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Pontiac Grand Am Security Passlock Problems



  • Alright, I guess we get to spend more money trying to get this 02 back to running. It sounds like the fuel pump isn't working. We got the switch tested and they said it was bad (shock, shock) and of course we go back to Auto Zone and another shocker - they can't order the part - have to go to the dealer. We are so tired of dealing with this car! 45,000 miles, $3000 owed, and almost $1,000 put into it this year just to get it running - now the 3rd time in a year its been down! I used to love my GA, had one with no problems for 6 years prior to this one - never again will we buy a pontiac grand am!!!!!
  • raycorriraycorri Posts: 13
    You never answered. Did you cut the Yellow Wire while the engine was running? The "cut the wire" method will only work if you can get your vehicle to start one last time. If not----a "resistor bypass" method that I have heard about is to---- strip a section of the Black Passlock wire. Then cut the Yellow Passlock wire and place a resistor within the 15 possible GM resistance values between the black wire and the (engine side)of the yellow cut wire. Perform the 30 minute Relearn Procedure.(3 consecutive 10 min. reset procedures)This will teach the car your new resistor value. Sounds like it could work in theory, but I have not tried it myself. Good Luck!
  • My car is a piece of junk 2001 Grand Am 2.4l, 4 cylinder...
    Hi I've read all the previous posts and I'm having about the same problems. I tried the 10 min. passlock bypass but the car still won't stay started. What happens is as soon as I start the car about 2 seconds later it shuts off. It starts fine but then just shuts off. The weird thing is also that the CD player doesn't work, the door unlock/lock buttons don't work, the trunk release button, or any of the buttons on the key chain don't work either. The battery isn't dead becuase everything else works just fine on the car. I checked the fuses and all looks good. Is there something that I'm missing? If the passlock system was bad would it shut the car down like this and disable the locks and cd player? Any help would be great.
  • osh786osh786 Posts: 1
    I am really pissed about my 2000 Grand AM too. :mad: We had the passlock problem for the past couple of weeks but this morning it just would not start. The security light just stayed on and the started made a clicking noise. I called my mechanic and he said the security system was locked and needed to be reset. He also said that it could be a bad key and we may need to get new keys. He said resetting the system will cost about $100 and keys are $45 each, so I think I'm getting a good deal compared to most of you. Once it starts, I am sooo going to try cutting the yellow wire. I'm sick of this!
  • Alright, here we go again on this 02GA! We replaced the fuel pump switch - nope....still not working right.
    replaced the oxygen sensor (which is what the codes came up with) nope......still not working.
    now maybe it's the catalytic convertor?

    GIVE ME A BREAK!!! We went out and purchased - with cash!! a 94 taurus this weekend. We figure shell out the 1700 for the used car with only 90,000 miles and sell the piece of junk 02 grand am with only 45,000 miles!! and save money!!!!!!

    In the last 10 months I have been unable to drive this car for 4 whole months and out of the last 6 months it made it out of the driveway 3 months!

    I can't wait to get rid of this car and start driving the Taurus! The fact that it has no cd player (cassette only), no keyless remote, no security features, no power windows (a crank!!!), you unlock and lock the doors yourself - oh, and the trunk! all of it is worth being able to actually DRIVE THE VEHICLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The ONLY thing I will miss about the car is the "can't lock the keys in the car" feature!
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Doesn't sound like the passlock to me. First of all, if it was, it wouldn't start at all. Second, the security light would come on and stay on.
    It may be ignition switch related, quite often these symptoms go back to the ignition switch.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I went back and read your other posts. I don't see anywhere that you took it to competent dealer shop to have it diagnosed, just to Autozone to have the codes read and then threw parts at it trying to fix it. Those guys aren't typically very knowledgeable about what the codes really mean, but are always willing to sell you parts.
    I don't understand the logic of spending $1700 on a high mileage Taurus which may or may not be more reliable (my experience is it won't) instead of having the newer, lower mileage car fixed right.
    At any rate, good luck.
  • hgosinskihgosinski Posts: 22
    I have an 02 grand am also, and even if he takes it to a well known, or even a pontiac dealership, they either don't know what's wrong with it, or won't admit what's wrong with it, and you spend a bunch more money for them to switch out parts that don't need to be replaced. I know, I've been to the dealership, and have sent 2000.00 already, and still can't drive that piece of crap. I will say this, I did have the passlock system replaced, and i've been able to start my car with no problem. I know that sooner or later it will malfunction again, and then I will cut the yellow wire. But I still can't drive the thing, because now it's overheating, and I took it to AAMCO, they had it twice know, and still haven't gotten this new problem fixed. I am going to try to take it back where I got it from, and trade it. I don't know if that's an option, but it's worth a try! :mad:
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I've never had that problem. The few times I've been in to Pontiac they have have taken care of the problem the first time. The quality of dealer service varies widely just like everything else I suppose.
    I do know one thing though, if I spent $2000 on repairs that didn't fix my problem then the regional service manager would be hearing from me regularly.
    You could have an intake manifold gasket leak. A known problem on the V6, if that's what it is.
  • When we took it to the dealer to get the fuel switch - we thought we'd have to order it - nope. They said they keep at least 5 of the switches on hand since they go through them so quickly.
  • Now we may not have a choice but to go back to the dealer. The car is no longer under warranty so it's out of our pockets -which is why we've not had them doing all the work. The other mechanics we've seen are out of suggestions since we've replaced everything that the codes are flashing. We don't want to sink a whole lot more into this car since we are definitely selling as soon as it is driveable again.

    Right now, you can drive it but is lacking power. It stalls upon acceleration. The stored codes show a problem with the # 2 oxygen sensor heater, rich fuel mixture and random misfire. We replaced this oxygen sensor this week and a new coil pack, ECM & spark plugs less than 200 miles ago.
  • We completed the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University and began the Total Money Makeover to get out of debt. Most people believe (we've been one of the them) that you have to keep new cars and when they are paid off, it's time to trade in for a newer one instead of staying out of debt with another car payment. We've decided we're tired of living in debt and every vehicle we purchase from now on will be with cash and not on credit & financing. We had a taurus in the past with no problems and this one was taken very good care of and recently had new parts installed so it will last us for quite awhile. With the Grand AM, we've sunk more than 1,000 in it these past 10 months. The Taurus will pay for itself in car repairs, insurance and car payments we won't have anymore. We have our emergency fund and we'll set aside 20 a month so if we have a car repair or want to purchase a different car in the future, we'll have the cash to make the sale - not the interest and payments.
  • Yea, that's what I was thinking it may have something to do with the ignition switch. Although when I was trying passlock reset thing by waiting 10-15 mins. with the key to the on position, I wasn't turning it to the off then trying to start it. So, I'll try that this Friday if not, I'll be taking it to the dealer and I'll update on the problem. Also, I think everyone should file a complaint with the Office of Defects Investigation which is part of the NHTSA. I already have and it only takes like 5 mins. The link is You need the VIN number of your car also.
  • The cars only got 45,000 miles!! Seriously man you should be calling GM directly and filling a complaint. You may be able to delare your car a lemon and get a replacement. Also, with only 45,000 miles most of those repairs should have been covered under manucatures warranty even if you didn't purchase from a dealer. I'd give Pontiac a call and ask some questions and file a complaint with them. Here's the number 1-800-762-2737 also you will need your VIN number.
  • We did purchase the 02 from a dealer - Christmas Eve in 02 actually. I think it had less than 6,000 miles when we got it. (can't remember actual)We called about the warranty when we first had problems last year - because we hadn't had the car for 5 years and didn't purchase an extended warranty (our old GA was VERY dependable and had it for 6 yrs!) but they said the manufacture's warranty was up - even if we didn't have it for 5 years.

    Thanks for the number! We will definitely be giving them a call!! We found this site by accident looking for recalls on the car.
  • sheil2sheil2 Posts: 4
    Okay so i was woundering why my car would not start? i could hear a slight faint sound of clicking when i turn the key ignition to start but nothin...I tried the batteries along with the cables an nothing. I tried tappin on the starter but i am thinking maybe it's my pass lock system, but i am unsure, could it be? or what? Have any of you got somewhere near or had my experience ever? just need to know, i am here in germany an ufortunally it's hard to find a place that could fix american cars such as pontiac's by the way i own a 02" pontiac grand am GT, but rite now it sux because i can not get it to start. Could someone help me try to figure this out. I also tried to check the electrical fuse box underneath the hood but it seems to be working okay. By the was not to mention the small ticking is by the fuse box so please someone help me please......???????? :mad: :cry: :cry:
  • hgosinskihgosinski Posts: 22
    I think it is your passlock system. That is what my car was doing, so I took it to the pontiac dealership, and they replaced the theft modual, and I also had a bad starter solenoid, but to get your car to start, you need a new theft modual, for that passlock least it sounds like it. Hope this was of some help.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    If it's a passlock problem then the security light in the cluster will turn on. Could be the starter solenoid, if it's not working or getting actuated then the starter won't turn. I take the lights and other systems work OK?
  • sheil2sheil2 Posts: 4
    The security lights are fine, cluster um my car is an automatic. I don't know what's wrong with it it's hard to just take it to a dealer since i'm way out here in germany. I just don't want to take it some where an have them really miss it up, so i think it might be the starter solenoid. WEll checked the fuse box an even tapped on the starter but nothin. The car keys turn to start position but all you could hear is a small noise but it's like a faint noise an then it goes off. The engine does not turn or no fire going no where. The lights inside the car are okay it just not as bright anymore but front light's on bright are really bright...I just hate it rite now. I just picked up my car three day's ago from being shipped, an now i get this what a big help for me to get around... :confuse: well if you might kind of know from what i just said please mail me bac asap!!! thank you very much....
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    You tried jump starting it off another battery, a known good battery, right?
  • I've had problems with the passlock system since I bought my 2002 Grand Am. I've had the system reset 3 times in the last 6 months so believe me when I say I've reached my breaking point. :mad: There's nothing worse than getting off work and being stuck in the parking lot cause your stupid car won't start. I'm scared to go anywhere other than work and home cause I never know when it'll decide not to start. And as for the security light... I don't know about anyone else but mine doesn't always come on when I first start having problems with passlock... the car just won't start. When my security light comes on... I know I only have a few more starts before I'll have to have that hunk of junk towed. So, in addition to making car payments, I'm shelling out between 300 and 500 dollars every other month for repairs. Not to mention tow truck fees. Its absolutely ridiculous! Last summer I had problems with the intake manifold ... cost me $800 and I'm still fuming about that! Pontiac should be ashamed. Their cars are nice to look at but that's about it. I read one of the posts where someone was trying to get reimbursed for all the expenses they've incurred .... good luck with that cause it sure didn't work for me. My claim was denied. But this time if I have to take them to small claims court to get my money back, I will. I just can't afford to keep throwing away money for what is obviously a defective part.

    BTW - The city I live in has a segment on the news where consumers can voice problems their having with businesses and most often than not it helps because the companies don't want the bad publicity. I think I'm going to give them a call.

    Good luck to everyone stuck with one of these :lemon: . Hope you're somewhere safe when your car won't start! :P
  • orrnd99orrnd99 Posts: 2
    I seem to have the same issue with my Grand-Am - I can hear the fuel pump priming, it will turn over, but then it shuts itself down and will not start at all (for a few weeks it would start after a little while, but now not at all). I can't seem to get the "reset" procedure to work (assuming I'm doing it right) either - it simply won't start. My security light doesn't continue blinking though, so maybe that has something to do with it - my light only blinks 5 or 6 times and then goes solid. I've tried the "reset" and the "relearn" (reset x3) and neither seems to work. And since I can't get it to start, I don't want to go and snip the yellow passlock wire.

    Based on some of the threads I could find I decided to replace the ignition lock cylinder (instructions I found at: but it still doesn't work. I don't know that I can go much further myself and I really don't want to go to a dealer. Oh yeah, I replaced the battery too.

    If anyone has any other ideas I'd love to hear them. I beginning to fear that I will never drive this piece of junk again. Thanks!
  • Well, I posted earlier I was having this issue and the dealership has just got done fixing my car. It wasn't the Ignition Lock Cylinder. They had to replace the BCM (Body Control Module) This has the passlock system in it and controls the fuel pump shutoff too. They replaced this and all is running well. I'm not sure how to replace this yourself. I'm pretty sure they had to reprogram the new BCM.
  • Well, our 02 has had 2 new coil packs & ignition control modules, a new fuel pump switch & catalytic convertor all within the last 10 months and with only 45,000 miles on it. It gets out of the shop today and we are putting it for sale and will never buy another Pontiac Grand Am again!
  • Is your car in the On position or the ACC position when you try to reset it? I think mine only works in the ON position... the lights on the cluster come on but then everything goes off except the security light. It blinks for about 10 minutes and then goes off. After that mine will usually start right up. Usually the security light will go off when I reset the stupid thing but this time it didn't. I'm a single parent and can ill afford to be without a vehicle for any amount of time so I have no choice but to keep repairing it. Anyway, I was able to drive it to the dealership (which I absolutely did not want to do!) this afternoon and now its 5 hours later and I'm still waiting to hear something. Honestly, I don't think they even have a clue what's wrong with it. :confuse:
  • jmb2jmb2 Posts: 2
    Has anyone else seemed to notice if it happened in rainy weather. I recently begin to notice that if the weather is rainy my security light will come on while I am driving and the last time it did not start at all was when it was raining. Just wondering if anyone else is experiencing this.
  • orrnd99orrnd99 Posts: 2
    I live in Phoenix, AZ - so not much rain. Mine at least is not related to the rain.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I don't think the rain has anything to do with it either. Typically the passlock problem is caused by the Hall effect sensor mounted to the ignition switch, but it's possible that the BCM could also be faulty. Neither of these are exposed to outside moisture (not supposed to be anyway).
  • hgosinskihgosinski Posts: 22
    :cry: Well, so far so good with the whole car starting, not starting thing, I had the theft modual replaced at the Pontiac dealership, and the starter relay, and haven't had any problems with that. But now, my car has been back and forth to AAMCO with an overheating problem, and they can't seem to figure out what's wrong with it. They replaced the thermometer, they flush and filled the radiator, and everytime I bring it home, it starts overheating again. They checked everthing, the computer is working fine, yet it's still overheating. Does anyone have any suggestions? I just can't believe this car... :cry: :mad: :confuse:
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Is it leaking? Is the coolant level in the resevoir going down with no external leak apparant? Is the electric cooling fan working?
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