Saab 9000 (1985 – 1998) Review

Saab 9000 (1985 – 1998) At A Glance


+Roomy, well-made, refined, fast in 2.3-litre turbo form

-Expensive repairs rendered far too many to the scrap yard

Saab’s first all-new car (excluding the badge-engineered 600) since the 99, and it proved a radical departure for the company. First model shown was the 175bhp T16, and it set a new class standard for performance at the time of its launch. Quality was tight, and reliability a step above its Italian Type Four cousins, the Lancia Thema, Fiat Croma and Alfa Romeo 164. CSE version stayed in production until 1998.

The engine was the familiar 2-litre slant-four that powered the Saab 99 unit, but mounted transversally, and the interior was ergonomically styled to make upgrading 99 owners feel right at home. Constantly improved throughout its life, the 9000 stayed on the pace through its major CS facelift in 1991 right to the end of its production in 1998. Not too many problems, but watch out for rusty screen surrounds and door bottoms.

Ask Honest John

Where can I sell my 1996 Saab 9000?

"I have a 1996 Saab 9000 CSE 2.0 Eco 5-door manual that I wish to sell. It has 165,000 miles on the clock and a full service history. It's green with pale beige leather seats, has one year's MOT but is currently on a SORN. Please advise me how best to dispose of it,"
Nice old long-lived car. You might find a buyer here: The market value of the car is buttons, just a few hundred pounds, so it's not worth using webuyanycar or suresell. It's not worth advertising on Autotrader either, but it could be that a member of the club had a 9000 written off in a crash and needs to replace it from the pittance of an insurance payoff. I think that's why the club is your best bet.
Answered by Honest John

Is there anywhere that can replace the remote keyfobs for a Saab 9000?

"My father-in-law owns a 1998 Saab 9000 2-litre saloon. He has owned it from new and it has only done 30,000 miles. Over recent years the batteries in the keyfobs have consistently run out every six months or so. If he uses the key manually the alarm goes off. He asked his dealer if they could disable the key fob operation and allow him to use the key manually. They said its all part of the car management system and can't be disabled. He is so fed up with it he is thinking of selling it. Can you suggest anyone who would be able to disable this system and allow him to use the key manually (or another solution)? "
I suspect a fault has developed inside the key fobs that is draining the fob batteries quickly. If he sends one of the fobs to one of the organisations on this list they can probably copy off two new fobs that won't have the problem. Firstly try a branch of Timpsons in the High Street, side street or in a Shopping Mall. If no joy there, use the links to keys and locksmiths in this directory: The first two on the list apparently give very good, very fast and very cheap service.
Answered by Honest John

Are there any performance benefits from using H-rated tyres over V-rated tyres on my Saab 9000?

"I always fit replacement Michelin Energy 195/65 R15 Tyres on my old Saab 9000 CSE and have been asked whether I require H or V rated tyres. I do understand that 'V' is geared to higher speeds and, although recommended for the vehicle on the Michelin website, I am advised by my local tyre service that 'H' would be quite sufficient. I am happy to accept this advice, but am just interested in your view on whether V-rated might be either a) longer lasting or b) a more comfortable ride, or both, than H-rated? Perhaps the opposite is the case? The price difference is not too great. Perhaps one is more robust than the other so slightly less likely to fail in a 'stressed' situation?"
No, the tyres have to be the speed rating originally specified for the car, otherwise you have to inform your insurer that you have fitted inferior tyres to the car. The speed rating is related to general performance, not merely speed alone.
Answered by Honest John

Would an engine flush reduce knocking in my Saab 9000's engine?

"I have an N-reg Saab 9000 CSE turbo automatic. When the engine is running it knocks on the right hand side and gets louder while driving. I have asked a few people about it and have had different replies, like it needs an oil flush and change to stop the noise, or the big ends looked at. Do I use some engine flush and change the oil and filter, or do I just change the oil and filter? I've heard that an engine flush will damage my engine and the car has done 137,000 miles, so I'm unsure if it is safe to use an engine flush?"
What you haven't said is whether you have serviced the vehicle regularly until now. If you have, then I cannot see why you need to use engine flush. Even if, as you suggest, the big ends might be worn, an engine flush will not make them any better. One would suggest that a change of engine oil and filter will not do the engine any harm, and can only assist in ensuring the engine continues to run well.
Answered by Alan Ross
More Questions