Frequently Asked Service Questions

Have a problem with your vehicle that you can’t seem to figure out? Check out some frequently asked questions below to see what’s going on. Don’t see your question listed? Give us a call at (617) 560-1710 and we’ll be happy to help!

2003-2011 9-3 SPORTS SEDAN

Q: Why do my windows (or sunroof) not close when I want to close them, they go back down part way? What Can I do about it? It looks like it may rain!
A: The “anti-pinch” feature has lost its programming values! You can override this behavior by depressing the rear window lock out button- the rear most button on the drivers door switch pack/module at the same time as the window switch. This function also works for the sunroof. The programming will ultimately need to be reset by us at the Saab service center, but this way you can get the window or roof closed now.

Q: When does my car need service? Is the “Time for Service” message accurate?
A: Your 9-3 has 2 different service schedules:

  • Main services are mileage based – every 30,000 miles
  • Intermediate services are determined by the engine control unit based on your actual driving conditions. This mileage can vary from season to season, car to car and by driver. Most Saab owners prefer to rely on their own judgment and have their oil changed at least every 5000 miles. If your driving habits have you driving less than 5000 miles a year, then a yearly oil change will suffice
  • One negative point related to less frequent service intervals is that a lot of our customers don’t think to have their fluid levels, tire pressure and condition checked as often as they should- at Charles River, we don’t mind if you stop in just to have us check your tires and fluid levels, no appointment needed, at no cost to you


Q: When does my car need service?
A: For all Saab cars from the classic 900 and classic 9-3, the 9000 through the 9-5 models (up to 2009) have similar service requirements. 5000 mile interval oil changes, using full synthetic oil, with main services at 30,000 mile intervals and major services due at 60,000 mile intervals.

A lot of our customers prefer to shorten the oil change interval to 3,750 miles and perform service at 7500 mile intervals, it depends on your driving routine and yearly mileage- ask us if in doubt as to what the best schedule is for you and your Saab.

Q: My “Check Engine” light is on. What should I do? Is it safe to drive?
A: It is impossible for us to tell you over the phone what may have caused your check engine light to come on, but in general – if the light comes on, and you don’t notice any difference in the way the car sounds, starts or runs – it is probably safe to drive. You should plan to get the car to us as soon as possible though – so we can properly diagnose the cause of the light. A common cause for a check engine light coming on with no symptoms is a loose or improperly fitted gas cap – probably the first thing to check, especially if you had recently refueled before the light came on.

Q: I heard that it’s really hard to find parts for my Saab now, what should I do?
A: We are currently at or above the parts availability level we enjoyed before the Saab Cars bankruptcy, and in most cases we can get anything you would need for your Saab within a day. There are still rare cases of “back-ordered” parts, but with an experienced and resourceful group in the service and parts departments here, between used and aftermarket parts, and being able to communicate with other Saab Service centers nationwide- we can find what you need for your Saab.

Q: I have an older Saab, with a lot of miles, will you guys work on it?
A: Yes, we will! We have the experience, tools and parts sources that other shops do not have. We have been in the business of fixing Saabs for over 50 years, and know more about your model than anyone else. Even though our labor rate may be higher than some other independent shops- our experienced staff is able to quickly diagnose most problems that leave other shops guessing-often that means repeat visits and additional cost to you while they do unnecessary work. In fact over the last few months we’ve had everything from a 1957 Saab 93 to 2011 9-5s and 9-4X’s here for service.