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.

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NHTSA — Engine And Engine Cooling: Engine Problems


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
10,572 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Saab 9-3 Owner Comments

problem #14

Mar 162007

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 93 Saab. The engine lost power without warning, and when attempting to restart the vehicle the steering function was lost as well. The onstar indicator read that the steering and engine were malfunctioning. On eighteen occasions the Saab dealer was unable to diagnose the failure, and refused to purchase back the vehicle. Also, the dealer stated that the vehicle was operating normally. On March 16, 2007, the vehicle was parked and accelerated without warning and drove into a cement wall. After the recent failure Saab's diagnosis was to replace the fuel pump. However, the failure continued to occur. The contact was injured while being three months pregnant. The air bags deployed, and there was severe damage to the vehicle. The current and failure mileage were 57,000.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #13

Nov 062003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The lease on this vehicle began on October 6, 2003. It has had multiple electrical issues starting less than 30 days after delivery. Most recently, September 11, 2005. I have been stranded three times and had to have the car towed twice. Each time the onstar did not work because of electrical malfunctions. We no longer have any confidence in this vehicle and if we owned it we would sell it. Problems include but are not limited to: * cd player stopped working and was replaced within first 30 days of lease. * brakes replaced within first 60 days of lease. * onstar computer replaced within first 60 days of lease. * vehicle computer updated within first year of lease. This left me stranded and almost required a tow due to inoperative transmission but, the vehicle eventually shifted into limp mode before the tow truck arrived allowing us to drive it to the dealership. * vehicle computer updated again within first year of lease. * onstar computer repaired again within first year of lease. * door handles faded and replaced within second year * parking break stuck and vehicle required a tow within second year of lease. * engine immobilizer malfunction requiring another tow of the vehicle within second year of lease. We were told that the battery abruptly died. * trip computer must be reset after gas is added in order to show correct distance to empty. * miles between oil changes seem incorrect. We are at 27000 miles and have only had one oil change. The dealership continues to tell us to wait until the computer requests the service.

- Beavercreek, OH, USA

problem #12

Dec 152004

9-3 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Over a span of two months, my 2003 Saab 93 has had a vacuum pump replaced 3 times. On each occasion, the dealer, cherry hill classic cars, has advised me that the part is on back order, and that Saab "must be having problems" with or, or that "sabb is redesigning" the part. After each time the dealer replaced the part, the check engine light comes on again. The first time this happened, the car would hesitate upon acceleration, or would "sputter". the dealership now claims that the system to which the valve is connected is "filling up with water". as I understand it, the valve recirculation engine exhaust to help the engine warm up and/or burn fuel more efficiently. Saab customer service, if you can call it that, was unaware of the problem. Customer service has no way of tracking the problem as "each dealer is independently owned". as a result, the dealer has had my car for almost a two month period, and the part is still on back order.

- Southampton, NJ, USA

problem #11

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 #10

Feb 192004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
I purchased my Saab 9-3 linear on 1/16/03, and within 2 months my check engine light started turning on, and stalled out 3 times. It has been in the shop over 11 times due to this problem and every time I have been told it is my gas cap, gas evap leak, or software updates. Mind you I am 6 months pregnant and the last stall out I was on a very busy street going 40mph (last month). They have replaced my gas cap too - saying this will solve the problem. I can never get a hold of any one at Saab to discuss - so I have resulted to the lemon law. But in reality this is a critical problem that needs to be fixed as many people on this sight have escaped injury.

- La Verne, CA, USA

problem #9

Jan 302004

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,225 miles
While driving thru a S curve, my car stalled and lost all power. The split second loss of power on a turn caused me to cross into on coming traffic before I reacted to bring my car back into my own lane. I was luckily that no other vehicles were coming from the opposite direction or I would hit them head on. My 2003 Saab 9-3 coasted to an area off the side of the road where I stopped and restarted the engine. Again luckily that there was a road shoulder to pull over on. This is the 3rd time this has happened. The dealer response at the first time was "that's ok if it only happens once"...but guess what it is still happening and seems to be a well known problem.. hopefully we dont have to wait for someone to be killed before Saab fixes it.

- Lutz, FL, USA

problem #8

Dec 292003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,200 miles


While driving 30 mph vehicle stalled. Driver was able to avoid a collision, and got the vehicle to the side of the road. Dealership mechanic upgraded the software for the engine.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #7

Jan 102003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 500 miles
I have experienced intermittent stalling with my 2003 Saab 9-3. after giving the dealership approximately 5 chances to fix the problem, they were unable to. I then called customer service and they denied that there was any problem with the car and tried to say this was the normal function of the vehicle. They have made another attempt to fix the car. I then learned on your website that others had experienced this problem. I hope it is resolved.

- Des Peres, MO, USA

problem #6

Jul 212003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50 miles
Brand new 2003 Saab 9-3 arc just stalls. My engine has stalled for no reason numerous times. This problem has been happening since the days after I got the car. I have been to the dealership several times to have this problem corrected, every time they tell me that I am just about making it up. They can never find a problem with the car, and Saab corporation is no help.

- Medford, MA, USA

problem #5

Oct 082003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving vehicle stalled, and the steering wheel locked. The cause had not been determined.

- Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #4

Aug 142003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


I have a 2003 Saab 9-3 linear. I have had the car stall on me in traffic 4 times now over the last 4 months. I now realize I'm far from the only one this has happened to. This is a very dangerous situation as I have been in highway traffic 3 of the 4 times. Luckily in the outside lane and able to pull off. I have automatic transmission and run high octance fuel (recommended). Hopefully something can be done to press GM and force them to fix this problem.

- Enola, PA, USA

problem #3

Jul 222003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,100 miles
My Saab 9-3 ss 2003 stalled today.completely lost E power also couldnt turn steering wheel.lucky not to get hit from behind since I was driving in a residential area.the car started after I turned it back on, there was no error messages, only the engine light came on while the problem occurance like this in the freeway would have been catastrophic.from various internet forums I have read owners of the same type of vehicle having similiar problem.NHTSA will need to take action to prevent injuries or even fatalities in the future

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #2

May 172003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,840 miles
My 2003 Saab 9-3 had intermittent stalling and loss of power issues. Since delivery on 1/09/2003, the car has stalled 4 times and lost power twice. I have been in contact with the dealership and Saab and the problem has not been resolved. On 5/13/03 new engine management firm ware was installed. On 5/17/03 the car again malfunctioned. There appears to be a serious issue with the vehicle that Saab is not able to resolve.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #1

Apr 162003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,100 miles
My brand new 2003 Saab 9-3 with 1100 miles on it, failed me. I was in the middle of making a right turn in rush hour traffic, and my engine quit - the engine light came on, power steering and power brakes were off so it made the car incredibly heavy to turn. I was able to coast into a parking lot without getting hit, but it was still terrifying. I turned the key off, and started the car right back up, drove it to the dealership a mile away where it's been awaiting a "software upgrade" for 5 days. On I found that several owners of 2003 Saab 9-3S have experienced the same thing. How dangerous!

- Farmers Branch, TX, USA

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