Buying a 2002 Saab 9-3 hatchback

Old 01-22-2009, 09:08 PM
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Default Buying a 2002 Saab 9-3 hatchback

So for a long time I've been searching for the 'perfect' used car. Something that handles well with decent performance, something that I can have fun driving every day, something that doesn't look like everything else on the street, and something that is going to be reliable.

Recently I asked a friend who works as a mechanic what kind of car he would buy with my budget, and he told me any Saab after 98. So I looked and I found one that meets my requirements (that it's decently new, with low mileage).

The specifics of the car are:
2002 Saab 9-3 hatchback
Mileage: 108,290 KILOMETRES (different from miles, I live in Canada)
Engine: 4 Cyl- 2.0L Turbo
Transmission: Manual

He told me it looked great and gave me the following advice:

dont be turned off if you happen to see rust on the brake rotors, the OEM rotors just tend to build up rust real fast if the car sits for 5+ days. The info display on the center console will most likely have LEDs out unfortunately, the MOST common problem with saabs.again, ask for a service history, hopefully it will have things like DIS core and water pump changed within the past 20-30k miles, and you wont have to worry about those for some time. check for any fluids under the car, make sure to try to leave it running while youre talking to the dealer, let it warm up to half way or more on the gauge to make sure the thermostat opens, etc
So since I'm going to see it soon I have a few questions:

1) Is it covered with any Saab warranty still?
2) Is this car going to be reliable or am I going to have things breaking on me left and right (this is just asking if in general the 9-3's are considered reliable cars)
3) Should I take it to a Saab mechanic at a dealership near me to get it inspected before I buy it?
4) Anything else I should know?

Thanks! Btw here's a picture of the car attached

Jfriesen is offline  
Old 01-22-2009, 09:31 PM
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Default RE: Buying a 2002 Saab 9-3 hatchback

1. I'm not sure. Best place to check is a dealership.
2. It's as reliable as my old civics were. Sure it can have some quirks, but what used car doesn't.
3. Take it to a regular mechanic. Have him check for sludge under the valve cover and in the oil pan. Don't be cheap, have a mech lift the calve cover off and have the oil pan off. This will tell you if you have a healthy car. Some deposits in there is normal, but if it's clogging up the oil pickup screen than I'd ask for a significant price reduction as you will want to have the engine cleaned of this crap. Also remove the ignition cassette and look for any signs of deterioration of the rubber boots. If there is any than you will be replacing the cassette real soon. Also listen very carefully for fluid related noises in the cabin when driving the car. There shouldn't be any, but if you hear rushing water sounds from the center console than you will have to replace the rubber seals on the heater core...not a big deal, but definitely helps to drive the price down.
4. Yes. If you end up needing any parts for it is your friend. I just got my engine mount, spark plugs, and MTF that I ordered yesterday around lunch. Very quick shipping to say the least. Also this is a perfect car for tuning.
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