2000 SAAB 9-5 Base 2.3t

Summary:

Love the Saab - Hate the repairs

Faults:

Like the last reviewer, I was looking for a good bargain on a car. I wanted to go with something European. Ever since the 80s, I have had a soft spot for Saabs. While looking around, I found a Saab for $2800 that I was able to get negotiated down to $2600. What I liked about it is that it looked much newer than being a 2000 model, and it had such low miles. My thinking was that a Saab with only 86,000 miles should be relatively maintenance free for quite a while.

The first problems I had immediately were the rough idle and the blend door issue with the A/C. The pixels were partially out on the display. Like another reviewer has stated, finding local mechanics that will work on a Saab isn't easy, and the ones that do, want to charge astronomical prices. The Saab isn't a breeze to work on, but it's possible. If you are looking to buy one, be prepared to spend money or do your own maintenance.

The major issue that these cars suffer from is the oil sludge issue. As this is a major flaw that can take out an engine, I decided to tackle it. Well, I decided to tackle it after getting a quote of $450.00 to have someone else do it. I took about two days to do it, but finally pulled off the oil pan. The good news was no sludge.

The next issue was the Saab started overheating. Normally, the first thing you would do is pull out the thermostat. It's approximately a fifteen minute job on most cars. The Saab was a two hour process. It's the same basic design, but instead of putting the thermostat on top and easily accessible, it is put on the side and required me to straddle the engine after removing some parts to gain access. The positive is that it was the equivalent of two hours of straight yoga. Even though the thermostat did fix the overheating issue, I still had to replace the thermostat at the cost of $350. It turned out that the heater bypass valve was shot and was spewing water from engine bay. I got another quote of $350. I found the part for $25, and after another two hours of straddling the engine, I fixed the issue.

The next issue was the weird, plastic burning smell coming from the engine bay. Turns out that some of the hoses were shot. These were part of the update to the breather kit that's supposed to help with the sludge issue. I am still trying to figure this one out and may give up and let a shop handle it.

The A/C mysteriously went completely out at the beginning of summer. It's not a freon issue and it probably needs a new compressor.

The alarm would go off randomly because the alarm battery is dying. I just pulled the fuse.

I have never been able to chase down the rough idle. It's a common problem posted on the forums, but I haven't ever found a solid answer. It goes away upon hitting the gas. I did replace the air filter and installed new vacuum lines.

The sun roof became stuck. I got online and read where someone fixed the issue by removing the metal blocker. I found that by simply removing the broken arm, it works.

The plastic burlwood has become separated from the dash. The hazard switch has fallen into the console. The headliner has started separating in the back.

General Comments:

Reliability is obviously a negative on this car. Beyond those issues, the 9-5 is a nice car. Mine is a base model, which basically means that it isn't an Aero. As standard equipment it comes with leather, heated seats, cooling fans in the seats, sunroof/moonroof, climate control, turbo, sport and winter modes, Harman Kardon speaker system, power seats, power steering, alarm system. Basically, almost any option you could want during the year 2000.

The car drives wonderfully on the open road. Even being the base model, it is sporty to drive. I like driving in Sport more, which shifts the auto trans more akin to a manual and gives it a little more pep. This was my first auto in almost thirty years, so I appreciated the feature.

In terms of looks, it looks newer than a 2000 model. It has nice lines. Mine is the sedan, and though it doesn't seem like it, it's actually almost as long as the station wagon model. The trunk is huge. I could probably stick a Miata in the trunk if I tried.

I also own a 1997 Wrangler. It has 230,000 miles on it. It is a far more reliable car than the Saab. I tried selling the Saab a few months ago. You can't give these things away. Instead I have decided to keep it as a third vehicle. Basically, I love the car but hate the repairs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th November, 2015

2000 SAAB 9-5 2.3L 4 cylinder

Summary:

Maintenance nightmare

Faults:

I bought this car cheap in 2011 with the car running slightly rough at idle, but it would run smoothly once you gave it more gas.

The check engine light, ABS and traction control lights were all on. Code 1 08 was displayed on the ACC unit when auto and off were pushed together (the blend door shaft was broken). Heat and AC was not functioning properly in this car. SID display had few pixels left on it.

The previous owners had invested about $5,000.00 into this car in the last two years before I bought it, so the car did have tons of new parts on it. A newer engine had been installed in this car.

General Comments:

This is a very nice car, but there are several things that have proven to fail and or need to be fixed on these cars.

I have owned a long list of used cars, and this Saab 9-5 is hands down the car that needed the most repairs when I bought it used. This car is not almost trouble free like a good, used, well taken care of Honda Civic.

The Saab 9-5 is known to have engine sludge problems when owners do not change the oil frequently enough. The oil pickup screen clogs, starving the engine of oil, and this blows your motor. I imagine this was the reason why my car had a replacement engine in it when I bought it. I do not know, due to the previous owner was not 100% honest about this car when I bought it.

The PVC hose needs to be updated on the engine, and the oil pan dropped to clean any sludge on it and the pickup screen. Once you do that and properly maintain the car, the engines in these cars have been known to last over 300,000 miles.

I did have my car scanned by the Saab dealer to see what was wrong with it. The dealer said the car needed a new throttle body and a new ABS unit, which they wanted to charge me $3,600.00 to fix. I ended up fixing this car myself. I took off the throttle body and took off the ABS module myself, and mailed the parts to BBA Remanufacturing. BBA Reman said there was nothing wrong with the throttle body, and they only charged me a $35.00 bench fee to check it and clean it up thoroughly for me. BBA Reman charged $125.00 to rebuild the ABS module. I reinstalled these parts back on my car, put new vacuum lines on (which was most of my cars rough idle problem), cleaned out the mass air flow sensor with CRC mass air flow cleaner, and put new stock NGK plugs in the car. The car ran great when I was done. All check engine, ABS and TCS lights went off also.

I also fixed the blend door for $79.00 using the blend door repair part from the Saabsite.com. This fixed the AC and heat issues in the car. I sent the SID display unit in to be fixed by BBA Reman also, but I have not gotten it back yet.

Long story short, is you can fix these cars far cheaper than what the Saab dealer wants to repair the cars for. I had gotten all my repair information for this car off of saabcentral.com

If you buy a used Saab, I recommend you only use the Saab dealer to scan the car, due to this car has to be scanned by a Tech II scanner. Most local mechanics do not understand Saabs at all. Have the dealer tell you what is wrong with the car, and do not use them for repairs, because they want thousands of dollars to fix certain things that really cost a $100.00-$200 to fix yourself. I'm a good back yard mechanic, so I fixed the car myself. I do not find the car extremely hard to work on, once you know exactly what to fix and how to do it by researching it on the saabcentral.com forums. I personally know more about Saab 9-5's than any local mechanic I have ever talked to, except the Saab dealer mechanics, who will tell you nothing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th April, 2011