Saabs from around the World

There Are Cheap Used Saab Cars in the Ads, Do You Dare to Buy Them?

Saab 9-3 1.9TiD Sport SedanSaab 9-3 1.9TiD Sport Sedan

Buying a used car is a daunting task, but fortunately experienced expert will help you make the best decision. If you are unsure about buying a used (Saab) car, expert answers can help you make the right choice.

Whether a used Saab worth € 3,000 can be a good choice

One of our readers who lives in Amsterdam asked a question about buying a used Saab car: “I am mostly looking for a petrol car for use in Amsterdam around 3,000 euros (plus service). I love the more special types and came across the Saab 9-3 (from 2003). The 1.8T engine is very likable, its performance is promising and I could accept its consumption as well. I mainly looked at the specimens before the facelift, is it realistic to find a nice condition from these in this price category? I want a car better than the Ford Focus, but I’m afraid of the maintenance costs of the E46 and IS200 (the other two I picked out).

What do you think of the guy, can I run into a bad purchase even with a copy reviewed by an expert? Are there spare parts that are difficult (and expensive) to obtain?

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Expert response and recommendations regarding the purchase of a used Saab car

Potentially, you may have a problem buying any used car. The more complicated, the more special – you are more likely to make a mistake. At the same time, the Saab 9-3 is an incomprehensible artist in the world of used cars, full of Opel (Fiat, Alfa Romeo…) parts that can keep its maintenance at a lower level.

Although it belongs to the premium car segment, its servicing is cheap, especially in Europe, where a large number of cars with which the Saab 9-3 shares a platform and a large number of spare parts. There is also an extensive service network, and you can maintain your Saab in an Opel or Fiat service center. Things are a little different in the rest of the world, especially in the USA where there is the largest number of these cars, but there are no “twin cars”.

Let’s go back to the original question regarding the choice of engine. 2.0 and 1.8 turbo engines are a great choice, but only if there are no detected problems with them. Its power consumption is low compared to its performance, it goes well and the part is relatively cheap. The most common problem with these motors is the DI cassette. The direct ignition cassette also referred to as the DI cassette, or DIC, is responsible for providing power to distribute a spark to the cylinders.

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For the European used car market, the Saab may have a better option than one of the 1.9 diesels (TiD or TTiD). They are almost completely similar or the same as the engines installed in Opel, Fiat, Lancia, and Alfa Romeo cars. This means there are plenty of parts, but also servicing is not a problem either. With the 1.9 diesel, the engine is robust and durable, and the most common problems are environmental additives such as EGR valves and DPF.

In addition, generaly,  a couple of electrical faults tend to annoy the souls of Saabs, but in return you can own a special, great car. It’s a good deal to look for a pre-facelift version, as body and light parts are cheaper and more affordable.

Goran Aničić
the authorGoran Aničić
For over 10 years, Goran Aničić has been passionately focused on Saab automobiles and everything related to them. His initial encounter with Saab cars took place back in 2003 when the first Saab 9-3 and sedan version were introduced. At that moment, he was captivated by the car's Scandinavian design logic and top-notch engineering, and everything that followed stemmed from that first encounter. Later on, through his work at the editorial team of the Serbian automotive magazines "Autostart" and later "AutoBild," he had the opportunity to engage more closely with Saab vehicles. In 2008, he tested the latest Saab cars of that time, such as the Saab 9-3 TTiD Aero and Saab 9-3 Turbo X. In 2010, as the sole blogger from the region, he participated in the Saab 9-5ng presentation in Trollhättan, Sweden. Alongside journalists from around the world, he got a firsthand experience of the pinnacle of technological offerings from Saab at that time. Currently, Goran owns two Saabs: a 2008 Saab 9-3 Vector Sportcombi with a manual transmission, and a Saab 9-3 Aero Griffin Sport Sedan from the last generation, which rolled off the production line in Trollhättan in December 2011.


  • Almost 2 years ago I traded in a boring Volvo S40 for a nice 2004 Saab 9-5 2.0t from a (former) Saab-dealership in Oud Beijerland, Holland for just €3500, at the time it had run 260.000 km, is equiped with an original sunroof and has a full service history. The 4 cyl. 9-5s still have a ‘true Saab’ engine instead of just an Opel EcoTec engine. They are extremely durable engines and can be tuned to very high power-levels, if you would want that.
    I’ve had zero problems with the car, except from some minor things like seat-heaters and the rear-left power window that will be easy to fix. So yes, it is still possible to buy a good used Saab for not too much money if you choose wisely..

  • The “expert” who answers doesent have a clue what he is talking about, the 1,8 and 2,0 turbo are exactly the same engine, and 9-3SS never used a DI they have diffrent coils for everycylinder 🙂.
    most common issue on the TID is the alternator(at least in sweden)

  • Yet must be one of the much better older used cars in terms of longevity and reliability, providing they are well maintained previously and presently.
    Ran a couple of 93s years ago for a total of 200,000 miles. Never needed to even put one pint of top-up oil between services.
    Might a perceived lack of spare parts and no Saab UK manufacturer head office spook some potential buyers.
    Also, isn’t there even more modern day safety in some of the cars produced today, compared with those made say 13 to 20 years ago?

    • My second Saab 9(I really was a suckered for punishment) was a certified Saab guaranteed 3 year old 95. Just after it’s 5th birthday the turbo blew. Week later ,that blew, replaced under warranty, but my confidence wained. Especially when the week later the ECU went. The week after, the direct ignition unit. The garage told me only 3 things ever went wrong with a 95, but I had all 3 in 3 weeks. With 80,000 on the clock I sold it for less than the cost of the repairs.

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