The Saab 99Turbo Extra Button

Saab 99 Extra Button

UPDATED – see below!

What’s with the Saab99Turbo Extra button?

Ever since the Top Gear story on Saab, I’ve had a steady flow of web searchers landing here looking for information on the Saab 99Turbo Extra button.

People seem to want to know what the extra button was for. James and Jeremy gave us no real insight other than proving that the button doesn’t make Jeremy any more attractive or intelligent.

So, what was the Saab 99Turbo Extra button for?

In simplest terms, it’s a dummy switch. It was there for use with a number of possible accessories, such as foglamps, etc.

But don’t just take my word for it. Just to make sure you’ve got an authoritative answer on this, I wrote to Peter Backstrom at the Saab Museum in Trollhattan. His response:

…..regarding the Extra button in the 99 (and also other Saabs) It was a button located in the panel [to be used] if the owner of the car wanted to add some electrical equipment to the car, like foglights etc. In Swedish we call [it] Extraljus. So we can say that it is a bit of Swinglish in our cars.

The button was also available off the shelf at our dealers if people wanted to have more in their Saab. We probably sold MANY of them in the good old times when the staus of the cars was connected to how many switches you had on the dashboard…..

So now you know.

The Extra button is exactly what it says it is: An extra button.



I’ve seen various suggestions for use of this button:

– Use it as an APC switch so that you could run the car on full boost or part boost
– Front fog lamps (the ‘extraljus’ that Peter referred to)
– bypass the thermoswitch and turn the radiator fan on a hot day

If you come up with a useful – or creative – way to use it, let me know!!

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  1. Thank you for solving that mystery. And yes, I was bummed because my SAAB doesn’t have one (ha).

    Another observation- it looks like there is an indicator in the form of a shoe on the gear shift in the 2005-2008 9-3’s, near the “park” position. I say 2005-2008, because that is the range of the three 9-3’s in our family- sedans and convertibles included. Is it a shoe, and, if so, is there a story behind it? It’s a very helpful shoe- the light behind it comes on when you turn the car on and it’s in park, but the brake isn’t yet depressed. Once you put your foot on the brake, voila! The light turns off. The funny thing is that I never noticed it until my boyfriend pointed it out to me about a month ago. It took us a good 10 minutes to realize what it was.

    Great stuff, indeed.

    Thanks, Swade!

    1. It means that you can’t shift the car from park until you put your foot on the brake.

      Manual transmission cars have a switch on the clutch pedal that will not allow the car to start until the clutch is depressed.

      This is in direct response to the Audi ‘unintended acceleration’ issues made infamous in the 1980’s.

      1. Thank you for the explanation. I had never seen anything like that before, and we were chalking it up to more “Swedish Strangeness!”

  2. Such a coincidence that a friend of mine saw a BBC America replay of the ‘farewell to Saab’ edition of ‘Top Gear’ last night and asked me by e-mail this very morning about the ‘extra’ switch. I simply referred him here.

  3. I even had an “Extra” button in my 1986 900 GLE. 🙂 So the tradition continued after the 99.


  4. It indeed was used for whatever one wanted. The one in our ’78 99 Turbo was used for fog lights. I also added another to control rear rain/fog lights.

  5. The Extra Button switch is still there on my 2008 9-3. It’s under the NightPanel switch. It just does not say extra on it anymore. In the owner’s manual it’s called the “Button for accessory – The button can be used for accessories, such as extra lights.”

    Just the facts.

  6. Still have a box full of those from all the days parting out 99’s. Used to use one for an easy “anti-theft” switch by running the fuel pump relay ground thru it. Quick to rig up, easy to use, and just out of sight enough to be effective (not that many wise thiefs would bother with 99’s!). Then there was the Volvo 145 switch we had installed in the shop bathroom wall, above the toilet paper roll, that said “Rear wipe/wash”…….

  7. Given the resources Top Gear have, I’m sure they knew what the “Extra” button is. However, given the show is mostly scripted, it is more entertaining not to reveal what the “extra” button is, but to mock it by stating SAAB put a button in a car that doesn’t do anything.

  8. Yo regarding Jeremy, his attractiveness yes I agree with you, but don’t hate on that dude his intelligence about cars is exceptional,

  9. Having cut my teeth on the Saab 99, we had a customer who swore blind it started better when he pressed the Extra switch, we never told him it was a dummy switch!!.