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Matt, Mechanical Engineer
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 22737
Experience:  BEng hons Mech engineering, in auto industry 22 years
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I have an eleven year old Saab 95 estate 2.3t

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I have an eleven year old Saab 95 estate 2.3t
For over a year now it has had an intermittent starting fault....sometimes it would start right away at others I could sit for up to 30 minutes .... it did not have to work to turnover it just didn't seem to make a connection?
Eventually I was advised to have a new starter and a new battery continued to have the same starting 'connection' problem....but not so often...
FYI it has had the locking warning alert on the screen for several years so I no longer auto lock it as it was also playing up. I locked it manually for a while but was never sure if it would open) .....
Strangely and possibly coincidentally since I stopped locking the drivers door manually it has started almost first time every time?
The local garage suggested that I might need a new barrel?
However it starts 9 out of 10 times with no problem .... though sometimes, if I have driven it a short distance and left it parked for a short while it may not start immediately .....
So it has become (of it's own accord it seems) mostly reliable BUT I have to drive to SW France a couple of times in the coming months with passengers and dogs and I am anxious about this intermittent problem? .... do you think a new barrel will solve the problem once and for all??? Thank you in advance I look forward to hearing back from you.
I would need to go to a main dealer but lost confidence with them a couple of years ago after they sent me out with an advisory note that I would need a couple of new tyres in the coming months as the outside rear had a bubble in it and another had a small bald patch ..... I went to my local Kwikfit the following morning .... they put it up on the ramp and showed me that infact the bubble was enormous and the bald patch was showing the copper {?} mesh the other two tyres also had bald patches... they were not only illegal but dangerous!

a new lock switch / barrel may well sort it all out I'd also consider replacing the starter relay
the issue is having to change all the locks, or suffer that you wil have a different ignition key compared to the door locks
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Matt

Thank you for your brief reply ..... I did write back to you at once, but I do not understand where that reply has gone to.

I wrote in my original question in the last sentence of my first paragraph that I did have a new starter relay and a new battery fitted? I said I had been advised that I might need a new barrel......

The reason I wrote to you...was to ask about whether 'You' believe with your expertise whether I also need a new barrel (lock switch) even though the car now starts nine out of ten times ..... taking into account all the mitigating foibles I mentioned.

I am a recently retired woman and don't have money to spare which is why I wrote to just answer....£20 seems a lot of money to pay when I am none the wiser.... I look forward to a more considered reply. Thanks


I'd suggest 1st to replace the starter relay, this relay switch is located in the engine bay fuse box and costs a few pounds, its used by the ignition switch to power up the starter motor

and they can just fail as they age so as its cheap I'd justreplace that

if that doesn't help then yes I'd agree with the garage that new ignition switch / barrel would be the next item to replace

fortunatly the switch is sperate to the lock so you don't have to replace any keys

there's a useful how to here which shows whats involved but I'd say its less than an hours work for any garage to fit a new part
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thankyou very much Matt