Car Problem Reports

Oldsmobile Alero No Start Due to Failed Passlock Sensor

Oldsmobile Alero Problem
142 Reports
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Model Years Affected: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

Average Mileage: 116,094 mi (15,400 mi - 240,000 mi)


The passlock sensor in the ignition lock cylinder may fail causing an anti-theft system fault and a no start condition. Our technicians tell us that the ignition lock cylinder should be replace to correct this condition.

  • I did this fix on my daughters 2000 alero and now it starts the first time everytime no more waiting 10 minutes for the security light to reset.Very reliable now.

    Here's how to disable car's troublesome security system
    by Lauren Fix
    Dear Car Fix: I have a 2003 Alero Oldsmobile with a peculiar safety system. The security light comes on at least once a week and after approximately three weeks the car will not start. After I let it reprogram itself for 10 minutes, it's OK. Is it possible to disable this security system?
    -- C.W., Buffalo
    Dear C.W.: Here is a step-by-step procedure to disconnect the security system:
    Pry up the plastic molding from around the radio/heater A/C controller and from around the gear shifter. Detach the heater A/C module from the molding by removing the four 7mm hex bolts from the backside. Take out the three 7mm hex bolts to loosen the radio. Put the key in the ignition and turn to "on" position, apply brake, and shift into "drive" or lower gear. Turn the heater A/C module to the left, sideways orientation, and pull out the radio. Disconnect main wiring harness from back center of radio if there is not enough slack to take the radio out past the plastic molding. Leave the antenna connected. Look inside and to the left at the back of the ignition cylinder assembly. Locate the thin yellow wire, which is bundled alongside the thin white and the thin black wire. You may have to stick your hand in and fish a bit to grab this "thin wire trio." DO NOT mess with the main rear/downward ignition wiring harnesses (one of which contains a thick yellow wire -- leave it alone).
    Isolate the thin yellow wire from the two others. As a precaution, reconnect the main radio wire harness, and let the radio hang to the right side. Put the key in the ignition, and put the car back in park. Start the car. Cut the thin yellow wire with the car running. Tape both ends of the cut wire. Place black electrical tape over the "security" light (less annoying). Turn off the car engine. Disconnect the radio main wire harness to reinstall the radio, if necessary. You may need to crawl under the passenger- side dash to push the main wire harness back into the radio while holding the radio from the front. The rest of the installation is the reverse of removal. Your life just got a lot better if you want to keep driving this car!

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  • , , 195,000 mi

    Dash board lights would not come on, no gages, battery lights, MIL, nothing, car would crank but not start. Every now and then in past the "SECURITY" LIGHT would flash and I did the relearn procedure to get the car started. I did much of the diagnostics mentioned here and other posts, including checking Blower resistor.
    I finally got the dash and instrument lights to come on intermintantly using the spare key and "SECURITY" was not flashing. I did the relearn function and the car started with the spare but not the regular (much used) key. The key continued to work although I had to do the "relearn function" (key turned to the on position for 10 minutes - remember to put your parking brake on so the headlights don't come on and turn off radio to prevent battery drain) several times.

    With one key now working sometimes and the other not I decided to try cleaning the keys with electronics contact cleaner although they appeared to be clean.
    The car now starts everytime with both keys! If you have similar symptoms I advise cleaning the keys before replacing the ignition cylinder/passlock sensor. I hope this helps someone and thanks to everyone for posting information regarding this problem.

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  • , , 117,000 mi

    This has happened to me numerous times, usually the 10 minute time fix works but not this time. It is very frustrating. I have been with no car, today makes day 3. From what I have read it is a very common problem on multiple GM vehicles and having the lock cylinder replaced does not guarantee it wont cut out on you again.
    I for one have sworn off GM altogether, I will never buy from them again. As soon as I am able this car is gone as well.

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  • , , 144,316 mi

    started drove the car to work. the security light popped up on dash and the radio anti theft lift blinking on radio. I parked car, and at the end of shift I came back to car tried to start car I have nothing. no lights on dash, no power at all. tried to jump and still nothing.. No power at all.. Towed car home and sitting in drive way.. Where do I start?

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  • , , 120,000 mi

    Has power, but won't start.

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  • , , 120,000 mi

    the engine turns butdoes not srarts

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  • , , 90,000 mi

    the security shuts down the car when you attempt to start it, and now the security light stays on all the time

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  • , , 66,000 mi

    Same issue. Security Pass Lock

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  • , , 77,562 mi

    Intermittent no crank or start, only lights on dash. Dealer states could be one of three problems.
    Neutral switch, starter or ignition switch.

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  • , , 100,000 mi

    After driving the car for a few months the car just wouldn't start. I would tow it to a shop and it would start right up. Then a few months later it would do it again. After about the 4th time and getting the ignition switch (i think that what it's called) It ended up being the harnest wiring which cost around 350 dollars.

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