Engine Turns Over But Won't Start

2002 Oldsmobile Alero (Page 1 of 2)

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

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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
109,050 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 1 of 2)

problem #38

Dec 172015

Alero GL V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles


Car was running fine, just had a maintenance update. In the middle of the city, put the car into reverse and it completely died in the middle of the road. Car would not start, battery not an issue. Had car towed to local mechanic, timing chain was busted. $4000 parts & labor to repair. GM crap strikes again. Car had so much potential.

- ainfantino16, Spencerport, NY, US

problem #37

Nov 212014

Alero 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

click to see larger images

engine turns over but won't start engine turns over but won't start

We have a 2002 Olds Alero that suddenly refused to start when cold. I'm a Licensed Diesel Mechanic and had one hell of a time trying to fix this car. There were no fault codes and I had spark and the fuel pump was pressuring up however the injectors were not releasing fuel. I replaced the ignition switch as it was acting a little funny. That didn't work, $300.00 gone. I pulled the ECM and took it to the local Autoparts store they checked it and reflashed it. $78. I hooked the battery back up and the car started ! I took it for a test drive it ran great I parked it and tried starting it before I went to bed it fired up and ran right away.

The next morning there was frost on the windows, a little chilly overnight. I stuck the key in the ignition, crank, crank, crank, the car refused to start, the fuel pump was pressuring up and I had spark yet the injectors would not release fuel. I fed a little propane out of a handheld torch into the intake and cranked it over and the car started on propane. Once it started on propane the car would then run. I turned it off and started it again and it started fine. I left it for a few more hours and it refused to start again. I discovered that fuse number 37 a 10 amp fuse was blown, it is for the AC/ BFC which is air conditioning and body control module. For some reason with this fuse blown the car will not start when it's cold but will start fine when it's warm. I replaced the fuse and the car started immediately.

This lasted for two days until the fuse blew again and the car wouldn't start. I immediately replaced the fuse and the car started instantly so I decided to improve it a little. I bought a 10 amp automatic breaker Cole Hearse part #30409-10-BX, now this breaker will reset itself over and over again. It's designed to plug into a regular fuse spot, not a mini fuse, so I took a pair of side cutters and used a black felt marker with a micro fuse to mark it and trimmed the spade terminals to fit the mini fuse slot. Now the car starts fine and if anything trips the breaker it resets itself instead of blowing another fuse. GM probably shouldn't have put two circuits on one fuse. But what can I say ? They are not the brightest sparks on the block. I hope this helps some other Oldsmobile Alero or Grand Am owners out there as I wasted three days sorting this out.

- Nick R., Nanaimo, BC, canada

problem #36

Jun 272012

Alero 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,986 miles

gm had better idea with this vats system NOT...... and they should own up to it. it really is a pain in the ASS......... I HAVE been a gm guy for 30 years now.but this sh*t is getting old fast...

- cutlass 85, Bellevue, NE, US

problem #35

Jan 042002


  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles


Had the issue everyone has with this car. You go outside and need to get somewhere, hop in your car, and it wont start. It just cranks. And cranks some more. Sometimes the security flashes, sometimes it doesn't. This was getting really frustrating seeing as how I have this car to 4 different mechanics, had a computer replaced, different wiring and stuff replaced, and had multiple suggestions on what it was.

For me, the issue was/is fairly simple. Underneath your car, located a few inches to the right of your right wheel is a set of wires and plugs. My friends dad who is a mechanic found them, gave them a jiggle, pressed them in real good, and bam the car starts. It drives really well for a week and then it doesn't start when I'm leaving the gas station. He comes back down, wiggles the wires, and then bam, it starts again. Maybe this is your issue, maybe its not. But its definitely worth looking into, and hopefully it saves you a lot of money!! :)

- corbyn, Cochranton, PA, US

problem #34

Feb 162013

Alero V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

The car did the same thing a couple years ago. It just wouldn't start. I put it in the shop and the mechanic said he had to replace the ignition because my key ring was too heavy.

This time around, the car dies, but can be started with a battery charger. It runs awhile, then won't start. This morning, I started it twice and both times, when I took the charger off, it died. My son did the same thing, revved the engine up for a few minutes, then, we took the charger off and it didn't die. It is sporadic and will start sometimes and sometimes it won't.

- judylw55, Springfield, OR, US

problem #33

Jan 012013

Alero GL 4cl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

my car waz working fine, one morning i waz trying to go to work and the alero didnt want to start. so i missed work and i had a friend come over to look at the car. he said it waz the fuel pump, so i changed it, and it work for a good while, till today i went out to start it take my baby to the doctor and the junk didn't wanna start. so i guess its the fuel pump again. but no i let it sit for bout two weeks doing research when i can cuz i work long hours. so i go to try it and it starts like if it never had a problem, wtf, and also like other ppl my blinkers only work when they want to....

- Sam M., Dalton, GA, US

problem #32

Mar 262012

Alero 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 185,000 miles


Thanks everyone for the tips! We started to drop the fuel tank-not fun-but then read about the relay. We took the horn relay and plugged it into the fuel relay spot and it started!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah! We had bought the pump-233$ and were starting to remove the tank, we couldn't get the gas to siphon or the tank to release so we googled for helpful tips. Thanks again!! I also had the drivers window drop in the door and the hazards clicking. I just bought the car 1 year ago and thanks to you all will be ready for more problems.

Update from Apr 16, 2012: UPDATE- not so lucky with the relay- it was the fuel pump and we did drop the tank out, then siphoned it down because it has a safety flap so it cannot be siphoned the usual way. He used a motorcycle lift jack to support the tank while he unhooked it. It went in pretty smooth but it cost 233$ in the end and a day of farting around. So far....no problems. That seems to have solved it. Also my car has 90K on it not 190K.

- aspielman, Eau Claire, WI, US

problem #31

Feb 222012

Alero GL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,000 miles

Just wanted to add on that another 2002 Alero has problems. Just quit on me while I was driving down the highway Christmas Day....cost $600 for repair (including towing) .

Had the fuel pump replaced. They it wouldn't start two days ago....they determined it was the THEFT DETERRANT SYSTEM. Now I'm wondering if the fuel pump really needed to be replaced. Sounds like the ALERO is a big LEMMON. I just won't buy another GM vehicle...ever.

- jerrye1110, Waterloo, IL, US

problem #30

Jul 152011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 176,000 miles

My mechanic changed out the passlock security switch and the ignition, then took it for a test drive. When he got it back to the shop and shut it off, the car would not restart, so he put it on the diagnostics and found a problem with the cam sensor. I immediately browsed this site to see if anyone else had a problem with that, and one person said he found 3 worn wires coming from that sensor, laying up against the intake manifold. I instructed my mechanic to find those wires, make sure they are not worn, and to wrap them in electrical wire and replace the looming. Keeping my fingers crossed that it works as well as the other guy's. :)

- Robin H., Glen Carbon, IL, US

problem #29

Aug 082011

Alero 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,915 miles

Girlfriend's parents gave HER a 2004 Intrepid in mint condition but her mom decided it "had blind spots" and therefore gave her this piece of monkey sh*t. I don't know many people who'd f*ck their daughter like that because this Alero is garbage. Her mom already had the transmission replaced in it so that would have been issue 1. When my girlfriend got the car it had the following problems. 1 - NONE of the passenger window switches worked, only the driver can operate the windows. 2 - The rear-left window is bolted shut because it kept falling. 3 - The protective plastic under the front bumper was completely removed because it came loose. 4 - The AC is broken. 5 - The hazard light switch sunk into the hole, so you can't press it. 5 - The brakes BLOW and almost got us killed when someone pulled out in front of me, I would have t-boned the asshole if i didn't drift around him with the brakes locked up. 6 - The interior light dome falls out. 7 - The car is covered in scratches. 8 - The Low Tire Pressure Light is on 99% of the time, even after pumping tires up. 9 - The change oil light is on even right after an oil change. 10 - When it rains, almost every warning light comes on. 11 - The speakers were blown so we bought new Alpines, and tried installing my old Pioneer deck. The guy at Best Buy then told us it would cost $140 dollars, just for a wire harness, which are usually 18 bucks. Why so much? Because this piece of crap apparently runs everything off of the stereo wires. And last but definitely not least... 12 - she started her car and it shut off automatically. I figured the battery was dying and gave it gas when it started. Nothing. I'm not sure yet if it's an electrical problem or maybe fuel pump, but I cannot stand this car.

I know we shouldn't complain about a free car, but the car that should have been hers if being driven in mint condition while we put up with a piece of sh*t that should be scrapped.

- alero-hater, Windsor, ON, canada

problem #28

Nov 082010

Alero V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles


I have constantly had problems with this passlock system. The car keeps turning over but won't crank. I will get it crunk and then it will quit on me while I am driving down the road. I am irritated by this. I changed the ignition switch once. That lasted for about a year. Suddenly, the problem occurs again. Do anyone know of any solutions or what could possibly be the problem and how can i fix this.

- Fred A., Drew, MS, US

problem #27

Sep 302009

Alero 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 217,770 miles

my alero wont start from time to time. called caa 5 times this year. they did the anti lock thing. worked a few times. then it did it again. wont do the turn the key wait ten min. so i hit the gas tank. guess what it fired right up. its been running okay since. this is twice the bottom of the gas tank was hit. and it started. caa did it the first time.but i cant leave it on half a tank. or i know its not starting. thanks

- Rose H., Guelph, Ontairo, Canada

problem #26

Oct 302009

Alero GL 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,915 miles

Basically my car just wouldn't start one morning. It would turn over, but it wouldn't fire. After trying everything I could think of to get it working again I put it in the shop. Turns out the timing chain in the engine had snapped, and it would be cheaper to buy a new engine than to try and fix it. The engine cost me $900 and labor was another $1000. The reason this happened was the high mileage on the engine. Over time the chains just wear out.

- rb hilton, Melfort, SK, Canada

problem #25

Mar 122010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,000 miles

I got my car in June 2007, and thought I made a good decision. Now I wish I had done my research. I've had a few electrical problems since I got the car but I thought it was due to the fact that there was the manufacturer's alarm as well as the dealership put a lowjack alarm on it as well. Since I've had the lowjack taken off I've had problems with starting the car. It's been in two different shops over the past 5 weeks. No one can figure out the problem. It will start for a few days and then it wont start for a few days. I've had everything replaced on it that you can think of and still nothing helps. The car is more problems than its worth.

- Diontra J., Birmingham, AL, US

problem #24

Dec 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,343 miles

Have replaced the ignition cylinder and passlock system four times in the last 8 years. Three of the times have been literally the last three years. The part is covered only for a year. Recently I was over by one month and GM would not assist or offer any type of compensation.

- Milissa A., Windsor, Ontario, Canada

problem #23

Mar 082010

Alero GX 2.2L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,600 miles

I just bought the vehicle from Village Auto Sales Saskatoon, which seems to be a waste of my time seeing as I have had it for 3 days and it already will not start. I think it maybe the fuel pump, but not sure. It turns over but just doesn't fire up.

- ckret306, Saskatoon, Sask, Canada

problem #22

Mar 172010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 168,880 miles

Ok, so I got this piece of crap in Aug. of 2003, the very 1st time the car didnt start was 3 months later (in Nov 03) since then, I've had the ignition replaced at least 3 times, each time was around $500. But for the first year I had the car, nobody could figure out why the car wouldnt start. I remember a couple of times when the car wouldnt start, as soon as the tow truck picked it up and the car got to the shop...the bitch started. I have wasted so much money just on towing. I'm sure glad I found out about AAA. Anyways, the same routine always happend...one day while driving, the security light would come on and stay on until I cut the car off, then maybe a couple of weeks or month and a half later...the car wont start!

I had no idea that this was an issue with so many other Aleros. So the same thing happend earlier 2nite...I had been out n about all day, I come home for 30 mins, go to leave and u guessed it...NO GO! So I called AAA, they towed it to the shop. I came home later, found this website (which is a BLESSING!!) and read the stories about the 10 minute rule...so I get up, go down to the shop (at 12:45 AM)....put my key in the ignition, turned the switch, let the security light blink for 10 mins...then it stopped blinking and just stayed on...so i put my seatbelt on and tried to start it...EUREEKA!!! It worked...I guess this will save me another $500 for a new ignition. Thanx carcomplaints.com and everyone who put their story in...it was VERY helpful.

- Lina R., Newport News, VA, US

problem #21

Mar 082010

Alero GX 2.2L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,586 miles

It could be the security system needing to be reset. Turn your key To the ON position do not start, and if the security light on the dash is flashing leave the key in ON position for ten minutes, or until it stops flashing and stays solid. Turn key to off for twenty seconds, than put in neutral and it should start. worked for me :)

- ckret306, Saskatoon, Sask, Canada

problem #20

Jun 012008

Alero 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

My olds alero won't start unless I prime it first then it runs fine for the day or 2 to 3 hours, the next day I have to do the same, the security light is not on it just won’t start.

GM dealer said it was the fuel pump so I got it replaced, but the same thing, I can hear the fuel pump run when I turn over the key and I can hear it stopping once the fuel is pumped up, but it just won’t start.

- John S., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

problem #19

Feb 192009

Alero 2.2L Ecotec 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

i bought a used 2002 Oldsmobile Alero from a car lot for 7000 drove fine for a month then it stalled so had it towed in to shop they said it is the fuel pump so they replaced it under warranty but had to pay for labor 500.00worked fine for a bout 3 months then stalled again tow home thought i would fix it myself so i changed fuel tank , fuel pump 3 times , coil pack and ignation module 2 times, mappin sensor, cruise control sensor, fuel pressure valve, spark plugs, battery, throttle sensor, computar plus fuses and relays, on yeah o2 sensor , manifold and gasket , and what is pissing me of is that it still wont start , there is no gas gettting through the fuel injectors, and there is no spark coming from the coil pack go figure these car are so touchy one thing breaks down you have to ten others before it starts i was told that the anti theft system shuts it down a lot thinkin that it is getting stolen so my next step is to shut off the anti theft system i know it is in the radio but first i have to get the car running be fore i could shut it off permanently ...... we should all get together and start a law suit

- barryl, Regina, Sask, Canada

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