Modern Saab Owners – look after your keys….

This post is prompted by a newsaper story earlier in the week, and backed up by an outraged Twitterer:


And here’s a longer version of what might be the same story, from TMCnet:

This is the first of what could be something like a 25-part series about the $1,000 key — the story is that shocking.

It’s not the key to the mint, not a key to success, not a key to happiness. It’s a key to a car, a Saab. Actually it’s not an ignition key in the traditional sense. It’s a hard rubber fob that fits into a hole near the console. Inside the fob is a computer that runs the car — starts it, stops it, handles the trunk and doors……

…..Imagine losing a thousand-dollar bill.

First you panic, full out.

Then you really start moving around, looking under sofas five times, 10 times, 30; looking in the refrigerator for the key, behind the juice carton; looking in the coffee pot….

…..The computer key system is designed as a high-quality anti-theft mechanism.

But you can insure against theft, not key fobs vanishing in mid-air.

Designing computers that go in your pocket and are used to start the engine — not the best way to treat people who like the car.

Now, whilst I’m sympathetic to the cost imposed here, there are a few things that need to be said about this scenario, and the electronic keys used for post-2002 Saab 9-3s.

1) Saab didn’t lose your keys, Mr. You lost your keys.

2) We expect our cars to do more and more stuff, but no-one wants to pay for it. I bet 9-3 owners like all the things they can do with their key fob – lock and unlock remotely, operate lighting, set off a panic alarm. Best of all, it’s electronically coded to the car and provides a high level of security. These things cost money to provide.

3) The most important bit of advice on this issue is this – if you lose one of your keys, see your Saab dealer straight away. Don’t use the spare key for a few weeks and risk losing that as well.


I emailed Shaw Saab in the US about the cost of replacement keys and they provided the following information:

If a customer has only lost 1 key, they need:

Transmitter — $ 40.00
Key Shaft — $ 36.00
Labor to Program Key — $ 35.70
TOTAL — $111.70

If the customer has lost 2 keys, this requires a new Column Integrated Module (CIM). The CIM price varies slightly from year to year, but here is an example:

Transmitter(2) — $ 80.00
Key Shaft(2) — $ 72.00
CIM — $610.00
Labor — $297.50
TOTAL — $1,059.50

We tell customers all of the time, that as soon as they lose 1 key to let us know ASAP. This way we can get the new key in and programmed before the 2nd key gets lost. $100 sure beats $1k.

Hope this helps.

Best personal regards,


So… the lessons learned:

  1. Look after your keys as their functionality costs money. You’re a big boy/girl now, so don’t lose them.
  2. If you lose one, replace it straight away.
  3. If you’re asked to pay $1500 from your US Saab dealer, you’re being asked to pay too much.


My thanks to Fred Shaw at Shaw Saab for the costing info

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