19th Mar 2009, 18:57

I own a 2003 Saab 9-3. I was out of town for 5 days and started the car and noticed a burning smell shortly after starting it. I checked underneath the hood and everything seemed normal. Then I noticed smoke coming up from the drivers seat. I quickly turned off the seat heater and saw the leather seat start to crumble. I took it to the Saab dealer and they told me it would cost $400 to fix. The car almost caught fire and I'm supposed to pay for the repair. The vehicle is 2 months out of warranty. I'm furious not sure what to do next, any suggestions???

15th May 2009, 09:43

I had posted previously about my 2003 9-3 Arc and how awful this car was. Well, it got worse.

Within two weeks of my previous post, the sway bar bracket BROKE, with the bolt sheared off in the subframe, so the entire subframe had to be lowered to get it out. That repair was over 500 bucks.

It was leaking oil. After replacing the vacuum pump (another 500 bucks), it still leaked. Rear main seal leak. 1300 job! So now we're up to 2300 bucks, ON TOP of all the things I complained about in my previous post. (I'm the one who said a headlight bulb is 150 bucks).

I cannot tell those reading these posts enough how unreliable this car is.

Still considering a Saab? Take it from someone who owns one, don't do it.

15th May 2009, 11:24

Well I'm a very satisfied Saab 9-3 owner and I've had the exact opposite experience. I'd buy another one tomorrow.

Saabs are excellent cars.

23rd Aug 2009, 16:32

I love my 2003 9-3! I have put only 38 K on it but it's upstate NY and snow happens - a lot. It had a broken coil this week which was found on annual state inspection. This repair is the first money I have put into this car. I will eagerly buy another Saab - if the new owners don't mess it up.

29th Sep 2009, 18:18

Quick fix for window that rolls up but then comes back down a couple of inches. The reason this happens is because of a "pinch protection" feature that Saab's have.

Remove fuse #5 from the near fuse box on the driver's side. Put the fuse back in and then roll the window up and down twice. When you roll the window back up the second time hold the switch until you hear a chime. Your windows should be reset and the problem fixed.

19th Oct 2009, 14:40

Does anyone have any advice on the lock issue. Many people on here seem to have the same issue. The remote won't open the locks, mainly on the drivers door. What can this be. Has anyone tried resetting this somehow, like disconnecting the battery. Any comments are appreciated. And as far as the plastic peeling inside, can this be painted with a durable plastic paint.

2nd Dec 2009, 10:57

I have a 2003 Saab 9-3 Linear. I bought it used with 24k miles on it. It still had warranty coverage and I bought the extended warranty. I took it to the Saab dealer just before the warranty was up and asked them to do anything that needed to be done. The next day, my headlights went out. Since then, I have gone through seven headlight bulbs, as well as many accessory bulbs because some short keeps burning up the bulbs.

I took it to the dealer many times and was told there wasn't anything wrong. Last week, they finally decided I needed new headlight sockets ($125). I take it to the dealer for every oil change, usually early (never late) and ask them to check everything. They never find anything, until last week.

Currently, I have a power steering gasket that needs to be replaced, which also caused an oil leak that needs to be chased down. My battery in my remote went dead, and now I have problems with the car battery draining.

Today, I got the "immobilizer failure" message and my car won't start, which is apparently because the car won't recognize the key??

About two days ago, the passenger seat stopped moving forwards or backwards.

I've had to have the passenger window replaced, due to a regulator issue.

I had to have the car towed three times while under warranty, due to various things that locked the car in park.

Of course, it is no longer under any type of warranty and has almost 90k miles. And, yes, just like everyone else all of the knobs and buttons are peeling and the emblems on the outside have faded/peeled off as well (this happened since moving from WA to MS).

This car was definitely made to survive in colder climates. I love my car, when it is working properly. It is so fun to drive, but what a headache. Believe me, I would trade it in, but when a $30,000 car loses over half its value in less than a year, you are kind of stuck. When I went to trade it in, I was offered $5,000... and I owe double that!! BLAH!

Any suggestions on the immobilizer thing?

24th Jan 2010, 09:38

Can somebody tell me a little more about the immobiliser problem that has happened today. It's a 93 Tide Vector, and the drivers window now won't go up since the problem. Also it's saying something like the steering lock won't engage???

20th Jul 2010, 23:55

I own a 2003 9-3 Saab turbo, and bought it with 32,000 miles. It now has 90,000 miles. I have experienced these problems in the last year:

Replaced transmission last December ($3000) after having a flush done in August.

Immobilizer failure message.

Driver's side headlight went out/replaced.

Driver's side window rolls down after being rolled up.

Today LCD read everything is all failing at once lights, airbag malfunction, immobilizer malfunction, gearbox malfunction and then the car just stopped moving. I couldn't get it to turn over and had to have it towed. Told it may be the alternator.

I fell in love with my car, but the constant and expensive repairs is keeping me up at night. Now is the time to trade it in before I have to sleep in it. It's almost like paying a second mortgage!

1st Oct 2010, 15:25

I have a 2003 Arc Saab.

I have also had the window problem, and my headlights need to be replaced about every 6 months. Usually just the right one!

I have had trouble with my sunroof not closing, and my windows. Most recent is my wipers. The mist and intermittent mode won't function, and the wipers stop at any position. They don't park at the bottom. The windshield wiper solution won't dispense at all. I took it to a shop and very briefly had someone look at it, who said he thought it was electrical, as there was no power at all to the tank. Will have to go back to have him explore this issue when he has more time.

16th Jun 2011, 21:02

Sorry you feel that way about the Saab cars. I love mine - very few problems. But the reason for my reply is that you bash the Swedes for the problems, but from the early 2000 till this year, the make has been owned by GM, so it's more of a GM issue than Saab. Bash GM for the problems...

23rd Mar 2012, 00:06

Like many people here, I too have had a myriad of problems with my 2003 9-3 turbo.

From the headlights burning out (at least 1 every couple months @ $125 each), to the heated passenger seat burning a hole into my cashmere coat, stabilization failure, blinkers & high beams stopped working, driver's seat went back & won't move forward, cheap paint peeling off of the emblems, and as of tonight - the gearbox failure/traction control warning messages (leaving me stranded at the grocery after a long day at work and night school).

I thought I would own Saabs for the rest of my life. It is my opinion that GM infected the masterpiece that WAS Saab with their bastardized inferior parts. This was not my first Saab. but definitely the last GM! I will however encourage the dealer at Lexus or Mercedes (my next vehicle) to send GM a thank you note for the business.