I live in France and we had some unusual cold weather lately, like -10°C to -15°C. Since a week ago the engine of the car won't crank. The car stood in cold weather and wasn't started for 2-3 weeks in a row. I bicycle to work and also used another petrol SAAB 900NG I have. Previously the car started normally and worked almost perfectly, as I sometimes had messages of burnt light bulbs.

So the symptoms are :

  1. Engine doesn't make a noise when the key is on the start position.
  2. No starter ticks.
  3. No dimming lights, no intensity change of the dashboards indicators or of the interior lights.
  4. ESP and TC errors messages displayed after check up.
  5. ESP warning indicator on.
  6. Fuel indicator at 0 even though the real fuel level is at 1/4.
  7. Left and right position lights error messages.
  8. Other lights and indicators ok. Radio and Infotainment system working.

I thought it was the battery, but I excluded this reason because of the following tests :

  • a. Permuted the battery with the 900NG. The batteries are the identical Varta E11, same age, 3.5 years each. No change!
  • b. Charged the battery and tried to start immediately. No change!
  • c. Tried to jump start with cables giving power from the 900NG, engine running. No change!

I incline to think it's probably an electrical problem somewhere. But I'm not good with electricity, but I do most of the mechanical service myself. I'll probably check :

  • I. Fuses.
  • II. Relays.
  • III. Some wire harnesses
  • IV. Ignition switch contacts (the ISM).

However, I really don't see how this happened, all of a sudden!!!

If you have any advise, please don't hesitate.


  • Welcome to Mechanics.SE! Great detail in your question, which is greatly appreciated. I'm wondering if the solenoid on the starter has given up the ghost. This could be checked by pulling the starter and testing. There may be other things to check first. I don't have much knowledge about Saabs, so need to leave this as a very general message. Jan 27, 2017 at 22:56
  • I would kill for a diesel Saab.
    – Tedwin
    Jan 28, 2017 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


See if the battery disconnect switch needs resetting. Look on top of the + terminal of the battery. If it has red showing in the window then press the yellow button to reset. WIS: "The battery disconnector cuts off voltage from components of the front engine harness, i.e. generator, starter motor and the front relay and fuse box relay, in the event of a head-on collision. The battery disconnector cuts off current in the areas of high temperatures and high currents."

battery disconnect  switch

  • Hi! My model doesn't have a battery switch :(
    – Alin
    Jan 28, 2017 at 14:17
  • Hi! My model doesn't have a battery switch :(. It's normal for some models. I permuted the relevant fuses and relays. I still have to look for the R7 relay as it's different from the other ones. I didn't check the ISM as I have to unfit it... and it's tedious... I measured the voltage on the battery and it's 12.07V, 5 days after charging it. It's not good. It should be between 12.6V and 13.3V. It still has 6 months on warranty. Could it be the battery??? Could the 2 batteries be faulty? It would be consistent the ESP, TC and light messages. I had these messages when the previous battery died.
    – Alin
    Jan 28, 2017 at 14:37
  • It started. It was the red relay, the R7. The ESP and TC messages are gone and the fuel indicator is correct. I hope this is it. Thanks to this gold mine : saabscene.com/forum/threads/…
    – Alin
    Jan 28, 2017 at 16:43
  • The relay is not to blame. I'll check the wiring loom tomorrow.
    – Alin
    Jan 28, 2017 at 20:27

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