Your Saab Specialists in Spokane

             1211 E. Francis - Spokane, WA  99208 - (509) 487-3308 **(see bottom of pg)







1211 E. FRANCIS   -   SPOKANE , WA   99208    -   (509) 487-3308                    www.saabspokane.com

2008 Spring Discounts:  Jan. Feb. & March

Tips, Service $pecials and Legal Review 

2008 Greetings to all our Saab Friends!

This time of year is our “slow season”, and a good time for us to cooperate with our customers for needed improvements on their Saabs at a discounted price.  This is also a good time to make an appointment for any service or repair work due.  For the remainder of January, February & March receive 10% Discount on Labor charges, and most Parts (excluding OE).  Now is a good time to Review your Maintenance Records and take care of lingering repair needs such as seeping Water pumps, worn CV axle Boots, semi-rotted Mufflers & Pipes, worn Shocks.... or catch up on deferred service items such as Fluid and Filter changes, etc

Some of our other repairs already save up to 40% off many Saab list prices, such as Brake Rotors, Cooling hoses, and Exhaust.    Nearly everything we install is purchased for OEM quality.  Some items we believe are better, such as our Brake Pads.  We often give a “common sense” 2 - 4 year pro-rated warranty on many of these OEM replacements, including labor. (1 yr. on Saab Original Equip.) This Year we are also offering nearly 2% discount for cash or check and not using plastic, though we do accept M/C & Visa.

NEW FOR 9-3 and 9-5 OWNERS...

SID repairs now possible!  Finally, 9-3 and 9-5 Saab Information Displays are repairable and about ½ price of new.  $189.  We can order the rebuilt unit ahead of time (1 week)  and install & program it while you wait.

Beware the “Service Alarm” Alert: This message pops up on your SID when the batteries are failing in the Alarm Siren of your   9-3 or 9-5, and will lead to the Alarm activating itself without your ability to turn it off!  (other than disconnecting the vehicle battery).

60% SAVINGS:  We have the OEM Siren batteries and are able to solder and glue them back into your Siren circuit board.  The whole process should cost approx. $145 with the 10% discount, instead of $360 + tax by replacing the Siren with new.

Headlights that work- but Don’t Work!  All Modern Headlamps with replaceable bulbs have a huge safety flaw.  By installing the bulb even slightly ajar (very commonly done) the filament is misaligned with the internal mirrors and not focused.  You will not be able to see from this Headlight!  It will appear ON, but will cast no focused beam.  CHECK YOUR BEAMS ON A WALL AT 10-20 FT!

New Crankcase Ventilation Upgrade should reduce oil leakage and help protect from sludge buildup.  We highly recommend this kit, and changing oil every 5000 miles using only fully synthetic oil.  This upgrade for 9-3 and 9-5 models doubles the ventilation flow.  The old systems clogged and contributed to the engine-destroying sludge that we’ve been combating for years.  $160 installed.

V6 Timing Belt Advice:  We have personally witnessed 3 failures of the timing belt tensioner pulley at 80,000 miles.  In all three cases, the belt had been changed at 60,000 miles at a dealership.  Two owners saved their motor when they heard the belt squeaking on the seized pulley and shut their motor down, and did not attempt a restart.  (The seized pulley can get red hot and melt through the belt, resulting in the valve timing failure, piston / valve collisions and catastrophic engine damage.  Therefore, we recommend checking these pulleys at the 90,000 mile interval, and replacing the tensioner pulley at the 120,000 mile belt change.  It’s not in the book, but gives you an idea of why a cheaper “quote” for a timing belt replacement may turn out to be the most expensive repair of all.

Fuel Line Retainer Recall  for 2000 and later 9-3 & 9-5’s: (might also be of concern to earlier 900 owners also)  The plastic retainers holding the fuel pressure hose into the fuel pump can break, allowing the fuel line to back out under pressure, flooding liters of fuel over the top of the gas tank and near the rear muffler.  The fix is to install a metal retainer clip over the fuel hose at the pump.  9-5 models are easy to modify, 9-3 models must have their fuel tank lowered.  We are now installing the clip whenever we replace the fuel pump on all  models, even the earlier 900’s from 1994 onward.  The recall is free (by the dealer) to 2000 models and newer.

Make sure your Ignition Lock “Snaps” Off!   (GM900, 9-3 & 9-5) We have discovered that ignition locks can fail to Shut Off all accessories when the key is removed, and drain your battery until dead.  When you remove the key, make sure the collar surrounding the key on your ignition lock “snaps” out.  If not, the engine will shut down, but power draining systems (including the radio) will be left on.  One good way to ensure a complete shutdown is to run with your radio “On”. The radio should go off with the Ignition.

We continue to inspect for Sludge build-up in all models (especially 1994 – 2003), when Saab was not specifying 5000 mile intervals using full synthetic oils as we had been recommending.  We have provided many important articles on our website regarding sludge and safeguarding against the catastrophic engine-damage it brings.  WITH EVERY 5000 MILE OIL CHANGE, the oil should be drained into a screen and the sump probed for sludge and carbon to monitor your engine’s condition.  We do this every time!

Keep Your Saab Reliable for Out-of-Town Trips:  Serpentine Tensioner & Idler Pulleys, Fuel Pumps, Direct Ignition Modules. 

GM900 & early 9-5 owners:  Upgrade your Serpentine system to a shorter belt which bypasses the center idler pulley, making it more reliable than before (usually $125 + $53 idler pulley if needed + supplies + tax).  ALL MODELS: Remove & Inspect Serpentine system ANNUALLY.  A pulley or belt failure will completely disable your Saab.

Fuel Pump failures are inevitable.  All GM 900’s 9-3’s & 9-5’s, and 1990 & later classic 900’s & 9000’s.  If your Saab is over 100,000 miles or 10 years old, and you drive out of town, you should consider replacing the fuel pump.  The Saab fuel pump ‘assembly’ is prohibitively expensive, so we replace only the pump with special tooling at nearly half the cost.  Replacement will usually cost $375-$485 if fasteners are not corroded, the pump still operates (to pump fuel out of the tank - bring the Saab with a low fuel tank.) Many models require fuel tank removal, and most out-of-town repair shops won’t be able to do the job well. 

Direct Ignition failures are also a concern, but we aren’t seeing the failures we once experienced.  (the bad ones are disappearing).  Carry an inexpensive Spare:  If you own a 2000 & later 9-3 and 9-5, you may be entitled to a new Direct Ignition from Saab.   Call the dealer with your VIN and they will tell you.  Make sure to ask to save your old ignition module to use as a spare!

If you travel out of town with your Saab, there are other model- and mileage-specific items that we should look for to help ensure trouble free traveling.  Reliability is also a part of preventive maintenance, and must go further than for an in-town-only commuter car.  A list of items we look for is published on Page 2 of our 2007 Flyer, (on website) and a review of your records might also uncover some of your Saab’s weaknesses.  We don’t have a “crystal ball”, but as specialists we see the problem trends with each model and use that experience to tilt the odds in your favor.  We always work with your best interests in mind, and reliability is a priority for me- for you.

 Our Service is similar to Aircraft Maintenance:  Individual components are tracked for their service life or best frequency of service.  It can double the life of your Saab, and is essential to a long-term maintenance strategy.  

It is also more affordable and “budget-able,” because each component of the service (for instance, a fuel filter) can be done separately, and you can prioritize your Saab’s needs to work within your budget on an ongoing basis.    

In our opinion, the minimal service recommendations found in the Saab Service Coupon have many critical items omitted.  Nearly half of the inspections and maintenance that we have learned to be essential are missing or too infrequently performed, often causing costly major repairs, breakdowns and increased long term wear.  Unless you trade in every 3-4 years, Preventive Maintenance is cost effective and essential for reliability and longevity. 

If your Saab has had “prepaid” factory maintenance- it may be even further behind, because Saab usually only prescribed oil, filter and cabin filter replacements on their free service, with “quality checks” on some of the fluids. 

These necessary replacements may be long overdue when the Saab is 60,000 miles and older.  This is why many Swedish Motorcar customers regularly keep their Saabs 250 -300,000 miles, and others are not able to do so.  We have published our Preventive Maintenance and lubricant recommendations for years with our Website and Saab Flyers.  

Oil Servicing Strategy to Save Money$:  If you drive at least 10,000 miles a year, (2 oil servicings) alternating with a Major & Minor (“Interim”) Service should work well for Saabs regularly serviced.  This winter we are using a premium German full synthetic 0/40 oil for the newer Saabs (5/40 for older).  With most models, the Major Oil Service will cost approx. $141+ tax and the Minor Service $101 with your 10% discount.  We use FULL SYNTHETIC OIL, and our inspections are much more comprehensive than those found in the SAAB Service Coupon, and usually cost less.  The best Preventive Maintenance is not found in Saab’s maintenance book. We refer to it as “short-term” or “warranty” maintenance. For more information, visit our website and download the flyer “Welcome to Swedish”. 

So WHY use SWEDISH Motors for your Saab’s Service?

My sons Dan, Mike and I opened Swedish Motors in April of 1991.  They since have both become mechanical engineers.  Brad joined us at that time, 10 years ago, and has very capably carried on.  Along with Frank’s part-time help, we make a great team here for you.

 I opened my first Saab repair shop in 1972, 36 years ago.  The auto repair business today is nothing like it once was.  Labor rates were $9 per hour then, and a typical 6000 mile service, including valve adjustment, ignition points, spark plugs, tire switching, engine & gearbox oil & brake adjustment cost around $50.  Now shop labor is $90 per hour and a major service is at least 10 times that amount.

In some ways, the profession is better than it ever was, because of the higher technical skill levels required.  But in others, the costs involved with this technology have taken some of the “personal-ness” out of it, and transformed it into a profession of “being paid an agreed upon amount to assume responsibility for a given problem”.  It is crowded with electronic & computerized complexities, legal regulation, formidable liability risks, and rapidly changing equipment, skill & information requirements to surmount.

I have always thought of myself as a defender of my customers and their families, helping to maintain affordable, safe & reliable Saabs in the face of a system that would have you paying for one new car after another for life, instead of using that depreciation to finance kids’ college educations.  But the costs of maintaining a business, shop and the modern automobile are often overwhelming to me.       

A significant cost in any business is protecting one’s self from liability risks.  Insurance costs are only one part of it.  We must record in detail everything that we do, estimate the costs and get your permission in writing before beginning work or test driving your car.  The time it takes to record what we are attempting to do, what it will cost, what we did, and why we did it, often takes more time than it takes to do it!  Ironically, by providing a higher degree of comprehensive service, we open ourselves to even more liability, with detailed records to scrutinize everything we have done.  Our liability is not only to you, but to other drivers who may be affected by your vehicle.

Most shops provide only the simple ‘coupon book’ service (oil changes, spark plugs, filters etc., “45,000 mile Svc.”, for example). 

They are following a ubiquitous business model, minimizing the liability & record keeping, and offering a lower priced generic product.  Even if they specialize in that brand, by following the book and no more, they are essentially immune from any responsibility to their customers for vehicle reliability or longevity.  Should the car break down or wear out prematurely, it is a separate issue; not “poor maintenance”, because they serviced “by the book”.  It is a low risk, high volume, relatively easy and profitable business model, but not good car care.  The coupon checklists simply omit too much.  Dealerships track factory service campaigns and recalls, but follow the same generic service model, being oriented to new car sales, and not necessarily the longevity of their customer’s used cars.

The maintenance required to keep a modern automobile running reliably for 100,000 - 250,000 miles is neither simple nor easy. 

It requires tracking of parts, fluid & filter replacements; model-specific inspections, reviewing repair & maintenance history; forecasting reliability of non-service-items (such as thermostats, fuel pumps); and making recommendations carried forward to the next service.   In short, it requires experience and a desire to provide Preventive Maintenance.  It should cost more; after all, we do twice as much!

Still, when reviewing a new customer’s service records and repairs, I usually find that our charges are less than other shops, even knowing that we give more complete repairs and comprehensive service than anyone in the business. 

For our customers living on tight budgets, we can prioritize the most important service items first, because we track them separately, and pick up the others one by one, as their budget allows.  I have been working with my Saab friends this way for 36 years! J

Brad and I risk losing business every day because we won’t pander simplistic estimates or service to make a sale.  We always tell the truth as we know it, of what your Saab might really need in a specific repair, or to maintain its reliability, longevity or cost-effectiveness.  We see too much of what goes wrong, and the expensive failures that can result from poor maintenance.  We will always work with your best interests and budget in mind, giving you the full benefit of our experience in your behalf, and that includes fully disclosing everything we know and can tell you about your Saab.  We believe it is your right to know in managing your family’s car needs.

So Why Use Us?  This answer is simple... unless you can afford a new car every 80,000 miles, absorbing the 60% depreciation, or believe in “not fixing anything until it breaks,” we are the only ones who take the risks and effort to provide you with the best, most conscientious Long-Term Preventive Maintenance for your Saab.


The keys to any good business relationship are communication, trust and cooperation with each other.  By law I must estimate the cost of anything and everything, and re-estimate the total cost with every new problem we discover- even if it means changing a wiper blade or light bulb.  One way for you to help me with this costly endeavor is to be immediately available when we’re working on your Saab, so that the job won’t be interrupted any more than necessary, but also to simply tell me what you expect.  If I have your word to use our best judgment in your behalf ahead of time on these incidentals, we are saving precious minutes and dollars.

Below is printed part of our auto repair agreement and work authorization order.  Please read it so that we can have a common understanding of what we believe are common sense ground rules.  We will ask you to sign a copy before beginning work when you visit us.  If you disagree with anything, we can talk about it beforehand. 

Thanks for reading this year.  Wishing you a great 2008 with happiness, prosperity, peace in your life, and Saab-ing  too! 

J John Lippis (and Brad Hone)      Check our website for other articles and SAABS FOR SALE:     www.saabspokane.com     



Regarding Our Fees, Guarantees and Liability Disclaimers......

1.  Diagnostic Time is charged at Shop Hourly Rate ($90 per hour) with No Guarantees that the problem will be discovered or remedied.

2.  In general, our Workmanship is guaranteed, and many, but not all parts have warranties, and warranties will vary. There are no implied warranties other than those specifically written.  Any warranties on the products sold herein are those made by the manufacturer.  Most, but not all parts have warranties on the part only, and this usually does not include labor. In case of part failure, there are no implied warranties to other affected parts or any other damage or liability caused by the failed part.

3.  We are not responsible for problems/ potential problems not detected, repaired nor noted during any repair, inspection or service. We are authorized to operate your vehicle for purposes of diagnostics and testing, and are not liable for damages to vehicle or contents beyond our reasonable control.

4. Some repairs might be done diagnostically to attempt to remedy a problem; but we cannot guarantee that in these cases, any and/or/ all of the problem will be solved.

5. In all cases of Premature Wear or Part Failure, the final decision to cover parts or labor under any warranty will be at the discretion of Swedish Motorcar Service.  Usually, we Pro-Rate the Labor and Parts if  it fails or wears out before what we deem as a "reasonable time."

Example: most of our mufflers are pro-rated at 4 years.

6.  It is the customer's responsibility to inquire regarding guarantees of specific repairs before the job is begun.     You are entitled by law to have any express warranties in writing.

7.  Payment in full will be due upon delivery of vehicle. 

8.  We reserve the right to charge a  $10.00 per day storage fee after 2 days of completion of work. (We have never exercised this option- it is to protect us from abandoned vehicles)

9.  An express "Mechanic's Lien" is acknowledged in lieu of satisfactory payment for services.

You are entitled by law to the following:

1.     A Written Estimate for the repairs costing over $100, unless waived or absent face to face contact.

2.     Authorize Orally or in writing any repairs which exceed the estimated pretax cost by more than 10%, even if the car was left at our facility without face to face contact.  Note: This would not include towing and storage.  Estimates may not include towing & storage.

We do not warrant or assume any legal liability arising from the following, but not limited to...

*  ...Swedish Motorcar Service's (SMS) inability to reproduce the symptoms or failures described, or from practicing common sense diagnostic procedures to ensure that we are not making an unnecessary repair, such as  erasing scanned trouble codes to monitor if the problem reoccurs, i.e.; if we read and erase an airbag code/warning light to test if it will return, we are not responsible if it reoccurs and you are injured in an accident because the airbag did not function, or if we read and erase a throttle body code and reset the component instead of replacing it ( to test if the problem returns making sure that this is not a non-recurring "ghost" symptom) or to postpone replacement,  or while waiting for parts to arrive.  If the failure occurs again and causes any inconvenience, expense, damage, an accident or injuries, we will not be held responsible.

* ... recurrence of a diagnosed problem or failure.  We follow common-sense, industry accepted procedures for diagnosing problems.  We also use our best judgment as to the correct and most appropriate approach to the problem for each individual customer.  Automobile diagnostics and repair is not an exact science.  Very often our approach is “odds-wise” the most logical or economic work plan to an illusive, intermittent, or misleading symptom.  We warrant only our workmanship for the actual work that we do, and our only promise is to always exercise our best judgment in your behalf.

*   ...Subsequent recurrence of sludge formation in the engine, whether undiscovered, advised regarding, treated, cleaned or repaired in any way, or from flushing any fluid in your vehicle (chemical reactions etc.) or from any other system or component failure beyond SMS's direct control.

*   ...Damage to the engine from overheating or loss of oil pressure, or associated inconvenience, towing, and other aftermath.  (It is the driver's responsibility to recognize these conditions and shut down the vehicle before any damage has resulted - for instance we cannot be responsible for a hose failure and resultant damage and other aftermath.)

* ...Problems not discovered or forecast by SMS during inspections or other work.  I understand that SMS may not be able to predict or prevent later failures or unreliability, and Swedish Motorcar Service and their personnel are not responsible to me in this manner.

*  ...Aftermath or liability arising from declined, deferred, provisional or alternative repairs (often performed for the purposes of troubleshooting, interim repair or reduced repair/maintenance expense).

 If you wish, Sign this document & bring to us; we’ll put on file and save clerical time with future appointments.

I agree to all of the above and hold harmless Swedish Motorcar Svc. and personnel to all of the stipulations and disclaimers contained herein.

Signature ___________________________________________________  Date________________________  Best Phone__________________

Any Special Instructions if we cannot contact you> (Stop work -Proceed using our best judgment in your behalf etc)_____________________________


May we repair Safety-Related Lights, Wiper Washers & Blades without contacting you and Updating your Estimate? Check Here >


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Last modified: March 02, 2012