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DaveTheCarGuy, Car Enthusiast
Category: Car
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Experience:  AAS in Automotive Technology.
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Saab 9-5 2.3T: Hello, 2001 SAAB 9-5 Sedan w/ 110,000 miles.

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Hello, 2001 SAAB 9-5 Sedan w/ 110,000 miles. drove the car to the store this evening and it was fine. got back in the car and the check engine and transmission lights were on and the car just seemed to have a really hard time getting going. once it's rolling it's fine. tranny fluid level appears fine. Drove it home about 4 miles; thought I could smell something...any thoughts? Any help is much appreciated!

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be helping you with your Saab's issue. There are several things that could be the cause of your issue, please answer some questions so we can narrow down our search:

Any recent maintenance on the vehicle?

Was it harder to start?

Do you have a way of pulling the codes (most local parts stores will do this for free) and what are the codes?

Is the check engine light on constant or flashing?

How does the engine run at idle? How about giving it some gas in neutral, does it still seem weak, or does it rev smooth?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dave - we had the alternator replaced with a used unit about two weeks ago; it's been running fine since, though I have noticed a slow coolant leak under the since the service.


I noticed no change in how the car started.


I have no way of pulling the codes; I'm afraid to drive the thing for fear of doing more damage to the tranny.


Check engine and tranny light are on constantly.


Runs fine at idle. Seems to rev fine when I rev it in neutral.


Thanks for your help.

With the lights you have on, I believe your vehicle is going into limp mode. When the computer does that it is usually a solenoid issue that it detects. When was the last time you had the transmission fluid flushed.



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I've owned the car for two and a half years, I believe the tranny coolant was changed right before I bought the car. about 20k miles ago.


If it is the solenoid, could I have damaged the car by driving it the 4 miles to get it home? Can I drive it to the shop? If it is the solenoid, should I expect further transmission problems in the future?


Thanks for your help.



Hi Doug,

It is hard to say whether further damage will occur without knowing the codes. Sometimes the solenoids get gunked up and a fluid change will knock them loose, but it is only about 1 out of 10 times that it works out so well. The good news is that a few of the solenoids can be replaced without a full transmission overhaul. The vehicle goes into limp mode to help minimize any damage to the vehicle. If you have AAA or an insurance that would cover the tow, I would do it for your piece of mind. If you have to pay for the tow, I would just drive it there gently. You know you need some service done, why spend an extra few hundred on a tow.

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