Engine light just came on in my Saab EEEK!

I?m just buzzing along, minding my own business and all of the sudden, the engine light in my 2004 Saab 9-3 just lit up. EEEKKKK! Of course, I looked at me owner?s manual which said it is a signal of engine malfunction. How could this be? I am interested in what trusted specialists in car repair would think this might be cause by. Please tell me something. Is that me gas isn?t tight enough? Does my engine need more oil? I?m afraid to know but please throw me some costs that may repair this problem.

No cause for alarm. This happens to everyone and it is usually something minor… even just a loose gas cap.

You need to find out for sure. Do this by having someone “scan the computer for trouble codes.” Some auto parts stores, including AutoZone, Advance, and now even Aamco will do this for free. Write down the code(s) and report them here for further advice.

SteveF provided very good advice. Also, I want to congratulate the OP for reading the Owner’s Manual–something that far too few people do until it is too late.

Regarding, “Does my engine need more oil?”, while this is probably not what the CEL is indicating, it would be very advisable to check the oil a.s.a.p. If you don’t know how to do this, now would be a very good time to learn this from your Owner’s Manual. In fact, this is something that you should be doing on a regular basis–even without any warning lights being illuminated–so it is really important to learn how to do this.

Thanks so much for the advice guys! Now the engine light has gone away. It only stayed on for 2-3 days. Go figure. Should I still have it checked out? I guess I should.

The computer will store the fault that occurred, so whether the light is on or not you can always find out what caused it. Your year of Saab happens to be fairly trouble prone, so don’t be alarmed if you see that check engine light now and again.

Your car has a turbo, so make sure to keep the oil changed regularly and always topped off.

That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.

Regarding warning lights:

  1. if the coolant temp light comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

  2. if the oil warning light comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

  3. if a FLASHING MIL/CEL comes on, shut off the engine ASAP

    ASAP means driving to the berm of the highway right now and not waiting for the next exit.

But if the MIL/CEL is not flashing, then it’s not an urgent indicator.

You never told us if you checked the oil level. While a low oil level is not likely to be the reason for the CEL being illuminated, your post makes me wonder if you ever check the oil. If not, that is a major omission on your part. If you don’t feel confident with this task, ask someone else to do it for you.

If you can find a Full Service service station, ask them to check the engine oil, and transmission fluid levels. A quick look at the other fluid levels wouldn’t hurt, either.