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NHTSA — Electrical System Problems


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
70,890 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 9-5 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Saab 9-5 Owner Comments

problem #20

May 062016


  • 41,000 miles


The contact owns a 1993 Buick regal. The contact stated that all door locks would become stuck when activated by the electronic door lock system. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 41,000.

- Vaill, CO, USA

problem #19

Jul 042011


  • 50,030 miles
I was driving the car when suddenly the car when dead while I was driving it.I was lucky that I was able to restart it and there was a gas station right near by. It did not start up normally and was very sluggish. I was in the middle of traffic when this happened but fortunately not heavy traffic and in the right lane. It was very scary. They towed my Saab to a Saab dealer for me who had to install a new ignition. This happened about 4-5 years ago on my Saab 2003 9-5 station wagon which was built by GM. I believe it was built on the same platform of one of the Cadillac that is under recall.

- Irvington, NY, USA

problem #18

Jan 192014


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saab 9-5. the contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact stated that the steering wheel and the brakes seized as the engine stalled. The contact was able to stop the vehicle with the emergency brake. The vehicle was towed to a local mechanic, who performed a diagnostic test and discovered that the ignition discharge module was defective. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign I.D. number: 06V410000 (electrical system) and called the manufacturer, who advised that the VIN was not included in the recall. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #17

Nov 222005


  • miles


The horn often fails to work when the steering wheel mounted airbag cover is pressed. This is an ongoing, unresolved problem. A dealer replaced a part under warranty but that did not fix the problem. I have seen several other 2002+ 9-5S with the same horn failure issue.

- Long Beach, NY, USA

problem #16

Jan 222013

9-5 6-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
I was driving approximately 30-35 mph down a four lane road when the car stalled leaving me with no power at the accelerator. It became very difficult to steer the car and the brake pedal became very hard to depress. Luckily I was able to coast off the road where the car came to a complete stop blocking the entrance/exit of a gas station. I was less then 200 feet from where I was turning onto the entrance ramp of a highway. The gas station attendant was very upset telling me I can not leave my car there. The car would not start after several attempts. The car was towed to the mechanic. The car has been at the service station for over 2 weeks now. The technician is unable to find the reason the car stalled. However he explained that the fuel pump and the fuel pump relay are operational. He also explained that there is no electricity getting to the fuel pump. He has already replaced the crankshaft position sensor and is in the process of checking all sensors and relays. During my own research, I have found that these cars have faulty electrical systems with many recalls on the direct ignition cassette (dic). At this point, we do not know what caused the problem. I am a single mother with 2 young children and rely on this automobile on a daily basis. In fact, I had just dropped my daughter (9 years old) off at dancing school. I was just on the highway 20 minutes prior to dropping my daughter off at dancing school. I am extremely concerned that this will happen again. I can not afford to have this problem happen without cause and warning. Would you please forward me any information via E-mail or regular mail that would help assure me this problem will never happen again. If you know this car is problematic then please inform me to sell the car so I can get a more reliable car that will prevent the risk of injury or death to me and my family.

- Meriden, CT, USA

problem #15

Oct 262011

9-5 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
My car was built in 2002 as well as others reported, I purchased it used 3 years ago with 64K miles. My direct ignition control in 2003 9-5 linear sedan 2.3T ceased. Upon research, my dic is the original part 9197559 TK3.6 2000-2002 are recalled and 'some' 2003 VIN's. with the over abundance of dic failures with the exact same part number, these need to be recalled as a whole. Upon removal of the dic, the engine is leaking at the seams of the head from where the bolts are located, inside the dic and engine section is perfectly clean. Bolts in the head of the engine loose, 1 was lifted out enough to just remove straight out. Car blows blueish smoke when it was starting, switches are defective (GM known issue), oil / engine / head known issues, suspension known issues (among other serious Saab failures). I have spent thousands of dollars on this vehicle since purchase. The known recalls must be expanded to include the parts, not just 'year' or 'specific VIN'. this was supposed to be a safe, reliable car but instead is causing serious financial issues. Please help the owners all over the world, we should not have to pay for all of this.. we already paid for their 'bailout'! sincerely~ can not take any more repairs!!!

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #14

Sep 282011

9-5 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles


Check engine light kept going on and off and car had made a loud popping noise from the electrical system, when trying to start one day. I checked online for recalls, which stated there was a recall for electrical, ignition issues. I took my car into a repair shop to check on check engine light. There is a recall 06V410000, Oct 26 2006 for this very issue but for 6 cylinder, and mine is a 4 cylinder engine. The repair shop replaced the ign cassette. This was a very expensive repair, $582.45 and should be covered by Saab. My car could have caught on fire. What do you have to say about that!

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #13

Mar 132011

9-5 4WD 6-cyl

  • 80,956 miles
2003 Saab / 9-5 -- 6-cylinder gasoline engine -- mileage: 80,956 -- manufacturer: Saab cars usa, Inc. --my Saab suddenly and without warning had a loss of power, rough operation, check engine light and smoke. The sudden stop almost caused an accident. I found out this is due to an electrical system issue with the ignition module. I have replaced the part and with labor the cost was $441. My research has uncovered a recall in VIN numbers up to 7727. My VIN number ends less than 1000 later. The issue is exactly as identified in the recall. (NHTSA action number: PE05017) I have retained the part and the shop verified that it is the original part. I believe that this and the other of the two parts should be covered under the recall. Saab has declined and suggested my only recourse was to contact

- Wake Forest, NC, USA

problem #12

Aug 202010


  • 98,723 miles
Without warning, on two occasions, my wife's 2003 Saab 9-5 aero wagon has stopping running while she was driving in traffic at approximately 45 miles per hour. The car has been factory maintained and is in excellent condition. Obviously, it is very dangerous to have the vehicle stop running without any warning. The car had a new fuel pump and crankshaft sensor installed but the problem recurred about 6 weeks after the repair. Thank you for your time and consideration. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Alamo, CA, USA

problem #11

Jul 032009


  • 47,612 miles
Check engine light on constantly. Fault code determined direct ignition cassette could fail any time. Replaced ignition cassette and spark plugs.

- Newton, MA, USA

problem #10

Jun 022009

9-5 6-cyl

  • 73,000 miles


Both direct ignition cassettes failed on my 2003 Saab 9-5 3.0L V6. GM recalled the cassettes on the 2000-2002 model years.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #9

Jun 012009


  • 80,000 miles
My 2003 9-5 linear is having many of the same electrical problems as described by others. My check engine light came on recently and I had the codes read. The codes represented a misfire problem. When doing research I learned that it is most usually the direct ignition module, failure at 80000 miles? since then the car has suddenly shut down on the highway (one time), forcing me to weave through traffic with no power to get to the side. The car restarted immediately after stopping. Now the car seems to buck when driving and at idle, which is also representative of a dim failure. I will be bringing it to the shop to get repaired under my aftermarket warranty, but I feel that Saab should be paying since the failure is the same as the 2000-2002 model year recall.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #8

Apr 212009


  • 94,000 miles
Failure of 2003 Saab 95 direct ignition cassette.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #7

Mar 252009

9-5 6-cyl

  • 127,125 miles
My 2003 Saab 9-5 arc V6 3.0turbo has begun having issues with the ignition. It frequently will not start. It turns over but the engine will not completely fire. In addition, once it does start it will often stall out. This generally happens when switching from park to drive or reverse or when at a stoplight/stop sign. Once the car stalls it does not just restart. The spark plugs are all new and no lines are broken/damaged. I have examined recalls on this car and recall05087/15021B describes my problem and my model of car is listed yet I am told that this recall does not apply to my VIN number. This has happened for a few months. I am listing the incident date as today's date.

- Conesus, NY, USA

problem #6

Jan 302009


  • 66,500 miles
Car runs perfectly and at highway speeds will randomly stall. If you can manage to not get into an accident the car will start right back up after you turn off the key and restart. Sometimes every couple of miles, and can go several miles without the stall. Seems to only happen at constant speeds. This is a very dangerous problem. Diagnostic codes are P1230 and P1261, but I think these are results of the sudden stall, and not the problem. Updated 03/10/09.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #5

Nov 112008


  • 79,654 miles
My check engine light had been on- my mechanic said there was a recall (which I verified on your site), yet when I took it to Saab (and called), they said my particular VIN # was not covered. Amazing coincidence that the exact part that was recalled got replaced??!! please advise me what I can/should do. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #4

May 062008


  • 70,000 miles
The check engine light keep coming on and I had a mechanic checked and the di cassette was failing, and causing engine misfire. My Saab 9-5 is year 2003 model and only has about 70K miles. From what I read online, the part does have a limited and less than reasonable life. It was recalled for model year 2000 through 2002.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #3

May 092008


  • 48,000 miles
The engine warning light on my 2003 9-5 wagon has been coming on periodically for the last year. We had it serviced by an indy and two error codes came up, P1312 and P1334, both having to do with the direct ignition cassette. We just had the part replaced. Only once did the car "die" while driving and luckily it was at low speed and I was able to pull off the road to restart. The identifying information on the original part is 9197559 (TK3.6). My vehicle was built in 2002. Consider expanding the recall in place for 2000-2002 model years (NHTSA #05V399000) to include 2003 vehicles, particularly those built in 2002.

- Kensington, MD, USA

problem #2

Mar 102007

9-5 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,200 miles
Driving on the interstate - exited onto an interchange ramp at 50 mph - and the engine stalled without warning. Vehicle at rear nearly rear-ended mine - but missed by a hairs whisker. Another piece of luck was that I was at the crest of the ramp so managed to "coast" towards the shoulder. Waited for a bit - the car wouldn't restart. Had to spend perilous time on the left shoulder before getting my car towed. At the time of writing - the car is sitting in the dealers lot. Nothing special happened prior to this incident. Previously a similar incident had occurred just outside my residence - and the dealer checked it out and said it might just be "bad gas". Saab's customer assistance program was useless. Based on the other incidents reported - refer to ODI #S: 10162804, 10137685, 10097342 - there is something definitely wrong with this vehicle. Please take action before someone loses their life.

- Berkeley Heights, NJ, USA

problem #1

Oct 152003

9-5 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
The vehicle stalled on 4 separate occasions from various speeds of 25 mph or more while driving. The vehicle has been to the dealer on 3 separate occasions. The dealer has cleaned and tightened the battery cables, the first time, they replaced the crank sensor, T-7 and the ignition switch, the second time and the third time, they were unable to duplicate the problem. The ECM was replaced but the vehicle stalled again, the cup holder crack and had broken, the battery cables were loose and dirty, the transmission did not shift properly and caused a jerking motion, the electrical gauges dropped and the vehicle lost acceleration.

- Brookfield, CT, USA

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