Question: High Mileage Saabs

Do you have a high mileage Saab?

The highest known mileage on a Saab was recorded by a guy named Peter Gilbert, from Wisconsin in the US. Peter’s 1989 Saab 900 SPG ticked over 1 million miles at the Saab Owners Convention held in the US back in 2006 with then-SaabUSA President Jay Spenchian in attendance. That car is now in the Wisconsin Automotive Museum.

People still talk of Saabs with 200,000 miles or more as being “just run in”. My current 900 really is just a baby with only 176,000kms on the clock. I think the highest mileage I’ve ever seen on one of my own cars was around 300,000kms+ on a 99Turbo. Obviously neither of those are candidates to get close to Peter’s record.

So how many high-milers are still out there?

Comments are open. Remember to note whether your figure is miles or kilometers.

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  1. Here in Kazakhstan we have Saabs that usually never hit more than 200 000 km because of poor maintanance. My one is 40 000 right now, got it from Japan when it was just over 25 000 …

      1. We do have a customer here with a 99 Lightning blue Viggen with 185k miles, and I did see one last week that a friend was driving with just over 200k.

      2. Indeed, Swade. I’ve got a 2000 5-door LB Viggen that recently ticked over 135K miles. The motor is still very fresh with off-the-charts compression. Plenty of life left in this Viggen.

      3. Well, our Viggen reached 388’000 km until the engine blew up on a german highway …

  2. I have a 2000 Lightning Blue 9-3 Viggen 5-door that I bought from a very good customer last year with just under 212,000 miles on her. She tucked up the garage awaiting some track day fun after I fully rebuilt the engine last year.

  3. I’ve had eleven Saabs. Highest mileage is my current car, 1992 900T with 254,000 miles. The aggregate mileage of the eleven cars at the time a disposed of them (sold or junked) is 1.9 million miles, including two low-mileage 1992 900 with 47k and 62k. In checking our database, we have 59 active customers with over 200,000 miles, highest at 300,000. Highest we had was a 1983 900T that was last here at 453,000, but which we heard had gone well beyond 500,000 miles.
    To me, its not just how high the miles/kilometers go. It’s what the cars are like despite the ground they’ve covered. I believe it was Porsche who once had the slogan, “It’s not how fast you go; it’s how you go fast.” Well, with a Saab, it’s not just about going far–lots of cars do that now. It’s how much integrity the cars still have after many years and miles. They are (presuming proper car) still fun, safe and comfortable and cars that you still want to drive after all that time.

  4. My 2005 9-5 2.3T Aero is not even run in at 80K miles.  🙂  I sometimes wish I would keep my cars longer so I could have one with higher miles.  

    The Saab with the highest mileage I know of that is still running is this ’89 900 with 470K miles / 750K kilometers on the clock and is owned by one of the members on our site.

    I’ll probably would have to keep my current car for another 30 years until I rack up this kind of mileage.

  5. My ’05 9-3 Aero ticked over 102,000 miles this week.  I expect to nearly do that again before passing it to the next lucky owner.

  6. 1993 9000, 215,000 MIles and…disabled sitting at a shop today that won’t repair it. Ha ha ha! I’ll get it sorted and we’ll be on the road again.

  7. My 2000 9-3 will soon hit 180,000 miles and is still going strong.  I fully expect to go past 200,000 miles….by which time I expect to pass it on to someone else and move up to the new 9-3!

  8. If you scroll down on the Saab 99 Turbo Registry, we have a listing of the top mileage 99 Turbos from our Members. They range from 252,000 miles up to 510,000 miles (you can convert to kilometers right on the site).

    I had 223,000 miles on my 1978 99 Turbo when I sold it last year. The guy who bought it picked flew in to California, hopped in the car and drove it over 700 miles over the mountains back to Utah without a problem.

  9. Just sold my 1999 9-3 with 198,800 miles! If it were not in such rough shape I would have kept driving until 300,000. Currently repairing my 2003 9-3 (transmission failure) with only 75k mi.

  10. My ’86 9000 turbo had somewhere north of 300k miles on it when I sold it.

  11. I’m about to hit 175,000 miles on my 2001 9-5 Aero. Still with original clutch. People are usually amazed when I tell them the mileage because it’s in such great condition, better than most cars with 100k fewer miles.

  12. For me, the party starts at or above 150k miles. I’d say 80% of the Saabs I’ve had over the years have been purchased north of that mileage figure. I had the pleasure of having one of the first early 9-5s imported to the USA to crack 200k about 6 years ago, and apparently it’s still on the road with nearly 300k now! As for my current fleet, I have a 2000 9-3 convertible (with a 9000’s B234 block) with roughly 175k on it – car and engine are about 2000 miles apart. I also have a 1973 99L with a whopping 283k on it – starts and runs every time.

  13. My 2000 Viggen just ticked over 135K miles and the motor is still as strong as the day it left the factory in Finland. The compression is still off the charts.

  14. absolutely – 9.3 hatchback 2002 hit 200,000 a month ago – now at 201+

  15. Swade thanks for posting this. The most important part of my story is the fact that I was involved with so many accidents that I survived because of SAAB safety and those cars had high mileage at the time of collision.

    My first SAAB a ’66 (big grill) 96 with 85,000 on untouched 2-Stroke; first ’82 900 which was the first white (H-engine) one in the USA 249,999.9 3 inches short of a quarter mil! “84 900 turbo (first 16V year) 350,000. I just noticed these cars were all the first model year of a major model year. Finally after I retired my SPG. I survived with injuries a 55 mph head-on in my first 4-door SAAB an ’89 900.

    Now I am glad that my Viggen and 9-5 were built towards the end of their production runs. All my cars have never had a valve job or a turbo! My 9-5 still has its original rotors and pads at 114,000. 

    To Anuar, in Kazakhstan I recommend maintenance to save your car. Change you engine oil, and filters especially if there is a lot of dust. I don’t know what model you have but if it is dust 15,000 miles on air filters, 30,000 fuel filter. Synthetic Oil 7,500. 3,250 if conventional oil. Anti-Freeze 25,000 and 50,000 with DexCool. I always use distilled water to dilute it thereby avoiding mineral build up the only radiator I ever replaced was at 800,000 when I hit a deer in the SPG.

    Regularly check, CV boots and Steering boots and every 30,000 I siphon as much as possible of steering fluid, then replenish to save the rack-and-pinion. Change the manual transmission oil every 30,000 if you have a classic 900 I highly recommend 10w-30 Synthetic NOT Gear Oil. Automatic also at 30,000 with the recommended Oil. Manual NG 900, 60,000 with SAAB Gear Oil.

  16. Lets see…I started with one that had 195,000, a 1985, 900,  and gave it to my daughter and then I realized I wanted another.  I then got a 1987, 900 which has  now has 240,000 (got it with 195) on it and my son hit 3 deer in it so I got him a “new” one…a 1983 with 104,000!!  We are all hooked!!!

  17. My 1996 900S Convertible just reached 207,000 miles while driving from Tampa Florida to Los Angeles California.  I will not hesitate to drive it all the way back.

  18. My 1999 9-5 has 235k miles, but is currently in need of starter.  My ’07 9-3 Anniversary isn’t high mileage, however it is on pace to be.  I just turned 85k miles on it this week.  I also had a ’95 900 that I sold with 198k miles on it.

  19. I bought a 1985 Saab 900i 5 door in 1986. It was 1985 vintage, with about 80.000 km on the clock. We had it for 23 years (a lady friend of ours drove it for 5 years whilst we were on a 9000i) and when she emigrated, I bought it back. At 680.000 km the bodywork just caved in, no finances available at that time, so it went to the scrapyard. Very trusted vehicle, only 2 clutches and one headgasket during all those km’s. That is whay I have a 900i again, be it a 1991 2.1 16V.

  20. We can’t really compete in this area… Our highest mileage Saab for the moment is our 1999 9-5 which is just run in at around 214’000 kms or 133’000 miles. 😉

  21. My 1988 Aero (SPG) has clocked around 360,000 klms, and the 1999 Viggen around 260,000. Both cars still run like a rocket-propelled dream 😉

  22. I have a 1999 saab 9-3 2.0 turbo S…I’ve owned it myself since the end of 2009 and the odometer recently ticked over 361,000 kms. For a vehicle this old the engine is in immaculate shape…I regularly get under 8-10L/100km in the city, and on the highway I have gotten as good as 6-8L/100km when cruising from 90-130km/hr respectively. Obviously little stuff doesnt work like the display, and some lights on the dash, third gear shifts in a little noisy sometimes but big deal…this car is still running strong, and i think it has a good chance to beat 400k. Maybe by the time this one needs to be retired, the newest post-GM 9-3 will be released!

  23. My Saab 9-5 2003 2.2 TiD has 700 000 km or 435 000 miles. Still nothing done to engine and automatic gearbox besides oil changes every 15000 km engine oil and every 60000 km gearbox oil change.
    Increadable car!

  24. I have a saab 9-5 with 330,000 on the clock. There was a time when the speedometer did not work so i think its more like 350,000.

  25. You’ve heard from Peter Gilbert of the million mile SPG. I had the opportunity to drive the SPG to two Saab Owner Conventions in 2002 and 2003 from the Milwaukee area, adding about 3500 miles toward that million miles.

    For my total, I’ve pushed two 9000’s to 410k and 424k miles. The first was a ’96 9000 Super CS that was killed by a 16 year old kid on his way to school in a pick-up. The other was a ’93 9000 CSE which replaced the ’96. The ’96 Super CS was a “limited edition” with Mica Black Metallic paint and most of the CSE goodies, powered by a 185hp 2.3l LPT engine with automatic. The ’93 CSE was a 200hp 2.3l full Turbo! and automatic.
    At the time of the ’96’s death, I was planning the parts replacement at 500k miles, such as an alternator and driver’s seat. The ’96 was also the subject of 10,000 mile oil changes with full synthetic oil and continuing attention to other “wear” items including frequent fluid changes to the automatic transmission and coolant system. The insurance company wrote off the the ’96 as not worth repairing. The repair shop (former dealer mechanic & service outlet) rebuilt the engine from the ’96 and installed the engine in another 9000 that had thrown a rod thru the block. The rebuilding including new rod, main & cam bearings, resetting the valves and “breaking the glaze in the cylinders. At some point before the shop rebuilt the ’96 motor, the Turbo! in the ’93 started leaking oil past the seals, blowing oil out the tailpipe. By this time the ’93 had about 200k miles, so the 424k mile Turbo! ended up with around 635k miles when the ’93 was scrapped.

    Couple of items: every oil change was done with a full synthetic oil either 10W-40 or 5W-30 and a Saab OEM, MAN or Purolator One filter. With the ’96 I was sampling the oil at each oil change and found 10,000 miles was the optimal oil change interval.

    Other Saabs I’ve owned tend to average over 200,000 miles, with my daily driver ’96 9000CSE, 200hp 2.3l, Turbo! and 5 speed currently at 265k miles.

    The only new Saab is a ’79 99GL and has 145k miles. Since this was a new car, it has had full synthetic oil, 10W-40, changed once per year. When I needed the cylinder head trued (warped for ill water pump, it is a “B” engine) at 130k miles the machine shop was amazed how clean the oil passages were bereft of sludge & gum.

    As they say YMMV…….