Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

2003 Saab 9-3 (Page 2 of 2)


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,744 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Saab 9-3 electrical problems

electrical problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Saab 9-3:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Saab 9-3 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #15

Jun 172005

9-3 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 32,000 miles


My Saab has had a litany of problems since I have owned the car. It all started with little items. Ignition wouldn't start the car. Head lights burnt out. Dash peeling, door handles discoloring, emergency brake getting stuck and being able to operate my car. Engine warning light because my gas cap wasn't on correct. Steering wheel locking while I was driving. Wheel lock light remaining on while I was driving. Brakes replaced due to factory retro fit. Seat belts being recalled. Computer constantly needing to be replaced so the car would function. Electronic key failing so I couldn't start my car. My car is a 5 speed and the shifter handle has an continues to come off in my hand. A minimum of 3 fuses needing to be replaced. The dash board goes blank at times showing no functions of the car. Window wouldn't go up or down and required the regulator to be replaced. Erractic idle. Service engine light comes on but, dealer doesn't know why. Brakes needed to be replaced at 30,000 miles and rotors too.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #14

Feb 132004

9-3 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 15,000 miles
The consumer was able to remove the key from the ignition switch while the vehicle was still running. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The dealer replaced the ignition module. The repairs worked fine for two weeks, then the problem recurred. The fuel pump was replaced, the fog and head lights would go out once a month, the traction control was not working properly, the seat belts did not recoil to provide security for the passengers, the clutch pedal did not have the proper pressure when applied, the engine would not "spin over, " there was a blown fuel pump fuse, the driver window was inoperative, the sunroof deflector did not collapse when closing the glass causing the glass to re-open on it's own, the driver door panel did not fit the flush to the door panel, the radio and the onstar feature did not work.

- Columbus, GA, USA

problem #13

Nov 072004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles
Consumer was driving at approximately 25-30 mph and the vehicle lost steering and brake power. Consumer looked at the dashboard and saw the engine check light illuminated. Consumer took the vehicle back to the dealer, and was advised by the manufacturer to update the computer. However, the dealer could not diagnose the defect which occurred.

- Charlottesville, VA, USA

problem #12

Nov 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Headlights was too low which caused difficulty in driving at night. There was noise in the rear while backing and turning (the dealer could not find the problem), the onstar feature would not work and was intermittent, the seat belt light had come on and would go off intermittently (unable to duplicate), need service soon light would come on (unable to be duplicated), the squeal in the rear, could have also been linked to salt and sand in the rotors, the trunk would not stay open, the head lights were found to be out of adjustment, and the pads had rust on them.

- Galax, VA, USA

problem #11

May 102004

(reported on)


  • 15,500 miles
Owner had just left the dealer after having the 15,000 mile oil change and check up. While driving, the owner heard a loud popping sound. Passing motorist informed the owner that the vehicle was on fire. A fire report was taken at the scene. Provide further details.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #10

Dec 302003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles
Twice while stopping at a stop light my car has stalled. It has stalled once while driving in traffic at about 35 mph. It has also gotten stuck in park twice afrter I start it. The sid says gear box malfunctioned. The lights burn out and the interior is falling apart. This car has 17,000 miles in it.

- Jackson, MS, USA

problem #9

Jan 152004

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,933 miles


2003 safe 9-3 2.0T linear, purch new 2/21/03 dies' unexpectedly when being driven. First incident: Car 'died' right in the middle of the road completely unexpectedly. Assumed it was a 'fluke' and took no action. After second incident: Dealer "reset fuel adaptation valve". after third incident (dangerous - merging into freeway) dealer "reprogrammed T8 and reset fuel adaptation per safe technical hot line" all incidents occurred within last two weeks. Car restarts with no warning light or "side" indication of problem upon ignition.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #8

Jun 172003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 450 miles
Since purchasing my 2003 Saab 9-3 in June the car has stalled 4 times while either at stop lights or sitting in traffic. Once the car stalled while going 40 mph. I've taken the car to the dealership several times to have the problem corrected. Each time a software upgrade is performed. And every time I contact the service dept they are surprised as to this occurrence.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #7

Nov 202003


  • miles
While driving at 70 mph, the vehicle stalled. The driver restarted the vehicle and drove it to the dealer for analysis. The mechanic noticed that electrical system had a shortage.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 012003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
I received my Saab 9-3 back in Feb 2003 and have experienced numerous problems with the onstar system as well as the electrical system (radio snd sid). The onstar computer has been rebooted twice, the sid has finally been replaced, however, I still experience problems with the radio. Periodically, when you start the car, nothing but static comes out of the speakers and the system needs turned off and back on to correct the problem. One last item I forgot to mention. After the last reboot of the onstar system, I discovered that the steering wheel controls no longer work except for the volumn and channel changer.

- Round Lake, IL, USA

problem #5

Aug 202003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles


I picked up my car on February 24, 2003 at night. The next morning I was testing the cd player in the car and it wouldnT work. So I brought back the car for the first time. They said they had to fix something with the computer. About 1 month later my wife was driving my 2 month old son and the car stalled in the middle of the highway. While I was trying to bring it into Saab it stalled another 2 times. They said they have to replace some computer. About 1 month later I started noticing that I was having serious pickup issues. For example, if I was accelerating after a red light I could hit the gas as hard as possible and I still wouldnT move for a solid 2 seconds. This almost became disastrous when a truck nearly hit me because I couldnT move the car. Again I brought the car in and again they replaced some computer. This time they said it was an issue with the fuel injector so they replaced the entire computer. Now about 2 weeks later the car seems to be having the first stages of the same problem. IM trying to get out of my lease but Saab says they believe my car is fixed.

- Teaneck, NJ, USA

problem #4

May 142003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,930 miles
The car stalled on me under normal driving conditions - twice. The first time I was driving home from work and was on a side road going about 30 miles an hour when the gas pedal totally stopped working because the car actually had stalled. The second time was about a week later and unfortunately I was in the middle of the highway during rush hour crawling at about 5 mph and the car totally stalled again. In both instances I turned the car off and turned it on again and the problem was gone. When I called my Saab dealer after the second occurrence, the service consultant told me that there was a reprogramming effort that would fix the problem. I was surprised that he offered a solution right away, so I asked if he knew there was a problem and they weren't sending a recall notice to fix it. He said that not all cars were stalling, only about a quarter of them, and if a customer called with a complaint then they would fix it. So I brought it in for service the next day, and they said that they called the hotline, found a problem and were able to reprogram the car so it should be all fixed.

- Southington, CT, USA

problem #3

Mar 262003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
After slowing down in traffic, my wife attempted to accelerate, but the engine stopped and the engine icon on the dash display was illuminated. The Saab information display (sid) did not show any problems. Luckily she was able to restart and continue on to work. Approximately 25 miles later the engine was sluggish and almost stopped again. In addition the radio has been known to change stations by itself, and the remote mirrors will sometimes move by themselves. The car has been taken to the Saab dealer and a software update has supposedly taken care of the mirrors and engine/ignition, but the radio problem is new. It would have been nice if Saab had been proactive and sought out owners of this particular model (9-3 linear) sooner and notified them of a necessary software update. An engine dying in traffic, an intersection, a train crossing, etc., can be a danger. Also, I'm still waiting for the onstar service to be installed. We purchased the car the first week in January, and now it's may and still no onstar!

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #2

Apr 092003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
I purchased a 2003 Saab 9-3 linear w/ launch package (steel grey) approximately 2 months ago. Four days after my purchase I was driving using the steptronic shifting and the car lost power. Warning lights came on and the dash said to pull over and contact Saab. When I attempted to accelerate and pull over, a severe grinding noise was heard and felt under my right foot. I called roadside assistance and they brought it back to the dealership. After several days the dealership said they saw a computer event "wheel speed mismatch" but was not sure what happened or how this was caused. They said when the car detects a problem it disables portions of the engine and computers and only allows you to go approx 20 mph to make a safe stop. The dealership called this "limp home mode" they said it was similar to a windows "safe mode". as you could imagine I was angry but understand sometimes unexplainable things happen. Now less than 2 months later it happened again. This time though I was on the freeway in rush hour traffic. After nearly getting into an accident I managed to call Saab roadside and again they had to tow me. All of the symptoms were the same and even the grinding.. I sit here with a loaner waiting for info on the cause. I was wondering if anyone else here has experienced anything similar" or has anyone here heard of anything like this with the Saab" any information or insight would be greatly appreciated.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #1

Jan 182003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
My 2003 Saab 9-3 with 900 miles has been back to the dealer to be serviced on 3 separate occasions for computer malfunctions. I have leased this car for about a month. The dealer has attempted repairs but has not been successful. The computer problems have been a hazard while driving the car and have also been a nuisance. The locking system on the car has failed to work on more than 3 occasions leaving the car un-lockable and it has triggered the alarm system on many occasions. The dome light will light and stay on when I am driving making it difficult to drive at night. There have been other computer malfunctions that I can discuss in detail if needed. The computer problems make this car unpredictable and in my opinion dangerous to drive.

- Doylestown, PA, USA

Not what you are looking for?