2008 Saab 9-3 drivetrain NHTSA complaints: Power Train

NHTSA — Power Train Problems


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 1
Average Mileage:
71,278 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Saab 9-3 Owner Comments

problem #7

Mar 302015

9-3 4-cyl

  • 103,978 miles


My 2008 Saab 93 2.0T has intake valve failures. In the morning it idles rough until it warms up; this has been verified by a Saab specialist. My engine is not molded or altered in anyway other than the consumables over time (belts and such). A quick check for 2008 Saab valve problem leads to forums chalk full of other owners with the same issue. GM should foot the bill for this $2500+ rebuild of the engine that they poorly manufactured in the first place.

- Washington, PA, USA

problem #6

Mar 032015


  • 120,543 miles
On the 2007-2011 Saab 9-39-3 there is a common issue with the intake valve seals going bad causing a rough idle and/or misfire on cold starts. Mine exhibits this behavior but is not still under warranty. This is not just wear and tear it is a bad part or bad design that is basically designed to fail. To fix this it costs $1500+ and GM should be responsible for a flaw in the vehicle regardless of the 5 year/100,000 mile warranty.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #5

Jan 012015

9-3 4-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
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 #4

Nov 292013

9-3 4-cyl

  • 71,900 miles


The engine would not turn over when trying to start the engine from a cold start. If the temperatures would lower close to freezing the car will just crank and never turn over. If I were able to get the car started, once it warmed up, it ran just fine. Reading online, it seems to be a known issue with the 2007 & 2008 Saab 9-3's. it's a faulty intake valve and begins happening anywhere between 60,000 to 80,000 miles. I believe Saab should look into this as it seems to be happening to a lot of 2007 & 2008 Saab 9-3's. there should be a recall. The cost to get it fixed is over $2000.

- Warrington, PA, USA

problem #3

Dec 312010


  • 25,400 miles
At 65 mph, the gear shift knob, shift cover and assembly separated from the car - the base-metal stick shift was all that remained, and thus the safety latch that prevents car from being shifted into reverse, instead of a forward moving gear, normally attached to the exterior, was now missing. Alas, safely shifting into any of its 6 gears, was not an option... it's odd, but per its original manufacturing specs, the entire transmission system in the 9-3, has zero locking mechanism to keep the knob and cosmetic housing from separating. Numerous other reports have been reported to dealerships and across the internet. GM still covers 9-3, 2008, under its warranty policies.

- Vail, CO, USA

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problem #2

Jun 162010

9-3 6-cyl

  • 32,124 miles
When accelerating up to highway speeds engine will slip, stutter, and misfire reducing power and causing unsafe and unpredictable merging maneuvers. Have had 3 or more visits to dealer concerning this with repairs that never fully resolving issue of bad ignition coils or engine resolve. Vehicle is 2008 Saab 9-3 turbo X, a limited run of 600.

- Apple Valley, MN, USA

problem #1

Jan 012011


  • 42,000 miles
My Saab is a 2008 9-3 aero with a 6 speed automatic transmission. Ever since I bought it in October 2010, when I try to accelerate while already at speed (I.e., passing maneuver) the engine/transmission sputters and does not immediately accelerate. The stuttering makes passing in traffic a risky/dangerous move. I have made several trips to the dealer for investigation and am repeatedly told that this is the normal behavior for the automatic transmission. (I have never had an automatic transmission car act like this.) nearly two years later, I still have the same thing occurring.

- Rancho Cordova, CA, USA

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