The following is directly from saab cars USA and provided for your information.
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To: All Saab Dealers

Attention: Saab Sales Managers
Saab Service Managers

From: Abe Buchbinder

Reference: Engine failures due to low octane fuel available in high-Altitude areas

The Owner's Manuals for both 9-3 and 9-5 advise the owner that their Saab can be driven on fuel grade AON 87-93. In most parts of the country, this is not a problem as typically 87 octane fuel is the lowest grade available. However, in certain high-altitude areas, (above 5,000 feet) lower octane fuel is available. In these areas, the "regular" type of fuel may be 85 octane or lower.

While this low octane fuel may be sufficient to run in low compression naturally-aspirated engines at these higher altitudes, Saab's turbocharged engines with highly optimized engine management systems can sustain severe engine damage if this low-grade fuel is used. Typically an owner may complain of loss of power, severe detonation and higher than normal engine operating temperature.

If the driver continues to operate their Saab under these conditions, the engine may die or seize. Upon disassembly, deterioration of tops of pistons can be seen with scoring of the cylinder walls also evident.

Failures caused by improper fuel are
not covered under the terms of the new-car warranty. If such a condition is encountered, your District Aftersales Manager must be contacted.

We ask that during the Dedicated Delivery process as well as during normal service visits that owners be advised that they pay attention to the grade of fuel during refueling, particularly when operating in high-altitude areas and care be taken not to use lower than 87 octane fuel.

Thank you for your attention.


Abe Buchbinder

Director, Service & Parts
Saab Cars USA, Inc.

Saab Cars USA, Inc. bulletins are intended for use by professional Saab technicians only, NOT a do-it-yourselfer. They are designed to inform these technicians of conditions that may occur on some vehicles, or to provide information that could assist in the proper service of a vehicle. Saab trained technicians have the equipment, tools, safety instructions, and know how to do a job properly and safely. If a condition is described, DO NOT assume that the bulletin applies to your vehicle or that your vehicle will have the condition. See your authorized Saab dealer for information on whether your vehicle may benefit from the information. 2000 Saab Cars USA, Inc.