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NHTSA — Electrical System: Ignition: Anti-Theft Controller Problems

2002 Pontiac Grand Am (Page 1 of 2) Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,112 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Pontiac Grand Am electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Pontiac Grand Am Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #21

Aug 142014

Grand Am

  • miles


The contact owns a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, the passlock anti-theft system suddenly activated causing the vehicle to stall. The vehicle was towed. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified about the failure. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage is unknown.

- Van Wert, OH, USA

problem #20

Nov 162008

Grand Am

  • miles
I have 2002 Pontiac Grand Am, I have been having problems with the car not starting due to security light! which I see has something to do with the pass-lock (theft-module) system, there are numerous complaints related to this, I dont see why it hasnt been recalled.

- Mission, TX, USA

problem #19

Nov 132007

Grand Am 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles
2002 Grand Am SE bought used 11/2006, July 2007 car starts intermittently, told nothing can be done, but its a common problem this happened about 5 times, August 2007 car would stall while driving no warning lights, would start immediately, took into dealer replaced a washer as per a service bulletin, was told could fix, may not that it could be passlock security system was told this is a very common problem on these cars as the part and the replacement parts are all faulty, car ran fine for 2 months, now wont start in the morning, fuel pump is turning, alternator and starter are fine, dealer says no problem found, have to crank 3-5 times to get it too start, then its fine all day, and the next morning wont start, then becomes intermittent. The parts to replace faulty passlock bring the repair job to over $500, and they cant guarantee and said that it will happen again, I have read about this on numerous websites and cant understand why Pontiac wont fix the problem. I bought a newer car to elevate repair costs and now have to deal with a car payment and an unreliable vehicle. I will not buy a GM car again, due to their poor customer service and refusal to admit they have a problem when sooo many people are complaining about it.

- Williamsville, NY, USA

problem #18

Oct 282007

Grand Am 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,470 miles


I own a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am. Ever since I purchased the vehicle, the security light will come on for a few days and then go off again. It would never blink, just stay on constantly for 3 to 4 days. This occurs approximately ever 3 months or so. Beginning on 10/16/07, the car would start and then shut off again. That day I was able to restart the car immediately and have no other problems with it. However, on 10/24/07 when I went to leave for work the car would not start. There was no power whatsoever to the vehicle. At noon that day when my boyfriend tried to start it, it started just fine. I let it just sit for two days while I drove another vehicle to work. I began driving the vehicle again on 10/27. It ran fine until 1:30 pm on the 28th when I stopped to put gas in the car. After filling up with gas, the vehicle would not start again. I had done some prior research on the internet to see if anyone else had had this problem as well. Hundreds of others with 2002 Pontiac Grand Am are having the same problem. I was told to turn the key to on and wait 10 minutes. The power did come back after 15 minutes, however, each time I attempted to restart the vehicle, it would shut down again. After sitting at the gas pump for over an hour trying to reset the system, my boyfriend arrived and pushed me to a parking spot where he disconnected the power to the battery, waited a few minutes, and then reconnected the power. The car did start after that. I have not however driven the car since as I am scared of where it will strand me next time. I am looking into getting it fixed. They are telling me that it's a daily occurrence to get calls about this problem at the dealerships I have contacted for quotes. It is going to cost $400 to get the ignition switch and halls sensor replaced. Pontiac needs to realize that this is a serious safety issue. However, I'm afraid someone will have to end up dying from it before they do.

- Bishopville, MD, USA

problem #17

Aug 062007

Grand Am 4-cyl

  • 51,547 miles
Security light keeps coming on, then car will not start. Has left me stranded alone at night on several occasions. I took it to get it looked at and the computer that they hooked it up to said there was no problem, yet car will not start. This is the 5th time this has happened and I am told it is the passlock system. It took 3 days for the mechanics to go through the process of elimination to figure this out. I have talked to numerous people who have had the exact same problem and the only thing GM offers is a $600 bill for a problem that they are well aware exists.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #16

Jul 242007

Grand Am 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles
2002 GM Grand Am - we are having problems with the passlock system on our 2002 Grand Am. The "security" light comes on and the car will not start. I paid $450 to fix the problem at GM but it is still occurring. I now reset the system by leaving the key in the "on" position for 10+ minutes, turned it to "off", and then started the car. It fired right up. Don't know how long this will last, but for now it's working. I also feel that GM is responsible for this problem and my inconveniences, but am getting no where with them. Ken killen, 9 drake, kitimat B.C., Canada, V8C1S3

- Kitimat B.C., 00, USA

problem #15

Feb 012007

Grand Am 4WD 4-cyl

  • miles


I own a Pontiac Grand Am 2002. I have been having problems with the car starting for the past 5 months. There has been a problem with the pass lock security system. I turned the ignition on and the car will not start. I went to the car repair shop, and they charged me about $200 to reset the system. A week later the security light came on and stayed on while driving. The problem was the car starting when it wanted to start. I had to wait 10+ minutes to reset the system before the car could start again. I felt that this was a safety issue, and that it should be recalled by GM.

- Capitol Heights , MD, USA

problem #14

Apr 202007

Grand Am 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
Repeated passlock failure on 2002 Pontiac Grand Am. Have had to have towed 3 times to have reset.

- Lucasville, OH, USA

problem #13

Apr 162007

Grand Am 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
4 times now my 2002 Pontiac Grand Am 2.2ltr, 4dr car has not started. I will have it towed and once it gets to the dealership, it starts. This has left me stranded 4 times now, and having to pay for towing and diagnostics tests run. This last time, I almost paid for a new fuel pump, then it started working. I recently found out that this is happening to a lot of this model of cars, and that is has to do with the passlock anti theft system.

- Zephyrhills, FL, USA

problem #12

Apr 182007

Grand Am 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,560 miles
My daughter attempted to start the 2002 Grand Am on this date and the vehicle turned over but did not start, second instance. The indicator light for the security system was on. I checked the vehicle for several things, including recharging the battery there was enough power to the starter. Nothing worked. I then checked several internet sites and learned that several other Grand Am owners were having the same problem. Learned of a proceedure to reset the security passl ock by turning the key to on"for 10+ minutes, turning it to off, and then starting. Please note that this vehicle was purchased used in November of 2006 from a dealer, and no issues were found with the vehicle at that time. We also only received one key for the vehicle, and it wasan uncoded factory key that so often is issued with the vehicles from the factory. Also, our vehicle does not have remote entry installed as is usually the case with this issue. For now, the vehicle is running, but I am concerned that my 17-yr old daughter will be driving down the road, and the vehicle will quit running and she will be unable to control the car, (power steering/brakes/etc, and her safety will be jeopardized. GM needs to correct this problem before someone is seriouly injured or killed, since they engineered this rediculous fucntion on thiese vehicles.

- Salem, OH, USA

problem #11

Apr 102007

Grand Am 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


Pontiac Grand Am was purchased in May 2006, second owner, from a dealership in edmonton, alberta. Was not informed of any problems with the car. One day after we put gas in the car, once we returned to the car, the security light was flashing and the car would not start. We read the manual, did what it suggested with the gas cap and so forth. Still would not start. We pushed it to a secure place, called a tow truck company, and had it delivered right to the dealership. Now keep in mind, this was only about 3 months from purchase. The mechanic stated that the computer needed to be replaced, that was done at no charge to us. It started to do the same thing in the car dealerships parking lot, the security light started flashing and would not start. We were told to do the 10 minute procedure, and then it did start. You could tell they had no idea what the problem was. We were told that if the problem happened again to call. But this time out of our pockets, which we could not afford. The security light now stayed on all the time. We had it hooked up to the computer to analyze the problem, no codes came up, basically no problem. I really think that GM should do something about this problem because as we speak to others they had the same problems. It makes me wonder why I love GM vehicles at this point. There are lots to choice from dealerships, so I would suggest that they do something before they ruin the trust of their customers.

- Leduc ,Alberta,Canada, 00, USA

problem #10

Feb 202007

Grand Am 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,796 miles
I have a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am. I bought the car one year ago. The car now has 38,000 miles on it. A few months back, the car started doing this thing where sometimes it would start, other times it would not. I was left stranded with my son in the car numerous times. But, when I would get the car towed to get fixed somewhere, the car would start right up. Finally after weeks of frustration, the locale Pontiac dealership replaced my passlock module. The car has been starting since. But now there is another problem. The car is overheating. I have had it in and out of the shop three times now, getting different things done, and it is still overheating. This car is just one problem after another. I have spent a total of 2000 on repairs, tows, and car rentals. The extended warranty hasn't paid a penny, (and it's supposed to be the best you can get), and I am now out of money, can't drive my car, and still have 3 years of $325 a month car payments. I am very disappointed with Pontiac. I will never buy another Pontiac product. They are extremely unreliable. I am not the only one having these problems either. There is a website, (, ) where you can read about all the other people with Grand Am's, having the same problems.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #9

Jan 152007

Grand Am 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,795 miles
I have a common issue with my 2002 Pontiac Grand Am as well. There have been several times I have gotten into my car to leave for work and have had to wait 10, 20 or even 25 minutes until the security light on the dash cuts off before I can start my car. Initially, I thought it was the battery or the starter; that is not the case. When I called my local Pontiac service department, I was told the same as others that have this same issue: It will continue to get worse until finally the car will not start no matter how long you wait. It is a costly issue to fix. GM has not issued a recall on this problem, even though I personally know someone else that has this issue; the GM service department clerk that I talked to told me he gets at least one call a day regarding this problem.

- Monroe, LA, USA

problem #8

Oct 182006

Grand Am

  • miles
Pontiac passlock system failed and car will no longer start. Passlock is not covered by any extended warranty and costs ~$400 to replace.

- Roswell, GA, USA

problem #7

Aug 122006

Grand Am 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
2002 Pontiac Grand Am SE security system locks out ignition causing the system to be reset which takes up to 10 minutes with the key in the ignition in the on position. This has happened approximately 4 times in the last 12-16 months. Everything I see on the internet about this is called a pass lock system that needs to be replaced. So far this has only caused the vehicle from being started, but is there a possibility that the system could fail during driving conditions causing the loss of brakes and steering? I would have it replaced but the cost $350-$400 is just outrageous this is based on the cost my dad had to pay to get his 2001 Pontiac Bonneville fixed that did the same thing.

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #6

Jun 092005

Grand Am 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle could not be started. The vehicle was taken to the dealership on a previous incident who determined the ignition anti-theft switch had to be replaced. The defect recurred and the vehicle was towed to the dealership and remained there without a solution from the manufacturer. Updated 1/16/2007 -

- College Park, GA, USA

problem #5

Jun 102002

Grand Am

  • 75,000 miles
My 2002 Pontiac Grand Am randomly fails to start. Seems to be the problem with security feature on Grand Am. Problem gets temporary solved after resetting the feature by keeping the key in "on" position for 10 minutes, however it occurs again in the following days. I took the car to the local shop that could not find the root of the problem. Taking it to the dealer next.

- Irving, TX, USA

problem #4

May 092006

Grand Am 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,184 miles
I have a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT1. My security light had been going on and off for about 2 weeks. I tried starting one day and got no electrical response. The dealer had to reprogram the pass lock system as it had its computer had hung up. They could offer no explanation and could not say it would not happen again. This was a $159 repair for labor.

- Portsmouth, NH, USA

problem #3

Apr 102004

Grand Am 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The ignition system has a device called passlock, which is supposed to disable the fuel pump in the event that someone is trying to steal your car. However, the '02 Grand Am is not always given encoded keys, but the system is still active. The car can be disabled for 10 minutes, awaiting the system to reset itself.

- Carrollton, GA, USA

problem #2

Oct 312005

Grand Am 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumers daughter went to start the vehicle and it would not start. The vehicle turned over but did not start. The indicator light for the theft system was on. She had the vehicle towed home. Had to turn the vehicle off, put it in the on position for ten minutes, then shut it off, then attempted to restart the vehicle. In the owner's manual this was what it recommended to do in order to bypass the theft system. The dealer has not checked this vehicle. Updated 12/07/05.

- Flint, MI, USA

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