It’s no secret that many of the people working at eEuroparts.com are Saab people. Most of us have been for awhile, and Saab people are a pretty straight forward breed. They are the type of people that LOVE getting a good deal and finding the best value for quality. In the used car market place, that mentality will often land you in a Saab, especially in New England. They are great in snow, have excellent seats, extremely well thought out ergos, get great fuel economy and have tons of space. To top it off, the commonplace turbo technology makes them quick under the right set of circumstances. With the current parts availability, they are no big deal to own (for the most part) and maintaining a Saab is easy enough.
However, there’s a stigma around Saab. Since they are no longer being made, people that are unfamiliar with them will assume a few things. The first is that they must have been an inferior car in the first place or they wouldn’t have gone out of business. The second is that they break all the time and are expensive to fix. The consequence of these assumptions is a resale value plummeting through the floor, making Saabs worth practically nothing. For those Saab guys out there looking to get the best bang for their buck, it means they can have their cake and eat it too. For the non-Saab guys, it promotes neglect straight to the junkyard. Why maintain a car that’s worth nothing?
If you’ve been to an auto recycler in the last year, you may have noticed rows and rows of Saabs being stripped of precious few parts before being sent near-whole to be cubed. That’s really sad. It’s sad because when you poke around these cars, you’ll notice barely anything is wrong with them. They often have a few dents and scratches from the rigors of daily driving, but it’s not rare to see notes scribbled on the windows that say ‘Engine+Trans GOOD’. I’ve had friends pull very nice interiors out, major engine and transmission parts, whole suspension assemblies…if all these things are good, then what could have possibly taken those Saabs off the road?
Because the value is so low, when a Saab experiences a breakdown from something basic like a failed fuel pump or bad ignition coil pack (every car has these problems), the owner will instantly consider the value. With a complete repair bill easily approaching or exceeding the resale value of the car, pulling off the plates and dumping it at the local scrap yard is by far and away the easiest solution. The problem is, with every Saab taken off the road, the likelyhood of parts remaining available also dwindles.
What many folks don’t do is think about how much their car is worth to them, instead of weighing against an artificially deflated monetary value. Don’t let Kelly Blue Book tell you your car is worthless, only you can decide that!
If you have a Saab that’s KBB is worth $1000, and it needs $800 worth of work, that can appear like a no-go situation to most. The most common thing people do when they find themselves here is to buy a new car….to save money. Yes, to save money. Say you have that $1000 Saab that needs $800 worth of work, and you dump it to put that money into some mystery used car on Craigslist. Now you start the car payment up, only to find that your 10-year-newer car now needs $1500 worth of work because the high pressure fuel pump failed 6 months down the road.
You could have spent the $800 and gotten back your nice driving daily workhorse.
We see this time and time again, and we are doing our best to stop it. As the number of registered Saabs on the road decreases, more parts become NLA. We try our best to find a substitute and a work around, and work very hard to make sure the maintenance items for all of these cars are still available at a great price. We make DIY’s and technical articles to help people start wrenching on their own cars, but that’s not enough. Everyone needs to chip in. Fix your Saab! Put in that fuel pump before it goes bad. Keep a spare direct ignition cassette in the trunk. Rebuild that convertible top pump and install a new neutral safety switch. Don’t neglect your transmission fluid and change your oil! Yank the tape off and change the window regulator, and swap out that buzzy speaker! Get some new floor mats and install a new button set for the dash.
I bought the above car for $800 last year. When I arrived, I checked for sludge (it’s ok and has had the PCV update). The trans was locked in limp mode and the owner was ditching it. The radiator was also leaking, the tires were shot, and the exhaust leaked. The junkyard was not far off. I put in a Neutral Safety Switch, a used radiator, got a cheap set of Nokian eNtyre 2.0‘s, flushed the trans, and put on a new Starla exhaust pipe. With some junk yard Aero seats and a wax, it shined up nice. Now, 30k miles down the road, ‘Serena’ is still providing reliable comfortable transportation with heated seats and a bumpin’ 9 speaker premium stereo. I plan on doing some preventative maintenance in the coming month or two.
After you fix all the annoying things you’ve been putting off, you’ll fall in love with your Saab all over again, and it will cost a fraction of the price of getting another used car. So, if you’re thinking of dumping off your Saab, think about why. Is it because of that buzzy speaker or window regulator? Fix it! Is it because the left front strut is leaking and the sunroof motor is burned out? Fix it! The parts are out there. If you see a used Saab that needs a few things, pick it up! Do a weekend of wrenching and create a vehicle that can happily chug along for years to come. For the rhetorical $6500 extra dollars you would use to get a different used car, you could replace just about every moving part on your Saab with new.
That’s way better than crushing it!