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Old 04-07-2013, 02:20 PM   #1
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What to look for when buying 2003-2006 9-3

I have been considering picking up a 2003-2006 9-3 and was wondering what to look out for in these years in terms of issues or which year you would recommend to look at. Wasn't there some electrical issues in the 2003s? Buying advice appreciated. Car mileage would be around 80k-120k

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Old 04-07-2013, 05:45 PM   #2
 
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I was considering the same range of model years for a 9-5 replacement.

Definitely look at the 2006. IIRC, 2003 to mid 2004s had lots of pesky issues that were mostly worked out by 2006. (Of course, the 2006+ cars were fairly bulletproof...just in time for the corporate death spiral.)

Biggest issues on the early ones were: iffy fit and finish; various cabin rattles, especially dash and random trim pieces; multiple sensor issues producing CELs, often for emissions and traction control; creaky strut mounts (kind of like the cold weather creaks in the NG900); etc...

The 2003 was a horror show for initial reliability...

Other folks can likely chime in....
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:05 AM   #3
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steering lock malfunction. look for one that has either never had that problem, or... one that has had it repaired/replaced by a dealer.

when test driving i would put the key in the ignition and take it out about a hundred times and listen for the steering lock engaging each time (a click at the wheel).

also if it has the XENONS and they are tinting purpleish, that means its time to replace. they cost $100 a piece at autozone. that might give you a little budge on price.
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:15 PM   #4
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Above and beyond the normal things...

Check the PS Reservoir, they're known to leak.
Make sure that the outside temp gauge reads properly, this will cause the climate control to freeze/sweat you out.

That's realistically it. These cars are pretty bulletproof. My wife put nearly 200k on her '04 with minimal issues and has 84k on her '10 already with no problems. Needless to say when she wears out the '10 we'll just try to find her another one with low mileage.
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:58 PM   #5
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Our '04 was quite reliable.

Look for audio systems to be working, the fiber optics were wonky in the '03-05 cars.

Watch for front end clunks, often sway bar end links.
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