The Saab 9-5 is a mid-size luxury sedan marketed as an executive sedan. Like most luxury sedans, it has a powerful engine and promises a smooth driving experience. Even so, you should be on the lookout for any of the common failures of the Saab 9-5.
There are no new Saab vehicles on the road because the company closed in 2012 due to financial problems. Thus, the 2012 Saab 9-5 has already depreciated much of its value over time.
However, the company’s closure also definitely hurt the resale prices of its vehicles. Only 20% of the original value of the 2012 Saab 9-5 remains after 9 years, and an additional 12% of its current value is expected to depreciate every 5 years.
This could mean that the Saab 9-5 can potentially be a bargain if you can find one that is in good condition. That being said, buying any vehicle carries risks. In this article, we are going to address the reliability of the Saab 9-5 and the most common problems.
How good is the Saab 9-5?
Although no definitive reliability score was established for the Saab 9-5, numerous owners have posted a score with a corresponding review on websites.
13 owners have rated the Saab 9-5 with scores ranging from 3 to 5, all with an average of 4.1 . That sounds exceptional, but the Saab’s estimated annual repair cost of $639 is only about average for its class of vehicle.
Saab 9-5 Common Faults
While many owners are generally satisfied with their Saabs, it has numerous problems. Know what are the common failures of the Saab 9-5:
1- Problems with the ignition cassette
With 131 reports, this is the most reported issue. The direct ignition cassette has been known to fail on Saab models from 1999 to 2008. As a result, it can cause the engine to cut out while driving, or the driver having difficulty starting the car.
Most of the time the engine will start, but it won’t. A bad ignition cassette can also cause a rough idle, as well as engine misfiring. Owners have also reported that a check engine light may come on when this occurs.
The ignition cassette is located above the engine spark plugs and is responsible for distributing the electricity necessary for the spark. It is a unique component for Saab vehicles, which feature their direct ignition cassette technology.
If not taken into account, misfiring caused by the faulty cassette can lead to engine damage, which is expensive to repair. Luckily the problem is only with the cassette and a simple replacement fixes the problem.
2- Problem with oil leaks
Oil leaks are never good. Many 1999 to 2007 Saab 9-5s have been known to leak oil from various parts of the engine, such as the timing cover, valve cover, and rear main seal.
The problem is caused by too much internal oil pressure, which causes the oil to find a way to escape through the weakest part of the part’s loop. Leaks can cause the engine to not have enough lubrication , causing overheating and accelerated engine wear.
As a solution, Saab released a positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) kit as an add-on to the engine. This prevents excess pressure from building up allowing gases produced by the oil to flow into the combustion chamber and burn. This is supposed to regulate the oil pressure so it doesn’t build up too much.
However, there are some owners who have reported that the leaks have reappeared even after they received the PCV update. A YouTube user discovered that the hoses that carry the oil to the valve cover tend to get soft after some time.
The hoses got too soft to the point that they were more likely to leak. The same YouTube user also recommended that owners replace the hoses if they had become soft.
3- Failure of the throttle body
The throttle body on the Saab 9-5 from 1999 to 2007 tends to fail prematurely. Since the throttle body is responsible for controlling the flow of air and fuel to the engine, faulty throttle bodies can lead to rough idle and a tendency for your car to rev up unexpectedly. The check engine light may also come on.
Owners have also reported having difficulty starting their sedan, especially during cold weather . A faulty throttle body can also cause the vehicle to go into limp mode, causing the car to lose most of its power and usually forcing the driver to pull over to the side of the road. Luckily, replacing the faulty throttle body fixes this problem.
Saab 9-5 throttle body replacement can cost anywhere from $120 to $700, depending on model year.
Even though Saab has gone out of business, their vehicles are still generally reliable as long as they are well maintained. Replacement parts needed to fix these common problems are also readily available if you know where to look.
If you’re not sure if a Saab 9-5 is a good sedan to buy, perhaps this list of common Saab 9-5 failures has given you a proper overview. Most cars will almost always develop problems in the future, but knowing which parts are most likely to break in a vehicle model can help you decide if a car is right for you.
Knowing the experiences of other owners is important to be able to detect possible pre-existing problems before buying a used vehicle.