Engine Turns Over But Won't Start

2002 Oldsmobile Alero (Page 2 of 2)

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

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
109,022 miles
Total Complaints:
38 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (23 reports)
  2. ignition lock cylinder and passlock sensor replaced (3 reports)
  3. turn the key to "on" and wait 10 minutes (3 reports)
  4. ignition switch replaced (2 reports)
  5. detach all other keys from car key (1 reports)
  6. diagnostic test found electrical ignition switch was out (1 reports)
2002 Oldsmobile Alero engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Oldsmobile Alero Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

Mar 132009

Alero LS 2.2L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles


I drove it to work one friday morning like usual, then I went out to leave for lunch and it wouldn't start. Same frickin' story that everyone else has, turns over but won't catch. I was told that it could be a fuel pump OR a fuel filter, start with the cheaper of the two to see how it works out. Replaced the filter, old one was very dirty and clogged. After a jump start, the car seemed to stabilize. I was able to drive it around a few times but I wasn't confident enough to try driving to work and back. Everyday I would start it up after work. Fired up without hesitation every damn time, so I finally tried driving it to work the following monday. I noticed it had some trouble getting started but still fired up every time. I'm here now trying to replace the fuel pump and stupidly I got excited and filled up the tank when I had it running last weekend. I don't know if it's the pump or what the goddamn deal is, but I don't know where else to go. I'm just pissed beyond belief and kinda hoping someone will have some useful insights. I must say though, I'm horribly disheartened to get online and see how many terrible things people have to say about the Alero. I've never had a problem with it before now, but it certainly did just kinda come out of nowhere.

- , Gardnerville, NV, USA

problem #17

Mar 212009

Alero 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,206 miles

Yet again, car won't start!!!! Already did the passlock hack. (not the problem) What I did notice is when I was sitting in the car....Security light not flashing. My brake warning lights came on....and also I did not hear the fuel pump when I turned the key to the on position. Crank's but no start. Sat in the car for about 4 min's and then to my surprise....I heard the fuel pump humming away and yep....THE CAR STARTED!! I have had starting issues for a while now...and the car stalls at low speeds (So Far only) and to my surprise none of the starting issues are the passlock. I swapped the horn relay for the fuel pump relay with no change! So it's not the relay's?? I know it's not the Fuel pump...got the 55psi there when pump turn's on...something not turning the pump on when the key is turned to the on position. IF anyone has any info...that hasn't been posted yet, please feel free...if I get this figured out...I'll post fix???

Also buying a Toyota soon as I get this thing sold or written off!!!!!

Update from Nov 16, 2009: OK I figured this out but only after my car was going 120kph on the 401 and then suddenly shut off!! When this happened I had 4 passengers in the car, a transport truck in the middle lane (me in the fast lane beside it) with a trail of cars behind me.....WHAT DO I DO NOW!!! Anyway turns out it was the ignition switch. There are electrical plugs in this switch that when they go faulty causes power failure to the ECU thus shutting down the Car at ANY speed. Soon as I got control and pulled over.....it started up and away I went. My Ignition switch when I took it out looked great no apparent signs of wear but when I put a meter to it while it was plugged in....... sure enough it broke contact when I shook it resembling a bump in the road or regular driving. So the real question is what now? What can be done with these potential lethal cars. IMO any one that drives one of these cars, be careful and get rid of it ASAP!!! Since the new Ignition switch I've had no issues but scared to death when we drive it.
Just on a side note: Ive also had the security issues - wired a passlock switch Rear defogger module melted - re- soldiered broken traces Drivers side window falling in the door twice - used epoxy on window clips Moon roof micro switches broke causing moon roof to malfunction -Dissconnected The fan resistor card melted (controls the fan speeds) - replaced Of course the wheel bearing and/or sensors (2 times driver side, 3 times passenger side) - replaced Sh*tty rims that don't seal the air in the tires. - bought steel rims and no more leak with the same tires...go figure I've done all the work on this POS my self...........just thinking of the amount of money I would have to give to the steelership would make me go postal. The wheel bearings are under warrany for a year so to my luck I've only had to pay for the part once.....since they came out with the lower torque setting bearing Its lasted so far!! I'm not an auto mechanic but hate giving money away so I learned to fix these things my self and wish the best of LUCK to all owners of this potential lethal car.

- , Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

problem #16

Feb 282009

Alero 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,992 miles

Car wont start!! POS selling asap!!!! Turns over but will not start. After reading the forms will try and add toggle switch to disable security system.

- , Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

problem #15

Dec 022008

Alero GL 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles


this problem has really been a pain in the ass with the security light coming on and have to wait for the car to start up. this is been happening sp much lately i keepy car running when i pump gas and also when i pick my niece up from school. my car is used snd it should not have to cost more than what it is worth i proble find another car very soon. cause by reading all these complaints about the security system i really don't want my car anymore. and also i think gm dealerships should be responsible to replace this as a recall.

- , Moore, SC, USA

problem #14

Dec 152008

Alero 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,524 miles

I bought a 2002 Alero thinking it was a good car then the problems started.. Car would not start the security system came on .. I took it the the dealer and $700 later and a couple of weeks it came on again. I had it towed back to the dealer they changed the same thing again and could not tell me why it was doing it.. Then the ABS, trck control came on I took it to the shop and after $430 and a wheel hub assembly the light went off but not for long, 4 weeks later it came on again. I had it taken to the shop they changed the same wheel hub again.. But it gets better its been 2 years now and I have had the same wheel hub assembly changed 6 times last time was 3 months ago and it came on again 3 weeks ago I have put over $500 in the same wheel hub and its out again I give up, I will not put another dime in that wheel hub assembly... And now the car will not start it just turns over I changed the fuel relay and fuse now they tell me the fuel pump is bad that's a $639.00 job... I am so sick of this car... I dont have the money to put in to this thing and GM I will never buy another big 3 car or truck again... I will buy a Honda or toyota and the big 3 wonder why they are going under I have work at one of the big 3 and see what goes on and I am telling you I will never buy another big 3 car or truck..

- , Romulus, MI, USA

problem #13

Mar 022007

Alero V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

In addition to the turn signals going out, knobs falling off, the intake manifold gasket having to be replaced and the regulators in the car doors for the windows failing, the worst problem has been having the car not start and having it towed repeatedly. Dealerships couldn't figure out what was wrong. The last one charged me over $100 for a diagnostic fee and couldn't find anything wrong. They wanted to replace the ignition switch and cylinder and see if that would work. They also had an attorney respond to my complaint when I requested my money back since couldn't even tell me what was wrong with the car. The amazing thing is if you look in the owner's manual that comes with the car, it tells you how to get the car started. It's listed under Passlock. Not only is this a know problem with the car, they even included it in the manual and continue to sell cars with this system which is very dangerous. I am amazed that GM and their dealerships tell people they don't know what's wrong and sell consumers all sorts of repairs knowing they won't work and are also unnecessary.

- , New Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #12

Jun 132008

Alero GLS 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles


OK, so I have to get my car towed again!! Twice in one week! It won't start. Cranks over but not firing up. Mechanic says its the ignition cylinder. I have been researching this over the internet and I am floored to see all the problems that this car has. I loved this car. No big problems with it at all until now. Now here's my question. Everyone says that it is a security problem. But my security light doesn't blink like others have said on here so I can't reset it. So now I am waiting again...... If anyone has any suggestions or if anyone has had this problem, please let me know so I don't spend hundreds of dollars on this ignition cylinder and it not even be the solution. Thanks.

- , River Falls, WI, USA

problem #11

Jun 082008

Alero 3400

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,332 miles

My daughter, bought a 2002, Alero last July, Now she goes to Collage about 120 km's away. She had complained to us that from time to time it won't start. So it finally died last week. I rented a U haul an d towed it home. We tested the fuel pressure @ 55. and it had lots of fire but wouldn't start. So lucky for me I found your web site, did some reading and found the prob. It was the passlock system was error. I did the 10 wait thing and it started right up!! Thank's so much for the info. It does work!!!

- , White Rapids, NB, Canada

problem #10

May 222008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,351 miles

My car will not start in warm weather. At first, it the security light did come on and I did the 10 min rule and that worked for awhile. Soon the car just would not start. Had to drive out of town to dealership in order to diagnose the security system. They replaced the ignition switch. A couple days later the car would start but stall right away or would stall while i was driving which was quite scary with a baby in the back seat. Took it to a local mechanic shop which called the dealership i took it took the 1st time. This time they replaced the fuel pump. Not even a day after i got my car back, the car wouldn't start. But only when it was in the sun for a couple hours. Started no problem in the mornings when it was cool. Took it back to the shop and this time they are replacing the fuel relay. They said to try it out for the next couple days to see what happens. They can't explain why the car won't start in warm weather. This is just getting ridiculous.

- , North, MB, Canada

problem #9

Mar 312008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

I have had problems for over a year with starting my 2002 Alero & have had it towed numerous times, only to be told later that it started fine for the mechanic.

I searched on-line and saw that this was a common problem & noted nearly 20 different solutions proposed. Yet, none of them appeared to be successful, and--like many other owners--I was ready to sell the car.

Well, I have finally solved the mystery & you will be amazed at how simple (and inexpensive!) the solution turns out to be.

Simply detach your car key from all other keys. That's it! For some reason, having additional keys attached somehow interferes with ignition.

This also explains why the damn car would always start for the mechanics--I only left them the single key! (I'd begun to think that the towing process somehow fixed the problem...)

So, give it a try! I sincerely hope that this trick works for all you frustrated Alero owners out there--


- , Cambridge, MA, USA

problem #8

May 072007

(reported on)

Alero GLS 3.6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,450 miles


My 2002 Olds Alero GLS would not start at all. I checked the battery, cables and starter- all were found to be just fine. Finally, I had the thing towed to a local dealer who charged me for a tow, a new battery, new battery cables, and a "cleaning" of the battery compartment- all of which were not covered under warranty. I knew all this was BS since I checked and tested all these items myself prior to having it towed. I got into a very heated argument with the service manager who finally said to my face "I can't deal with this sh*t, will you please just get the hell out of here." I ended up only paying for the battery. Anyway, several months later the same thing happened. Again, nothing was wrong with the battery, starter, etc. This time I consulted a local mechanic who told me to turn the key to "on" for 15 minutes and then try to start it. This time it started right up first try. As it turns out, GM put a program into the car's computer disguised as a security system. This security system's only purpose is to lock up the ignition system every so many thousands of miles so that the customer will have to get the car towed to a dealer who will then simply sit in the car for 15 minutes to unlock the system and then charge the customer for a variety of unnecessary items. When I found out about this "security" system that locks up the car, I was completely floored. How can General Motors do such a deplorable thing to their customers; I have spent thousands of my hard earned dollars on many GM products over the years and I just can't believe that all the engineers and the dealers at GM can go along with this conspiracy. I have had doubts in the past regarding the honesty of GM but never though much about it. Needless to say, my dealings with GM are now history. We have purchased a new Toyota Corolla and are in the process of selling the Alero. I really don't know how I can honestly sell this car to someone for a decent price knowing that this same thing will happen to them. It really baffles me that the big three automakers cannot figure out why their sales are steadily slipping while Japanese import cars are taking over the market. Do they think we are too stupid to figure out their scams?

- , Oxford, MS, USA

problem #7

Feb 072008

Alero GLS 3400

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,490 miles

i was getting tires put on the Alero today and then went to leave and the car wouldn't start , i opened the hood and got to looking around , this isn't the first time this happened i seen that the wires coming from under the power steering pump that ran to the cam sensor were laying against the corner of the intake manifold all three wires were worn through and shorting out on the intake manifold so i started the car right up after moving those wires wrapped each one in electrical tape then put brand new looming on them which cost me 2 bucks by the way my Alero has the 3400 v6. i had been having this problem for a while and couldn't figure it out i did end up in the past putting a crank senor on it to try to fix it and it didn't work , i was always afraid to turn it off for fear it wouldn't start , but when it was running it had a bit of hesitation in it and couldn't figure it out , but now it runs like a champ, starts every time just thought i would get rid of some grief about it and possibly help some others with their problems hope this helped

- , Richmond, IN, USA

problem #6

Feb 232006

Alero Ecotec 2.2L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,493 miles

Vehicle wouldn�t start and stranded on the side of the road. Had to call roadside assistance and have car towed to the dealer.

- , Kennesaw, GA, US

problem #5

Sep 232007

(reported on)

Alero 2.2L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Please know that my car was having the same problem and left me stranded more than 20 times and would shut off well I was driving it. Most of the time it wouldn't start. It turns out the electrical ignition switch was defective, and it is quite common with these cars. Email me if you have any questions.


In the subject line write Regarding Oldsmobile Alero.

- , Woodland, CA, USA

problem #4

Sep 262007

(reported on)

Alero GL 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Another owner of an Alero and spending good money for something

GM should have recalled and fixed. Now out $546. Now going to sell the car before anything more happens to it based on all the other complaints here. Most likely will look for a foreign car

after I sell this piece of cxxp. Pretty sad when USA company's won't stand behind what they sell.

- , New Cumberland, PA, USA

problem #3

Aug 222007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I had bought the Alero thinking that it would be a good car. WRONG! It started whenever we had an ice storm and it was really cold, the car would not start so we thought the fuel lines froze, we poured a bottle of HEET and it did not work, we looked in the owner's manual and it mentioned the theft security device and light. My husband called and mechanic friend and he said to turn the key on and leave it on for 10 minuted and then turn it off and then try to start the car. It started. A couple of months later it happened again and I had to have it towed. We could not find anyone that would work on it except for the dealership. They had it two days and said that it was the fuel pump. A couple of days and $750.00 later it did it again. For some reason not long after that the security light just started staying on and knock on wood have not had a problem since. So I guess it went out. We started thinking and not too long before the first time that it happened we had went to have a key made and we tried three and none of them would work, we don't know if that is what triggered it or not.

- , Checotah, OK, USA

problem #2

Mar 282007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

I am also going through problems with my car turning but not starting. I had the security system reset. That lasted for almost a year but has started again recently. Please make sure that as a owner you call the GM service line at 1-866-790-5600 to report the problem.

My car is in the shop right now. The dealer tried to tell me that there is a bulletin on intermittent battery problem. I told them to recharge the battery and test the systems.

Please make sure to call GM and ask that the car is recalled. This is crazy, I have not heard of a permanent solution yet.

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #1

Feb 282007

(reported on)


  • Manual transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I sympathize with the rest of you. I have had problems with my Alero since I purchased it. I am so glad I found this website because before I thought I was the only one. Anyways my latest problem has been that my car turns over but won't start. Sound familiar. It usually takes about three times before it will start. I just had the fuel pump replaced 3 months ago, after it would not start and I had to get it towed. I like many of you am afraid to fork out another $500 dollars just to have the problem repeat itself. I think its probably best to just buy another car. I feel it is our obligation to let anyone we know, NOT TO EVER BUY AN OLDSMOBILE OR ANY OTHER GM CAR. Good luck to all of you. And thank you all for your advise and comments.

- , Moreno Valley, CA, USA

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