The No-Go Saab

A customer with a ‘55 plate Saab 9-5 had a starting problem. The engine would sometimes refuse to crank when the key was turned, or stop cranking before the engine had fired up. The fault varied quite a lot in frequency of appearance. Often this would be a faulty starter motor, starter relay or in rare cases ignition switch.

Running diagnostics on the car showed no logged faults so we were going to have to resolve this the old fashioned way. We tried a new starter motor relay (the cheapest fix) – no difference. So which of the expensive items could it be? Or was it something entirely different and sinister like a wiring fault?

In the end we did find the culprit without wasting the customer’s money – one of our Technicians thought logically that as failing starter motors often respond to a ‘tap’ with a hammer then why not the switch itself? With the key in the centre console and the switch buried deep down, access was non-existent so the key was held to the ‘Start’ position and a small bottle of Volvic water was simply bumped onto the exposed key top.

This impact jolted old electrics into making contact and started the car every time, so we replaced the ignition switch and the customer is now delighted with her once more reliable car.