1999 SAAB 9-3 SE 2.0L turbo from North America


A fun drive, but expensive maintenance


Gear shifter sensor switch failed, locking gear shifter in "PARK" at 40K miles.

DI cassette required replacement at 50K miles.

Power seat control assembly has broken twice.

Alarm module battery failed preventing car from starting at 108K miles.

AC compressor replaced at 108K miles from worn bearings.

Alternator replaced at 108K miles from worn bearings.

SID unit has been replaced 4 times.

The cabin temperature probe failed at 65K miles.

Idlers seem to require replacing every 10K-15K miles. Engine compartment in general seems to have issues with bearings. This was true with my last SAAB, a 97 900 SE.

The valve cover gasket and head gasket are leaking oil, but slowly.

Parking brake does not work even after several attempts at fixing.

General Comments:

Overall I am satisfied with the performance of the vehicle. I would classify the experience as "fun with practicality", considering the 25 mpg fuel rating under aggressive conditions.

What is not "fun" is the excessive expense of repairing and maintaining this vehicle. With the exception of oil changes I have rarely left the repair shop with a bill of less than $1000. Replacement part markups on this car are high.

I love SAAB, but I am undecided if the frequent expenses to keep the car running is worth it as I approach the time of buying a new car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 11th May, 2007

1999 SAAB 9-3 S 2.0 Low Pressure turbo from Australia and New Zealand


Bargain Uniqueness in a Quality Package!


Saab Info Display (SID) - pixels die. Easy self fix... takes 20 minutes - just Google it!

Vacuum check valve fails - every service - but cheap to replace. Result of hot climate.

Gearbox engine mount needs replacing - dealer informed me that it will be fine without replacement, as long as I don't kick the gear box down too often, or too hard.

Air vent control has failed so it is stuck on air out of dash vents only. Expensive to fix, but in a climate like ours, I don't need to use the windscreen demister anyway. Not a drama!

CD player stopped being able to play "burnt" cd's. Easy replacement - even found a product on the web so I can still use my steering wheel buttons with my new Sony CD player.

Badges lose their paint - too much sunlight in Australia! Easy to replace.

General Comments:

For a tall person (6'3") - the high back seats are fantastic. I would buy another brand of car if I could install Saab seats!

As a second hand car, Saabs are excellent value. No other European car can compete for value, especially at this age / price range. I have 4 airbags, steering wheel stereo buttons, and everything else electrical that I need, all for the price of something Korean. I would rather buy another second hand Saab then a new cheap car any day.

Luggage capacity is something I wouldn't be able to live without now. My 5 door hatch back has carted everything including a widescreen LCD TV, washing machine, filing cabinet, fridge, TV cabinet.

I also love that fact that most people don't understand Saabs... I like to be a bit different! Even in Australia, a Mercedes is common, but a Saab is at least pretty unique. The best bit is, that Saabs are quite reliable, bullet proof cars that aren't overly expensive to service or fix.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th April, 2007

6th Mar 2009, 09:47

Hi mate, are you still driving the same car?

30th Dec 2009, 06:26


Just bought the same model car.. low K's, impeccable bodywork inside and out. Bought in Canberra and drove to Sydney... arrived and the cooling system - for the motor - had died... so now I've got a lovely looking car and the mechanic says don't drive it as an overheated engine rebuild will cost megabux.

So, the Saab sits in my driveway, and I go out very now and then and press the button and the roof comes off, and then I press the button in the opposite direction and it goes back on.

Wow... remote control boat anchor... pity it cost me $12000... will need to contact the dealer who will probably deny all knowledge.