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NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2003 Saab 9-3 (Page 1 of 2)

4.9

definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,633 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Saab 9-3 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Dec 062007

9-3

  • 72,686 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Car doesn't want to shift into the next gear. Second time this car has been in for the same issue. This time they had to replace the transmissions.

- Mayfield Heights, OH, USA

problem #22

Oct 112006

9-3

  • 52,683 miles
When driving, the transmission will come out of gear at any RPM's.

- Mayfield Heights, OH, USA

problem #21

Aug 182006

9-3

  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saab 9-3. when the contact turned the vehicle, the instrument panel indicated that there was a gear box malfunction. The warning light dimmed a few days later. Afterwards, the contact experienced acceleration failures. After idling at a traffic light, it was difficult to accelerate. The vehicle would also shift uneasily. While attempting to merge onto the freeway, the vehicle would not pick up speed and allow her to shift gears. The contact was concerned that the lack of acceleration could cause a crash while merging into traffic. The dealer stated that a new transmission was needed. She spoke with the manufacturer and is awaiting a return call; however, she was informed that they probably would be unable to assist. The speed was unknown. The current mileage was approximately 54,000 and failure mileage was approximately 38,000.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #20

Jul 272007

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

2003 Saab 93 linear - heating/air condition blower motor component failure. Power driver window regulator component failure. Dealer replacing both parts. The transmission has slippage when accelerating at lower shifts after coasting at slower speeds 20 to 30 mph or hard spring to next gear from stop, very similar to complaints already recorded. Dealer has previously updated the software to correct and now suggests new value body or complete transmission.

- Clawson, MI, USA

problem #19

Aug 122006

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles
Gearbox malfunction, intermittent shifting or sudden deceleration we bought the car in April 2006. The car ran fine until August 2006 when the first gearbox malfunction light was indicated with an inability for the automatic transmission to downshift. Since the first gearbox malfunction the 2003 93 Saab has been in the garage (under warranty) six times for a total of 49 days. I have asked for GM/Saab to take/buy the car back. My car was in the authorized Saab service garage (portland Saab) for the entire month of December 2006 where the entire transaxle was replaced. The car is currently at coldbrook Saab (where I bought the car) for another gearbox malfunction.

- Bath, ME, USA

problem #18

Nov 122006

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,017 miles
Under normal driving conditions while driving approximately 45 mph, the gas gauge read just over 1 bar of fuel remaining when a traction control system failure and gearbox malfunction message appeared in the display screen. Immediately following, the engine shut off and all control of the vehicle failed. No one was injured at the time due to the late hour and there being no other traffic near by but had there been traffic an accident would have most likely resulted from the failures.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #17

Oct 292006

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,400 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Automatic transmission completely failed while driving on highway without prior warning. Only 35,400 miles at failure. Had to be towed to dealer which is replacing transmission under warranty.

- Madison, NJ, USA

problem #16

Oct 192006

9-3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
Abruptly, at 53,000 miles, the transmission failed. Dealer could not explain why, except to cite various "codes." Dealer said they do not check those codes at the 45,000 mile interval. Saab refused to do anything about it, even after a polite appeal. Apparently, Saab doesn't value me as a customer, and refuses to admit that they have any blame. Estimated dealer cost, including tax, is about $7,500. I have always meticulously maintained my Saab. A transmission that fails at 53,000 miles (on the highway, creating a safety issue) on its own, with no advance warning, is obviously defective. I am a 4 time Saab owner -- won't be buying a Saab again, for sure, although before this incident I was planning to buy an 9-7 in a couple of years. If it wasn't such a hassle, I would file a lawsuit -- among other things, I am sure that this defective transmission was defective at 50,000 miles, just as it obviously was at 53,000.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #15

Sep 042006

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,500 miles
"gear box malfunction". after owning a pre-owned 2003 9-3 Saab for not even three weeks, the transmission in the vehicle went out. Now that the vehicle is out of warranty, at 55K it is costing well over $7,000!! the transmission skips every gear except for 2nd and 5th. Very nice car, but won't ever own another.

- Kent, WA, USA

problem #14

Jul 172006

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
Transmission slips constantly. Service center states that the diagnostic is not indicating any issues and all is normal. The incident date was the last time it occurred.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #13

Dec 312005

9-3

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Gearbox malfunction has occurred twice leaving me stranded on the highway and the car will not go over 5 mph. Extremely dangerous as this occurs unexpectedly in traffic. Dealer fixed both times, but transmission still slipped and I feared driving it. The dealer took it in again and had their transmission specialist drive and inspect it. The dealer says that there is a known problem with the 2003 9.3 Saab with contamination of the transmission fluid causing the transmission to fail. The transmission fluid is cooled within a section of the radiator. The block that separates the coolant from the transmission fluid is bad and causes the coolant to leak into the transmission fluid. I was scheduled for a new transmission, a new radiator (under warranty), but the car failed a 3rd time when I was trying to drive to the dealer for service. They had another 9.3 scheduled at the same time for the same problem. Additionally, they are telling me that I need front and back brakes - not under warranty - will cost me $1,000. This is the most serious of the problems I have had with this car, but have had it in the shop 16 days for numerous problems with headlights, on star, sid, locks, door issue, window issue, oil leaks. I am very concerned that a car with this safety rating can have this many problems and especially the extremely dangerous transmission issues that leave you stranded in traffic.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #12

Sep 152005

9-3

  • miles
Brake pads & rotors, seat belt, battery replacement, tire, transmission, sunroof malfunction.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #11

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 #10

May 052003

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 280 miles
Transmission slips and the vehicle stalls in the middle of the road.

- Bowling Green, KY, USA

problem #9

Sep 302004

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
This is a second complaint and update to 1/1/04 complaint previously submitted. Since then car has been to the dealer 2 additional times for transmission slippage with no resolution. Also car has been in for broken front seat, faulty finish on door handles and dash board, brake squeal, and problems closing sun roof. All problems cured other than transmission slippage and steering alignment. Called Saab usa previously whom advised to continue working with the dealer, who can not fix. Transmission slippage can be dangerous when depending on an auto to react a certain way in accident avoidance situations and auto responds differently. In my opinion this problem coupled with all the others is a violation of express warranties of the manufacture. Please investigate this transmission slippage issue as there are multiple complaints on this message board. Thank you.

- Wantagh, NY, USA

problem #8

Apr 062004

(reported on)

9-3

  • miles
While driving at 40 mph the vehicle stalled. The driver tried to restart the vehicle and was able to get it started. The driver was able to take the vehicle to the dealer for inspection. The mechanic can not duplicate the problem.

- York Springs, PA, USA

problem #7

Feb 192004

9-3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
Wanted to give an update. After 2 months of waiting for Saab to respond to my lemon law filing with an attorney, I have been able to get rid of my 9-3 linear. Car still has hesitation after they have claimed to have repaired the software problem. Transmission is now slipping, onstar malfunctions once a week, and have a rattle in the dash board. Saab is fully aware of all of the problems. Just wanted to give others the confidence to fight them on the problems of the engine stalling.

- La Verne, CA, USA

problem #6

Jan 092004

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,500 miles
Leased 2003 Saab 9-3 arc on 9/26 and this is my second complaint (10051379) and I still have not heard from Saab customer care regarding their fixing the loud right rear rattling/knocking noise. I have called numerous times with no call back. I now have two more problems... the car hesitates, sputters and almost stalls... the dealer increased the idle and that was the fix... I do not feel safe when starting off from a stop or driving in stop and go traffic. Also the transmission is shifting hard between gears between 10 and 30 mphs... it started a few days ago and is becoming more prevalent as each day passes..both these problems along with the loud rattling/knocking noise from right rear that dealer says is normal tell me that this car has problems that Saab doesn't want to deal with and that is not right.

- East Weymouth, MA, USA

problem #5

Jan 082004

(reported on)

9-3

  • miles
Consumer stated when accelerating to pass another vehicle it felt as though transmission was slipping. Took vehicle to dealer, and dealer performed an adaptation adjustment.

- Pamplin, VA, USA

problem #4

Jan 012004

9-3 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,500 miles
Purchased 2003 9-3 linear in August 2003. The car has been back to the dealer for service several times within the first few months of ownership. First time car was in on complaint of front wheels out of alignment (car pulls to the left all the time coasting, under acceleration, etc.). the steering wheel must be held slightly off center to allow the car to go straight. Dealer denied problem and attributed it to curvature in the road. I have driven other cars over the same road even the same model loaner car without the pull to the left. Complained two additional times with no response from dealer. Because the car has more significant problems I have given up on this one for now. Second time car was out of service for over 20 consecutive days while dealer diagnosed and fixed onstar and stereo malfunction. The stereo was not functioning at several points in the day and then would come back on automatically at the next start-up. Dealer replaced all components of the system stereo, cd player, onstar module, ect. To correct the problem. Third time was a major complaint. I have experienced slippage in the automatic transmission at almost every other shift under moderate to hard acceleration. The car actually revs rpms between shift for 3 to 4 seconds before shifting to the next gear. Additionally, under hard acceleration from a complete stop the car will not shift until after fuel pump cut-off in the RPM range. Dealer could not diagnose via computer; however I suggested a tech drove the car for a day or two. Tech acknowledged slippage problem and said he experienced a similar problem on other 2003 9-3 vehicles; however; was unable to diagnose or fix. He put in a call to Saab technical to see if they have further information. We await Saab technical response.

- Wantagh, NY, USA

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