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Saab story

I have a Saab story. It’s a 2005 9-5, and it just had a new ignition switch put in two months ago. All was good, until yesterday. When I parked my car (six floor of a parking ramp, mind you), the radio stayed on after I took the key out of the ignition. What?? I put the key back in, turned her on again, and then off. Still had Moody Blues blaring out of my (basic factory model) speakers. What?? I took the car back to the mechanic who replaced the ignition switch. They don’t think it is the ignition switch, and don’t know what the problem is. They said they need about 2 hours to open the car up and think it may be a $2,000 “brains” issue. What?? Any thoughts on what could be tripping this stereo up? I can shut it off manually, but I know some power is being drained and am living in fear that I will have a dead battery. Thank you for any advice/knowledge/sympathy.

Back when I had a 72 VW Beetle the radios in them worked without the ignition on. I would think having the radio turned off should stop any battery drain from the radio. However, I suppose there might be other things affected that could drain your battery. The shop should have been able to test for a battery drain. I’d go somewhere else for this.

Remove the radio fuse from the fuse panel until you get it fixed.

Besides removing the radio fuse, is anything else powered up that shouldn’t be? If non-critical, remove those fuses too.

From your story I assume the radio does not continue playing after the key is removed. Many cars it is actually the act of opening the door that causes radio to quit. If that is the case you might try opening the passenger door and/or trunk, if it stops playing the operation of the switch in the door jamb for the driver door. It would not hurt to check all the fuses also, including those under the hood.

I think your mechanics are right, they are going to need to do some more investigation. And likely the problem is that some electronic circuit or relay isn’t working correctly. This can be fixed but it might prove quite an expensive and frustrating journey. If this were my car I’d prefer to keep the money in my own pocket rather than the mechanics, and just remember to turn the radio off when leaving the car.

I’m guessing that you probably have a high resistance short to ground in a chafed wire that’s bypassing the radio relay’s contact points. You’re right to be concerned about parasitic drain, but turning the radio off should disable the power circuit even with the short. You can, however check for parasitic drain pretty easily with a meter. There’s probably an inductive test light that’ll do that too, but I haven’t looked for one.

I think the key is going to be to get a wiring diagram and a circuit schematic (the first is physical, the second electrical). The dealer’s parts guy should be able to print those for you. From there you can trace down the proper place to look.

Repairing a harness usually involves removing interior panels, unsecuring the harness, cutting into the harness, snipping the ties, and separating the wires. Once the chafe is found, a splice will fix it. Then the harness is zip tied back together, wrapped, and resecured. If you’re unconfortable doing this, an auto electrics shop may be your best bet.

Sincere best.

Good points. So either the switch is misadjusted so it is staying in accessory mode instead of off, its in delay mode and doesn’t recognize the door has been opened, or ya got a short keeping the radio on.

Thank you for the feedback, all. I was hoping someone would say it’s the ignition switch, but it does sound like everyone thinks it’s electrical.
The radio does not go off even when the door is open. I’ll have someone take a look at it tomorrow.

My ignition switch was replaced several years ago in my 1999 9-5 wagon when it became nearly impossible to remove the key. After replacement, it worked well, then started doing the same thing. The mechanic lubed the switch to fix the problem. Occasionally, I can remove the key, but the switch doesn’t “pop up”, so my radio would still work. Could your problem be something as simple as the core of the ignition not popping back up ? I just tapped the core where the key slot is, and it moved up into place. Best of luck to you.

+1 footnote

footnote, I don’t think anything “pops up” in my ignition switch. I’ll double check, but pretty sure it doesn’t have any moving parts. Thanks for the info, though!

I have had this problem before and the fix is ridiculously simple. Basically if moisture gets into your ignition, it freezes up the part that allows you to listen to your radio with out the car being on. Spray WD 40 or your lube of choice in the ignition and turn your key a few times… Ta Da!

SaabingGinger…THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED TO HEAR! Thank you. This makes sense, because with the cruel Michigan weather we’ve been having, I remember scraping the outline of my door to remove snow so it didn’t blow into the inside when I opened it! I also remember cringing when I inserted the snowy key into the ignition. Cruel Michigan winter makes brains freeze at times, also. I’m going to try this today.
Also, my car has been starting up just fine…I am manually turning off the radio before exiting the car!

Unfortunately, that WD40 did not do the trick. However, the car is still running, no battery issues thus far. I am going to press my luck and see how long I can go with this situation.

“My ignition switch was replaced several years ago in my 1999 9-5 wagon when it became nearly impossible to remove the key”

Just to clarify, they lock cylinder that you put your key into is NOT the ignition switch, it is the key cylinder. The key cylinder operates a rod that activates the ignition switch that is on the steering column. In the old days they were the same but not anymore since locking steering wheels.

So what did they replace? The key lock or the ignition switch?

Bing, they are saying that the ignition switch is where I put my key in. I have a 2005 9-5 sedan. No?

Jekka, I went back to my repair invoices and found that in July 2011, my mechanics replaced the ignition lock, and charged me for a “lock cylinder” for $163.20. Including the oil change they did and other service work (it’s a Saab, after all) the total labor amounted to 1.75 hours. Then in Oct 2011, they had to go back in and lube the lock cylinder again, because it started sticking, meaning that the key would come out, but the cylinder would remain depressed down, which would keep the electrics going. The cylinder itself is pushed down when you turn the key to start the car, and when you turn the car off and take the key out, the cylinder rises back up, which I referred to as “popping up”. This is a subtle action, and not one you would notice, until it fails to do that, and things like the radio or interior spotlight that were turned on manually, fail to turn off. Maybe my problem is totally unrelated to yours, but I thought you might like to know the costs involved in replacing the lock cylinder. I love my Saab, but it’s expensive to maintain at 15 years old. Again, best of luck to you.