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Pete, Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 29037
Experience:  17 years automotive training and experience.
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Saab 9.3 Aero: I own a 2004, 9.3 Aero, auto transmission.

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I own a 2004, 9.3 Aero, auto transmission. The key suddenly will not register with the car and consequently, I cannot start the car. One other odd situation. The steering wheel is not locked. The car is parked in the garage, locked in park. Any suggestions?

The car's diagnostic system told me it does not recognize the key.

I tried both keys.  Neither will work.

I also checked all fuses associated with starting the vehicle.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a professional here at Just Answer/Pearl. I noticed that your question was not getting a response and thought I would see if you still need help with this.I apologize for the delay and I hope I can still assist you with this here.

One common component to cause this type of fault here I have seen before in the past can be a fault with the electronic ignition switch itself and on this model should be part of the key cylinder itself as well.

I have seen the body control module not allow the vehicle to start as it doesn't receive the correct signals from this ignition switch and can cause this as well as internal electrical faults in the body control module in some cases cause this as well.

What needs to be done from here is to have the fault codes read out/checked with a scan tool that can communicate with all computers on this vehicle to see what codes have set in all computers.Once this has been done then it can be diagnosed as to what component is at fault and repaired to correct the fault from there.

Most common is usually the ignition switch itself needing replaced.

Thanks Pete
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Are you saying there is nothing that I can do to reset the system to accept my key? Also the vehicle is locked in park. I can't move it or tow it to a repair shop. How do I release the park mechanism?
To be sure does this vehicle have the push button start or is it the normal system where you insert the key to turn and start the vehicle and is it the key that isn't turning?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Key system to start the vehicle. The key itself will not turn to unlock the transmission and start the vehicle. I read a signal on the digital display that says the car does not recognize the key, but there is no ability to turn the ignition switch with the key. I believe the car will allow an unrecognized key to at least turn the ignition switch.

I have seen the electronic ignition switch fail before in the past and cause this type of fault here and sounds like what has occurred here with this vehicle as the key isn't recognized to be allow to be turned in this ignition switch.We can assume both keys are o.k. since both keys are not working properly.

I don't see a manual release on this model here as some have to manually release the shifter to push the vehicle out of position,this looks like the transmission linkage would need disconnected under the hood of the vehicle at the transmission itself then the transmission manually shifted out of park to move the vehicle.

Thanks Pete
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Last question, if I replace the ignition switch itself, in your opinion, will the car allow the keys to work or do I have two problems. Mechanical ignition switch, and electronic reset to recognize the key?


Most likely it is only the ignition switch itself but its difficult to say for sure from here.The best thing to do here to be sure is to have the codes ran and some diagnostic testing done to make sure this is the component at fault and to make sure no other components are at fault as well causing this.This way you don't replace the switch to find out there is another issues with the vehicle.

Thanks Pete
Pete and other Car Specialists are ready to help you

I am following up with you to see if you still needed help with your question you had asked.If my help didn't satisfy your question please let me know so we can continue.

Thanks Pete
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am replacing the ignition switch as it is faulty. My next potential issue is the car recognizing the key once the new switch is in and operational. The car shop does not have diagnostic capability to scan codes.

Let me know if you have any comments about the car starting with the new switch. Don't want to spend another $18.00. Don't worry about a reply if it will cost me.



I believe on this model once the new switch is installed a dealers scan tool is required to program the key into the switch as it does house part of the theft immobilizer system.