The Saab 9-3 is a popular and high-quality executive car. If you like efficient automotive that puts a ton of power under the pedal, then this is a great place to start. However, not everything is perfect, this car could also present some problems, keep an eye on the common failures of the Saab 9-3 .
When looking for a used car, you should be able to find a good selection of Saab 9-3s available on the market. This solid car is a great choice for confident driving and with special editions like the Viggen still around, you might even be able to find something a bit more collectible within the range.
Common failures of the Saab 9-3
The Saab 9-3 was originally released to the public in 1998, various iterations of the vehicle have offered a range of power systems, including BioPower 1.8t and V6 Diesel 2.8T engines.
It is always advisable to be cautious when buying any used car, and with our guide to common Saab 9-3 failures you can keep an eye out for some of the most frequent problems.
1- Problems with the bulkhead
When you hit the road, try doing some full steering movements. Do you hear a clicking noise when the steering wheel is turned all the way? If so, then you could be looking at a problem with the bulkhead , which is caused by a mounting system that connects this part to the steering rack.
Another telltale sign of this problem is a vague and slightly unresponsive address. Avoid any vehicle that exhibits these symptoms.
2- Refrigerant oil leaks
Get under the hood and take a look at the coolant in your prospective purchase. Look for signs of oil contamination. There is a common fault with the Saab 9-33 where leaks can occur between the lubrication and cooling systems due to the chain-linked water pump design. This problem is one of the most expensive in our world to fix and is definitely one that should make you think twice before parting with your money.
3- Problems in the hood
Fancy some air on the road? Convertibles are ideal for lovers of freedom and ease of driving in summer. The Saab 9-3 Convertible is a good buy that holds its value well, but you need to make sure the top is the right fit.
Pull it up and down a few times to make sure it’s in good working order and play Sherlock Holmes and check the surface for leaks, tears and damage.
4- Failures with interior heating
Believe it or not, one of the common Saab 9-3 problems is the heating system. However, we’re not talking about deep flaws within the AC unit, but rather structural issues with the knobs and dial controls .
These are notorious for breaking easily and splitting. Fortunately they are very inexpensive each to repair, so don’t let heating controls, or the lack thereof, put you off buying.
5- Oil sludge problems
Thinking of buying a gasoline 9-3? If the previous owner of this Saab has not performed regular servicing or has used a thicker oil than stipulated in the owner’s manual, this sludge can quickly build up in the engine.
Check the service history to make sure the owner has been aware or you could experience costly balance shaft problems down the line.
6- Faults with the prop support
Pay attention to rubbing noises during the test drive. Do you hear unpleasant noises and squeaks, especially when cornering? The likely culprit in this case is the mounts and bushings on top of the McPherson struts in the suspension system. If the car has more than 100,000 miles on it, it might be worth buying it and replacing all the suspension struts, if the dealer is willing to give you a good discount.
If you want a quality car that will impress and command on the road then the Saab 9-3 is definitely not a bad choice. Later models improved crashworthiness and saw extensive pillar reinforcements and airbags that added to the vehicle’s safety credentials.
If you want to put in a lot of miles on the road, and want the comfort and power to get you there feeling good, then this is definitely the car for you.