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NHTSA — Engine Problems

2008 Saab 9-3 (Page 2 of 3)

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
90,914 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.

2008 Saab 9-3 engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Saab 9-3 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #25

Jan 012015

9-3 4-cyl

  • 103,000 miles

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

We purchased a 2008 Saab 9-3 in 3/2011 with 34,000 miles. As of 2/2015 the vehicle has 104,000 miles. Last month the vehicle barely started after sitting overnight and would take several minutes to reach a normal idle. It would then start the rest of the day, sometimes after a "hard" start. The check engine light came on and the mechanic said the code read as a "cylinder misfire" code. 8 days ago the car would not start and is now sitting in my driveway. I called a Saab specialist about 2 hours away from me who knew exactly what the problem was. He explained the intake valve problem that a lot of Saab owners are experiencing due to defective materials used by GM and/or suppliers. He said the cost will be at least $2,200 but could easily be more depending on the severity. This is a known defect (a service bulletin has been issued detailing this issue) that should be subject to a recall. We cannot afford to fix an engine that does not work due to substandard valves. This is not a normal "wear and tear" issue, but an issue dealing with parts that were doomed from the beginning.

- S. Williamsport, PA, USA

problem #24

Dec 232014

9-3 4-cyl

  • 80,300 miles
Compression in cylinder one is not firing at a full psi per mfg standards. It's causing a cold start issue and the car barely turns over to start when it's not warmed up.

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #23

Dec 232014

9-3 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Vehicle doesn't start due to low compression on cold days. Car will leave you stranded in extreme temps.

- Old Lyme, CT, USA

problem #22

Dec 032014

9-3 4-cyl

  • 128,000 miles

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

Same as problem below: Since I need the car badly, I've instructed my mechanic to start working on the fix. Over time the valves in the 2.0T engine will wear causing dramatic loss in compression. Problem starts with rough idling and trouble turning over at cold start but escalates to a point where the car will not start what so ever. It appears that when manufacturing the engine GM put valves made of a softer than usual metal. These valves get essentially hammered against the cylinder head to a point where the edges become so thin they are razor sharp. A service bulletin was sent out to dealers from spna (Saab parts North America), which means that GM is well aware of this issue. A Saab mechanic warned me that the problem could get worse at any time regardless of mileage and that sooner of later my car would not start. To fix this issue all 16 valves would need to be replaced. This involves serious time and effort and I was quoted a price of up to $3,000 for a repair. Please be advised that this problem effects every Saab 9-3 with the 2.0T from 2007 to 2011. GM should be held accountable for these faulty parts and issue a recall.

- Woodhaven, NY, USA

problem #21

Nov 182014

9-3

  • 96,000 miles
For the second year in a row, with temperature in the teens, the car will not start due to bad intake valves. As noted by many consumers on several Saab forums, this engine loses significant compression in the cylinders causing difficult starting, a very rough idle and ultimately resulting in a valve job.

- Avon, OH, USA

problem #20

Feb 012013

9-3 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Engine refused to start in cold weather. Saab technician confirmed an issue with intake valves being defective. The intake valves would not seal cause compression to get as low as 40 psi causing no start condition. Saab refused to cover it under warranty on the 61st month of ownership vehicle came with 60 month engine warranty and the cost of repair out of pocket was over $2500. There were days the car wouldn't start away from home after sitting just one day, leaving me stranded in extreme cold weather with no heat. GM and Saab know about this issue as they got poor quality intake valves from a supplier. GM has not yet campaigned/recalled these vehicle, as you know GM culture lacks ethics and have covered up deaths in the past to save money. As a government Agency your responsibility is to protect consumers and be proactive and not act after something horrible has happened. There are more then enough complaints on this website for this issue. Are you waiting for a death to occur before anything is done ? GM new or old should be held accountable for this issue. Its a GM ecotec engine, car was produced on a GM platform. Profits from the vehicle also went to GM. This issue also causes an increase in emissions. As there is loss of compression, cylinder misfire or has incomplete combustion causing an increase in hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide in the tail pipe.

- Holly, MI, USA

problem #19

Mar 032014

9-3

  • 90,000 miles

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

While driving vehicle P0008 engine code occurred, car was taken to an independent mechanic, mechanic stated engine code was indicated by camshaft sensor, and could possibly be a worn timing chain. This is a common issue on GM 2.8 and 3.6 engines and GM has issued a tsb to extend the warranty for the timing chain to 120K miles or ten years. This tsb did not include the timing chain for the 2.8 liter engine in the Saab.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #18

Dec 132013

9-3 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Engine fails to start when cold and when it does, the car runs extremely rough. Car hesitates and drives poorly until engine is finally warm. Cold compression test confirms that there is low compression and that there are defective intake valves. This is a serious problem for a vehicle that is not old at all.

- Kirtland, OH, USA

problem #17

Nov 012012

9-3 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
Cold start problem caused by low compression / defective valves when cold. Runs fine after it warms up. Getting worse over time.

- Needham, MA, USA

problem #16

May 232014

9-3

  • 90,000 miles
Read over the posted problems with Saab 9-3. three main issues are front coils, fuel gauge, and faulty valves. I have had all three of these issues. Coils replaced 18 months ago (GM would not pay). Gas gauge does not work (GM won't pay). Just had the engine rebuilt to fix the exhaust valve problem (out of luck again). Obama waived GM of their history of faults (he needed the votes for re-election) and now consumers are stuck. Saab was a quality product before GM got a hold of it.

- Boalsburg, PA, USA

problem #15

Mar 032014

9-3

  • 58,000 miles

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

Over time the valves in the 2.0T engine will wear causing dramatic loss in compression. Problem starts with rough idling and trouble turning over at cold start but escalates to a point where the car will not start what so ever. It appears that when manufacturing the engine GM put valves made of a softer than usual metal. These valves get essentially hammered against the cylinder head to a point where the edges become so thin they are razor sharp. A service bulletin was sent out to dealers from spna (Saab parts North America), which means that GM is well aware of this issue. A Saab mechanic warned me that the problem could get worse at any time regardless of mileage and that sooner of later my car would not start. To fix this issue all 16 valves would need to be replaced. This involves serious time and effort and I was quoted a price of up to $3,000 for a repair. Please be advised that this problem effects every Saab 9-3 with the 2.0T from 2007 to 2011. GM should be held accountable for these faulty parts and issue a recall.

- Delmont, PA, USA

problem #14

Jul 012013

9-3 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
My wife's car is a 2008 Saab 93 sedan. It had approximately 48,000 miles on it when the engine control module failed at highway speed. This caused loss of power-brakes, power-steering and ability to continue driving. Fortunately, we were able to coast over to the side of the road. The engine would not re-start. We were able to restart it after figuring out which fuse control the "ECM" and pulling/resetting the fuse. The problem re-appeared multiple times on approximately 100-mile intervals. We finally had the ECM replaced with a used one by an independent mechanic. The local Saab dealer quoted ~$1000 for a new ECM. The used unit cost ~$350 and required the shop to "marry" the unit with the car's VIN. There was no warranty on this car as Saab went bankrupt. This is a serious safety concern. Fortunately I was driving and the kids were not in the car.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #13

Jan 022014

9-3

  • 86,000 miles
Prematurely worn intake valves resulting in low compression and excessively rough running motor.

- Cohasset, MA, USA

problem #12

Feb 012013

9-3 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
The problem of a cold start rough idle initially started last year around February 2013. The check engine light did come on every so often and would eventually reset itself. I had the code checked out, and I was told it was misfiring of the spark plugs. I had the spark plugs replaced, but unfortunately this did not solve the problem. I did not have the car looked at again till this year, February 2014, as I wanted to make sure I didn't have bad gas, or it wasn't carbon buildup in the engine. After informing the dealer of the problem I was having, they suggested I leave it overnight so they could test it out the next morning. That morning they called and told me the problem was with the intake valves going bad. They are in the process of ordering the parts and I will have the work completed in March 2014. I have contacted Saab parts North America to see if they would be willing to help in anyway since my car was just out of warranty, and I was told they would not and that GM probably wouldn't either due to the bankruptcy. I will be attempting to call GM and see if they are willing to help in anyway since my vehicle was manufactured while Saab was still owned by GM. I have also found out at Saab central forums there are numerous owners of the 07-11 years that are experiencing the same problem at about the same mileage. I have also learned there is a spna bulletin that has been sent to dealers, so they know about this problem and have chosen not to stand behind their product by issuing a recall.

- Gretna, NE, USA

problem #11

Dec 202013

9-3 4-cyl

  • 74,916 miles
I'm not certain if this is a safety issue but it certainly qualifies as an emissions issue and a manufacturer's defect. On every cold start, the engine would run rough until I put it in drive and would run fine after a few minutes. I let it sit and idle for a while once and the check engine light came on as a result. A local dealership found low compression across 2 cylinders and informed me it was the dreaded valve issue (intake valve cupping they called it). The dealership had fixed a number of these and from various online forums, I see that a number of 2007 and 2008 Saab 9-3 owners seem to have experienced the same problem. The repair consisted of removing and replacing all 8 intake valves, hand lapping them, removing and replacing all valve seals, and refinishing the head mating surface. The repair was very expensive, several thousand dollars. I've had the car back for a couple of weeks and the problem is gone. I was told this issue seems to happen around this amount of mileage and in cold weather states. Of course my warranty had expired 6 months earlier and I imagine this is the case with many other Saab 9-3 owners with '07 and '08 vehicles. With the new parts, I was told I shouldn't run into this problem again.

- Norton, MA, USA

problem #10

Nov 302010

9-3 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
It has very rough start every morning when it's cold. From Saab forum (www.saabcentral.com/) there are numbers of people that is having the same issue for newer Saab 9-3's. the problem is intake valves of engine becoming really thin and failing over time.. the engine shakes the whole car and sometime the car doesn't even want to start.. I wouldn't be surprise if one day I cant start the car..

- Troy, MI, USA

problem #9

Jan 072014

9-3 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
My car was exhibiting a hard start and misfires from 90,000 and up. It was more present in cold weather. It finally failed to turn over in -15 degree weather (-40 wind chill), had I been in a remote area there would have been a very real danger of hypothermia and frostbite. After some online investigation I found that numerous people are experiencing the same problem with any Saab 9-3 2.0T (B207 engine) over 75,000 miles. The problem is related to bad intake valves that become razor sharp and cannot hold compression especially in colder climates.

- Mount Pleasant, WI, USA

problem #8

Jan 082014

9-3

  • 75,000 miles
No start/cold climate for 2008 Saab 9-3 2.0T. Towed to Saab dealership after cold no start yesterday 01/07/2014. Saab technician diagnosis(01/08/2014): Intake/inlet valves worn causing low engine compression, hence; failed start attempts. Engine compression and leak down tests performed to pinpoint exact problem.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #7

Feb 062013

9-3 4-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
Rough idle and low compression when cold, symptom did not appear after the engine is warm. Intake valves failed and cost $1,700 to rebuild the head.

- Aloha, OR, USA

problem #6

Dec 022013

9-3

  • 104,000 miles
Noticed our 2008 Saab 9-3 2.0 has been starting and idling rough in could weather. Once the car warms up to operating regular operating temperature, the car idles smoothly. Performed a compression test on the cold engine and found low compression on two of the four cylinders. Apparently, the intake valves in the cylinder on this model are wearing badly not seating correctly when the engine is cold. Once the engine warms up and expands, the valves seat correctly and engines runs normally. This is a catastrophic engine failure and GM should recall these cars to repair engine with the proper valves. I have requested quoted from two independent shops and they we $2100 and $2300 respectively. We haven't been able to start the car in a week.

- Burnsville, MN, USA

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