bit worn.
But overall always looked good after a wash and brush up and never an inkling of rust. Seems Saab don't do rust. But the body does get a lot of treatments in manafacture.
A good car to drive, even with heavy clutch and slightly stiff ride; the rear of the car seems to trundle after you a little noisily.
It's not as snappy to drive as newer cars but overall it's as solid and reliable as you're gonna get for it's age.
Summary: Old stalwart