Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

Passlock Problem, Won't Start & Anti-Theft Light Is On

2001 Pontiac Grand Am (Page 3 of 4)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Pontiac dealer.

CarComplaints.com Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague

8.3

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$585.00
Average Mileage:
105,795 miles
Total Complaints:
75 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. reset for 10 minutes with key on (23 reports)
  2. not sure (14 reports)
  3. replace module (12 reports)
  4. wait 10 min with key in start to reset passlock then restart (9 reports)
  5. was told my ignition had to be replaced (5 reports)
  6. replace ignition again and passlock system (3 reports)
2001 Pontiac Grand Am electrical problems

electrical problem

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2001 Pontiac Grand Am Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #35

Oct 282008

Grand Am SE1 2.4L L4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,625 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I have been stranded because of this damn pass lock & not being able to start the car for 15 mins. I replaced the Passlock sensor and ignition and to my demise the security light is STILL ON!! RECALL RECALL RECALL!!! please I have seen over 70 complaints of this same issue and GM dealers want $500 for it luckily I had a former GM employee fix it for cheaper. I am a poor college student... avoid these cars they are money pits I was also informed that this will continue for the life of the car. I don't have $500 to plunk down each and every time this happens. I love my Pontiac but it is becoming too expensive and I do regular preventative maintenance trans service plugs wires oil change fuel filter air filter tire rotation etc. but this ignition problem needs to be recalled by far it has numerous failures across the net including the NHTSA website in addition to this one.

- , Washburn, IL, USA

problem #34

Aug 272008

Grand Am

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,907 miles

I wish there were a subject for just overall piece of junk. But since there is not, I will list my latest in a long line of complaints with this car. I had the same problem of the car cranking but not turning over. I had to call a tow truck for the third time. Thankfully, my children were not with me and my husband was nearby. By the time, he got there, the car cranked beautifully. After waving off the nice tow truck man - I drove the car to the shop. This is actually the fourth time it has been in the shop for this type of problem. This time it was the pass lock. The other times were apparently ignition wires, fuel filter and one time, they couldn't figure it out. I told the truck man that I was going to find a cliff and push the car over - he smiled and said you'd still need my help. Ya gotta laugh.

- , Hampton, VA, USA

problem #33

Jun 142008

Grand Am GT 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,079 miles

I purchased my 2001 Grand Am GT at approximately 80,000 km.

I originally thought I got the deal of a lifetime, until little problems started to surface. Upon extensive research on the internet at sites like this one, I now realize that there was likely a reason that my great deal was so great.

This particular problem (with the security system and key sensor) started with intermittent flashing of the security light on the dash. It would come on for a few seconds sometimes and stay on constantly other times. Generally shutting off the car and then restarting it would make the light go out. One day, I had a very important function to get to and was running some errands before hand. I pulled up to the store and shut the car off. I came out and got back in to the car (in the pouring rain) and hit the key and nothing. I tried starting it for quite sometime and it would not fire. It wanted to fire and almost acted as though it was flooded. Thinking it was flooded, I held the pedal to the floor and still nothing. I cranked until I drained the battery. My second thought was that it must be the electric fuel pump in the tank. I stood in the pouring rain and worked on it until I finally had to give up and call a tow truck.

Not only did I miss my important function, but was now soaked and very frustrated. I had it towed to my local GM dealer who was able to get to it on the following Monday. They called me to say that it was the security key sensor in behind the dash and that it was going to cost almost $800

What choice did I have, so I authorized them to proceed with the repairs. At no time, did they mention anything about turning the key on for 10 minutes to reset the sensor. The sensor may still have needed to be replaced, but at least I wouldn't have had to have it towed or missed my important function.

I understand the philosophy behind what the system does, but I would almost rather have my car stolen than to have it leave me stranded, especially if is was winter or I had my family (& baby) with me in the car.

Nice work GM......another fine piece of craftsmanship and lack of information to your loyal customers.

It is no wonder why the foreign car manufacturers are slipping ahead of the domestic ones and having always been a domestic vehicle supporter, I now must admit that it will most certainly be my last domestic vehicle.

As I mentioned, I am sure with signs of issues which are starting to surface, I will have no shortage of topics to add and contribute to on this site. The largest obviously being the engine and the infamous intake manifold gasket saga which I will cover in great detail on a separate entry. I have it booked to go in to a non GM shop and have it repaired by an ex GM mechanic of 25+ years who works independently. I am going to get the gaskets replaced with Felpro gaskets and flush every drop of Dexcool out replacing it with green coolant (even GM's green coolant is fine). Hopefully, that will cure the problem with the engine consuming coolant and running very hot.

- More to come.....

- , Okotoks, Alberta, Canada

problem #32

May 252008

Grand Am GT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Ok Well, my story is a little long but hopefully it will help some one else who is having the same problems I was. I wish someone had told me this stuff, that I'm about to write, sooner but here it goes. I bought this car a few years ago. Some girl had bought it new and had used it to drive to and from school (Michigan State I think). Anyway, I'll try to skip the relatively unimportant stuff. It worked for about a year and then when I was in Canada with a friend, we got chosen to get searched at customs and had to turn the car off but when we were done and went to start it again, it would not start and the security light was blinking. We couldn't get towed because towing companies cannot cross the border. So we sat there for 3 hours try to keep our phone from losing service while cutting in and out talking to the towing companies. Finally, the lady said "Wait. What did you say is wrong with it?" We told her. A man got on the phone and said "Put your key in the on position & let it sit for about 10 minutes. The light should go off and you can start your car." It worked. We sat there waiting for 3 hours, just for that. Anyway, my car was fine for about 6 months after that and then it happened again. Then it happened about 3 months later then it started happening every month. I took it in but they just said I needed a new ignition switch. I had a feeling in my gut not to get it done because it was starting fine when the security light wasn't on so I didn't. Over time I just got used to using the "key trick" and would mention the problem to mechanics, and people that I thought might know, once in a while but I got about 5 different answers and all of them seemed sure. Ignition Switch, Fuel Pump, Passlock needs to be disconnected, passlock needs to be reset, etc. Each one of those seemed to me like it could be the fix to one problem but didn't make sense for others. Then a few weeks ago. My car started dinging and the lights on the inside of the car wouldn't go off. It was that sound that cars usually make when you first put your key in and your door is open or something, except for my key wasn't in & my doors were closed. I called a neighbor who works with cars but there wasn't much we could do since it was night so we just unplugged one of the fuses under the hood. It worked to turn off the lights and dinging noise & kept my battery from dying but it was a hassle, seeing as, every time I drove my car I would have to open my hood and put it back in and then take it out when I parked again. I drove like that for about 2 weeks and then one day about a week and a half ago my mom came inside and said "That's about the 10th time today I have closed your trunk. Are you opening it?" and I told her that I wasn't but looked out the window and sure enough it was open again so we went outside and I closed it. As I was walking back up to the house my car locked itself and then the trunk opened again. I didn't know what I was going to do about driving it but I just went inside and finished getting ready for work. When I came back out it was locking itself every 30 seconds and the trunk kept opening every time the car locked. I opened the drivers side door and smoke came pouring out. At this point I was just thinking, "You know what? You go ahead and blow up, jerk." But it was so close to the house that that probably wasn't the best idea. I went inside and told my mom about it and we called the neighbor again. He came over, and for the time being, we just disconnected the battery til he could get to it the next day. (In case you were wondering I drove my moms car to work that day.) Anyway, my neighbor came to look at it and decided it would be best if he could take it back to his house where his tools are and also that way he could take my car up to his work with him and work on it there too. Finally, he called me back and said that my car was so close to catching fire that it's not even funny. I'm not sure what it was called that needed fixed but it's a computer or module thing underneath the passenger side dash that is screwy. The wires in the module are a little off and they were misfiring. Now I guess that module controls a lot of the stuff in the car and everything that was going wrong was in direct correlation to the misfiring computer module. When I saw the module, half of the plastic was melted away and the wires looked burnt. Anyway, he replaced it and used some machine from work to reset the new one (that he got from a junk yard for $50 (it's obviously used but still in good condition by the way)) with the passlock in my car. Apparently, all the other things that the other people were telling me were quick fixes for 1 or 2 things but this would have probably happened anyway because the problem was my module. But I guess it's hard to diagnose so this had to happen for us to be able to find the underlying cause. Anyway, my car works now and I'm not having any of the problems I've been having for years. So if your having these problems I would get that checked out now in case that might be what's wrong with yours, and if you don't plan on getting it checked, then you should probably look forward to everything, that I just explained, happening to you.

- , Milford, MI, USA

problem #31

Nov 302007

Grand Am ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

This car is going to leave my stranded some day when I least expect it!! I can't go anywhere far from home. Also by continually cranking the key, what will be my next problem? Will I need a new starter too?

- , Jordan, NY, USA

problem #30

Mar 272008

Grand Am SE 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Having the Exact same Issue. I already have a DEI 555L bypass module in place though( for the remote start system), so not sure if this is supposed to get around it or not, but none-the-less the car won't start! After hearing this i hate to think that i might be chasing a ghost at a high $/hr rate. not including replacing parts that are still working. I tried the 10 min trick once and had no luck. Will try it again and also consider looking at the bypass module a little closer before taking to the dealer to find nothing wrong with it and complain that i have a remote start system installed and that this is my fault!

- , Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #29

Jul 102006

Grand Am Gt Ram Air 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,500 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

OK THIS IS THE THIRD DAMN TIME MY VEHICLE HAS HAD TO BE TOWED BECAUSE THE SECURITY LIGHT IS ON AND THE CAR WON'T START. PUT IT ON DIAGNOSTICS AND I AM TOLD THAT I AM HAVING A FUEL PUMP ISSUE NOW AND IT NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. I ASKED THEM TO PLEASE KEEP THE PARTS SO THAT I CAN SEE WHAT WAS REPLACED. THEY WRE ONLY ABLE TO COME UP WITH PART OF THE FUEL PUMP BECAUSE THEY HAD ALREADY THROWN IT AWAY AND HAD TO FIND IT.WHEN THEY REPLACE THIS THEY EMPTY MY FULL TANK OF GAS AND DID NOT REPLACE IT SO I WENT A LITTLE POSTAL ON THE MANAGER AND GOT MY GAS COUPON FOR IT TO BE FILLED.

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #28

Jun 262006

Grand Am Gt Ram Air 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles

OK WELL MY SECURITY LIGHT COMES ON ONCE AGAIN. i CALL THE DEALERSHIP AND i TELL THEM LOOK THIS HAPPENED TO ME ABOUT 6 MONTHS AGO AND YOU ALL TOLD ME TO REPLACE MY IGNITON. i TELL THEM THIS AND HAVE IT TOWED AGAIN AND IT SITS THERE AND THEY HOOK IT UP TO THE DIAGNOSTIC AND I AM ONCE AGAIN TOLD THERE IS NOTHING WRONG. SINCE THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG AND IT IS OUT OF WARRANTY I HAVE TO PAY $90.00 FOR THERE DIAGNOSTIC TEST. ONCE AGAIN I HAVE THEM DO MY OIL CHANGE. AFTER I BROUGHT MY CAR HOME AND PARKED IT IN MY DRIVEWAY AND WENT BACK OUT AN HOUR LATER MY SECURITY LIGHT COMES ON AGAIN. SO THEY TELL ME WAIT TWEN MINUTES AND TRY IT AGAIN. THAT SEEM TO WORK.

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #27

Mar 192008

Grand Am Gt Ram Air 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

OK WELL I MADE IT OVER A YEAR WITHOUT HAVING IT TOWED. UNTIL TODAY!!!!!!!!!A WEEK AGO MY SECURITY LIGHT COMES ON. I SAY TO MY HUSBAND "OH NO, HERE WE GO AGAIN" MY SECURITY LIGHT IS ON. SO WE DO THE 10 MINUTE RESET AND IT WORKS. BUT TODAY IT DID NOT. SO THE CAR WAS TOWED. I ASKED THEM TO DO MY STATE INSPECTION AND AN OIL CHANGE SINCE OF COURSE IT IS FREE SINCE I BOUGHT MY VEHICLE FROM THEM WITH THEIR HOSPITALITY PACKAGE. SO THEY HOOK IT UP TO THE DIAGNOSTICA AND ONCE AGAIN THE CODE SAYS IGNITION AND PASSLOCK SYSTEM NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. BY THE WAY YOUR WARRANTY RAN OUT 2 WEEKS AGO. GO FRIGGIN FIGURE. WELL THE GOOD NEWS IS MY CAR PASSED INSPECTION. THOUGH IT DOES NOT RUN....LOL. HOW IN THE WORLD DOES THAT HAPPEN. SO I THINK AFTER TODAY I AMY LET THEM KEEP IT AND SHOVE IT UP THERE ASS.... I AM CONTACTING AN ATTORNEY WHO SAYS WE HAVE A REALLY GOOD CHANCE AT THE LEMON LAW CASE. THIS CAR HAS COST ME SO MUCH MONEY. I AM THE MOM OF 5 AND HAVE A DISABLED HUSBAND. THIS WAS MY FIRST CAR THAT WAS NOT A MOM MOBILE OTHERWISE KNOWN AS A MINI VAN. IT HAS TINTED WIDOWS A SUNROOF IT IS BLACK HAS 18 INCH RIMS WITH LOW PROFILE TIRES. THIS WAS MY SPORTS CAR. I LOVE DRIVING THIS CAR WHEN IT IS RUNNING...........................GM NEEDS TO GET OFF THERE ASSES AND DO A MASSIVE RECALL ON THERE PASSLOCK SYSTEM ANTI THEFT SECURITY DEVICE WHAT EVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT. I AM NOT THE THIEF I MAKE THE DAMN PAYMENTS. I REALLY THINK A THIEF WOULD HAVE BETTER LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW HOW THE LEMON LAW WORKS. I FEEL THAT GM HAS THEM COME UP WITH OTHER REASONS AS TO WHY THE SECURITY PASSLOCK SYSTEM IS NOT WORKING THEREFORE DEEMING IT NOT A LEMON WITH UNNCESSARY FIXES AND BANK BREAKING BILLS. THIS IS RDEICULOUS. GM OPEN YOUR EYES. I WANTED A SOLSTICE, I KNOW I WILL NOT BUY ONE NOW. ONLY BECAUSE I CANT AFFORD IT WITH ALL THE MONEY I HAVE HAD TO SPEND ON THIS VEHICLE. OH BY THE WAY, I WILL BE FORWARDING PEOPLE TO THIS SITE WHENEVER I SEE THEM DRIVING ONE. I WORK RETAIL IMAGINE HOW MANY OF THESE CARS ARE IN MY PARKING LOT EVERYDAY. THIS IS NOT A THREAT IT IS A FOR SURE THING.STEPS I AM TAKING WILL BE CONTACTING THE PRES OF THE DEALERSHIP, MY LOCAL TV STATION AND PONTIACS CORPORATE OFFICE IN MICHIGAN. WITH ALL OF THESE PROBLEMS WE AS CONSUMERS SHOULD NOT BE PENALIZED BECAUSE OF THERE DESIGN FLAW. IF INTERESTED IN PETITIONING WITH ME LETS OPEN SOME EYES. CONTACT ME AT FIV2MANYKIDS@AOL.COM JUST PUT THE TITLE AS PETITION. THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!........ I AM SORRY BUT HAPPY TO HEAR FROM YOU TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM.

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #26

Oct 082003

Grand Am GT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,800 miles

Had this electrical problem and shortly there after started to notice that the engine coolant was needing fluid. Well the intake manifold gasket was leaking and had to be replaced. Luckily this was covered under the extended warranty barely. If not covered was told this would cost 1000$ to fix. Others have told me that it could be fixed for 250$. Still just another pain.

- , Colby, KS, USA

problem #25

Aug 172007

Grand Am SE 3400 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

This all started around August 2007. (It might have started in December of 2005 when my battery went dead but it didn't act up on a regular basis til August 2007.) Like everyone else, I couldn't start my 2001 Grand Am. I tried the steps to disable the passlock system (I even installed a toggle switch). I know I've done the procedure correctly. No doubt about it. I thought it was the answer but last month, when the weather dropped from 50's to 20's, the car wouldn't start. It used to take me 10 mins to start the car using the key in ON/OFF cycle thing...now I have to wait the full four cycles of 10-min ON/OFF procedure...but that takes me almost a whole hour. It's now almost an every day occurrence. (Of course, it's also wintertime.) I wonder how long before I can't even get it started waiting an hour.

It's so frustrating. I love my Grand Am but not enough to wait a hour every time I want to drive it. I will never buy another one if I don't figure this problem out.

- , Rochester, NY, USA

problem #24

Jan 112008

Grand Am

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I have this problem ever since I bought the dang car, the security light stays on all the time. When it blinks, thats when it won't start. Had the fuel pump replaced, the fuel injectors replaced, the passlock reset, now they are replacing the mother board. I have no other complaints, except that they really should do a recall. How do you disable the damn security system?

- , Sapulpa, OK, USA

problem #23

Jul 062007

(reported on)

Grand Am SE 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,520 miles

don't really have a beff just like to have a right answer

- , Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #22

Dec 052007

Grand Am SE 2.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,600 miles

It has all been said in the previous messages left on the board. I would just like for Pontiac to do something if it's a lemon. If everyone is having the same problem with this model they should step in if they have any hope of keeping customer loyalty. It started the other day when I went to put a CD into my radio. The whole unit went nuts and popped up error messages saying it could not read the disk. Well I went on with my day and parked at work. When I came out at 5, I figured I just had a dead battery until I remembered last summer I had the same problem and the garage told me it was the anti-theft system on my car radio. It all started to make sense. The radio going bad and having some electrical problem in it is what I think is messing up the signal to the ignition. I have called around to a number of dealers and they are all aware of the problem in that model car and told me it'll run me anywhere from $200 to $500 to fix. This just sucks!!! I just bought a house last Friday and unloaded about $15,000 on the closing, all my savings really. And now this problem pops up out of the blue. Murphy's Law right?

- , Monroeville, PA, USA

problem #21

Nov 082006

Grand Am

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I have found out how to disable the passlock system! I have no more problems with the car not starting. Here is the link:

http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=454520#5

- , Bridgeville, PA, USA

problem #20

Nov 022007

(reported on)

Grand Am SE 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

This is so frustrating, just out of nowhere it decides to do this. I am about ready to get rid of the car because of this. I love the car but it has put me in a bind several times. I have seen that other people have had the same problem including my daughter who also has a car like this. I wish Pontiac would do a recall on it since it has been a problem for many other people. My last two cars have been Pontiac Grand Am's but I think the next will not be.

- , Peoria, IL, USA

problem #19

Oct 282007

(reported on)

Grand Am GT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

This REALLY sucks!!!!! My car totally won't start! I tried the 10 minute fix and it didn't work. I had no warning of any problem. Anti-theft...GREAT...but I have a key and can't drive my car. The only car I have by the way. Looking at other comments, the fix (if the dealer can figure it out the first time) will be about $500 - where in the hell am I supposed to get that? On top of rental car and towing??? GM really should recall and pay for this. They obviously know there is a problem. Why else would it be addressed in the owner's manual? What recourse do we have?

- , Chester, VA, USA

problem #18

Oct 152007

(reported on)

Grand Am ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I've had my GrandAm POS into the shop now 1x for this issue, but I have had to reset the PassLock 4-5x overall. When is GM gonna step up to the plate on this one? This seems to be a real common issue and not a cheap fix in the long run.

- , Pontiac, IL, USA

problem #17

Oct 152007

(reported on)

Grand Am

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

If people like Ralph Nadar and other democrats still had any power, GM would have addressed this issue. How many times have I had my car towed? 3 or 4, (over 100 miles the first time.)

Finally, after taking it to "experts" with 0 success, I found an answer online: turn the key on for 10 minutes, turn off, then start the car. I hear that this is not good for the ignition, but at least when I leave work, (I work in a bad section of the city,) I won't be stuck for more than 10 minutes. What about a female in a bad section of town when this happens, and all the experts are scratching their heads? It stinks, and should be resolved by GM.

My question: What is the final, real answer? It's happening once a week now.

- , Bridgeville, PA, USA

problem #16

Sep 102007

(reported on)

Grand Am 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

Third time is the charm I guess. Don't know what to do anymore. It seems to happen about every 4 months. Any suggestions on how to get GM to just give us a new, hell even a used car that doesn't have these problems. This is a scarry issue. It happens out the blue. There is no warning that it might happen. You just go to get into your car, and it will not start. There is nothting you can do to make it start. You are stranded until a mechnic replaces and reprograms the passlock.

- , Moorpark, CA, USA

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