29th Mar 2008, 20:31

I was given a 1997 Saab 900SE 2.0 turbo 4 dr. that had a blown head gasket and a bunch of other issues. I decided to give the car shot, despite the terrible reviews these cars get concerning mechanical failures.

The car had 80k on it. I was able to order all the parts on line. Over a period of a month or so, I replaced the head gasket and installed a new timing chain, changed the pulleys and belt and hoses, did the rotors and brakes all around. Lots of little stuff that was neglected, wiper blades, rear wiper arm etc.

The car runs great and is a blast to drive! It's only been 2000 miles so I can't form a long term opinion, but for $850 in parts and about 30 hours labor, I got a great car!

5th Apr 2008, 10:39

I bought my 1997 900SE turbo 2 door with 41k miles on it, and I've thoroughly enjoyed adding another 100K in the eight years that I've been its owner. BUT I did a lot of research once I decided on buying a Saab, and knew what things could go wrong, and glad I followed advice to only buy one with evidence of good maintenance per the recommended service schedule. I looked at least 10 before I found the one that I was happy with. I have spent an average of $600/year on service--some major--but it's never left me in a lurch. I pay attention to how she's running, and don't delay getting her to the mechanic when I think something needs attention. I bought this in Eugene, OR, and now live in Seattle, and have been fortunate to have found great mechanics--would be happy to recommend them to anyone. If you maintain a Saab properly, you will be well rewarded with the most comfortable and fabulous driving vehicle!

14th Apr 2008, 14:08

Hello guys, I've got a question. I own an audio and video store, and I have a customer that has a 97 Saab 900 SE convertible, and he he is having radio problems. His display unit has gone out and some speakers have gone bad. I been doing this stuff for 17 years, but not too many Saabs... Now, has anyone changed radio's in this type on car, I have done others, but I want to make sure about the factory amps and what the dash will handle for an after market radio. If you can help about this car you can post here or email me at audiodog188@aol.com


12th May 2008, 00:12

If you want a car that requires very little maintenance, just oil changes, tires and brakes, buy a Honda or Toyota. Saabs do require more attention than some makes. I love my 1997 900se and I don't mind the extra little stuff it requires. I would say if you can't do a lot of the repairs yourself, they are expensive to maintain. My 900se blew the head gasket, local shop quoted $1600 to fix it. I did the head for $325 in parts. That's been my biggest repair. They are quality vehicles overall. If you have to pay someone to do every repair and can't do your own oil changes and brakes, think twice. That said, I would rate the Saab as the best car I've owned and driven.

30th May 2008, 18:22

I have had my 1996 900SE for about a year, and the only problems it has given me is hoses went.. Which I expected to happen when I purchased the car.

Also the serpentine belt went last week, but I was able to buy the belt for 20 and replace it myself.

I run the engine hard all the time, and it has never messed up.

The turbo started acting up once, but that was only because I hadn't changed the oil in too long.

4th Jun 2008, 23:37

1996 Saab 900 S 145K miles.

I bought it on ebay at US$4.3K. Within a year I put about another US$3k into it... first a US$800.00 clean up at a local mom and pop Saab specialist (unfortunately I could not keep them in business) then about another US$1k with them for assorted things like water pump... then a fan... US$1000.00 for a fan for the radiator and this was from the dealer as the mom & pop went out of business. And then the winner was US$1.5K at Firestone (and I thought the dealer was too expensive) which was primarily for a fuel pump. Now Firestone is notorious but find someone to work on a Saab. I had to get a new muffler, Midas quoted me US$500.00... go t it done for US$120.00 at a no name place. Wow.

It was going strong for 8 months. No pining for the mechanic. Start... go.. stop. No troubles. And now it just did something I've never had a car do. It was making like whistling noises... sounded like maybe belts but oddly my power windows would not go down and my fan would not blow but other electrical was working... and then whammmo.. felt like something just slipped out from under something and car went dead and then the fan began to blow but windows still wouldn't go down. I have no idea what it is but I guess I'll hear tomorrow.

Seems like a sink hole. I've got a 1994 Toyota truck with 154K miles and had an oil leak that cost me US$650 repair at dealer... a starter... other than brakes and oil that is it. But I really do like driving the Saab. I've heard the BMW is a real good drive as well.

Sounds like Saab's are just too finicky.

13th Jul 2008, 10:40

I purchased a 1997 Saab 900SE Turbo Convertible earlier this year for $4500.00. I have put about 6,000 miles on it and I have experienced few problems. The only thing I've had done to it is to have the oil changed, the intermediate exhaust pipe replaced ($300.00) and a few light bulbs replaced.

Things that are on deck for repair shortly are: Serpentine belt replacement, Transmission oil change, Tune up and some minor body work.

For a car that has 92,000 miles on it and is nearly 12 years old, it's a pretty nice ride. I'll keep my fingers crossed -- hopefully I won't have 1/2 the problems that have been reported on this list. I would say that if you don't have an experienced, well-regarded independent (i.e, not affiliated with a dealer) Saab mechanic in your area, then don't buy a Saab. I have no regrets so far about purchasing this car.

14th Aug 2008, 21:56

Sounds like a lot of us have the same problems with our beloved Saabs.

The Cons: with a solid maintenance record, I also have the Coolant Level Low warning (although it's fine) and the window washer fluid only comes out one side.

The Pros: she's a blast to drive, the turbo still works, and can haul almost anything a small SUV can!

However, I'm sad to report I'm about to sell my dear car after owning it for 8 years and putting 90k on her (bought in 2000 with 40k). She's recently died twice while driving and wouldn't start for 30-60 minutes. Two mechanics (one being the Saab dealer) can't figure out what's wrong, and I can't deal with that unreliability.

But really, she's paid for and I've only put in $200-1000/year in maintenance costs. Yeah, maybe a bit more than a Toyota, but then again... we aren't driving a car that everyone else is driving either!