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Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2001 17:12:03 -0800
From: Geoff Waters <>
Subject: Re: Check engine light on 1996 900 SE

"Kenneth S." wrote: > > I have a 1996 900 SE with 67,000 miles on it. The "check engine" light > came on about 10 days ago, and stayed on, for no apparent reason. The > car was running fine. I took it into the local Saab dealer. The > mechanic hooked it up to the computer and said that there was nothing > wrong, but that it was possible that I hadn't tightened up the gas cap > sufficiently after the last fill-up. (There is a message on the gas cap > saying that, if it is insufficiently tightened, the check engine light > may come on.) > > The dealer reset the system, and the check engine light was off for > about a week. Yesterday, however, it came on again, for no apparent > reason. I had not filled up the car before it came on. So it could not > be a question of the gas cap not being properly tightened. In any case, > I filled up the tank with premium gasoline today, and made sure to > tighten up the cap, but the check engine light is staying on. > > (1) Has anyone else experienced this kind of problem? > > (2) Is it possible that the seal on the gas cap has deteriorated, and > that replacing the gas cap will take care of this problem permanently? > > (3) Is there any way that I can reset the system myself, and avoid > having to take the car in to the dealer to do it? > > (4) Why would the check engine light stay on permanently like this? I > thought that they automatically went out after a while, but that the > trouble code was retained in the computer for a while, and could later > be retrieved by the dealer. > > (5) With previous American cars I have owned, the check engine light > has invariably been a sign that the oxygen sensor needed to be > replaced. Is it possible that this is the problem here? The dealer > didn't mention this, and in any case I wouldn't have expected an oxygen > sensor to need replacement before about 90,000 miles. I was about to send a fairly identical message when I saw yours. a) you can reset the light by disconnecting both battery terminals at the same time (make sure you know your radio code before you do this). There may be a better way; if so, I'll be glad to learn it. Mine will stay off for anywhere from a month to 2 minutes. Sometimes (maybe once in five times) it will also go out by itself after a few days or a week. b) mine is also a 1996 900SE (2.0 turbo 5-door AT). I have had it for about a year and it presently has 65,500 miles on it. The light comes on regularly, always while driving (never surprising me at ignition startup). Two different SAAB dealers (in NC and CA) had no idea other than it might be "a loose or corroded terminal somewhere." When they checked for an error code, they told me there wasn't any error or fault registering on the car's computer chip. The car recently passed its California smog test (although I had to talk the tester into letting me do the battery trick because a "check engine" light will flunk you even if the engine is within the required pollution limits). It runs fine. I get about 32 miles per US gallon at a steady 65, about 22-24 at a steady 75, and about 18-20 in LA freeway commuting, so I am assuming the engine is doing its thing OK. (Or should those numbers be better?) I just had the 65,000 major service and the car came back with the light still lit and the service tech said he was still stumped. I'm ready to learn...

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