2003 Saab 9-3

4 Defect Investigations from the NHTSA

NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2003 Saab 9-3

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2003 Saab 9-3, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. ENGINE STALL NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA04008

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: March 19, 2004
    • Date Closed: October 27, 2004
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Electrical System:Ignition:Module
    Engine And Engine Cooling

    Summary: On December 30, 2003, ODI opened a preliminary evaluation (PE03-059) to investigate 16 complaints alleging engine stall while driving in model year 2003 Saab 9-3 sport sedans with 2.0L turbocharged engines.on January 15, 2004, General Motors (GM) advised ODI that GM and Saab had decided to conduct a global customer satisfaction campaign to correct two distinct engine management software conditions that could result in engine stall in approximately 12 thousand Saab 9-3 vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions.the remedies for both conditions involved reprogramming the engine management software. GM has stated that neither condition can occur during vehicle acceleration and in both cases the vehicle can be safely controlled and immediately restarted after engine stall. For these reasons, among others, GM believes that the subject vehicles do not contain a safety-related defect. To date, ODI has not received any reports of crashes allegedly due to stalling of the subject vehicles.nevertheless, ODI believes that the circumstances associated with these stalling conditions can have a significant adverse effect on safety.ODI believes that the conditions addressed by GM's customer satisfaction campaign would have been more appropriately treated as a safety recall.however, based on the very high completion rates for that campaign (83.3 percent overall) and GM's letter describing its future approach to the consideration of stalling issues, ODI has decided that further expenditure of Agency resources on this investigation is not warranted.therefore, this investigation is closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.the Agency will take further action if warranted by the circumstances.for additional information see the attached report.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA04008 »

  2. ENGINE STALL NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE03059

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: December 30, 2003
    • Date Closed: March 19, 2004
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Electrical System:Ignition:Module
    Engine And Engine Cooling

    Summary: The subject vehicles are equipped with automatic transmissions and turbocharged engines with two different power outputs, 175 hp and 210 hp.Saab has modified the electonic control module (ECM) software in the subject vehicles to correct problems that could result in engine stall in both engines. In January 2003, Saab disabled the dual mass flywheel (dmf) protection (intended only for manual transmission vehicles) in subject vehicles with 175 hp engines.according to Saab, dmf protection in a vehicle with automatic tranmssion may cause the engine to stall when releasing the accelerator pedal when coming to a stop or when the vehicle is coasting. In August 2003, Saab revised the ECM software in the 210 hp engines to address a concern with engine stall during "aborted take-off" manuevers.according to Saab, "aborted take-off" stalls occur when the vehicle is stationary and in drive gear, the engine is idling, and the accelerator pedal is pulsed (pressed quickly and released in less than 1 second). There have been 553 non-duplicative complaints to ODI and Saab alleging engine stall in the subject vehicles.there is one reported crash and no injuries.Saab initiated a customer satisfaction program in early February to reprogram the ECM's.Saab reported that 36% of the vehicles had been serviced in the program as of March 9, 2004.this investigation has been upgraded to an engineering analysis to further assess the alleged defect in the subject vehicles and Saab's actions to address the problems.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE03059 »

  3. Front Suspension Coil Spring Fracture NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA08026

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: December 22, 2008
    • Date Closed: June 04, 2010
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Suspension:Front:Springs:Coil Springs

    Summary: To date, ODI is aware of 142 non-duplicative complaints related to the alleged defect.In addition, ODI is aware of 2,626 subject vehicles with one or more warranty claims related to the alleged defect.In total, ODI is aware of 2,714 unique subject vehicles that have experienced one or more front suspension coil spring fractures.ODI is not aware of any crashes or injuries related to the alleged defect.The engineering design and testing data supplied by GM, along with the frequency of consumer complaints and warranty claims related to the alleged defect, tends to support the position that, in general, the coil springs that fractured on many subject vehicles did not achieve the expected service life.However, in regard to the subject vehicles, a front suspension coil spring fracture itself has little safety consequence, as evidenced by the minimal impact on vehicle ride and handling and by the number of drivers who were unaware of the failure condition for some time until alerted by service personnel.The ratio of tire punctures to coil spring fractures appears low and there are no reports of crashes, deaths or injuries related to the alleged defect. A safety-related defect has not been identified at this time and further use of agency resources does not appear to be warranted.Accordingly, this investigation is closed.The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.The agency will continue to monitor this issue and will take further action if warranted by the circumstances.See the EA08-026 Engineering Analysis Closing Report for more details.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA08026 »

  4. FRONT SUSPENSION COIL SPRING FRACTURE NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE08051

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: August 28, 2008
    • Date Closed: December 23, 2008
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Suspension:Front:Springs:Coil Springs

    Summary: On August 28, 2008, the Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened a preliminary evaluation (PE08-051) to investigate alleged front suspension coil spring fractures in certain model year (MY) 2003-2004 Saab 9-3 vehicles sold or registered in "salt belt" states.(note: For purposes of this investigation, the "salt belt" includes Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin).subsequent analysis of data provided by General Motors Corp. (GM) has led the Agency to expand the scope of this investigation to include all MY 2003-2006 Saab 9-3 vehicles sold or registered in "salt belt" states. To date, ODI is aware of 53 non-duplicative complaints and/or field reports that allege coil spring fracture in the subject vehicles, including 23 alleging the fractured spring damaged a tire, with 16 of those involving a tire puncture.analysis of warranty data provided by GM identified 1,218 claims paid to repair subject vehicles that experienced the alleged defect, of which 138 vehicles also suffered damage to the adjacent tire and of those, 79 vehicles experienced a tire puncture.ODI is not aware of any crashes or injuries related to the alleged defect. GM made several design changes to the coil springs and/or mcpherson strut assemblies used in the subject vehicles in an apparent effort to address the alleged defect condition.however, GM maintains that the subject vehicles remain well controlled in the event of tire puncture, that the rate of tire puncture incidents related to coil spring fractures is low, and that the alleged defect does not pose an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.accordingly, this investigation has been upgraded to an engineering analysis (EA08-026) to further study the safety consequences of the alleged defect.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE08051 »

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