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Oldsmobile Alero Starting-Stalling Problems



  • Wait, Wait.....
    On your last post, you said the horn was going off. That's not basically the same as your current problem, which is the car stalling out while driving, so let's work on getting it to stop stalling.
    1. tune up, including replacing the spark plugs.
    2. Replace the fuel filter
    3. Check the fuel pressure

    My money is on the fuel filter, but you may have a weak fuel pump. If you haven't had a tune-up, spark plugs could be fouled, causing stalling while at idle.
  • Hello,

    I could really use someone's help. My wife has a 2000 olds alero with 218,000 miles that we have spent a whole lot of money on to keep it goin. The latest issue is that one day she drove the car and it ran fine. She made a few stops i.e the store, kids school...and when she came back to the car it wouldnt start. It would crank and turn over but no start. We towed it to our mechanic and he told us it was the ignition switch which I found to be a lil odd. He said it started for him but the switch was sticking a bit. We went and got the car, let it sit a few days and it started for a whole week. She finally drove it 5 mins away to the store, came back and it would not start again. I checked the fuel rail and it appeared that it wasnt getting any gas so I checked the fuel pump by turning the ignition key to the on position to see if I could hear it and i didnt. So I checked the fuel pump fuse under the hood and it seemed ok so we took it back and had the fuel pump replaced. Our mech told us it started up so we went back to pick it up. She drove it for 3 days and it was starting with no problem...and now its doing it again! We are at our wits end...any ideas, advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Can it really be the ignition switch that is preventing it from starting?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Dee,
    When the car will not start, is the "SECURITY" light blinking? Is it on solid?
    If the answer to these two questions is "NO", replace your fuel filter. (at this mileage, you should have already replaced it three or four times)
    If the "SECURITY" light is lit, refer to the instructions on my website at...
    There are three methods of bypassing the Passlock system. Use the one that seems best for you.
  • I still own some money on this car and now it won't start. It will crank over but it won"t start. There are no security lights on or anything on the dash. I hear the fuel pump hummm at key in on position. I pushed in the sharder value in the engine and fuel can out so I believe it is getting gas. It has 1/4 in the tank. It does has made a funny noise when trying to start it. It sounds like the starter when u try to start a car that is already running. Yesterday it sounded like it was about to start and then the noise and nothing. It did that twice and then just turned over but no start. I have had the filter replaced and cleaners put in the tank and in the engine about 4000 miles ago. What should I be looking for to fix this. Please HELP.
  • It was the security light. I had not notice it before. I did want a lady said that was in the book about the security and waited a few mins. before starting it and rumm it started. Its in the owners manual
  • Follow the link on post 399
  • I'm working on 2003 Alero that I just replace the whole front core support on. I was able to start and drive the crashed car into the garage before I tore it down and fixed the body. The only wiring I touched was the string for the headlights, radiator fans and coolant bottle. and they were not cut or damaged in anyway due to the accident. After measuring up the front end, and welding the new front end on with no battery in the car so no electronics should have been cooked from the welding; I reassebled the car and put all the new sheet metal on. I ground the battery and the engine to the old ground locations next to the battery. and everything should be plugged in correctly. I got in the car turned it to the on position and all the lights and horn worked like they were supposed to, no security light, no check bulb light, the fuel pump primed the system and it was ready to go like it should. Everything looks correct, I then proceed to start the car, and I get nothing only the click from the relay for the headlights turing on and off. all of the lights go out on the dash and headlights go out. I used a test light to determine if I was getting power to the signal wire on the starter silinoid, and I am NOT. So I began checking everything in the system.
    I have RESET the security multiple times even though no security light shows up. with no change in the condition of the car
    I have checked all of the fuses and cables including fallowing them to the neutral position switch, fuse box, relays, switching relays around to see if there is a change, and there is none.
    I have by-passed the relay and the starter Cranks so the starter is still good.
    I have used a test light on the crank fuse, and when the key turns to the start position the crank(10A) fuse lights up and works.
    I have switched batteries and put chargers on them to make sure I have good battery power.
    I have put the car in neutral and all other positions and still the starter doesn't crank.
    I have hooked up a code reader and the reader would not connect to the car/ would not recognize a connection. ( I dont know why?)
    I did notice the radio said calibration on it but I'm not sure what that is trying to tell me.

    I'm Out of ideas and need help, I find it hard to believe that the ignition went bad and I need a new tumbler and set of keys when their has never been a problem.

  • From your description, I would guess one of three things are causing your problem.
    1. Broken wire in the control circuity, caused by the original crash.
    2. Park/Neutral Switch not engaged properly. (must be in park/Neutral to start)
    3. Clutch Switch not engaged. (clutch must be depressed to start)
    Here is a wiring diagram of my 2002 Grand Am, which should be very close to what you have. I hope it helps.
    You can left click on the image and choose "view image" to get a bigger view.
    Dick B
  • Sorry, What I meant was you can "RIGHT CLICK" on the image in the previous message and choose "View Image" to see a larger view.
  • erikoldserikolds Posts: 1
    edited November 2011
    Car has had problems starting for a couple weeks. Usually have to give it a little gas to start. Car started and got me to class, I got in the car to go to work and it wouldn't start. The battery is good and had terminals and wires replaced a week ago. When trying to start it, it made almost a dry quiet clicking and sort of a hiss. Tried to hit the starter with a hammer with no luck( did get some sparks) but nothing. Now car battery is slowly dying. Tried to jump the car but still no turnover, same starting sounds.No security light but the check engine light has been on since I bought it. It's supposed to snow bad here tomorrow. I have 2 small children and would like to get this figured out and don't have much money right now so I'm hoping its nothing too bad! Please help.
  • A friend of mine has an 03 Alero. Two weeks ago while going down the road the battery light came on. After stopping at a store when attempting to restart the battery was dead. We took out the battery & alternator and took them to Auto Zone to have them tested. The alternator tested fine but the battery tested bad. He replaced the battery. Two days ago while going down the road the airbag light came on. After a few seconds the radio turned off. Then a few seconds later all dash gauges stopped working. When attempting to give it gas to try to get off the road the car would just sputter so he put it into neutral. When he did the engine revved up to its rev limiter so he put it back in gear. After getting to a safe location we checked under the hood and looked for obvious signs of a problem. When attempting to restart the battery wouldn't start the car so we had it jumped. We then put in another new battery. With the 2nd battery in the car in an effort to get home the car did the same thing. Any ideas ??
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Sounds an awful lot to me like the charging system isn't working. Put a voltmeter on the battery (a good battery), it should read 12.6Vdc. Start the car, then read the voltmeter again. It should read around 14 - 14.5Vdc. I realize that you had the alternator checked, but I take those store checks with a grain of salt. Like in this case, you said that the battery was dead when you took it in to be tested. You can't test a dead battery, it has to be charged first.
  • Recently I had the oil changed for my 2003 Alero (about 140,000 mi) and a few days later I made a right turn, then left turn, and the car stalled out. It restarted right away, but since that oil change it has felt like it was going to stall out on several occassions.

    The fuel pump and filter were replaced in 2009 (at 88,000 miles)

    I took it to my mechanic, who said he could find nothing wrong, but suggested replacing the fuel pump. Thoughts?

    He also suggest replacing the serpentine belt, which was replaced in 2008 (II believe the mileage was about 75,000). Thoughts?

    Thanks for your input.
  • It's possible your stalling problems are connected to the oil change, if they overfilled your vehicle. Check the oil level, and if it is too high, take it back to the station and have them drain some off to set it to the correct level.

    Your mechanic may have measured the fuel pressure and found it somewhat low, which would explain why he thinks it may be a good idea to replace it. If you decide to take his advise on this matter, ask him why he suggested it, and find out if he did indeed, measure low fuel pressure. If you determine that he is just guessing, don't do it. Regardless, Replace the fuel filter before doing anything else, as this is a common cause of poor starting and stalling, and costs much less than a new fuel pump.

    The only reason your mechanic would have advised you to change the serpentine belt is if he found it worn or "weather-cracked", meaning it could break soon. It wouldn't have anything to do with stalling, but if he is a good mechanic, he would notice things that could go wrong in the near future.

    Go out now and check your oil level.

    Dick B
  • annie2012, I have a 99 Alero and had the same issue a couple years back at about the same mileage. Whenever I would make a right turn or slow down while exiting the freeway the car would shut down. After taking it to my mechanic, who looked it over for a week and couldn't find the problem, I did some research online and found that it was the MAP sensor that was bad. Took it in to get replaced and haven't had the problem since.
  • I have a 2001 Olds Alero 4 cyl w/64k mi. I have had for 11 yrs now. I've never had a problem until now. There was a hose that was dry rotted on the front of the motor and it was replaced. Soon after my car started stalling and shutting off after I would accelerate after being at a red light or when I put into reverse. I had spark plugs and wires replaced and also O2 sensors replaced and it still does it. I put fuel injector cleaner and HEET in just in case I got some bad gas and still the same problem. Now I was told it could either be fuel filter or pump next. How would I know b/c I hate to replace and not be the problem. I already had fuel filter replaced a couple yrs ago. Any suggestions??
  • I have an 2000 alero with a 2.4l 4 cylinder. The vehicle will run fine without dying, then you might go out, and it will crank, but not start. Then go back again later and start like it has no problem. I have checked fuel pressure which was ok, and there is no security lamp on. When
    I check for spark and fuel injection signal, it has neither. I have tried a crank sensor and also the ignition module. Have read many posts here, but none with this "exact" issue. Am pulling hair out! If anyone has ideas, I'd be glad to hear them. Am thinking ECM...but have spent enough money and time on this vehicle already. Someone mentioned to me about wiring for the crank sensor, but have not seen anyone write about having that issue. Help....
  • Im not expert on cars but I had the same problem with my car. I have been the same owner of my alero for 11 years and I researched this problem on the internet because I tool it to the mechanic and he coudnt figure it out because it would always start up while it was cooled off. It was the fuel pump. I had it replaced and has not had that problem again
  • The fuel pump could be the problem that satisfies the symptoms, except in the original message, it states that the fuel pressure is ok. Also, the fact that there is no injector signal, and no spark cannot be caused by a fuel pump. If the fuel pump were not working correctly, there would be no fuel pressure, but the original post says that fuel pressure is ok.
    You will not get injector pulses if there is no fuel pressure, but a fuel pump, or loss fo fuel pressure will not cause you to lose ignition pulses (spark)

    I'm inclined to suspect either defective wiring, or a problem with the Powertrain Control Moudle. A competent dealer should be able to diagnose the problem, or you could buy a service manual and go through the diagnostics yourself, and then take the vehicle to a GM dealer to have the correct part replaced.

    Dick B
  • Thanks for the reply, but fuel pressure/supply isn't the issue. I have fuel pressure in the fuel rail, but I do lose spark AND injector signal. As I had stated, I have already tried new cam and crank sensors, along with ignition module. Plus, I have ruled out the "security" system being engaged as well. The problem I seem to be having is that the "no start" condition may only last for 1 key start, or for several minutes, then might be gone for a day, week, or even two before it happens again...which is making it so darn hard to figure out what is happening. Thanks again for your input tho :)
  • I had a very similar issue with my '03 alero and was very intermittent until one day it would not start at all. I found that the wire harness for the powertrain control module was pulled very tight from the pcm and caused the pins in the connector for the pcm to spread out and not make good contact. I was able to recreate the problem my pulling on the harness by the pcm in different directions . I would be able to make the car stall or restartable by doing this. I did have to buy a new connector for the harness, but had to reuse the harness and pins in it. The pcm should be located behind the drivers side kick panel and is fairly easy to get to.
  • I have a 2003 alero with about 31,000 miles on it and about everytime I get an oil change this happens. It'll run great as I'm leaving and ill make a stop somewhere and I'll go to get back in my car and it won't start. Won't make a clicking sound nothing. My radio and some light will come on but nothing on the dash. Sometimes it will turn on if we jump it and other times jumping it won't work. I took it it several mechanics that said nothing was wrong with it. Has anyone else had this problem?
  • appellofappellof Posts: 54
    edited April 2012
    Okay, I have seen this problem before. I have mentioned this in the past but I am going to re-iterate the point. Oldsmobile, got a bad lot of ignition switches. Personally, the ignition switch is a defective design to begin with.
    I had the same problem with my 2000 Alero. After alot of studying and headaches along with a few cuss words, I finally decided to replace the ignition switch. I paid $94.00 for a new switch. It took me about an hour to replace it and all my issues went away. That was about 6 months ago and I have not had any issues with my car ever since.

  • rockyb35rockyb35 Posts: 4
    Probably a bad ignition switch. I had a similar problem where the car would start but had no instruments, radio or a/c.The problem was very intermittent. I found out these are very cheaply made. If you are careful you can disassemble the switch on a work bench and clean the contacts. If not a replacement is available at most auto parts stores. It does not require rekeyeing your car, that part will remain the same.
  • wilguenswilguens Posts: 1
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Posts: 330
    edited April 2012
    Merci de poster votre message, avec ponctuation approprié, et sans abréviation, pour que nous puissions traduire le message en anglais.

    (Please post your message again, with proper punctuation, and no abbreviations, so that we may translate the message into English, and possibly get an answer for you.)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,023
    edited April 2012
    Your host speaks decent French. Here's the gist:

    I just bought a 2000 Alero 2.4L V6. For the first time, I tried to start my car in front of my house and it wouldn't start. When I press on the brake, the lights on the instrument panel light up and turn off 3 seconds later. When I put on the high beams(?), all the lights on the instrument panel turn on and turn off 3 seconds later. I tried to read the check-engine codes for the instrument panel, but can't. Does anyone have any ideas, s'il tu plait? (please :))


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  • appellofappellof Posts: 54

    I assume that it was working properly when you bought the car originally. The first thing that comes to mind is, the battery. Do you know if the battery is good? The systems on the car are very sensitive to voltage. If the battery has a low voltage the the computer systems are not operating correctly. The first thing I would suggest is if you don't know the history of the battery, I would replace it. If you have a volt meter available, check the battery for 12 Volts D.C. Also check the battery connections. If they are corroded, that too can cause problems. Check those things first and reply to this and let me know what you find out. If I need to I will get the wiring diagram out and study it. I will do everything possible to help you out.

  • First of all, thanks, Kristie, for the translation.

    I agree that the battery is the most probable cause of the problem. When the load of the headlights or brake lights is connected to the battery, the voltage is probably dropping too low for the electronics to work. If you have a voltmeter, connect it to the battery, and read the voltage. it should be between 13 and 14 volts with the ignition off. If it drops below 10.5 volts when the headlights are turned on, that is too low.
    Before replacing the battery, disconnect the terminals, insure that they are clean and corrosion free, and re-connect them. Make sure the battery is charged, and then see if you have the same symptoms.
    Another way to check, is to connect a 10 amp charger to the battery, and see if that allows you to operate the brake without having problems. If so, your battery is weak.
    Another possible cause of your problem is a loose ground point at some point in your vehicle, There are several of these in various locations on your car. You will need a service manual to locate these and run the troubleshooting procedures to determine if one is faulty.
  • mslolarmslolar Posts: 1
    I just bought my 2002 alero and 3 days ago and its already in the shop. i have read most of these post but has anyone ever figured out what the problem was with the dieing while its hot outside? If so i would like to know the trick! My mechanic has no idea what the problem is and where both stuck and hes a pretty good mechanic!! hellllppp please!
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