Chevrolet Cavalier anti-theft help

bunt21_gbunt21_g Member Posts: 8
i wanted to swich the instrument cluuster in my car to one with a tach; everything works till the anti theft shuts the car down. does any one know how to bypass or disarm this?
my car is a 2.2 liter 5 speed the base model and i grabbed the cluster from a 2.4 5 speed that was loaded.


  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    Try this.

    SECURITY SYSTEM...........
  • bunt21_gbunt21_g Member Posts: 8
    Thanks for your advice i appreciate the help. what i did is while the car was running with the stereo on i cut the wires to the anti theft system that come from the ignition. then opened the odometer up and put electricle tape over the light.
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    Yes, cutting the yellow wire will do it. If you disconnect the battery you need to reset it.
  • bunt21_gbunt21_g Member Posts: 8
    i also had to cut the black wire the yellow one alone wasn't enough :P
  • sig54sig54 Member Posts: 2
    I have the same problem with my 2001 Chevy Cavalier. I followed all of the steps including the wire cuts with no success. My car is still locked. Can anyone help me?
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    The yellow wire is supposed to be cut with the engine running.
  • sig54sig54 Member Posts: 2
    My problem is I can't start it.
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    Hook up the yellow wire and try this, not sure it will work.

    Here's my fix, or workaround, turn the key to the point where the dashboard lights up with all the different icons and you can open the automatic windows, but do not start the car. Put the car in Neutral, then turn the key the rest of the way to start the car. This method has worked every single time for me. I was told by the dealship that the ignition block or whatever it's called needs to be replaced, cost somewhere between $450-$500. I'm cheap, so this method will have to do for now. Don't ask me how I figured this out, I was just very frustrated one day and decided to try something different. Like alot of you out there, my car would choose not start at the worst times (when I was running late to be somewhere, at the gas station with other cars waiting behind me, etc.) It has been 6 months since my discovery and I couldn't be happier, just knowing that my car will definitely start everytime out.

    If not try this.

    1. Ensure that the battery is fully charged.
    2.Start engine
    3. The vehicle will start and then stall. Leave the ignition ON until the security tell tale turns OFF in 10 minutes.
    4. Repeat Steps for 2 more times (3 times total)
    30 minutes total
    5. The Passlock™ controller will learn the new data on the next start attempt.

    Then unplug the 3 wire connector at the ignition switch with engine running.
  • pissedatmycarpissedatmycar Member Posts: 2
    Please forgive me I know little about cars but I am relaying what I have been told.... The manufacture installed anti-theft system wont allow my car to start. This doesnt happen all of the time. It starts about 80% of the time, some days worse than others, when it wont start, I wait 10 minutes and it starts right up, never fails! will not start if I dont wait 10 minutes. sometimes happens 4 or 5 times a day sometimes wont happen for two or three days. I also have an aftermarket Viper remote starter. The problem doesnt change if I do not use the remotes and switch to using only the keys. PLEASE HELP!!!
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    The problem could be your aftermarket remote start, it has to bypass the security system to start.
    Other than remove the remote start and see if it still is a problem, don't what else to tell you. The fix at the dealer is expensive.
  • pissedatmycarpissedatmycar Member Posts: 2
    That was our initial thought so we stopped using the aftermarket remote, and it still does it. The aftermarket is relatively new, yr- yr and half and a better brand. Today it wouldnt start even after the 10 minute wait. I referred to some of the messages on here about turning the key back and waiting 11 minutes and repeating 3 times. It seemed to work so far.
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    Not using it and removing the remote start from the car is not the same. When an aftermarket remote is installed they have to modify the factory security system, that maybe where your problem lies.
  • kaymakayma Member Posts: 1
    Just wanted to chime in to say how helpful this was. Same thing happened to me just now, and shifting into neutral worked just fine, no wire cutting necessary.Thanks!
  • kkodalkkodal Member Posts: 34
    when i try to start my cavalier it won't do anything.all the lights go off but it won't even turn over to attempt to start.i am assuming that it has something to do with the anti theft system but i tried to reset it by turning the key on leaving it on for 11 mins and turning it off for three times but nothing.i am lost at this point.when i turn the ignition on the anti theft light goes off though before i try to start it.can anyone help please??
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    With a security problem it will start and in 2 seconds stop. You could have a bad battery, starter, starter relay, ignition switch or poor connection. You need to know how to trouble shoot to narrow it down.
  • kkodalkkodal Member Posts: 34
    how would i find the starter relay?
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    Well that’s not easy. The 2001 with a certain S/N’s did not come from the factory with a starter relay. There is a recall on 2001 in the serial range, it will be installed for free and if the ignition switch is bad it will be replaced for free.
    Now was yours done, from the small purple wire from the starter relay there will be a splice and the wire will go up to radiator support to the relay.
    Here is the serial range listed. 17100001 to 17370764 another range 1S100001 to 1S219421
  • kkodalkkodal Member Posts: 34
    i could not see any relay and i am not sure if that update was done on mine but how would i find the serial number on the vehicle for this recall?thanks
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    2 ways, open driver door, the decal will be right there on end of the door.
    Out side look at the bottom of the windshield driver side, there will be the VIN plate.
  • salsero66salsero66 Member Posts: 1
    Hi, I have a problem with my 2000 Chevy Cavalier, the anti theft light came on and won't start. What would be the problem and how can I reset the system? Please help me. Thanks
  • marionpimpin2marionpimpin2 Member Posts: 1
    ok im not completely car stupid but i have a few questions about my car i got the car about a year ago this is my second one same year and everything i have the 2.2 non eco tech engine and currently i had alot of work done to it but i have now takin it all back out to figure out what my problem is ...anyway all that is done is an aftermarket radio and after market cold air intake now i just had my car to the machanic when this all happened had a new clutch and transmittion put in it ran fine for the first day the second day was my sisters birthday so i woke up about 9 and went to pick her up still ok about maybe and hour and a half worth of drivin that day car ran perfect and wasnt acting bad in any way after i was done with that about 2 hours after sittin with our friends we go to get back in the car and was drivin maybe 20 minutes to a half hour and then stalled i got it started agin and made it to the nearest gas station got to the gas station and once i shut it down it wouldnt start i got it to start off a jump and when i went to drive away it stalled again like i was dumpin the cluth on it with no gas then i have a friend push my car with his truck got it goin about 15 tried to pop start it and it would sound like it was tryin and just shut off on me i replaced my spark plugs and wires battery and altinator what else could it be i have done everything i could think of the coil packs even its a 2.2 manual car that used to do almost 8 seconds flat to nothing at all can you please help or give me some addvice ......i have read some of these and my security light is on and have had my car back to the shop twice since then noone can figure it out please help me i dont get on the computer often cause im tryin to fix my car please if you have any info please post it on here for me or email me its [email protected] it is sent directly to my phone and i will get it faster thanks in advanced :sick: :cry:
  • heathersdadheathersdad Member Posts: 2
    My daughter's car, a 2005 chevy cavalier just started having issues with the ignition switch. She pulled the key from the ignition and this set off the alarm. While trying to silence the alarm she put the key back into the ignition and was able to silence the alarm. Now the ignition switch won't turn. Thinking it had something to do with her key she had her husband try his key and it will not turn either. They live in a remote area and a tow to a dealership would be very expensive.
    Could this have something to do with the "anti-theft" portion of the vehicle or could she just be having ignition switch issues?
    Thanks, any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Member Posts: 4,252
    I am from GM Customer Service. I apologize that your daughter is experiencing an issue. Is the steering wheel locked too, or is it just the ignition switch that won't turn? Thank you,
    Mariah GM Customer Service
  • heathersdadheathersdad Member Posts: 2
    Steering wheel does turn but the ignition switch will not.

    Thank you for your time on this matter.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Member Posts: 4,252
    Hello Heathersdad,
    Did you get the ignition to unlock? If not, have you tired to turn the steering wheel and turn the ignition at the same time? Sometimes this can take up to about 5 minutes. This may/may not work If you cannot get it to unlock, you are probably going to have to tow it into the dealership. Thank you,
    Mariah GM Customer Service
  • plug1plug1 Member Posts: 1
    Im having problems with my cavalier it turns but it wont start the theft light is on at all times i need to know how to make it flash so im able to program it
  • daveshere61daveshere61 Member Posts: 1
    My 'Theft Lock' system started disabling my '97 Malibu more and more frequently and waiting the 10 minutes was quite frustrating. Then it started doing it back to back... wait 20 minutes (and sometimes more). Then I found gonogo's post. I have started my car in Neutral for years (since '07) without failing once (the 'Theft Lock' light was on, but I didn't care)... until yesterday. It wouldn't start at all. So I did the reset... trying to start the car and leaving the ignition on after each time for 3 times and it started. I drove it around, came home turned it off and started it again (in Neutral) and it's fine. I was curious so, for the heck of it, I just went out and started it in Neutral and the 'Theft Lock' light was not on. I turned it off and started it in Park (without any problem) and the 'Theft Lock' light was not on. I think I will continue to start it in Neutral and hope that I don't have any other problems. It's a habit of starting in Neutral... when I drive other cars, I am tempted to put them in Neutral.
  • scubadiverbobscubadiverbob Member Posts: 3
    Where is the anti-theft relay located? I think it may be defective. Is this a manufacturer design defect? My car sometimes won't start. When it doesn't, there is a humming sound and the anti-theft and engine light stay on while the switch is turned to the start position. Sometimes when this happens, I can't move the gear shift lever; so, it won't go into nuetral. After a while it will start. Sound's like others have had the same problems. Is there a recall for this problem? Could it be the switch for the linkage that prevents starting if the car isn't in Park or nuetral? Will the anti-theft system lock up the gear shift lever so the car won't go out of 'Park'? My car just past Calif. Smog; so, I don't think anything is wrong with the engine. It doesn't seem to be an issue with the starter. I don't think it's the crank relay. I removed it and it makes the car not start at all; if removed. How do I reset the anti-theft system on my car? I noticed some people had been told to unplug a three wire plug to their ignition switch. Does this apply to my car?

    Any information will help. My son was late for work today. Now the car starts again like nothing is wrong with it. I need a 57 chevy .....
  • bravesfan1bravesfan1 Member Posts: 1
    i have a 98 chevy cavalier 5 speed and i was driving it down the highway and i noticed my gas light came on but i had a full tank of gas then my temp gauge went to hot then dropped down to cold in seconds. Then shortly after that every single light came on in my dashboard and then i lost acceleration and my car died when i pulled over i noticed my hood was smoking and i popped the hood and the engine and the water coolant was smoking... I towed my car home and i look at my oil and when i tried taking the oil filter off there was a yellow substance where the oil should be but no oil and i looked at the dip stick and it said it was full.. The car turns over but will not start i really need any ideas you could give me.
  • dar1212dar1212 Member Posts: 1
    My Theft System light stays on; never happened before. I tried disconnecting battery and removing fuses both under the dash and on the engine (Fuel Pump, etc)
    I have tried doing the three ten minute sessions of leaving the key in ACC, etc.
    Any suggestions?

  • ckwwilsonckwwilson Member Posts: 7
    My 2003 Chevy Cavalier has begun to turn it's Passlock system on by itself. I have owned the car for 7 years and never had this issue until 3 days ago. Since then it has happened three times. I have done nothing different to activate it, and it's parked in my garage when not in use, so neither has anyone else. I tried the 3 times 30 minutes trick that I read online, didn't work. I tried starting in neutral, didn't work. What do I do now to FIX the problem permanently? I had it towed to a local repair shop the first time it happened which is how I knew what was happening. They killed the code with their computer, but I can't have my car towed every time I need to use it.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126
    I know it's a different vehicle... BUT, your problem sounds very similar to the one experienced in our Grand Am Security Passlock discussion. There's an easy do-it-yourself solution, so you might hop over there.


    Need help navigating? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • ckwwilsonckwwilson Member Posts: 7
    Okay, I went ahead and read that thread. My cavalier does not have an electronic key though, and my security light is not staying on or flashing. The only reason that I know this is the problem is because the code came up after I had it towed to the repair shop. According to my research it has the Passlock II system though which is the same as the Grand Am and other cars close to that year, but they all have electronic keys. Do you still think that putting a resistor in will work in my case?
  • cjblack1cjblack1 Member Posts: 1
    I was driving the other day and my theft system light came on. I brought it home and took the cables off the battery to see if I could reset it. It did the same thing. Now when I start it, the Theft light comes on and when I put it in makes a noise and all the panel lights start flashing and stay on. I can still drive it, but something is wrong and I would like to fix it! Help!
  • lovemygrandamlovemygrandam Member Posts: 330
    I'm afraid you misread the Passlock thread on the Grand Am. The Grand Am, Alero, and Impala (1999-2004) have ignition keys that are not electronic... same as your Cavalier. If you know that your car has Passlock II, then go ahead and do the modification described on my website.
    Click on the 2003 Oldsmobile Alero Passlock Repair link, to learn how to make the repair at or near the ignition switch. You will probably need a shop manual to figure out how to access the ignition switch, but that's much cheaper than having the thing repaired at the dealer.
  • ckwwilsonckwwilson Member Posts: 7
    Lovemygrandam: I wired in a 2200 ohm resistor that cost me 20 cents at Radio Shack and it seems to be back to normal. I've started it 15 times or so and no passlock interference as of yet. I have to note that one really should buy a Haynes manual for $25 so that if nothing else, they may follow the step by step instructions to get the dashpad and instrument panel covers off since you have to remove both to get at the radio. More importantly, the wires are not the same on the Cavalier as was described for the Grand Am and Alero. I'm sure that is because they are on a different chassis. The THICK ORANGE wire is the one you need to CUT because it is connected to the 'Multi Function Alarm Module', and the THICK BLACK wire is the one to STRIP and solder the resistor in between. There is a yellow wire, but it is a speaker wire for the left rear speaker, and another thin black wire that should also be ignored on the Cavalier. Other than that, I did exactly what you described on your website and it seems to have fixed the problem. Thank you very much for your help! You're a life saver!
  • ckwwilsonckwwilson Member Posts: 7
    cjblack1: Not sure if this is the same problem I just fixed or not, my Cavalier is a 2003 so it has the second generation Passlock II system, I believe from my reading that pre-2000 models have the Passlock I system, but if you are having the same problems as me, this fix should work for you as well. I didn't have any panel lights flashing, and mine happened when I went to start the car rather than while I was driving. The difference between generations of our Passlock systems may be the reason for that, I don't really know but it's worth checking out this guy's web page to see if it helps.
  • remanentremanent Member Posts: 1
    Had the same thing with my 96 Cavalier and had to replace the ignition switch.
  • crielismicrielismi Member Posts: 1
    Hello, I have a 2002 Chevy Cavalier w/ a 2.2 OHV. My locking cylinder went out - and instead of paying $202 to the local dealership for a new cylinder I paid a local salvage yard $79 for a whole new steering column. Turned out I needed it anyway, because the key in the old column would not even turn to the "on" position to get the old cylinder removed and we actually couldn't even get it removed from the column - completely locked up! So, my father has successfully removed the old column and put the new one in - it has a key with it and a new remote. But now the antitheft will activate when we try to turn the car on and it won't start. How do I reprogram the system for my new column/key/remote? I am a single mom and can't afford a dealership!! Any help would be great!!
  • shadetreemacshadetreemac Member Posts: 2
    I have a 96 Chevy Cavalier. It sounds as though we are all in the same boat, here more or less. Being a former GM employee I feel it's shameful that the Passlock Security system supplies so many probems.

    Okay off my soabox and on to my questions.
    !. How do you determine is the Igintion Lock Cyl. is bad or if the problem is rather the Ignition Switch?

    2. On my vehicle...attempting to run the bypass that "lovemygrandma" has provoided us, on my Cav. does anyone know what two wires I will be looking to use for the bypass?

    There is on the year's car..and bypass procedure one can use. It is something that you have to use per start up though. It goes as follows;

    Insert the key in the drives door lock.
    Go to Lock
    Back to unlock
    Back to Lock
    Back to Nuetral
    Back to Lock ..hold in that position for 5 seconds.
    then rotate back to unlock.
    Your theft light should now have gone out.

    You can start the car on a time per time basis using this procedure.

    Please if someone could...enlighten me on the two above posted questions.
  • shadetreemacshadetreemac Member Posts: 2
    Being a former GM employee I think GM should cover this DEFECT IN DESIGN ...regardless of the year of the vehicle. We all wondered why GM continued to lose market share..then fall as they did. Things like this theft system issue is one reason so many people shy away from GM after having purchased one of the their products.
  • carltocarlto Member Posts: 2
    :mad: i have same problem
  • carltocarlto Member Posts: 2
    i have same problem so... off to the dealer it goes 200. for ignition with key another 45 to program it :lemon:
  • joe_paynejoe_payne Member Posts: 1
    What type of anti-theft system came on my 2005 Cavalier? I have read so many posts trying to find a solution to my problem that I am now totally confused.

    My problem could be in the starter so here is what it is doing. Place key in the ignition and turn to on position and all lights and guages come on. Anti-theft lights for a couple of seconds and goes out. Turn to start and all the guages and lights in the dash go off and out. Car does nothing. No clicking or any other sounds. Would the anti-theft system cause this or am I looking at maybe a starter or starter solenoid problem?
    Any help will be appreciated.
  • ckwwilsonckwwilson Member Posts: 7
    Hey Joe. I forgot to get on here and retract my story about putting a bypass in at the stereo. Don't do that it won't work. Your cavalier will have the Passlock II system in it. The bypass idea does work but you have to do it in the steering column instead. Its been a while now since i did it and i just sold my cavalier so i cant go look at it for wire coloring so you'll have to look at past posts to be sure which colors to connect together. Take the three screws out of the bottom of the plastic covering on your steering column. Take off the top and bottom plastic pieces so that you can get to the wires underneath. There is a small wire bundle going directly into the ignition switch that you put your key into. You'll need to pull back the black tape to expose the wires. There should be a black, white, and yellow wire. Again you'll have to check that past post to read which to connect and how. Its the same process wire wise, just in the steering column instead of near the radio. Youll need to strip one and cut another and solder a 2200ohm resistor between them. Be sure that you solder it to the cut wire on the side that goes back into the dash, not the side that goes into the ignition switch. Once you have it bypassed unplug the bundle from the ignition switch and just leave it hanging when you put the column back together. You may have to do the passlock reset afterward to get it to start back up though. Turn the key to the on position withiut starting and leave it for just over 10 minutes. Do that three times and after the third time it should start whrn you turn the key. I hope this helps because i know how frustrating this problem is. Sorry for not knowing the color codes too. I'm writing this from my ohone so i cant look at the past posts.
  • ckwwilsonckwwilson Member Posts: 7
    Oh and yes the problem is the Passlock II system. You described exactly what I had happen to my 2003.
  • ckwwilsonckwwilson Member Posts: 7
    You can pick up a 5 pack of resistors at radio shack for 99¢. They also have everything you need to solder if you dont have it already. Get a spool of solder and a cheap soldering gun and you should come out under $20 total.
  • kldenningkldenning Member Posts: 1
    So I just brought home my 2004 Cavalier. I love it overall, but the one pain in the butt thing with it is the little button that you have to press on the ignition to release the key. Sometimes it works fine..other times it's a two handed job. And other times still it's a mess with it for 5 mins thing. Really annoying. Is there some way to disable this button so that I don't have to deal with it anymore, or do I just need to deal, or get it fixed? HELP!!
  • rudy81rudy81 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 chevy truck 5.7 lt. I have attempted the bypass on the passlock and the 10 min relearn procedure and my truck just turns over but not on 

  • ahanaahana Member Posts: 1
    If anyone is seeing the anti theft light on the console in their cavalier it is most likely a wire harness issue. I spent many time with a dealer to have them never figure this out! I have a 99 and the anti theft light ALWAYS comes on when there is a starting problem. This is caused from loose wireing or a loose console. Pop the dash cover. Place some pressure o. The wires on the right side and start the car. It may take a couple tries but if it does not work the first time remember to pull the keys all the way out and try again remember to keep pressure on the wires while trying to start! Have a good day everyone!
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