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.
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.