Bad Cold starts blamed on Ethanol Additive

HELP! My new to me 2006 Saab 9.5 has just started to have bad or no starts in rainy or damp weather days. Car is under warranty and dealer tells me (3x) that it is due to excess moisture in tank caused by ethanol in gasoline bonding with condensate in tank. I think this is a runaround. If this is so then why are all my friends not having trouble starting their car and getting to work. Is this a Saab problem? Is my love affair over?

This is a runaround.

Find a reputable independent shop and have them diagnose it. You do not need a dealer for this. It’ll run you perhaps $100-$200.

Then bring the diagnosis back to him and demand that he not only repair the vehicle but reimburse you for the diagnosis. Clearly the dealer has zero intention of honoring his used car warranty.

Is your car under warranty? They are telling you they don’t want to bother with you, or they are really really unqualified for their job.

What do you do if you get water in the gas tank. You add alcohol. Not normally Ethanol, but ethanol will work, just not as well as the usual.

The hint is [b] started to have bad or no starts in rainy or damp weather days. [/b]   That means it is about 97% certain to be the high voltage ignition system (Spark plug wires first suspect)   If you want to test it yourself, just get a can of WD-40 and spray it the next time it does it, or if you like take it into a nice dark garage and start it up, then spray a little water on the plug wires and see if you see sparks and if the car shows problems. 

 I think I would just replace the wires.    Get OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and go for the standard quality level.   Those fancy neat colored wires are just more money for less real quality.

Thank you for this clear and logical reply and suggestions. The car is under warranty and now there for the second time. I will pursue this course relentlesslyand give you a status report.

Bonnie in PA

Mountainbike and Mr. Meehan are correct. It’s a runaround and it’s likely in the secondary ignition. (plugs, wires, etc.)

Aged spark plugs can contribute greatly to a problem like this so those should be considered along with plug wires.

Plugs and wires are considered a normal maintenance item so do not take it as a sign of a bad car. You likely have a bad dealer involved in the diagnosis though.

Check out your state's lemon laws at the links below.  You may be needing this information and you need to start your documentation now.

Yes it is the runaround but, 3 years of service on a set of secondary ignition wires is still like brand new. These wires can be tested they don’t need (or should) be replaced on a whim. Has the dealer acknowledged your complaint (has he attempeted any type of repair)? if not the clock has not started on Lemon Laws and Lemon Laws on a 2006 sounds rather odd in the first place.

Is your car equipped with a “coil over spark plug” system? if yes you can discount secondary ignition wires.