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2005 Saab 9-3 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2005 Saab 9-3 based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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12
Known Problems

2.0L engines may become low on engine coolant with no cause found for the coolant loss. Our technicians tell us than in some cases the engine block may require replacement due to porosity.

A well-documented and well-known issue with the Saab 9-3 built between 2003-2011 is harsh shifting from the 6-speed automatic transmission, and slight slippage between gears. This has been noted as hesitation to accelerate, especially from a stop.

Mainly, software issues have been to blame for these mishaps, but mechanical malfunctions related to shift solenoids and the valve body have also been major causes. Finally, the automatic transmissions in these models are sold as ‘sealed for life’, yet the transmission fluid does not seem to last the complete service life of the vehicle.

Correction of these issues often requires a simple software update, meaning the vehicle only needs to be plugged in, and the transmission controller receives new programming meant to fix these drivability concerns. In cases where this does not correct concerns, the transmission must be removed, inspected, and repaired, possibly requiring a complete rebuild.  

 

To mitigate these issues from escalating to a full transmission rebuild, many technicians recommend replacing the transmission fluid at regular intervals, yet the manufacturer has never offered this guidance. 

The thermo contact in the AC compressor can fail, which means the compressor may fail to engage or disengage.

A knocking noise while turning and/or a banging noise when driving on rough roads may develop in the front suspension. This type of noise is commonly caused by a front strut thrust bearing damaged due to water intrusion. Our technicians tell us revised thrust bearings are available to correct this concern.

Our technicians report failures of various components in the audio system. Speaker, control unit, and steering wheel button failures are all possible.

The Check Engine Light may illuminate because of air injection pump, and/or check valve failure. There may be no drivability symptoms detected.

The shaft for the air blend door can fail creating the inability to adjust the AC or heating temperature. The AC or Heat will not maintain the proper temperature.

The anti-lock brake system (ABS) and/or traction control light may illuminate. This can be caused by corrosion in the (ABS) wire harness connector at the right front wheel speed sensor due to water intrusion.  Corroded connectors should be cleaned or replaced as necessary to correct this concern.

A higher than normal idle speed may result in harsh transmission engagement from park to drive and/or reverse. Our technicians tell us that adjustment and reprogramming the engine idle speed should resolve this issue.

The Check Engine Light may come on because the electronic throttle body has failed. Other symptoms include loss of acceleration, a high idle or failure to return to idle, and difficulty starting.

The third brake light and/or license plate lamp may fail due to wiring damaged from rubbing on the trunk lid handle. Our technicians tell us the repair involves correcting the damaged wiring and isolating the connectors so they do not contact the trunk lid handle.