Security Light Flashing, Engine Turns Over Won't Start

2001 Oldsmobile Alero (Page 1 of 3)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Oldsmobile dealer. Seal Of This Might Hurt


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
102,050 miles
Total Complaints:
46 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. key in ignition for 10 minutes turn off and restart (13 reports)
  2. not sure (10 reports)
  3. turn key to ON for 10 mins, turn to OFF, then start car (8 reports)
  4. left my key in the ignition on acc (3 reports)
  5. replace passlock system (3 reports)
  6. Put the key in the ignition, and put the car back in PARK. START THE CAR. CUT THE THIN YELLOW WIRE w (2 reports)
2001 Oldsmobile Alero electrical problems

electrical problem

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2001 Oldsmobile Alero Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #46

Nov 022018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,413 miles


The car was purchased late last fall. It began not starting shortly after purchase. It sat in the shop twice, with the technicians not being able to recreate the problem. It is now doing it every 3-4 times we try to start it.

- Cindy G., Hutchinson, US

problem #45

Jan 012016

Alero V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,769 miles

Car would not start. Purchased a new battery. Put in antifreeze in gas line. Was ready to take it to repair shop when I looked in the computer. Said the problem could be in security and to leave the key in 10 mins and then try to start. Worked. Just purchased this used vehicle 2 months ago and like the car but now do not trust it.

- marilynredmond, Calgary, AB, Canada

problem #44

Jul 162012


  • Manual transmission
  • 145,000 miles
  1. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF.
    1. Attempt to start the engine, then release the key to ON (vehicle will not start).
    2. Observe the SECURITY telltale, after approximately 10 minutes the telltale will turn OFF.
    3. Turn OFF the ignition, and wait 5 seconds.
    4. The vehicle is now ready to relearn the Passlock Sensor Data Code and/or passwords on the next ignition switch transition from OFF to CRANK. IMPORTANT: The vehicle learns the Passlock Sensor Data Code and/or password on the next ignition switch transition from OFF to CRANK. You must turn the ignition OFF before attempting to start the vehicle.
    5. Start the engine. The vehicle has now learned the Passlock Sensor Data Code and/or password.
    6. With a scan tool, clear any DTCs if needed. history DTCs will self clear after 100 ignition cycles.

- sincity420honey, Las Vegas, NV, US

problem #43

Aug 292012

Alero GLS 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles


This is a "BUMP" folks!

Check out my solution to this super annoying problem for a no-start condition in your P.O.S. Alero (and other GM cars). The GM PassLock anti-theft system is preventing your fuel pump from operating!

In all honesty, there is no good way to fix the issue aside from a by-pass of the PassLock system. Worried about someone stealing your car? Get real. Nobody in their right mind steals these junkers! And, in the event they do, well, good for you! Hopefully you never see it again and you have good insurance! Unfortunately, I'm dead serious.

Anyhow, check out my posting from 2010. I believe it was posting number 24. I give a pretty detailed description and a couple of website links to visit that address the problem and give a solution to getting your car operational again. You may need someone that is mechanically inclined to help you out. This is not an "easy fix" for someone that knows nothing about cars, but a person with some mechanical and electrical aptitude should be able to follow it pretty well. If nothing else, take a print out of my solution to your mechanic and tell him to study up on it and fix your car. If he can't fix your car, then he's not a mechanic you should be taking your car to.

Best of luck, AJ

- turbo_diesel, Ontario, NY, US

problem #42

Sep 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,230 miles

For the 4th time now since September 2011, (it's now Nov. 18, 2011) my car would not start when I try to start it. It sounds like it wants to start, but it doesn't. Also, sometimes when I'm driving, the security light comes on. It goes off when i park and shut the car off. Car usually starts back up with no problem. It's only once in awhile when it will not start. In order to get the car to start, I have to turn the ignition to ACC and let it sit for 10-15 mins, then turn car off, take key out, put key back in and then, sometimes, it will start. Other times, I have to repeat this process until it starts. What is the deal?? I've been late to work, I've had car towed to my house and had to pay tow bill, and wait until my cousin, (who happens to be a mechanic), could come look at it. He is the one who told me what the problem was and how to temporarily "fix it". He said in order to completely fix it, I would have to take it to a dealer and pay $$$ to have it fixed. I think this is a bunch of BS!! Other than this problem, I've had no issues with my car. I love it, actually. I just hate how all the sudden it's doing this stupid security thing. Grrrr....

- akerns, Canton, OH, US

problem #41

Mar 162011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

I spent so much money on this car after time and time again it wouldnt start. After replacing fuel pump, fuel filter, fuel line, rewiring fuse box, new EGR valve, new plugs and wires, the problem still continued, after seeing this site and reading number #15, i'm proud to say the problem cease to exist!! Cut the thin yellow wire behind the ignition to the security system and this should sovlve your problems!!.

- s.johnson, Cleveland, OH, US

problem #40

Jun 122011

Alero 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles


Ok So this car sucks. We were in a situation where we had to buy what we could afford. The car was doing fine when we purchased it in 10/10. We had to some small stuff like brakes, alternator, tires but when the won't start/stalls when driving issue started....We took it to our local mechanic whom tried for 3 days to figure it out. He gave up. We took it to a GM mechanic whom said it would cost more to repair than the car is worth. Some days it would start right up then die when running. Other times it would not start at all. After my husband had to walk 10 miles home from work after a grueling day of physical labor on his job, we knew we were screwed. After speaking to the mechanic our dealership recommended, we were told to google pass lock system. Ironically, it brought us back to this site, which I was floored to see the same problem over 80 times, and it brought us to number 15. Well, we figured we had nothing to lose as we will not pay 85.00 per hour for the mechanic to tell us it cannot be fixed. We did what #15 said and so far so good. GM has to accept responsibility for this car, but we need more voices.

- Ben And Bonnie H., Gulfport, FL, US

problem #39

Dec 102010

Alero ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,210 miles

The more people that complain at 1-800-442-6537 - Oldsmobile Complaint Department maybe we will get a recall. Relearn Security System.

I bought the car new in 2001 and have had to have it fixed for this problem 5 times.

- jtee, Cleveland, OH, US

problem #38

Nov 282010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

I ran errands for an hour and stopped to get movies, came back out to go to work and the car wouldn't run. Waited just over an hour for AAA tow truck, towed 25 miles to the shop who worked on it the next day. I had to catch a ride to work and back to the shop to get my car to find out it was practically $400 to fix the stupid thing. Too bad I couldn't just tell them - don't fix it, I don't need the extra security measure to be sure it wont be stolen! Instead of someone else ripping the car off, I had to pay to be able to drive my own car -- how stupid is that?

- Brenda G., Princess Anne, MD, US

problem #37

Apr 162010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I brought my car back in February 2010. The loved the car until now.. I have been told the I need a ignition to stop the problem. For the last two month car had been doing great. But, now in the last week or so. It has been having to be re-started for 3 to 4 times a day. On Monday, I will be calling Demaag to see if their is something that they car do. Because, I'm not going to pay $300 for a repair that's not going to fix my problem. That's a waste of money. Hopefully there's someone out their that has been told the samething and has some other ideas for me.

- alero ls v6 2001, Battle Creek, MI, US

problem #36

Jan 102005

Alero 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


when i shut off the car, who knows if it will start again or i have to let it sit for 10 minutes then start. they are times i have to do this in lines of traffic, or when its a unsafe place. and i have to be in a hurry,. why dont they have a recall on this problem, i know about 5 people who have aleros and they have the same dang problem, i pray that someone dont get on the road and get hit from this problem, is there another way to handle this problem without spendin alot of money i dont have,

- Cella P., Pigen, KY, US

problem #35

Mar 302010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

'01 Alero wouldn't restart at gas station, while on my lunch break from work. Jumping it didn't help. Battery ok, just not turning over. Several "knowledgeable" men offered help, and all ended up saying it was the fuel pump. Had to get towed to a mechanic, who couldn't look at it until the next day, leaving me w/ out a car, potentially, for several days. Back at work, just before quitting time, I "googled" the problem and found this web site & the many similar unresolved problems. One solution seemed too easy, but I called my daughter who made it to the mechanic just before closing. She tried it and it worked!! The car started right up. We are both still in shock. The mechanic is out about $500 he would've made on the fuel pump job. I still can't believe it. It was the Security lock - the car thought it was being stolen. The fix is simple. Turn key to "on" only. Dash lights come on. Wait 10 mins. Lights will go off. Turn key off. Start car. Amazing!!!!

- Connie N., Youngstown, OH, US

problem #34

Feb 202010

Alero LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

There should be a recall. One day someone is going to get stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time.

- jenniferscheller, Lancaster, PA, US

problem #33

Sep 012009

Alero LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

I am paying a car note for a car that has electrical problems that wont stop and im fed up to the sky with this issue that has been going on for months and months. it has the security issue that everyone has reported on here.

- paigeks, Wichita, KS, US

problem #32

Oct 012009

Alero 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Replaced over $200 in parts and still having the same problem. Decided to visit to see if anyone else knew the solution only to find the problem more massive than first believed....Thanks for the place to add our similar beefs. Will take suggestions from the list and see if that helps to solve the problem....

- Aj H., Fort Worth, TX, US

problem #31

Sep 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

My son has an Alero, he is really tired of waiting ten minutes to start his car. It seems to happen more in cold damp weather? He had no problems over the summer...anyone else notice this? I do not want to invest $800 in his car, can't you just turn off the security system? I need a cheaper solution or he's just going to wait. For safety issues I'd rather not make him do that though.

- cherylf, Ottawa Lake, MI, US

problem #30

Sep 012009

Alero 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

THIS FIX WORKS PERFECTLY!!!!!!! I haven't had an incident in over 3 weeks now on my 2001 Alero. This is the same car that the Passlock Security System would prevent me from starting my car up to 3 times a day. The time I am saving just by not having to wait for the system to reset has been fantastic.

I didn't install anything at all. This was a 10 minute fix for me, and I really don't know much about auto repair. In fact, this was the first time I have taken apart anything in a car at all. The most I have done is replacing spark plugs and changing oil.

I got full color pictures from By clicking on the "Vehicle Wiring Diagrams" link and selecting the year of my Alero in the "Oldsmobile" drop-down link list, I was able to print pictures to ensure I was going to cut the right wire (see instructions below).

Here are some instructions that I followed for the easy and no-cost fix:

Pry up the plastic molding from around the Radio/HeaterAC controller and from around the Gear Shifter.

Detach the HeaterAC module from the molding by removing the four 7-mm hex bolts from the back side. Take out the 3 7-mm hex bolts to loosen the Radio.

Put key in ignition & turn to "On" position, apply brake, and shift into "drive" or lower gear.

Turn HeaterAC module to the left, sideways orientation, and pull out the Radio. Disconnect main wiring harness from back center of Radio if there is not enough slack to take the Radio out past the plastic molding. Leave the antenna connected.

Look inside and to the left at the back of the Ignition Cylinder assembly. Locate the THIN YELLOW WIRE which is bundled alongside the thin white and the thin black wire. You may have to stick you hand in and fish a bit to grab this "Thin wire Trio".

DO NOT mess with the main rear/downward ignition wiring harnesses (1 of which contains a Thick Yellow Wire - leave it alone).

Isolate the THIN YELLOW WIRE from the 2 others. As a precaution, RECONNECT the MAIN RADIO WIRE HARNESS, and let the Radio hang to the right side.

Put the key in the ignition, and put the car back in PARK. START THE CAR. CUT THE THIN YELLOW WIRE with the car running. Tape both ends of the cut wire. Place black electrical tape over the "Security" light (less annoying).

Turn off the car engine. Disconnect the Radio main wire harness to Re-Install the Radio, if necessary. You may need to crawl under the passenger-side dash to push the main wire harness back into the radio while holding the Radio from the front.

The rest of the installation is the reverse of removal. YOUR LIFE JUST GOT A LOT BETTER if you want to keep driving this car !!

- Chaston G., Pleasant Grove, UT, US

problem #29

Aug 312009

Alero GLS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,179 miles

The car has done this several times even once while i was on the interstate and shut the car off...Ive replaced everything on the car even worked for the mechanic to barter some of the all ive invested 1500 into just that on the car..and now its doing it again and they are saying another 600...hell i only paid 4000 for the car its getting to where it isnt worth it...No wonder Oldsmobile went out of business. Between that and the other electrical problems and axle problems my bills total almost 4500 on the time i buy new and probably not a gm

- Sean B., Jacksonville, FL, US

problem #28

May 162009

Alero HD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,300 miles

This was a joke I was left in a parking lot waiting for the tow truck, I replaced fuel pump, fuel filter, spark plugs, coils, you name I changed it. Then I found this web site and tried the 10 min trick and it started right up. Oldsmobile you can get bent!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Natheon J., Nyssa, OR, US

problem #27

Jul 102007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Well, the first time this problem occurred was in 07, but sense then I have had to do other work on the car because I was having problems starting it and it was cutting off on me. The last thing I got done was buying fuel pump...costing my parents almost $700...a big hardship, especially sense I am a full time college student. And even after we got this fixed, THE CAR STILL ACTED UP!!!...So, I'm REALLY UPSET!!!!

- letti4230, Selma, AL, US

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