Three years ago, I bought a car that ended up making my life miserable. The first six months were great. The car drove like a dream. That was until it died in the freeway. Yes, you read that right. I was doing 65 on the 10 (okay, 75) in the middle lane when the power went out in the car and it shut off. Scary. Thankfully, I'm a fantastic driver and I was able to navigate the thing to the side of the road before anyone was hurt. I'm glad I watched The Dukes of Hazzard a lot when I was a kid.
I'm going to say this as simply as I can…Saabs suck. They are cheaply made and horribly put together. When I bought the car, Consumer Reports gave it high ratings for reliability. Three months later, they changed their ratings. They were right. Here is a list of things that went wrong in the three years I had the car. Each of these things resulted in an early morning trip to the mechanic:
It died twice while driving—the aforementioned freeway incident and once in the middle of an intersection.
The windows and/or sunroof would automatically pop open when trying to close them. I would never know which window would be affected at any time. It kept changing.
The radio would sometimes be static-y. The only way to fix was to turn it off and back on again.
I had four tires inexplicably blow out while driving (thankfully, not all at once).
A mysterious engine light would come on with a message saying to get the car serviced immediately. Each time the mechanic would tell me there's nothing wrong with the car and reset the electrical system saying, "they do that sometimes." This means you never know if the service light indicates a real problem or a phantom one.
I had two faulty gas tank caps that caused a check engine light to come on (see above).
The car randomly indicated that tire pressure was low and than would randomly shut off.
The front driver window fell out of the door frame.
The front passenger window fell out of the door frame.
I had two dead batteries—one within the first 7 months of owning the brand new car. (Average life of a car battery is 4-6 years.)
The center console cover fell off.
The keyless entry system would often fail, requiring me to use the manual key, which would set off the car alarm.
The car's locks would randomly not work.
The rubber seal holding the back window in place rotted.
This is not to mention the little things that didn't need repair, but showed how cheaply put together the car was—the flimsy plastic side panel that kept popping out of place or the paint that chipped off of the radio buttons and interior panels.
Do not buy one. Do not lease one. If you can help it, do not drive one.
Those of you who have endured me complaining about the Saab will be happy to know that the ordeal is over. Last Saturday, I got rid of it. Hallelujah! Of course, it wasn't easy to get rid of the damned thing. In one last "screw you" from the car, I found out that the re-sale value was thousands less than the Blue Book. I had to haggle with the dealership to get some semblance of a fair deal. Thankfully, I watched Used Cars a lot as a kid.
For the past few days, I've been happily driving a Camry. It's not as fancy as the Saab, and doesn't have the bells and whistles, but I know will be dependable and should drive forever.
Consider this a public service—if you or anyone you know is thinking about buying a Saab…don't. Life is too short. And they have really uncomfortable chairs in the service area waiting rooms.