1995 SAAB 900 S 2.3 from North America
Comfy ride, good MPG, but difficult to work on
I bought the 900S from a salvage auction for $600, and put in another $300 to repair the driver's side axle, and then it was good to drive it.
I was really afraid of getting a Saab, because some of my friends have had bad experiences with the automatic and turbo versions, but reviews on this site helped me weed those out, and I got a non turbo manual one.
For the first couple of months, it ran like a dream, and everything couldn't be better. I consistently got 30mpg on this car, and it was very comfy ride.
However, the trouble started when one cold day in the Oregon winter, I heard a strange whining sound in the front, and then the computer said my serpentine belt had failed, and shortly after, the engine overheated, and I was stranded in the cold rainy Oregon winter. I popped the hood, and it looked like the timing belt tensioner pulley had seized up, and the serpentine was totally torn up. I was lucky to have broken down near a farm, where I managed to call home and get a ride.
Once home, I did some Internet research, and found that this is a major weak link in the engine. This pulley fails every 45k miles, and it costs about $50 to replace. It was very easy to replace, and my Saab was running fine in no time. The overheating didn't seem to cause any damage to the engine... very, very lucky it was in the winter time.
Moral of the story, I went to a couple of junk yards and collected one of these pulley spares and serpentines, and carried them with me just in case, but the pulley never bothered me again.
The problem that finally forced me to sell my Saab was the CV axles. It turns out that the boots had cracked and leaked all the grease, and I was getting serious vibration and shaking of the steering wheel above 65mph on the highway. I discovered the source of the problem, but none of the auto parts stores had the CV axles, and not only are these axles hard to find, they are expensive and extremely hard to replace. So I decided it was time to sell my Saab. Sold it for $450 after driving over a year and putting over 50k on it. Not a bad deal. It was a memorable experience...
Very comfortable and well designed interior. The best I've ever seen in any car. However, the radio never worked from day one, and I found replacement was too expensive, so I drove without a radio. But the trip computer was really excellent, and I really enjoyed the data output and maintenance interval reminders. I only wished it wasn't so cryptic to work the controls on it...
Also, this car is difficult to do basic maintenance on, especially changing the oil. I found the easiest way to change the oil, is to jack it up so you can get wrench clearance. It wasn't designed for the do it yourself, but thankfully, I managed to drive 50k with just basic oil changes and the pulley replacement described above...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd March, 2012