1996 SAAB 900 Reviews - Page 5 of 8

1996 SAAB 900 S 2.3 from Australia and New Zealand

Model year1996
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 2.3 Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.4 / 10
Distance when acquired102000 kilometres
Most recent distance143000 kilometres
Previous carHolden Vectra

Summary:

Poor build quality; a let down

Faults:

Distributor cap and rotor button broke.

Handbrake cable mount broke off.

Radiator hose broken (understandable).

Clutch replaced at 130,000 (understandable).

This car has broken down, and been towed to the mechanic 3 times.

Faulty engine immobiliser, all vacuum hoses needed replacing.

Door molds have come off, sill mold fallen off.

Heater knob broke, passenger sun visor does not sit properly, glove box does not close properly unless pushed hard.

General Comments:

Overall the car is economical, but the poor build quality lets this car down.

Hard, cable operated clutch; should be hydraulic for this type of marque.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th April, 2008

1996 SAAB 900 S CONVERTIBLE 2.3 LITER 4 cylinder from North America

Model year1996
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 2.3 LITER 4 cylinder Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired198000 miles
Most recent distance199599 miles
Previous carMitsubishi Eclipse

Summary:

Beautiful convertible that is fun to drive and looks newer than it is!

Faults:

AIR PUMP (Replaced)

NEW AIR MASS METER (Replaced)

Glove Box Handle Broken

Passenger side Door handle Broken

Cigarette Lighter does not work

Headlight switch does not work

Heated Seats intermittently work sometimes & sometimes not

Needed New HVAC knobs (old ones cracked)

In older models Leather seats crack badly.

General Comments:

The Saab 900 S Convertible is a WONDERFUL used-car bargain that still looks much newer than it is. It is a joy to drive on a beautiful day and just puts a smile on your face.

AS with all older cars Regular maintenance goes a long way for worry free ownership experience. Try to find one with maintenance records if in the market for a used one. (Expect to pay $4000-$5500) for a good one. So far in my experience I've had to replace and Air Pump $90 (from a wrecked low mileage Saab) and had to buy a new Air Mass Meter ($334 + labor to install). Saab had Air Pump part on TBA (to be announced) backorder since May 2006 and it was not availabe until February 2007. That is quite a wait for one part to be available to make a repair! Finally Saab found a manufacturer to build the part after 88 people nationwide were on a constantly building-up waiting list, they made the Air Pump and it is available through dealerships currently, but after doing research I learned this is not uncommon with Saab parts having to be special ordered. In my honest opinion, It is good to have a good running secondary car if you really want one of these beautiful convertibles. When the Saab is down you have to have something else to go to work, run errands etc in. In a 11-year-old higher end foreign car you have to expect things like that (I guess).

I bought the car off of Ebay for $2500 so I knew it was a steal of deal and would need some repairs. I bought the car because it had a new engine and new transmission. I have learned that the top costs $1400 to replace the motor if it breaks, so I have been told. That is something to keep in mind if you are on a budget. The top looks great like the car was new. I don't think it has been replaced, It is just made of very high grade material and is extremely resilient to all weather conditions. The top opens and closes easily and works perfectly. The seal is very good. If you are in Heavy Rain when turning corners you may get a little water rolling in, but not bad at all. The top is very well-made and constructed. One of the best I have seen in a convertible.

The inboard computer tells outside temperature, average gas mileage and remaining driving distance based on remaining fuel level. These are helpful tidbits of information, but the digitals burn out when the car gets older and makes them harder to read (minor annoyance). Air and heat works Perfectly in my car. Cruise control is finicky and has to be engaged just right, but still works and holds a steady speed. Wind noise is not too bad for a convertible with top up or down.

The car is now more than 10 years old, and people still stare at it and admire it's fresh design lines. This is a very rich looking car and its style defies is market value. Quite a few people look at me with jealousy and think I’m rich even though the car isn’t worth over $4000. The convertible top is so fun to have and drop on a good day. It even does well in the winter which is important because I live in a cold winter climate.

One thing I noticed about the car is random pieces of interior trim were broken upon purchasing. The HVAC knobs were all broken and I got new ones at the Dealer for $10 a piece. The Glove box handle was broken, but I can still open it because I know how to slide my fingers into the release. The door handle on the drivers side to hold onto to when closing the door is broken off... I am still at a loss how that happened. The driver's side is fine? Seems as though the drivers side would have broken before the passenger's side. Oh well go figure? It will have to replaced to make the car look more presentable and functional as well. Something to the tune of $36 at the dealership for the part + more for labor to install. Also my remote key fob for keyless entry and opening the trunk is kind of beat up, but it still works flawlessly (replacement is over $100 and has to programmed at the dealership). I only have 1 key because the Laser Cut key cost $140 to replace (which I have not done yet).

THE MAJOR PROBLEM I am still dealing with right now is the car will stall in traffic at idle or low speeds? I am still trying to figure out what is the problem? I did some research and all I found out was: 1) the Crank Shaft sensor or Crank Angle Sensor is bad cost ($160 brand new) + labor to install. Some say a SAAB specialist can clean it and that may cure the problem. Be prepared to have this done at every service. 2) Other trouble-shooters say After much research and testing, They have narrowed down the main problem (stalling and poor idling) to the transmission. Apparently these automatics can develop problems with some governor seals and/or the torque converter lockup solenoid. In light of this, You should go and have an experienced transmission specialist look at it sometime soon. Lastly 3) Others say they have experienced the stalling out problem. Other people said they replaced many parts and all they had to do was use higher octane fuel and since then their cars never stall.

So I have no idea yet what problem I am incurring. If anyone knows I would appreciate and email (reach me at Leonaj4@aol.com.

Other than that problem the car has been over all very decently reliable and a great deal. I have been very impressed with The contemporary styling of the car, immense fun of the convertible and value of the car. Acceleration can be slow on take off without the turbo as well as evident body roll. However, it is very fun to drive. Seats are very comfortable for long trips. Interior is very natural and controls are well placed and easily understood. I would recommend this car to anyone looking for a bargain. Get one with good maintenance records and enjoy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st February, 2007

23rd Apr 2010, 19:44

Leona, Check your fuel pressure. You may need a fuel pump or new fuel filter. Problems with the ignition switch would also cause a stalling problem. Also fuel pressure regulator should be checked. Good luck. Saab tech.

Average review marks: 6.7 / 10, based on 27 reviews