NHTSA — Suspension: Front Problems

2003 Saab 9-3 (Page 1 of 2)


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,894 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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

problem #27

Mar 012010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles


This is on a 2003 Saab 9-3 2.0T linear model. There were no injuries this time but the potential is very much there. My wife was pulling out from a stop light and hear a loud pop followed by a loud grinding noise. She pulled off immediately. When I arrived on scene, I found that the drivers front wheel was pushed up into the wheel well. When I removed the tire I found that the spring had broken in two (the bottom last ring broke off) and had dropped down to where the jagged end (still attached/wrapped around the shock) was poking into the tire. It had left a relatively deep gouge all the way around the tire. I am sure I don't have to explain to you what could happen if the spring were to break on the interstate at 70mph and puncture the tire. I am quite certain that if my wife would have kept driving any distance that the spring would have dug its way through the side wall and punctured it. Remember, we cant always just pull off the interstate or stop at the drop of a hat. If you have ever driven through atlanta you will know this to be true ;) anyway, went digging on the internet trying to purchase replacement springs and found out that Saab had issued a special warranty for spring failures on some of the 9-3's (including mine). Apparently, Saab is aware that road debris can get jammed in the spring mount and eat at the coating away on the bottom coil and allow corrosion to work its magic resulting in the springs breaking/failing. So, I call Saab. They tell me that I am not covered because I do not live in what they consider to be the snow belt. Which is the upper/more northern states. They tell me that the failure has been reported more in these states and it is due to road salting. Furthermore, I am told that they are only replacing the springs after they have failed. As these cars start to get some age on them, I think we are going to start seeing more and more of these failures. Will it take someone dying for them to issue a recall campaign?

- Cawood, KY, USA

problem #26

Jan 242010


  • 71,000 miles
No events leading to failure. Passenger front spring broke at 71,000 miles. Broke previously at 35,000 miles. Current brake at 71,000, broken spring dug into passenger front tire and prevent the car from steering to the left. Springs were replaced by the dealer after the 35,000 mile failure. Springs and struts were replaced with aftermarket parts after the 71,000 file failure.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #25

Oct 152009


  • 75,000 miles
Passenger side front spring broke about 4" up from the bottom. Car mileage apprx. 75K. Problem was indicated by clunking noise and oddness in the steering.

- Fort Thomas, KY, USA

problem #24

Jun 092009


  • 47,843 miles


Returned from 2 week vacation where car was parked in an outdoor airport parking lot. When car was put into reverse to back out of parking space, extra gas was required to start movement, then loud bang / pop and the car started to move. (sometimes after a rain, the disk brakes seem to rust / weld to the rotors and require extra effort to brake loose. But this bang / pop was louder than normal.) started to drive out of parking lot, then onto street to get onto interstate. Smelled rubber burning odor. Other drivers indicated white smoke coming from right wheel well area. Stopped to investigate and found right front suspension spring broken and cutting a groove in the side wall of tire. Car handled normally, so we were glad we hadn't entered interstate and gotten up to highway speed. Car towed to mechanic. He said only right side had physically broken, but felt the left side was about to break also. He replaced both left / right struts, springs, bracket, support struts, sway bar links and right front tire.

- Moorestown, NJ, USA

problem #23

May 012008


  • 200,000 miles
2003 Saab 9-3 linear. Oem front spring broken (passenger side). Noticed when doing brakes one day. No damage to vehicle or any property, but still a huge problem.

- Ajax, 00, USA

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problem #22

Aug 022009


  • 56,700 miles
On 8/2/09, I was driving my vehicle when suddenly there was a loud bang. Car pulled to the extreme right with a strong odor of burning rubber. Luckily was able to gain control without hitting anyone and stopped the vehicle. It was quite obvious the front of the car was lower than the back. The smell of rubber was from the spring going into the front passenger tire. The vehicle was towed to a local garage where it was discovered the front passenger spring broke & ate into the front tire. It also pulled out the struts & broke the bracket/top as well. I was very satisfied with Saab until this. Car is 6 years old, well maintained with only 56,700 miles. This incident has certainly made me apprehensive especially when I did research an found there has been a rash of broken front passenger springs reported, yet no recalls. Parts replaced: Strut assembly, strut top, spring pair, bracket, stabilizer bar control link, pirelli tire.

- Bedminster, NJ, USA

problem #21

Jun 102009


  • 54,000 miles


My 2003 Saab 93 vector had the front passenger coil spring broke, im still driving on it with the parts on order. Seems to be a common problem with many other peoples Saab. And sounds like their will be no help from the dealer. I am assuming its going to take a fatality or 2 before Saab wakes up and makes some better springs or just recall the !@#$% things.

- Ottawa, Ontario, 00, USA

problem #20

Apr 032009


  • 76,000 miles
Left front coil spring failure on 2003 Saab 9-3 ss linear. I have read that there is a defect investigation on this issue, and that the NHTSA has reviewed warranty claims. My car is out of warranty, so it would not be included in this data.

- Webster, NY, USA

problem #19

Jun 012009


  • 79,000 miles
My 2003 Saab 9-3 linear with 79,500 miles. Driving on average road when hearing a pop. After further investigation (as rattling continued for some time afterwards) the front, driver-side coil spring has broken. While the piece has not (yet) popped out into my tire, any further driving risks doing so and bursting a tire as well. Am waiting for Saab dealership to order this part. This seems to be a common problem, as indicated by many online forums and your website. www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?T=155844&highlight=broke+spring&page=1 www.saabsunited.com/2009/05/are-Saab-having-issues-with-springs.html.

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #18

May 292009


  • 66,000 miles
Coil spring failed on 2003 Saab 9-3 puncturing tire and causing car to cross center line of roadway. Had there been any oncoming traffic, this coil spring induced tire blowout may have resulted in a head-on frontal collision on a busy two-lane state highway. Had this been on an interstate or other roadway with higher speeds, it may have been fatal.

- Vestal, NY, USA

problem #17

Mar 022006


  • 41,694 miles


My Saab 9 3 has been in the shop 5 times for the same issue - "front end creaks when I turn or goes over bumps" this started on March 2, 2006 with 41,694 up until October 17 2008 with 98,508 (Sept 2007, Dec 2007 June 2008). Out of the 5 times 4 of those times they have replaced the front stabilizers. In October 17 they stated nothing was wrong however, after we left the dealership we still heard the front end making noise. Called the dealership right away who then tells me that they were unable to find anything. May 2009 - my spring broke off my car.

- Mayfield Heights, OH, USA

problem #16

May 142009


  • 114,000 miles
On May 14 I went out to my car and noticed that the front left of my car was leaning towards the ground. After my husband took off the tire, the spring to my car just fell off. The car was towed to the dealership where I was advise that this is an going issue with Saab. When I contacted Saab usa they stated that this was not a problem and that they would not help me pay to have a new spring on my car. The gentlemen who towed my car also advise me that this was his 5th Saab he towed this month with the same problem that I have - broken spring.

- Mayfield Heights, OH, USA

problem #15

May 152009


  • 104,000 miles
Passenger side front spring snapped. While driving home, I noticed a loud metal on metal tapping noise after going over any bumps. I knew right away something with my right front was wrong, about a minute later I heard a loud bang, followed by metal bouncing on pavement. I pulled over and found a piece of my spring had broken completely off. Right after this happened it was much harder to steer and thank god that this happened in a neighborhood where I was only doing 20mph. Suppose this happened on a freeway doing 65? supposedly this is a very common problem as I have read about it on forums.

- Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

problem #14

May 032009


  • 73,405 miles
No accident or anything yet, but according to a forum I follow, {Saab central} there are alot of people experiencing front coil spring failure on 2003 Saab 9-3.this on cars with under 100,000 miles. Don't have to tell you that this could be bad news if the broken spring punched into the tire at speed. To me, having to replace coil springs as a maintenance item every 70000 miles is unacceptable. I will have my 03 Saab up on jack stands to check out the springs as best as I can, but this is the type of failure you can not really see until it is to late. I have no way of checking for metal fatigue. Hopefully, this is a problem you can move on before someone gets hurt.

- La Quinta, CA, USA

problem #13

Apr 262009


  • 72,500 miles
Front coil spring brakes and the broken piece launches off the car into the wheel well area which may result in tire damage at high speeds.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #12

Apr 262009


  • 91,000 miles
Left front spring snapped while in normal driving circumstances. Potential for serious accident exists. Dealer replacing both front springs stating this is a common occurrence.

- Saddle Brook, NJ, USA

problem #11

Feb 062009


  • 53,000 miles
The front drivers side spring broke. Happened while the car was sitting still.

- Centerbrook, CT, USA

problem #10

Feb 022009


  • 93,445 miles
2003 Saab 9-3 arc. Started car and smelled tire burning, drove around building, checked tires -- all 4 looked fine, checked, drove about 1 mile and right front tire blew. Had aaa change tire, and was shown it blew from the inside. Took vehicle to costco for tire replacement. Was informed that the spring coil broke (was handed about a 6 inch piece) and that was what blew through the tire. Car was towed to the Saab dealership and both springs were replaced. The left front is very eroded from rust and also appears ready to break. Consequences - 2 new tires, 2 new front coil springs and a tow.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #9

Jan 142009


  • miles
Front right suspension springs on my 2003 Saab 9-3 broke. No accident occurred, but could have been deadly if it was on the freeway. There seems to be a pattern of this.. something like this should not be happening on this type of car. It was taken to the nearest dealer that wants to charge $1100 for the fix because I am out of warranty by. I am also in the process of contacting Saab usa.

- Markham, 00, USA

problem #8

Jan 272009


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saab 9-3. the contact heard a strange noise in the front end of the vehicle while driving at any speed. The dealer stated that the front coil spring snapped. He chose not to have the vehicle repaired because he believes it is a manufacturer defect. Through online research, the contact found an open investigation for the same failure (NHTSA action number EA08026 (suspension:front:springs:coil springs) date investigation opened : December 22, 2008). He believes that a recall should be issued. The current and failure mileages were 85,000.

- Brighton, MI, USA

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