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Saab Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems for 6 Saab models 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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101
Known Problems

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

If the ignition switch is turned to the "lock" position when the vehicle speed is over 5km/hour, the ignition key cannot be removed from the lock cylinder. This is not a defect, but a normal design feature. In order to remove the key: Turn the ignition to the "on" position, wait several seconds, turn ignition to "lock" and remove the key.

The Check Engine Light may illuminate because of oxygen sensor failure. There may be no drivability symptoms detected though gas mileage may suffer.

 

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.

The trunk module can fail causing the tailgate to malfunction when opening or closing.

The fuel level sender can malfunction causing the fuel gauge to always read at the full level, even when the fuel tank is empty. The solution is to replace the fuel level sending unit. 

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.

The wiring for the transfer case speed sensor can fail causing sporadic operation of the AWD (All Wheel Drive) system.

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 direct ignition cassette can fail causing the engine to die while driving, and/or it will crank but not start. The engine may also have a rough idle and run roughly. Diagnosis may discover trouble codes for random misfires.

Rear spring sensor malfunction can cause the rear suspension to sag requiring recalibration of the sensors.

Oil leaks from the timing cover, valve cover, and/or rear main seal may be due to excessive crankcase pressure. An updated PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) kit was released to fix this concern.

Leaks in the air suspension can cause the air compressor to run constantly.

Oil leaks from the timing cover, valve cover, and/or rear main seal may be due to excessive crankcase pressure. An updated PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) kit was released to fix this concern.