Question about 2003 Saab 9-3

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2003 Saab 9-5 Check Engine Light

Lately I have noticed some white smoke out of the tail pipe on start up. Today the check engine light came on. Suggestions?

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  • ratemp Oct 29, 2008

    Thanks. I just checked the antifreeze and the oil (as a result of 2 similar responses). Both appear to be at the correct levels and I did not notice any abnormal look (milky) or smell.

    - ratemp

  • Anonymous Dec 10, 2008

    hi, I have the same problem. I just put 3000 dollars into my 2001 car and
    have had it with cars. the check engine lite went on, I checked the fluids,
    everything looks right, smells right, runs right. I am going to take it to
    Autozone as recommended.

    As a woman, who works second shift with handicapped adults, I am very
    very tired and sick of taking care of my car. Poor car. I really love it but
    just wish the problems would go away. I actually told the check engine light
    to *******.

    anyone out there like me?

  • Anonymous Mar 31, 2014

    smoking from engine

  • Rick Chameroy
    Rick Chameroy May 15, 2017

    I had the same problem you got white smoke it could be a turbo on its way out you may have to replace it and it not cheep to replace



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Take the car to Autozone, they will read the codes via OBD II for free.  Other parts stores may have the same policy ... call first.   My VW dealer charges $40 to pull the codes!!   I bought a low-end OBD II reader for $50, as the wife and I  both have VWs.

White smoke is usually antifreeze, the most frequent cause of this is head gasket blown or cracked head ... big bucks.  Hopefully this is not you.  Unless the car had a dramatic overheating incident, for most makes of cars, this should not happen until you have over 100K miles, probably closer to 200K.   
White smoke could also be break fluid sucked in from power brake booster.  If it's brake fluid, it will smell very bad.  
On cold days, when the car first starts, white smoke can just be normal condensation in the tailpipe ... if it happens after the car is warmed up ... it's something else.
Check your coolant overflow tank level ... if it's very low or empty ... put water in (don't bother with antifreeze yet in case you are burning it up in the engine).  
Good luck, ..ajm

Posted on Oct 29, 2008

  • A Mayers Oct 29, 2008

    Check brake fluid reservoir also, even if pads are worn out, level should be at or above min. level.  Let us know what the OBD II codes are.  Beware, the check engine light may be a red herring that is an completely unrelated issue.


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I have had a persistent engine light on and off problem for over a year. Multiple diagnostics, multiple fixes, a few too many $, and most recently replaced a turbo that had gone bad -- BTW, the bad turbo creates white smoke, FYI. Still the engine light is on. My technician seems stymied. All solutions noted here have been explored and addressed. Any other thoughts? The car runs better than fine, and after the investment in repairs, I am reluctant to dump it...any ideas?

Posted on May 23, 2010

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Check to see if your coolant is low. Also check to see if your oil is a milky color. Has your car been running hot on the temperature guage? White smoke from the exhaust is usually a sign that you have a blown head gasket. the first three things I mentioned will help to confirm this. Good luck and remember to rate all the solutions that you get. Thanx.

Posted on Oct 29, 2008

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