NHTSA — Electrical System Problems


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
26,699 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.

2002 Saab 9-5 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Saab 9-5 Owner Comments

problem #17

Jul 192006

9-5 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


Ignition switch shut off while on a busy highway twice! once in 2006 and once later another year plus once in a driveway (car purchased used in the fall of 2005). The Saab switch is located in the center console and if it is hit it switches off and shuts down the car, same as recalled switches in other GM cars. Very dangerous on the highway, but I was lucky and able to steer to the side without a crash. There should have been a lock mechanism to prevent it from happening. It never occurred to me to report it though it is definitely a safety hazard in a what was at the time a GM owned product. I still own the car and drive it daily on the same highway, however am very much aware of the issue. I wasn't aware of what caused the shut down until it happened the second time a few months after the first time. You should include Saab in the recall of GM products.

- Canton, ME, USA

problem #16

Aug 152007


  • miles
We have a complaint regarding recall 05V399000 for our 2002 Saab 9-5 aero. Our idm serial number falls within those required to be replaced by the recall. However, Saab will not replace it because our VIN # does not fall within their recall. Our idm needs to be replaced. This does not make sense. Our Saab was delivered in germany (it is us spec) to a servicemember stationed there. We bought it used while stationed over there. No recall notices were sent to us over there. We just started getting recall notices once we shipped the car to the states. We had to provide our certificate of origin to Saab. Saab told us they had no idea our car existed until we gave them the certificate of origin (which sounds fishy). This recall was issued before we moved back to the states. Our dealers service department says our idm serial number and the problem with it fall within the recall. But Saab will not reimburse them for replacing it.

- Abilene, KS, USA

problem #15

Feb 272009


  • 5,000 miles
2002 Saab 9-5 has had failure of headlight bulbs at a rate of one or two per year from the very first year I have owned this car. No other bulb has burned out in the past 8 yr. A local garage mechanic told me it was related to a faulty front electrical harness in the Saab but the dealer said this was not a recall, even though it has been a problem from the first year of ownership. Now I have 2 headlight bulbs burning out within one day of each other -- one high beam, one regular. Is there a recall of electrical harness on Saab to correct frequent headlight bulb burnout? so far I have just been replacing the bulbs at $50/bulb at the rate of one or two per year.

- Lexington, MA, USA

problem #14

May 152008


  • 69,500 miles


Loss of reversing lights, trunk opening warning light and cruise control function with no internal warning indications. Upon investigation, the cause was the failure of trunk wiring harness at 70K miles - 2 wires were completely severed, all others (6) had lost insulation. Failure is at the folding point just prior to entry into the trunk lid. Cause appears to be excessive tightness of the interior wires. The rubber boot was entirely intact, sealed to connectors in the body and trunk lid and there was no visible indication of the internal failure. Wires are separate inside the boot up until the trunk lid entry where they are wrapped with electrical tape. This was discovered only during service, not reported by self-check display which always reports light bulb outages in text messages on the 2 line Saab information display (secondary failure). Prior to discovery a number of cars had almost rear ended the car when backing up (reversing light failure was not reported or known). Corrected temporarily by splicing in wires and heat wrapping, waiting for appointment with the Saab dealer to replace the harness.

- Sammamish, WA, USA

problem #13

Oct 262006

9-5 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 77,314 miles
Fuel system, gasoline:delivery:hoses, lines/piping, and fittings summary: Driving on highway, pressure line from fuel tank came loose and started leaking massive amounts of gas all over the underside of the vehicle and street. Stream of fuel on highway alerted driver. Lost unknown amount of gallons of gas quickly. Had to pull over and call for tow truck to take to nearest facility. I evacuated the car due to large amounts of gas under vehicle and streams of fuel near hot exhaust pipes. Technician discovered fuel line had come loose after looking inside port from under back seat. No evidence of any breakage or other issues the first event-- the line simply came loose and was easily re-attached. The second event happened in June 2007 and fuel again was pouring out from the underside in a parking lot. I called the same independent dealer who immediately had the car towed. This time the repair was done with metal straps to prevent any further coming apart. I then received a recall letter from Saab after this occurrence two times. I was told by Saab usa to submit repair orders for reimbursement which I did. I received a denial letter until an authorized Saab dealer could check the work completed by the independent dealer. I was called by the authorized dealer in marietta, ga and told that I may need a complete fuel assembly for $1100 due to the independent dealers repairs affecting electrical wiring. The car is at the dealer for investigation and hopefully a Saab usa will stand behind the needed repairs. Consultation on internet chat room saabnet.com finds that at least 4 other owners of similar vintage Saab 9-5 vehicles have experienced this same problem. Saab usa is questioning my repairs at the independent dealer.

- Smyrna, GA, USA

problem #12

Sep 132003

9-5 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,511 miles
On 13 occasions over the last two years, starting 9/13/03, the car's engine malfunction and automatic transmission fault warning lights came on and the car was automatically put in "limp-home" mode. In limp-home mode, the engine is depowered. This has happened when driving both on the highway and in the city, creating a very dangerous situation where the car is in the middle of traffic with little power to manuever. The dealership has attempted to repair this 12 times without success. Vehicle is leased.

- Cambridge, MA, USA

problem #11

Jul 292005

9-5 6-cyl

  • miles


On multiple occasions starting around June or July 2003 and through July 2005, the vehicle stalled while in operation (going 35 to 40 mph and within two miles of starting) causing a sudden loss of power, brakes, and steering. Fortunately, it was possible to coast the car to the side of the road without being struck. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer, hunt valley Saab, on at least three occasions. On one occasion, the crank sensor was replaced. On one occasion, additional software for the engine management system was uploaded. On one occasion, the mass air flow sensor and air mass meter. Each time I was told the car was fixed, and each time the car failed again. Obviously, the car was not repaired.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #10

Jan 242005

9-5 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 35,000 miles
Direct ignition cartridge failures. On three occasions my car has suddenly stopped with no warnings. Fortunately in each case I was able to get to the side of the road safely. In each case the dealer has replaced the cartridge calling it "defective". I am not on my fourth cartridge in 35,000 miles.

- Huntington Woods, MI, USA

problem #9

Dec 082004

9-5 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,041 miles
My 2002 Saab 9-5 stalled and would not restart in the middle of a very busy 4 lane road. I have also noticed there are 14 other complaints on the NHTSA website with the same problem as mine. This an extremely dangerous problem a vehicle stalling on a highway or anywhere else can result in a crash or death. There was no prior warning of said issue. Saab dealer found code P1310 referred to tsb248-2428 and reprogrammed the sps. New #5387691 completed idm test and found current status 141 idd check code 57047. Located as an internal fault in the idm and also found the spark plugs fouled. Replaced idm and spark plugs. Direct ignition cassette. A tsb means that Saab knows about this problem. I feel unsafe getting into my vehicle now.

- Brewer, ME, USA

problem #8

Nov 072003

9-5 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
Car failed at 70 miles/hour on expressway. Just stopped. Cause was diagnosed as direct ignition cassette-web search shows this to be a common Saab problem. Was quite terrifying and dangerous to lose power on expressway-definite safety hazard.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #7

Aug 022004

9-5 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles


March 25, '04, June 3, O4, June 10, 'O4;July 21'O4;Aug 2, '04: Traveling along highway keeping up with the flow of traffic (65 mph) when a sudden and complete loss of power occurs necessitating emergency avoidance procedures to advert serious multi-car crash. Dealership, smithtown Saab (530 East jericho tpke, smithtown, NY,117870) says it's fixed -5 times. Not. Saab usa refuses to do anything despite my numerous calls. Car is a 2002 Saab 9-5, with 27,000 mles, under warranty.

- North Babylon, NY, USA

problem #6

Jun 092004

9-5 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,600 miles
In the last week- June 2,2004 to June 9th,2004-my car, a Saab 9.5 has suddenly and without warning lost power, the emergency lights on the dashboard came on, and I had all I could to narrowly advoiding a three car collision. Is there a previous safety defect complaint on this car?

- N. Babylon, NY, USA

problem #5

May 142004

9-5 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,700 miles
While driving the vehicle 40+mph, the engine completely shut down without warning. The diagnosis, throttle failure. Saab replaced the throtte body on 05/14/2004. Then again on 05/17/2004, the engine shut down in the midst of driving without warning. The engine light came on. Saab has not been able to duplicate the problem. The car has proven to be extremely dangerous and unsafe to operate.

- Valley Stream , NY, USA

problem #4

Feb 012004

9-5 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,209 miles
On three occasions I have gotten a "check engine light" with a "transmission" or "coolant" amplifying light. On both occasions the car went into a limp mode as defined in the Saab handbook. Two items, a temp sensor and thermostat were replaced without the problem being fixed. Today's fix is a programming update (ECM programming). Don't know if this will fix the problem but beginning to think the car has a basic flaw and don't want to take trips in it.

- Moorestown, NJ, USA

problem #3

Jan 312003

9-5 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles
Driving at steady 65 mph, car suddenly lost power, and engine stopped after I pulled to side of interstate.diagnosed as failed direct ignition cassette and replaced by dealer.

- Leo, IN, USA

problem #2

Aug 122003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On 3 separate occasions the car has completely shut down, losing brakes, steering, power, etc. The 1st at 70 mph on freeway, the 2nd on city St. About 35 mph and the 3rd in my neighborhood at 20 mph. Saab has replaced 3 different things. The car is too unpredictable and unsafe for driving.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #1

Feb 102003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles
The vehicle stalled without warning, the dealer diagnosed the direct ignition cassette failed. Scc

- Irvington, NY, USA

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