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2004 Oldsmobile Alero engine problems: won't start

Won't Start

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
85,607 miles
Total Complaints:
14 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (11 reports)
  2. bypass security system (2 reports)
  3. security system reset (1 reports)
2004 Oldsmobile Alero engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Oldsmobile Alero Owner Comments

problem #14

Jan 062013

Alero GL 2.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


I have a 2004 oldsmobile alero and I have had nothing but problems. I have had the security light problem, the turn signal problem, and now the car will not start (it will not even turn over). Some people say it might be my key but I do not think that is what it is. I want to know if anyone else on here has had this problem and do you have a solution to the problem cause I just do not want the car to sit up and I cannot afford another car. It really has become a pain in my butt. Is there some type of sensor for the keys? I will expect any advice on here. I just know this, I will never own another oldsmobile ever in my life. Thanks so much..

- , Saraland, AL, USA

problem #13

Jul 132011

Alero GL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

I have a 2004 OLDS ALERO and I have the same problem mentioned in these other stories. It sometimes starts sometimes does not start.I have had the security system removed, new fuel pump, new ignition module- and the mechanic is still not sure what is wrong with the car! When will this problem be recalled? Or when with GMC MAKE THIS RIGHT? I am a single mother, teacher , veteran---- and cannot afford a new car!

- , Parachute, CO, USA

problem #12

Mar 212011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

Battery is UP ..All Electrical working ..REPLACED STARTER and car will not even click..fuel pump works...it's like the ignition is dead.

Update from Mar 27, 2011: By turning the ignition to the on position and leaving it there for "ten" minutes apparently resets the security system. Wish we had found it sooner...but now we have a new starter.

- , Wilson's Beach, New Brunswick, Canada

problem #11

Aug 292010

Alero V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,458 miles


I was on vacation and pulled over to the side of the highway and stopped my car. When I went to restart it, all the dash lights came on, but the starter wouldn't work. We called a tow truck and the driver tried shorting out the starter which did spin over but the bendix would not engauge. He thought the soleoid was shot. We towed the car an hour back to a friends house and bought a new starter and replaced it ourselves, but it still wouldn't work. Checked all the fuse and relays and everything seemed OK. So I went on the computer and on this site under engine complaints, complaint #6 was for the same issue. I followed the fellows advice and turned the key on and the security light on the dash was flashing. I left he key on for 10 minutes and the security system reset itself. I turned the key off and and then turned it on and the car started, and has ever since. I have no idea why the security system was activated, but I did pull the key out and put it back in and turn on the auxilliary power to open a window and unlock the door, and maybe somewhere in these actions it was set off. I was dissapointed that the owners manual didn't tell us that this security system could result in this, nor did it tell us how to fix this. We were on vacation on a Sunday and had to get home the next day. We were in a bit of a bind to say the least. I am very thankful for those who have posted their problems and fixes on this site, it sure saved the day for us. Thanks Much! I hope this may help someone else who may be experiencing the same problem.

- , Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

problem #10

Nov 012009

Alero 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

This is way i will never every buy a GM. My wifes Alero won't start for unknown reasons. It has nothing but problems.

- , Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #9

Jul 242009

Alero GL 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

i was in a accident 2wks before this problem. I never had a problem with it before. I am going to take it in to the GM dealership to run a diagnostics on it. Its a big pain in the neck to have to call somone to come jumpme at a gas station and what not.

- , Twin Falls, ID, USA

problem #8

Jun 012009

Alero 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,000 miles


This problem started about 2 weeks ago, The car would turn over but would not start. I have looked into all possible problems. The problem is starting to get worse. Every time I go to leave I have to reset this alarm system, it is starting to be a real pain in the ass. I notice that there have not really been any recent complaints on this web site, is that because there has been a cure for the problem or is everyone just giving up and selling this piece of sh*t. I need help I can't afford to take it to a shop and pay all that money to have them look at it and tell me there is nothing wrong with it.

- , Cuba City, WI, USA

problem #7

Apr 042007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

My car just hit 60K miles and it is doing the same thing- not starting and or stalling. I hope it's not going to cost $600, that sucks.

- , Menomonie, WI, USA

problem #6

Nov 112007

Alero 4 Cyclinder

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,059 miles

My alero would not start. I had spark plugs, wires changed, etc etc. The last time I found a mechanic who told me that it was the security system - for some reason, thinking the car was being stolen. If you turn the car to the one position (the security light is flashing), wait 10 minutes (the security light should stop) and then turn it off and then back on and it should work. It takes that long for the security system to reset.

- , New Glasgow, NS, Canada

problem #5

Aug 102007

Alero 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

I'm having the same problems as the other people with the Aleros. Starts ok sometimes, then won't. I've replaced ALL relays, fuses in the vehicle, replaced the main under hood master fuse panel and sensors. I've contacted the Olds corp. and they have no ideas. Basically shotgun mechanics concerning possibilities - replace parts until you get the problem solved! Their suggestion - keep taking it back to an Olds dealer. I say Bull Sh_t! (If they were still in business) I'd say how about the Olds corp replacing the vehicle with a different vehicle at their cost?!! A mechanic other than from Olds company told me that it may very well be a computer problem that doesn't show up on a fault code. Problem is, I/we haven't been able to find a computer from a different vehicle that would cross fit to the Alero. If this problem can be fixed - key words, could be fixed, I'd have no problems with the vehicle in performance. If I figure anything out, I'll let you alll know.

- , Firbury, NE, USA

problem #4

Jan 122008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,678 miles


This is the second time we have had to tow the car into the repair shop for not starting. Just like the other stories most of the time it starts just fine then out of the blue it doesn't start. Sometimes you can wait a few hours and it will start fine then twice now it never started again without taking it in to be worked on. The first time they thought we needed a new battery. They replaced it and it ran fine for 2 months. Then last week it quite. We hauled it to the repair shop and they have had it 4 days and still have no clue what the problem is. They have checked every system there is and they all say "working fine". Oh I need to add the repair shop called and said it is now starting and they don't know why!! They are still trying to figure out why because they are sure it will happen again. I am sick of it. I wish I could sell the car!!!

- , Idaho Falls, ID, USA

problem #3

Nov 302007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

This car belongs to my daughter and it's driving us crazy. Sometime back the engine would turn over but not start. Thought it was the fuel pump since it wasn't running. Replaced the fuel pump relay and it started. Then it did it again. Took the relay out and put it back in, then swapped it and the air conditioner relay (on the side of the road...same kinda relay) and it started. Air conditioner still worked. Sounds similar to the gazillion posts I've read about the idiotic security system thing but not sure. The security light didn't come on that I can recall.

Yesterday it went stupid again only a little different. It was running fine for a good while then she stopped to get a tank of gas and got back in and guess what....nothing! This time the stinkin thing wouldn't turn over. No click, grunt, buzz, or anything. I can't afford the price most mechanics get for swapping parts till they find one that works so I took a shot at it. Starter relay not working. Fuse ok. Got 12v through the fuse when ignition switch in start position, had 12v on pin 86 (or 87...don't remember) of the relay. Checked the other pin that should go to ground when starting to turn on the relay and it wasn't going low. Battery was ok, and putting 12v on the starter solenoid turned the engine over but wouldn't start. I scratched my head a couple of hours looking for the problem before just for kicks I swapped the A/C relay and the fuel pump relay around again to see what happened. It started up and ran fine. What did that have to do with the starter relay? I started it several times and drove it around the parking lot and all seemed fine. She got in and drove down the street and stopped...said it never shifted out of low gear. Thinking I may have bumped a wire loose somewhere in the process, I started looking for that...didn't find anything. Swapped the relays back to their original position and the transmission shifted fine. For about 5 miles. Then the speedometer went to zero and back up to speed 3 or 4 times and it jerked and acted funny when it shifted. We finally got the thing back home and now it won't shift out of low gear again. I disconnected the battery for a while hoping Bill Gates wrote the software for the computer and it needed a reboot...that didn't work either. Now I have a 'service engine soon' light on for the first time. Help!!! I can't stand it any more!

- , Pontotoc, MS, MS, USA

problem #2

Nov 022006

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,300 miles

The same exact thing happened to me. I have had my 04 alero for about a year and it has 49,300 miles on it. Summer '06 it started stalling on me. It did this twice but ended up starting fine after waiting a little while. This third time(which was a week ago), it wouldn't start and I waited a day and a half before having it towed to the dealer to look at. Turns out I had to get the ignition switch replaced. It's a two part ignition switch which the extended warranty only pays for one part. The lock cylinder I had to pay for myself and with my warranty deductible costed $300. After doing some research I find out that the ignition switch is part of a security system feature for the car in which the car will not start if it doesn't recognize the key or if it feels the cylinder has been tampered with. This is outrageous!!!!!!!So I can drive my car fine everyday but all of a sudden there is a malfunction in the system that says "hmm i don't recognize this key, even though it's the same key from the last time you used it." AND THE ONLY WAY TO HAVE YOUR CAR START AGAIN IS TO REPLACE THE ENTIRE SWITCH AND CYLINDER!!!!!!! Not to mention this can happen again at any time and there is nothing you can do about it.... and if you are not under warranty you will be paying almost $600. I agree people should not purchase an Alero because for a company to be aware of this malfunction and not guarantee free replacement of the parts is ludacris!

- , Urbandale, IA, USA

problem #1

Nov 272005

(reported on)

Alero GL

  • 50,000 miles

My car now has 60,000 miles on it, when it had around 50,000 miles on it, it sometimes wouldn't start. I would crank it it would half-ass make a noise, then I would have to sit for about 5 minutes then try again and it usually started. Thing is.. it's a 2004, I paid some good money for this piece and now at 50,000 miles it won't start reliably? That is ridiculous. DO NOT buy an ALERO

- , St. Joseph, MO, USA

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