Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Welcome to the Edmunds forums! We are changing the way you sign into our forums. Click here to learn more.

Chevrolet Cavalier anti-theft help



  • ckwwilsonckwwilson 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 Posts: 11,052
    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 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 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 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 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 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 Posts: 1
    Had the same thing with my 96 Cavalier and had to replace the ignition switch.
  • crielismicrielismi 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!!
  • 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.
  • 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 Posts: 2
    :mad: i have same problem
  • carltocarlto Posts: 2
    i have same problem so... off to the dealer it goes 200. for ignition with key another 45 to program it :lemon:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Oh and yes the problem is the Passlock II system. You described exactly what I had happen to my 2003.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 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!
  • rickf1999rickf1999 Posts: 1
    edited March 2017
    gonogo said:

    Try this.

    SECURITY SYSTEM...........

    2001 Chevrolet Cavalier: After replacing the ignition cylinder, the Antitheft light came on...but the car began malfunctioning a few days later. We tried the 10-minute method, 11-mintue method, the neutral.....No luck at all. So, I'm going to pick up a Scan tool tomorrow for the exact codes.

    How the car malfunctioned: I was on Lodge Fwy on my way to an appt, when I felt a sudden jerk at around 48-49 mph, and the car instantly turned off. It refused to turn-on while at Neutral, so I pulled to the shoulder as quickly as possible. It refused to turn-on the 1st couple times. A couple minutes later, it would then turn-on, and instantly cut back off. Somehow, I was able to turn the car on, after peddling on the gas. Just as I was ready to speed up, the car felt like it was jumping up and down (thought it might have been the rough part of the shoulder), then the car cut back off again.

    Tested the fuel-pump connector, and it tested 5 Volts, way below the normal level of 12 Volts. Previous ignition cylinder was worn out, and difficult to turn.

    PS. Since the key has no chip/resistor, it's a VAT system, as opposed to a "PASSLOCK."
Sign In or Register to comment.