HELP! Haven't started '02 Saab 9-3 in 1 year!

Hi everyone!
Please help! Due to an out of town family emergency, that kept me away from my car for nearly a year, it sat outside without being started. My manual transmission, '02 Saab 9-3 is a GOOD car, regularly maintained by Saab dealer, 95k mi, new tires & brakes in '15. Currently, the battery has no charge. Besides getting a jump I do NOT know what to do!!! There is no Saab dealer in my town. Please help with suggestions/advice on what I need to do to get my car back up and running! Many thanks,

First of all you don’t need a Saab dealer ( there are none ) your vehicle can be serviced by any competent service shop. Don’t jump, remove battery and have it charged. Most likely it needs replaced. The thing is 14 years old so all fluids should be changed. I don’t know if you have a timing belt but if you do check your manual for service time.

Thanks so much, for your advice! I’ll have the battery removed & get it charged. I’ll also have the fluids flushed. Seems like a tune up may be in order, as well.

Describe the conditions to your garage/mechanic/friend - the gas tank should be drained - if they just hear fluids without the back story, that might get overlooked.

You’re right!!! I will have the gas drained. Thank you, so much!

You will need a new battery, not just a recharge. Do an oil change, have the gas tank drained and flushed. Change the fuel filter, too. There is no timing belt, its a chain so no worries there. There really is nothing to “tune up” so to speak. Should fire right up.

And while there are no more Saab dealers, there are Saab service centers. Start here;

Thank so much! I’ve added your suggestions to my list to take to a service center. Many thanks, Daena

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Being dormant for almost a year does not require all the fluids to be changed, continue to follow the maintenance schedule.

I wouldn’t even drain the fuel tank. I didn’t drive my truck much last year, it took me 14 months to use up the fuel in the 35 gallon tank. I live in a dry climate and fuel doesn’t spoil in a short amount of time. I have seen many new cars stand on the lot for more than a year and we have never had to drain a tank for that reason.

I have a few cars that aren’t used for six months at a time and I just recharge the battery before driving the vehicle. The age of the battery will determine if replacement is more practical than recharging.


Yeah, I don’t understand why some folks want all fluids drained after only one year. That’s not long enough to me. I’d just get the battery charged and then tested, if good use it.

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Thank you for your response and advice! I wound up taking my car to Sears, yesterday afternoon. The service manager advised against draining the gas! He said that the plug to drain the gas is sometimes a “one use” plug and often times cannot be well re-plugged which causes leakage. He suggested that “Lucas deep clean” be used to clean the fuel system. As far as the battery is concerned, it was jumped after the car was unloaded off the tow truck. I had a bit of concern because I asked that it not be jumped. Anyway, they jumped it to drive the car onto the rack. Service manager said they will remove the battery to test/charge if it can be reused. I told him that was fine but I would purchase a new on since I live in Minnesota and experience sub freezing temps throughout the winter. I’ve already requested that systems be flushed & even a change of spark plugs. I trust Sear’s service center & it’s technicians are conscientious and honest! How does one ever know if all you’ve requested for your vehicle is being addressed? I could be suffering from a bit of “single woman fear at the car service center-itis”! :wink:
Many kind regards, Daena

Well, that seems simple enough! Lol! I’m just ignorant about HOW a car operates & don’t want to “hurt” it! Most “lay people” that I know thought long term “sitting”; i. e. one year, COULD be damaging to a vehicle. Now, I’m hopping the fluid flushing won’t hamper my vehicle’s performance!
I appreciate you chiming in!

You’re correct to do whatever you can to avoid damaging anything until the car is back up and running again. The advice to remove the battery and charge it was good, but mostly b/c trying to jump start a totally dead battery can damage the jumping vehicle. Not much chance of damage to yours doing that. Since it started ok, enough to drive it up the ramp of the truck, you’re probably ok, but suggest you still have your battery charged with a battery charger and have it load-tested to make sure it is still ok.

I’d have probably drained the tank just to be safe, but I expect you’ll be ok without draining it. Might want to replce the fule filter after running this tank out is all. I guess I’ve never had occasion to drain the fuel out of a gas tank before, but if I was going to do it, in my pea-brain way of thinking, I’d just use a siphon and drain it out the same place you fill it. Years ago my college room-mate never bought gas for his car; he just drove around town until he found a car on the street with a non-locking gas cap and filled up there! But maybe those siphon gadgets don’t work on newer cars, maybe there’s some kind of anti-siphon gadget installed in the filler neck these days.

I would have beat your room-mate senseless, had I caught him stealing gas from my car


Posted by GeorgeSanJose ( But maybe those siphon gadgets don’t work on newer cars, maybe there’s some kind of anti-siphon gadget installed in the filler neck these days. )

That is way too technical.

Ok, so I wound up taking my Saab to Sears Auto Center and picked it up this morning. I’ll have to post, tomorrow, what was serviced on the vehicle (it’s a lengthy list!). Long story short, the battery wound up being replaced; it was tested, failed and reportedly stopped running after 20 minutes. The car actually had been sitting for a year with a full tank of gas! “Lucas Deep Clean” was added to the tank and I’ve been advised to drive the car, even let it run so that the gas empties. Today, I drove 50 miles and much of it was on the highway in excess of 70/75 MPH. The car “feels” good! I typically get over 300 miles to the tank, so I’ll drive about 50+ miles a day, until the next fill up to allow the Lucas product to do its job. Oh! They did not replace the fuel filter because it was noted that there was a lot of rust on the connecting mechanisms. I forgot what the SM called them. The mechanic was afraid they would break! So, he gave me a referral to another shop and says it could cost hundreds of dollars if I have it/them replaced.
Thanks so very much for your advice!

Hi there,
Just wanted to let you know that I picked my car up, today, and it had been sitting, for the year, with a FULL tank of gas! Lucas Deep Clean was added to the tank. I drove 50 miles, today; mostly on the highway in excess of 75 MPH. I’m going to do that every/every other day until the gas is exhausted and the Lucas can do its job. The car “feels” great!
Thanks, so much-

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Thanks for the update, sounds like life is good.

A person could rig up a trap for that I suppose, so any siphon attempt would fill the offender’s tank w/diesel fuel rather than gasoline. A gasoline powered car doesn’t run so well on diesel, right? … Just saying … lol …

I remember those days of people stealing gas. Then they put locking gas caps on and they would punch a hole in the tank. So instead of losing a few gallons of gas, you’d need a couple hundred for a new tank. Never had that problem myself but I like garages.

I wouldn’t bother wasting my time doing that . . . unless I lived in such a bad area, that my fuel was siphoned frequently