Strange headlamp problems on Saabs can often be attributed to a failing Headlamp relay. Here are a few situations we have seen:
Issue 1 - Headlamp switch will work backwards: Turn on the switch and the headlights go off and turn off the switch and the headlights will go on.
Issue 2 - High beams will disappear. You will have no highbeams. Be sure to check the headlight bulbs PRIOR to ordering the relay. We have seen both high beams burn out at the same time
Issue 3 - High beams will not work only the low beams will. You can sometimes fix this issue by removing the relay, taking off the cover and resoldering the connections on the relay bottom but in most cases you will have to replace the relay to cure the problem long term.
NOTE from Jim Haines one of our contributors: Yep, my '04 9-5 kept having a bogus "failure" of just the driver side high beam that wasn't the lamp and "cured" itself. Touch wood, spending the bucks for the Bulb Check/Lamp Control Relay seems to have fixed it. Of course it waited until the warranty ran out!
On 1997 9000 CSE refused to turn off with ignition key when the headlight relay was malfunctioning. I kid you not, pulled out the key the car kept running. I had been having some trouble with the headlight relay and the high beams were stuck on so I pulled out the relay and the engine shut off pronto. We have actually seen some issues with this. Replacing the relay typically cures the issue.
Our 2000 93 had a similar issue. One evening the headlights did not come on at all. I checked the different light settings and nothing worked. I replaced the bulbs the next day and it didn't completely solve the problem- the high beams worked but the low beams didn't work. I checked the front low beam fuses (left and right) and they were fine... I brought it to a local shop and I was told that the Headlight Relay Control Module needed to be replaced. To the tune of $300 parts and labor... Bit steep, but this solved it.
My 2000 Saab 93 was having high beam issues- The low beams worked just fine, but when I switched to high beam the right head light did what it was suppose to do; but the left one would go out completely....also the blue indicator on the dash wouldn't show the high beams were on either. I bought the orange 4109070 and an easy install (2 min) in the box near the firewall and whoo-hoo all worked just like they were suppose to and my dash indicator by my speedometer works now too.
My 2000 Saab 95 driver side high beam went out. Traced the wiring from the headlamp to the relay/fuse box in the engine compartment and isolated the fault to the lamp relay. Removed and opened the lamp relay. Observed bad solder connection on PCB to base connector. Re-soldered all the connections and re-installed the relay. Replacement is the best solution because this seems to have to be done over and over again.
Thanks to Brian for contributing to this FAQ!
I am not a car mechanic but grew up on the farm and fix everything myself if I can. I am the original owner of a 1999 Saab 9-5 SE. Both of my high beams went out. I checked the bulbs (fine condition), separated the orange housing from the pcb and viewed cracks in the soldered lead connections. Re-flowed the solder and everything works fine. This repair will only work if the circuit board is not broken. If your blue indicator light is not coming on but you hear the relay clicking you very likely need to replace it.
Thanks to Ron Foster for contributing to this FAQ!
2001 9.3 turbo - Had new high intensity bulbs as replacements only 3 months old. Cockpit indicator came on "Headlight Out." Right low beam
inoperative/Left low beam OK. Switched to high beams - no indication of high beams on in cockpit (blue light indicator) - outside the right high
beam was on/left high beam out. Both came on for 5 seconds and then went out. Read your FAQs. Pulled a Headlight Relay Control Module from a
friends 9.3, plugged it in and lights were back to normal operation. SAAB garage wanted $173 for a new relay module (orange one)located in engine
compartment drivers side. Went to a SAAB salvage yard on internet and replaced the same for $25. 9.3 lights the road up at night now like it was
NOTE: We would not really recommend used because EACH one of these relays have this issue. We are working on a less expensive relay now that so far has been very successful so far. We should have them listed on the site soon.
Thanks to Dennis for contributing to this FAQ!
Thanks for the post. Had the light failure message and the drivers side high beam out off and on for months on my 03 95. Bought the after market relay from this site, replaced it in 3 minutes, and so far the problem
appears to be fixed.
Pricing for RELAYS UNDER HOOD DRIVER SIDE (relays)