Close

2006 Saab 9-3 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2006 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.

No car image 94a1663db56199c5353592009e34aaa51078a2469bed068bb8d6f0ba43accf97
Get a Repair Estimate
Guaranteed by certified locations nationwide. Learn more
RepairPal estimates are guaranteed at over 1,700 quality certified locations nationwide. Learn more
13
Known Problems

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 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.

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. 

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.

If the engine will crank but not start, it may be the fuel pump has failed. Diagnosis may find no fuel pressure when attempting to start the engine.

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.

Slow or sluggish gearshift operation may be noted on vehicles equipped with a six speed manual transmission. Our technicians remind us it is important to ensure the correct Saab approved gear oil is used. Also, Saab has revised the fill capacity from 3 liters to 2.4 liters to help address 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 air blend system in the heating, ventilation and AC (HVAC) system can have problems, which can cause the AC controls to be stiff, or a lack of HVAC control.

A high or low beam failure may be indicated on the instrument panel display even though the lamps are working properly. Our technicians tell us reprogramming the control module with upgraded software may remedy the problem.

Code C155037 (control module internal fault) may set in the steering control module due to low battery voltage. Our technicians recommend a complete inspection of the starting and charging systems before replacing the steering control module for this fault.