Oldsmobile Alero Starting-Stalling Problems

chrgrlchrgrl Member Posts: 2
edited June 2017 in Oldsmobile
I have a 2001 alero with about 94,000 miles on it. It turns over just fine and all the electrical works fine (radio comes on, headlights, etc when the key is turned). However, the car will not actually start, or if it does it only stays on for a couple seconds. Any ideas? My fiance changed the fuel pump, thinking that was the problem, but obviously it was not since the car still will not start. And no, it is not out of gas...there is about a quarter of a tank in there.

Anyone with similar experiences?

Begin at the Beginning: How To Diagnose Problems If Your Car Won't Start (from Auto Repair For Dummies)


  • darkgolddarkgold Member Posts: 1
    I am having similar experience. It has happened a few times over the last few months. It cranks but just won't fire. The shop has no clue. They say there find nothing unusual with diagnostics. I have had it towed on each occasion. Once the wrecker drops it off at repair shop, the car starts. I mean right then and there. Nobody had a chance to take a wrench to it. No explanation. It is getting costly and irritating. Been a good car up this point. 2001 alero with 117k.

    Someone today threw out the possibility of crankshaft position sensor. Any other ideas would be welcome.
  • chrgrlchrgrl Member Posts: 2
    whoa, i forgot i had posted this. we ended up taking it to the dealership after my husband tried changing the fuel pump and some other thing (the fuel filter, maybe?). it ended up being a computer problem...something had tripped a security thing, which effectively cut off fuel flow to the engine so the car wouldn't start. they reset the computer stuff (for $74) and it works fine now. just hope it doesn't happen again.
  • harrieharrie Member Posts: 3
    Hi, I have an alero 1999 3.4 and have problems with my alarm system. securty light flashes and car dont start, I saw mwny problems in the mails, my question, how can I reset this system, my dealer cant repair this system, has anybody a sugestion for me, thanks,
  • burdawgburdawg Member Posts: 1,524
    Go to a different dealer. Any competent dealer repair shop should be able to diagnose/repair the passlock system. Try a Pontiac dealer, since the Grand Am is the same car under the skin.
  • ticked1ticked1 Member Posts: 2
    :lemon: What is wrong with this feature? I recently took my olds alero to a reputatious Chev. dealer/mechanic and they had to replace the ignition switch inorder to "correct" the cars' security system (at times the car would leave me stranded cuz it wouldn't start.) :lemon: The dealership told me that the problem was corrected/fixed and for almost 2 months we had no further problems with this issue. Just the other day we went to the grociery store and while getting ready to leave the car refused to start again. We did the 20+ minute reset thing with the key and it started. The problem we are experiencing now is that the security light comes on on the dash a few minutes after the car has started. I wonder if the GM mechanic can properly rid this option all together?
    Ticked1 :mad:
  • ticked1ticked1 Member Posts: 2
    I read in a short forum that one should be able to rely on thier GM Dealer to get a common problem resolved (passlock security) I think in all normality that YES they should beable to diagnose such probs and satisfy the customer by repairing the problem. Exspecially if it is a common occurance with other ppl. But beware!! Some dealers I find are just in it to make a few dollars off a innocent owner before they finaly get tired of the same customer then finally (after ripping him/her off hundreds/thousands of $$)they will fix it.
    Such a shame really!
  • reborn77reborn77 Member Posts: 1
    I just had the same problem, I saw this post first and then I found a simple solution on another web page. My little brother was playing around in my car and when I came out it wouldn't start. It sounded like the car was not getting any gas. The solution is to turn the key to on and leave it for 10 minutes. The security light was blinking and after 10 minutes it shut off, then the car started right up. It saved me a towing fee and we were calling for estimates on full pumps!! :shades:
  • bcw1bcw1 Member Posts: 1
    I am having the same problem with my car not starting. I got up this morning to go to church, and TADAAA... it wouldn't start. I finally decided today to look this problem up on the internet. I have a 2000 Alero, and after just paying it off last Summer, that's when the problem started. The car will start up, but will not turn over. It's like the gas has been disengaged. Also, the Security Light comes on. I have had my car to the shop several times, and many "Other" things have been fixed. Since last summer, and after having many things fixed, I hadn't had it happen to me until about a month and a half ago until this morning. Does anyone know how to get this problem solved? It seems as though I have tried everything. It seems like this should be a recall, since so many others are having problems with it. Thanks,

  • oldsalerooldsalero Member Posts: 2
    your security has trigerd does your security light flash when the key is in if so then put your key on engine off and let sit 15-20 minutes or until the light stops flashing and attempt to start but dont let it in other words bump the starter and turn off and try and start it it should start
    good luck
  • nmb1mommy05nmb1mommy05 Member Posts: 1
    a few days ago i had the same problem, i went to start my car and it just seemed it wasnt getting any gas, and just died out on me. now the power lock system isnt working, my auto lights are not working and neither is my trunk release. she still will not start, we are all thinking it could be the security system, but who really knows. :(
  • fevancefevance Member Posts: 1
    Any idea why this may be happening? I have been having the "Service Engine Soon", "Anti-Brakes" and "Trac off." lights all come on for a few months now. However, no one could get a code from my car. Although I was getting those light flashing, my car's performance was the same. I would just simply turn my car off then on again and the lights would turn off. However, two nights ago, my car would not start. It would fire up. That caused me to rule out the "Ususal suspects" - the starter, battery, or alternator. A few friends suggested it could be the fuel pump.
    I had it towed to the dealer the next day. Funny thing is the next day it started up. I just didn't want to take chances with being stranded two days in a row.

    When I had the GM dealer look at it, the dealer said that no code was store. The dealer did say that it appears there is a sensor going bad in the front bearing assembly. However, that sensor has nothing to do with my car not starting.
    So basically, if there could be any other reason that my car mysteriously wouldn't start, please let me know.
  • htinninhtinnin Member Posts: 5
    Sorry, I have no idea, but mine was doing something similar, took it to the mechanic, and of course there it started up perfectly fine, and nothing could be found wrong. Very aggravating.
  • peterkkpeterkk Member Posts: 1
    I have the similar problem. After founding out it is not starting and the security light is blinking, I leave the key in the ignition on the ACC position for 10 minutes. Then I take the key out and reinsert and it start right away. This is the second time it happens in the last four weeks. Anybody knows the root cause of it?
  • bkonyubkonyu Member Posts: 1
    I have a 99 Alero - bought the first model year - what was I thinking?

    For at least a few years now - more likely 5 years or more, our 1999 V6 Alero has had problems restarting. Start up the car and drive for a half hour or more and then shut off the car. When you go to restart it (generally within an hour), the car will turn over and start but then quickly die unless you give it some gas. Once the car is in gear its fine (So we have taken to giving the car a little gas and then with the foot on the brake, putting it in gear). I have noticed that when the Alero on healthy initial starts will idle at about 1000RPM, while on these unhealthy restarts its under 800 RPM. This appeared to initially be a cold weather issue, but it quickly expanded to the warmer months.

    This has been looked at by a few separate mechanics -both dealer and otherwise, but no success. Pretty much everything electrical has been replaced: battery, alternator, starter I believe, spark plugs and related assembly and there have been various fuel line flushes, governor assembly maintenance, etc. Results MAY be better for a few days, but back to the same issue after that.

    I have read that gasket leaks that occurred on this model could cause some damage (we had one of those replaced under warranty in the first 2 or 3 years of ownership - prior to the occurrence of this restarting problem).

    Also had the usual plethora of problems with the car - I'm on the third blower motor for the heating and A/C... and I'm down to two speeds on that, I'm on the third set of front hubs, another gasket replacement.... blah blah blah.

    Anyway - hope someone can help!!!
  • jennhjennh Member Posts: 2
    My alero started uo after work today, I drove across the parking lot and it died like it ran out of gas. I tried the theft system, but it doesn't work. I ran my battery down trying to get it to start. ANY HELP???
  • burdawgburdawg Member Posts: 1,524
    Most common things to check:
    Fuel pump should be checked. If it's not that then check for ignition spark.
  • went757went757 Member Posts: 9
    I thought I would shed some light on how this Passlock Alarm System works. Well how its supposed to anyway. First of all when you turn the key you are sending a R code signal to the BCM- Body Control Module-(located by the heater blower), then the BCM will recognize the signal and send a signal to the PCM-Powertrain Control Module. If the BCM does not recognize the signal the security indicator will flash and it will go into the Short Tamper Mode for 4 seconds. After 3 failures it will go into the Long Tamper Mode and shuts off the power to the fuel injectors for 10 minutes. The security light will still be flashing. This could be due to bad connections at the wiring or grounds.
    Or it could be that the BCM needs to be reprogrammed so it will recognize the code. The GM dealers use a GM Tech 2 scan tool to do this. I would think that a person not wanting to spend the money to reprogram that BCM could bypass the alarm system all together but I havent got that far yet! If you look at the diameter of the wiring its very small and doesnt take much vibration to make a possible ground with it. The ignition switches are a bit pricy for this car $150.00 and if you change that out you still have to reprogram the BCM. Hope this helps.
  • kdeezlekdeezle Member Posts: 12
    I have a 1999 alero with 104k. Recently, i start it up and it stalls. I ignored it, but now i cant even go anywhere because once the car starts, a minute or two later stalls, and keeps doing it. I was low on fuel at the time, and it was very cold here in detroit, but i added fuel and it continues to have this problem. it only begins to stall when the vehicle warms up a little. can someone please offer me some ideas to the possible problem?
  • went757went757 Member Posts: 9
    The first thing I would do would be to check for troublecodes. You can do that using a OBD-2 code scanner. If you dont have one Auto Zone and other part stores will scan your system for free. You didnt mention any new spark plugs or anything like that. I just got done replacing the plugs in my father in laws car (99-with 113k). They really need replacing before 100k. Depending on driving conditions.
    With cold weather and a empty tank or near empty it could mean that you picked up some water out of the tank. It could have more water then you think. I use some of those fuel system additives that help get the water out of the system. Another thing I would verify before you put too much gasoline in that tank is how much fuel pressure you have. You can do that by getting a fuel pressure tester for about 40 dollars and it just screws onto the fuel rail, located on the passenger side of the car. When you crank it you will get a reading. It should be between 41 to about 46 psi. If the pressure is weak then i would be looking at the fuel pressure regulator valve. If it still wont go higher then the pump is weak. I know that on this 99 I am working on they already had to change out the fuel pump well before 100k. Look for loose connections,vacuum leaks. THe MAP sensor near the throttle valve plays a important part also in how it runs. Hope this helps.
  • jaydeeceejaydeecee Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 GLS coupe with the 3.4L V-6 and about 63,000 miles. I have been having similar problems with it starting. Sometimes it starts just fine. Other times it starts then immediately sputters out and dies. I also have been having problems with restarting it. After driving for 20 minutes or so it is very hard to start. I think it's worth mentioning that I don't have an alarm, just keyless entry.

    A new problem has surfaced recently. I will start it, and it will start right up. But AFTER I let go of the key I get a loud, short, expensive sounding, metallic grinding noise.

    Has anyone found out what this could be? I just know I am going to take it in for repairs and it will start right up then be told that nothing is wrong. Thanks.
  • kdeezlekdeezle Member Posts: 12
    The problem i am having with mt alero is when i start the car up, it is fine, but as the engine warms, it begins to stall. there is a funny noise coming from the belt, like it is being restricted. once the engine is somewhat warm, the car will not hold unless I put my foot on the gas and hold it. The idling is very rough and hesitant. Can someone give me and idea?
  • went757went757 Member Posts: 9
    Things that you might want to check are>
    1. PCV valve system for leaks
    2. EGR system maybe its stuck open
    3. Read the codes with a scanner there should be a clue there.
    4. The MAP switch on the side of the intake could be providing a bad signal. Check the electric plug connections.
    5. I would look at the sparkplug wires. I once had a rusted coil connection on the coil pack and it wouldnt provide a good spark to that cylinder, due to the factory not puting
    a lubricant on the connection.
    6. Take off the boot off the intake and clean the inside of the throttle intake area with carb cleaner. There are small holes there that can clog up or get covered.
    The belt noise is a whole separate issue..idler pulley with bad bearings. Or the belt is slipping a bit due to it being worn. Or the water pump could be leaking a bit of antifreeze on the belt and causing it to slip a bit.
  • went757went757 Member Posts: 9
    The grinding noise is most likely the starter. The small gear that slides against the flywheel teeth with age the shaft it slides on gets dry and causes it to hang against the flywheel when the engine starts. Can chip the teeth on the flywheel and the longer it happens the teeth get bent and both fail to engage properly. You could take it off and take a look at it to see whats happening.
    Hard Starting can be due to the IDLE Air Control, EGR valve stuck open, MAP sensor signal bad. Check the engine for codes that have triggered. IF the egr valve is stuck open a bit then it will cause exhaust air to be brought into the intake manifold of the engine basically the fuel mixture is too lean when that happens. Just to make sure check the connections on the battery. THey should be clean..its possible that the battery isnt supplying enough amps to the starter if the connections are dirty.
  • miik2031miik2031 Member Posts: 1
    I cannot get my 2003 alero to start. It will crank, its not getting gas. Checked the fuel pump, wiring and circuits. Replace the fuel filter and circuit. I took everything off and put it back together. It started for about a day and now it wont start again. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciate.
  • went757went757 Member Posts: 9
    I would check the basics again. Check the fuel pump at the fuel rail for proper pressure. Hook a fuel pressure gauge onto the fuel rail on the passenger side. With the key on and the engine not running you should have at least 41 psi.
    If you dont have that there could be a problem with the crankshaft sensor that sends a signal to the control module. If the module isnt getting reference pulse signals from the crankshaft sensor then it shuts the fuel pump off after 2 seconds. If there is no fuel pressure then check the fuel pump relay for voltage and then check the fuel pump fuse. Check the wiring at the tank going to the fuel pump if there isnt any voltage or if the fuse is burnt.
    You should be able to hear the fuel pump engage when someone turns the key on by listening at the fuel filler tube. Check for spark at all the ignition wires after its verified that you are getting fuel to the fuel rail. It could be something simple like a loose connection that wasnt hooked up properly.
  • kdeezlekdeezle Member Posts: 12
    I am making progress. Is there a chance it could be a bad water pump? The car stalls as the engine warms, and there is a coolant leak that I cant see. When the car was running, if I would be idle at a light, the engine temp would increase every time. The grinding noise I am hearing may be the water pump bearing. Can anyone help me figure if this could be the problem? Would a bad pump cause my car to keep stalling unless I hold the gas down?
  • went757went757 Member Posts: 9
    You didnt say what year your car was or what engine. I would say yes its possible the water pump is bad.. I know on the V6 engine the price of a water pump is only $18.00. They are easy to change out so that would eliminate that issue.
    The GM dealers put out a Service Advisory that says that the lower intake manifold gaskets need to be replaced with new gaskets and the bolts torqued to new specs.. using new bolts with a threadlock applied. I am working on a V6 right now that has the gasket leaks..what happens is when the engine is cold there isnt any pressure in the system and as it warms up the pressure increases to say 15 psi.. if that gasket is leaking you could be burning water when it gets hot and then it will change the fuel ratio and you would have to give it more gas to keep it running. One easy way to see if its burning coolant is to remove the upstream O2 sensor. The engine has to be warm to remove that sensor more easily. If dexcool is being burned it will be covered witha chalky white substance. The engine I am working on has 113k. The intake gasket just started leaking enough to make it get hot about a month ago..the year of this car is a 99. Its probaly several problems..the water pump and a gasket leaking somewhere. The thermost gaskets go out also. That dex cool tends to deteriorate them. One thing on this car that is a pain is that if you have to remove the radiator you have to remove it from the bottom of the car and also discharge the ac system and pull the radiator/condesor/fans out as a unit.
  • joe7074joe7074 Member Posts: 2
    My alero didnt start for a while either.id taken to several auto services places including the dealer and it was never fixed.I read this forum and in 10 minutes, just like you guys said,the car started. id sue the#@$% out of these guys if thought for a second i could.so now,how do we fix it ourselves or bypass it.....thanks all Joe.
  • ccchickenccchicken Member Posts: 1
    Had the same problem this afternoon. Everything worked (lights, radio, etc) but car would not turn over. Followed the advice on the board, leave the key in ignition in the ON position (according to the manual) for 10 minutes, turn to OFF and then attempt to re-start, and the car started up with no problem. First time this has been a problem (65,000 miles). Thanks to the board for the great advice available!
  • gjohiogjohio Member Posts: 1
    Glad I read your reply first, I had a similar problem but MY STARTER WOULD NOT TURN OR MAKE A SOUND IN THE START POSITION (despite a lot of battery) But.... Turning the ignition switch to my 2002 Alero to start for 20 min and then shutting off and then starting it worked for me too! As soon as I read your message I ran out and put the key in for the 20 minutes. As I read other people on the tread I thought "oh this wont work for me cause it sounds like every one else is having weird fuel delivery issues and I have a weird starter issue"....BUT IT WORKED FOR ME TOO
  • fastmatterfastmatter Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Olds Alero with 115000 miles on it. Having the problem of it cranking but just will not fire. I have noticed the security light coming on when I'm trying to start it. Also all of the windows roll down except the driver side. I found this kind of odd but am not for sure what the problem is. I was told that it could be the fuel pump, one of the coils, but am just not for sure. Any help or advise will help tremendously.

  • agilentagilent Member Posts: 2
    I just experienced same problem on my Alero 2000. I had turned the car off and was sitting in the car with key in off position. in a few minutes, i tried to start the car but wouldn't start, noticed the security light blinking.
    i think it took about 10-15 minutes when i noticed the security light was gone. i restarted and it worked fine. for last 3 days it has worked fine now. though i am worried that it could happen again.
    hjohio, have you experienced same issue again.
    i've a feeling that passlock sensor is going but not sure.
    any suggestions.
  • arich02sarich02s Member Posts: 3
    My 02 Alero will not start when the temperature is hot outside. It will start in the morning and evening when the weather is cool. It seems like if the temperature is above 80 and sits in direct sunlight it will not start. The radio, lights and everything work but it will not fire. I was on a business trip last weekend in a much cooler place (about 70 degree) and it started perfectly every time. We already replaced the battery, fuel filter and air filter. It did not help. Please help me!
  • burdawgburdawg Member Posts: 1,524
    Does it crank but not start, or does it do nothing?
  • andy74andy74 Member Posts: 1
    I have an 03 Alero and about a month ago replaced the fuel pump ($600). The car started fine for about a week. Then all of a sudden it wouldn't start in the afternoons. After a week of the same thing, starting every morning and every night, I realized that it just won't start if the temperature is greater than 80 degrees. It tries to start, but then eventually the battery starts to wear down. It also has a brand new Interstate battery in it. My security light is not on. Any suggestions would be wonderful.
  • arich02sarich02s Member Posts: 3
    It cranks but won't fire. Usually if I keep trying and wait a little bit in between it will start after the 3rd or 4th try. There was only once when I had to wait until the next morning to start it when it was cool.
  • went757went757 Member Posts: 9
    I would sugguest checking for trouble codes. Auto zone and alot of other places will do this for free. The connection for the obd2 scanner is underneath the dash by the steering column. There is a IAT temp sensor located in the ductwork between the airfilter and the throttlebody. Its job is to sense the temperature and then send the signal to the computer so it knows how long to keep the fuel injectors open based on the input from that sensor and others. The sensor might have a bad or corroded electrical connection to it. There is also the sensor that sends a signal to the temp guage and the computer located near the thermostat housing. Most likely its the IAT sensor. A can of electrical connection cleaner from the auto store should help clean the connections.
  • neecie577neecie577 Member Posts: 3
    This has happened to me two times in a week now, The security light comes on,, then the car dont start,, I put the key in the ignition for ten minutes, then it starts. Is there a way to shut this stupid security light off for good???
  • msdavid1msdavid1 Member Posts: 2
    my security light is on but not blinking on my 2002 oldsmobile alero what should i do? it turns over but wont start
  • jprocjproc Member Posts: 135
    I had the sensors cleaned and switched to 89 octane gas.Been about 2 months now and the car is starting fine.Their is a TSB out on this problem and the above action is the recommended first step.
  • burdawgburdawg Member Posts: 1,524
    For now turn on the ignition and wait 10 mins to see if it resets per the manual.
    Then decide if you want to have fixed or disabled.
  • albert14albert14 Member Posts: 2
    you have to put your key in the ignition and turn it to the on position for 15 miniuts after that turn the key off take it out then try and start your car.
  • albert14albert14 Member Posts: 2
    i recently puchesed a 2002 oldsmobile alero 2.2l 5 speed and at certain times of the day it wont start in fact it dose nothing no dash lights and it dose not turn over or attempt to its making me mad right know my car is sitting in a parking lot because it did nothing at all when i turned the key but tomorrow around noon it will probably start someone help!!!!!!!!!!
  • mikeb17mikeb17 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Olds Alero. It does not start or even try to crank when I turn the key. There are no dash lights, no auto headlights, power windows do not work. It does nothing. There is no action at all. It acts like there is no battery at all in it. Had battery checked. It is fine. Security light was not blinking or on the last time it ran. Is it maybe a chip in the key issue? Can anything be disabled to correct?
  • went757went757 Member Posts: 9
    It sounds like it is a issue with the battery cables not making good contact with the battery terminals. Or it could be that the negitive terminal is not grounded to the engine frame very good. I would take the cables off and ensure that the terminals are shiny and not corroded. Use a volt meter to test the voltage at the terminals. Take the caps off and use a hydrometer to verify all cells are good. Perhaps the terminals were not removed when the battery was checked.
  • arich02sarich02s Member Posts: 3
    I tried cleaning the IAT sensor, it hasn't helped. I had it checked out by a dealer and they said that my fuel pump is failing. Does this sound right to anybody? or does anyone have any other suggestions.
  • went757went757 Member Posts: 9
    If the engine is a V6 there is a test fitting on the passenger side of the car in the fuel rail where you can connect a fuel pressure gauge. If the dealer just checked that and got a low pressure reading it could be due to other causes. The fuel filter should be changed,it could be partially clogged. Another thing to check is the fuel pressure regulator. Its possible that it could be part of the problem. If you have the fuel pressure tester gauge hooked up and then disconnect the vacuum hose going to the regulator you will see a difference in pressure. If the regulator ispartially stuck open then its sending the fuel back to the tank instead of keeping the fuel for the injectors. Hope this helps.
  • cleangrylcleangryl Member Posts: 4
    how you know so much. I am going to report this to oldsmobile on Monday because I am having the same problem. Let them know this should be a recall since a lot of people is having this problem. I have already informed them of this problem and they want me to take it to the dealer to be put on the machine. I am not willing to pay $70 plus dollars for something that may be a recall to have checked.
  • harrieharrie Member Posts: 3
    hi, I have a alero too 1999 3.4 also I was going to the dealer, no result many people have the problem with the blinking security light, nobody can fix it.
    why oldsmobile dont work on this problem.This is one the most stupid problems I had on a car, for the rest the car is ok, but the alarm is a big problem from olds. and never they do something about this.
    harrie borger
  • agilentagilent Member Posts: 2
    i am experiencing same problem. while driving security light comes on and stays on. when you stop the car and restart, the light goes away. gm service tech said to bring the car for diagnostic test, ensure to have the light still on. the cost about $100 to test it. they will provide a written report for the problem and the cost to fix it.

    he said to get it fixed before car is stranded. kind of scary.

    any suggestions? thx, aa :confuse:
Sign In or Register to comment.