The Saab 9-3 II is the faithful workhorse of the scene. He enjoys, you look from the convertibles and the Turbo X, (still) no cult status. The station wagons and limousines are the most modern solution, if you want to move a Saab in everyday life. The youngest specimens are now 7 years old, the big model care is already 10 years back. The question is: invest or consume?
The question is specific, because something has built up in our 9-3 SC with its 7 years and almost 100.000 kilometers. There is a need for action, although the Saab checkbook is maintained. The last major inspection took place this spring in Bamberg, the 9-3 also got all-round new brakes from the Orio Regal, and brought to light a number of construction sites.
Starting with the seat heating, which did not work anymore, the air conditioning with small weaknesses, to the wishbones with the side rails. And then there's the rust. Slight beginnings of this on the subsoil, although the 9-3 had received an additional treatment in the year 2011 immediately after its delivery.
7 years is a magic number. Saab first owners parted ways with their vehicles, says Ralf Muckelbauer. The first defects appeared, time for a new car. If I did, someone could deliver me a Saab model year 2019.
Invest or consume?
Wishbones with side members are TÜV relevant. Seat heating and air conditioning are comfort. The rust? They are visible approaches, but they do not urge immediate action. You can keep driving, use your car - and that for several years. At some point the rust becomes a threat, then either a welding machine, a lot of money will help, or the TÜV will part. As a great unknown, the condition remains under the wheel arch liners. Does the 9-3 SC rust there too? I know copies before and after the facelift that rusted through from the inside out.
If you add up the costs, then everything adds up to an 4-digit amount. And in principle I have three options now. The consumption version: Only let the wishbone, the TÜV in the autumn waves the Saab then. The comfort variant would be in addition to invest in heated seats and climate, or in sustainability mania also to have the rust approaches eliminated.
The 5-years carefree package
Oh yes, there is also version number 4. Buy a new car. One with 5 or even 7 years warranty. A carefree promise for half a decade or more, which I can exchange for the next carefree after expiration. Tempting, except for a tiny hook. It would not be Saab anymore.
Basically, I am unwilling to invest in the spring. I consoled Ralf Muckelbauer with the hint that I have to think now. I remain unusually indecisive for the next few weeks. Mark, who drives much more miles than me a year, has long since switched to the other Swedish brand. He lives well with that, Saab remains for him free time and hobby. Somehow the desire for something new, uncomplicated lives in me. Saab driving has not become easier in recent years. On appointments in the workshops you wait longer and longer, the spare parts supply mutates again and again to the challenge. Sure, everything has gone well so far. But do I need that?
The discussion extends over weeks. In the family and with friends. The opinion remains always confusing. One pleads for a new car, the other suddenly falls in love with the ice blue headlights of the 9-3. All this does not help. Of course, my behavior is utterly illogical. I invest time, material and money in my 9000 fleet. Everything is done to keep the classics on the road. But in a relatively new car, the willingness decreases.
The word from the poison cabinet
On the other hand, this is precisely the poison that has spread the car industry for years. Cars are only consumer goods. As well as smartphones, computers, textiles. They should be consumed over a defined period of time, please speedily. Cars are only transport solutions, not more, which are exchanged for the next solution after a short period of use. In the best case, the old product ends up in export, and new cars roll over the streets. An apparent infinite loop that runs faster and faster.
The word sustainability remains hidden deep down in the poison cabinet, and nobody dares to use it. Sustainability, longer service life, that would mean less consumption, less production, less profit. No board of directors, no politician who even has a survival instinct dares to tackle this issue. It would question too much. Growth and quarterly figures (still) remain the benchmark of our society. We probably need more than a dozen hot, dry super summers for the courage to rethink.
Long service life for the environment
The blog writes about life with the cars of a brand that no longer exists. Without any sociopolitical claim, there never was one here. Nevertheless, and the longer I think about my problem, sustainability comes to the fore. The Saab still drives well and comfortably, it could do that for many years to come. As with any car, the greatest CO2 emission was during its production. The longest possible useful life is better for our planet than constantly consuming anew.
The decision is made, investments are made. Not only the TÜV relevant things are done, also the comfort and sustainability chapter is served. The 9-3 comes to Bamberg, where it stays for a few days. The subject of rust is of interest, Ralf Muckelbauer runs the full program. What he and his employees found and whether the 9-3 precaution is advisable, I will write on the blog in the next few days.