Saab Starter Trouble?



I’ve got a 96 Saab 900S and it’s suddenly dead in my driveway. The other morning was cold and it would not start. This is common. I had turned it over until the battery got sad, and then I hooked up my battery charger. Once the battery charger was hooked up the car would not even turn over…nothing, just dead when I turned the key.

So, any Saab experts have the quick solution here? I will say that I have changed the fuse for the starter, and that did not work. The car electrical works fine (interior lights, radio), so I assume it is getting juice. Finally, my charger reads the battery, so that connection seems fine.

One last clue for the CSI-minded: the cold start was no surprise, because I have had a bad temperature sensor for the past two years that makes the engine always read as -40. This has given me no problems spring thru fall, but on sub-zero winter mornings always seems to need a little help from the battery charger. I have done this a dozen times over the past few winters (in Maine).

I’m hoping for the dumb-dumb solution that heals all, and for no money. Thanks to any who can help.


It would be free to disconnect both ends of both battery cables, scrape, file, sand the battery terminals and the battery posts, smear posts and terminals with petroleum jelly, reconnect. Charge the battery for 2 to 3 hours. Start.
If the engine coolant temperature sensor is reading that low, it may be because it’s disconnected (or, a broken wire). Another free fix, if so.


No money fix, I don’t think so. Sounds like the strater has had it. Maybe it can be rebuilt, or swapped out for a rebuilt one.

Note: These cars are built in Sweden where I believe the temperatures are much lower than Maine.


Unless you have a large battery charger with a starting assist, trying to start the car with a charger and a weak battery won’t work.
How old is the battery?
Automatic or manual transmission?
Any starter solenoid click when the key is turned?
If the car is an automatic and has no click, then shift into neutral and see if it starts. If it does, you need a neutral safety switch.

(Also, any fuses involved would only be related to a starter relay or starter solenoid. The main power lead to the starter motor is not fused at all).


It could be an antitheft feature. Also Saabs are very sensitive when it comes to electronics so that may be complicating the issue. I say call a Saab dealer. I work in the body shop of a Chevy/Saab dealer so thats how I kinda know. You cannot even change a headlamp assembly in these cars without getting into the cars computer.