NHTSA — Engine Problems


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
71,679 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.

2007 Saab 9-3 engine problems

engine problem

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2007 Saab 9-3 Owner Comments

problem #14

Jun 012016


  • 70,000 miles


Intermittent check engine light. Comes on for a while and then goes off. Cannot link it to any vehicle activity.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #13

Dec 262016


  • 64,000 miles
Upon attempting to start the engine, sometimes it runs very rough and then stalls. Repeated attempts to start the engine result in stalls or, finally, result in the engine running very rough and then gradually smoother.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #12

Jan 142016


  • 84,500 miles
Needs valve job ($3K) due to improperly hardened valves. Very common problem on this car. Rough running when cold. Compression test verifies this condition: Very poor when cold, but fine when warm. If left on-fixed, will cause permanent misfiring.

- Arlington, MA, USA

problem #11

Oct 102014


  • 125,000 miles


It appears I too have been struck with the misfortune of having what I have termed " morning sickness" in cooler weather. I currently have one - hundred and forty- eight thousand miles on this vehicle. I just had it diagnosed low compression in two of the cylinder's, one cylinder has 150 psi", the other has 175. I believe they should be 200 psi" usually it does not last long ( of rough running) of course depending on outside temperature. I have recorded a temp. Of five above F., and the car started fine, but took a while for it to " clear out ", generally no more than a minute or two. I see I am not the only one with this problem, thought I'd share with others and maybe something could be done about it. I guess I feel I am luck, that with all miles I have on the vehicle, that I have gotten this far, question is how much farther can I go before I need to something??

- Binghamton, NY, USA

problem #10

Nov 172014


  • 99,500 miles
While attempting to install new headlights, I removed the negative on the battery. After putting the negative back on to the battery, the system has reset and has not rebooted since then. The car is in minimal driving condition, performance has significantly dropped and the steering wheel locks while driving at high speeds, the engine knocks and shakes at high speeds, there is no more turbo boost and while flooring the gas pedal, the car is hesitant to increase speed.

- Dearborn Heights, MI, USA

problem #9

Sep 032013

9-3 4-cyl

  • miles
Difficult or no start when cold, rough idle, low compression #4 cylinder.

- Glade Valley, NC, USA

problem #8

Apr 012014

9-3 4-cyl

  • 123,000 miles


Had cylinder compression test performed, major variance in cylinder psis and engine running erratically. Pulled the head and discovered intake & exhaust valves both excessively worn and a few bent. This is a known issue on many 9-3S during this time period. My issues surfaced surprisingly late, most have shown many miles earlier. This was a very expensive and time consuming repair at $1900. This issue should be addressed as there seems to be evidence that bad parts were used and have deteriorated prematurely.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #7

Jun 182014

9-3 4-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
Intake valve failure on 2.0 turbo. Chronic problem with this model due to defective valves. Widespread problem on the internet linked to improperly hardened intake valves. The car failed to start and a cylinder compression check indicated that compression was lost on all four cylinders. $2,600 repair.

- Grosse Pointe, MI, USA

problem #6

Feb 102014


  • 26,000 miles
The contact owns a 2007 Saab 9-3. the vehicle stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the check engine warning light illuminated. The failure occurred on several occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, who could not diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileages was 26,000.

- Short Hills, NJ, USA

problem #5

Mar 012014


  • 90,000 miles
During colder starts, the engine will take much longer than it should to start. Either it will try and crank until it does or it will crank and stall. Usually a few tries and it will clear up once the engine is warm. I think this might have to do with the intake valves being warn out prematurely. Many other Saab owners in the same few years and mileage are having this problem.

- Shelby Twp., MI, USA

problem #4

Oct 172013

9-3 4-cyl

  • 76,000 miles


Upon start, rough idle and misfires. Occasional stalling. Defect traced to metallurgical issues in the intake valves of the vehicle causing an improper seal when the engine is cold.

- Garden City, NY, USA

problem #3

Nov 292011

9-3 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Began having issues starting, and misfires, and finally engine lost compression but still able to start when weather was warm. Nov -Dec 2011 no start or hard start in weather below 35F, local service shop said needed new engine, no compression when sat for long periods or exterior temp below 35F approx 94,000 mile. Dec 2011- called Saab but bankrupt so no customer service, reached out to GM corporate regarding warranty and was told not honoring them since bankruptcy. Jan 2012 -2nd opinion by indy Saab focused service center. Thought wrong oil was put in and with proper oil car, new spark plugs, fuel pump, etc started even in cold weather, but still misfired and rough idle and had to start in cold had mild winter.Jan 2013- same no start in cold and compression test again and cold test showed no compression in all cylinders. Hard to start when outside temp was below 30F and tested compression again and loss of compression, and ran sea foam through engine to remove carbon buildup upon suggestion from website board, others having issues with GM motors! not specific to Saab. Still randomly started car ever 6 hours when temp dropped below 28F. Mar 2013- did another top engine cleaning with sea foam, mild weather until December. Dec 4th 2013-again hard start in cold weather did another top engine cleaning with sea foam.Jan 8, 2014- temp outside 22F no start again after sitting for 6 hours, battery dead from cranking, car towed, and no compression again, another 2 cycles top engine cleaning, car started after sitting in shop overnight. Jan 22, 2014- temp outside 16F, sat idle for 8 hours, no start again, battery died from cranking, car towed to shop, waiting on diagnosis. Found mention of spna technical bulletin dated 12/17/2013 hard starting cold w/ engine misfire and low compression 9-3 B207 and it described my issue perfectly. Reaching out local Saab/GM service center.

- Mount Kisco , NY, USA

problem #2

Jan 022014


  • 61,510 miles
In cold weather (slightly below freezing at the time) vehicle started but idled very roughly. Drove down street and while coasting engine was idling and sputtered and stalled within 1 minute of initial start. Loss of brake assist, power steering, power to accelerate with traffic. Pulled off to side and restarted engine. Again rough idle. Applied gas pedal and held rpms slightly above idle to warm engine. After ~5 minutes, car was idling normally. No further issues once engine reached operating temperature. Upon research Saab/GM (spna technical assistance) has issued a notice to certified service centers that intake valves are prematurely wearing causing severe issues in cold start situations. Notice is dated 12/17/2013 and was re-issued to expand scope of model years known to be effected. This warrants an investigation for potential recall, as no vehicle should result in such significant degradation of a major engine component with such limited miles. Repair requires major engine work to replace all intake valves.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #1

Aug 272012

9-3 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
On August 27, 2012, while shopping in the mall, I came out side to the fire department putting a fire out that looks to have occurred while I was in the store. I don't understand how the care caught fire while it was parked. When I got out of the car it seemed to be fine. The fire marshall report side that it was an electrical fire that started because a defect from the manufacturer.

- Detroit, MI, USA

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