Saab has an interesting story that most car owners do not realize. The Saab 92 was released in 1949, being its first production vehicle, this could be considered the point in time when Saab being producing their vehicles. They continued production up until the 2014 model year.
Interesting fact, the last vehicle Saab produced was a 9-3 Aero Turbo 4. Even though it was a 2014 model it didn’t come up for sale until October 2019. The lucky owner paid close to £40,000, this was £1200 more than what the vehicle was originally valued at.
Table of Contents
Are Saabs Good Cars?
Saabs are good cars, but because they aren’t produced for over 10 years, it might be hard to find replacement parts and good technicians to fix the issues.
There are many car enthusiasts out there that mostly talk about what GM did to the company during its 10 years of ownership. The design and build of the cars are argued that they suffered during this 10 year time period.
Even if design changed significantly during those 10 years of GM ownership you cannot help but assume a company with the might of General Motors was only beneficial.
Even though Saab had an amazing automotive company like General Motors owning them, it didn’t seem to help ownership. It is rumored that one of the reasons that Saab was shut down was because they were only selling 160,000 units per year, not a large number for a global automaker.
Do Saabs Last Long?
Saabs, like any other vehicle, can last a long time. This is dependent on maintenance. If a Saab is maintained properly, regular oil changes, components are replaced as they meet their service limits a Saab can function as a reliable vehicle for even up to 300.000 miles.
During General Motors’ ownership of Saab, they benefited from an engine introduction. During this time the ECOTEC world engine that General Motors released was offered in Saab models. This engine was an inline 4 cylinder that has been proven as a very reliable, fuel-efficient engine.
There have been people that have claimed in excess of 360,000 miles before an engine failure, you read that correctly. 360,000 miles.
Do Saabs Depreciate Fast?
Much to Saab owners’ demise, Saabs have been known to depreciate fast for years. It may seem that a vehicle with an excellent build quality being produced in high numbers would depreciate slowly, but that does not seem to be the case for Saabs.
Saabs have been rumored to be expensive to operate, this reason as well as insurance companies boosting rates for owners of these cars has led to increased depreciation.
One thing we need to remember however when researching the depreciation of these vehicles is the simple fact that they have not been built in over 10 years.
People argue whether vehicles depreciate at 20% or 30% once the vehicle leaves the lot, after Saab’s roughly 10% depreciation per year is expected. Being these vehicles are all older than 10 years at this point depreciation is not really a factor when thinking about purchasing a Saab.
I would look more for a reasonably acceptable price combined with an excellent service/maintenance record.
Do Saabs Rust?
Ask any owner of any vehicle that lives in the rust belt, and they will answer this question with a resounding yes.
There is nothing unique about the construction of a Saab that would prevent excessive corrosion from forming. There aren’t any reports of common areas that become corroded but there have been some reports that state corrosion being present around fuel filter caps as well as tailgate areas.
Because of the age of these vehicles’ corrosion could be a major factor during the purchase of a Saab vehicle. A thorough inspection of the undercarriage by a properly trained professional will be important. Also finding a car that has been properly oiled is important as well, possibly boosting the value of these vehicles as corrosion will be limited.
For those that are not familiar with oil spraying. In the rust belt areas where salt is used as a de-icer on the roads, an oily material is sprayed on the undercarriage and in any accessible locations of the vehicle. This oily material coats the surface and prevents corrosion from forming on those areas.
Interesting fact. In 1973 Saab placed the chassis of their vehicles on the seaside. This was in an effort to complete research on the effects of ambient conditions and corrosion. I often wonder if those vehicles are still around and if they are what do they look like.
Are Saabs Comfortable?
Although Saabs may not have the history of a luxury car such as a BMW or Mercedes Benz, many people out there claim that some of the seats are the most comfortable they have ever sat in. The model 95, as well as 9-3, are a few of the models that these owners have claimed as having the most comfortable seats. These
These seats are leather and provide a great amount of cushion and comfort during those long commutes or while traveling.
When later models were released, they began offering a two-tone type of seat and changed the leather that the seats had originally come with. When this leather appeared, comfort apparently disappeared.
Are Saabs Well Equipped?
Saabs generally came well equipped when compared to vehicles in the same price range. Because of this reason buyers need to take a more precautionary approach when looking at buying one of these vehicles.
The age of these vehicles makes a pre-buy inspection more important than ever. An inspection by an experienced technician is essential. The systems that these vehicles came equipped with can cost a lot of money to diagnose and repair.
Which Saabs are the Most Reliable?
The most reliable Saab is the 9-3. This model received an award years ago for the most reliable vehicle that was tested in the middle class.
This was a test that was performed at different mileages
At 50,000 km, 93.1% of the vehicles that were inspected required no defects to be repaired. At 100,000km only 84.2 % of vehicles had a defect detected that needed to be repaired.
Saabs have been proven and have a cult-like following of being very reliable, so this is no surprise to current and past Saab owners.
Are Saabs Expensive to Maintain? Which Models to Avoid?
This question brings up many thoughts. Vehicles that are equipped with a turbo would be the models that I would avoid.
Even though turbos produce great horsepower and excellent noise when traveling through town there is one thing that comes up time and time over. Turbo failure in most Saabs. Turbo failure can be caused by a lack of maintenance from a previous vehicle owner and can easily cost $1000’s of dollars to repair.
This combined with the aging Saab vehicles, turbos are coming to the point that they may be more common of a failure. Because of this I would avoid a turbo charged Saab if at all possible.
Because of the fact that Saabs haven’t been built in over 10 years, they can be difficult to maintain. Once a vehicle is out of production the number of vehicles that are on the road immediately begins to decrease. Corroded vehicles, written off from collision, and many other factors can remove these vehicles from the road.
When these vehicles are no longer popular as there aren’t that many on the roads anymore parts manufacturers reduce production on their replacement parts. This can cause a headache to owners of these vehicles.
Once readily available parts are now hard to find and if they can find them, they may be expensive to purchase.
What are the Most Common Problems with Saabs?
Like many other vehicles on the road today, Saab shares one thing in common with them. Many different types of small issues.
Saab owners have complained of many different problems. Coolant leaks, engine stalling, severe exhaust leaks, and turbo failures. These are only some of the most common problems.
Finding a technician that is experienced in repairing a Saab has become one of the more common problems that current owners are finding.
When vehicles are produced, they sometimes have unique repairs that are needed or diagnostic strategies that are used to find issues with these vehicles. With Saab being out of business for over 10 years it leads the questions about where the properly trained technicians are.
If you already own a Saab and have found a good technician, make sure you go buy him/her a coffee this morning to say thanks for everything they do for you.
What are the Best Alternatives for Saabs?
There is no direct replacement for what Saab was. A quirky unique automaker from day one, you cannot replace that unique trait. However, many Saab owners will find they fit perfectly in many different European automakers. Audi, Mercedes, Mini, are only a few of the many alternatives for Saab.
While Saab vehicles may have many different pros and cons as we discussed above, which vehicles don’t. With previous owners raving about their experiences with their Saabs I cannot help but wonder if they have a secret sauce. Maybe you have to drive one to find out.