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

2003 Oldsmobile Alero (Page 2 of 2) Seal Of This Might Hurt


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
78,750 miles
Total Complaints:
36 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. turn key to ON for 10 minutes, OFF for 5 seconds, car starts (18 reports)
  2. not sure (10 reports)
  3. replace ignition lock cylinder (5 reports)
  4. clean key and ignition switch (1 reports)
  5. fiddle with key in ignition (1 reports)
  6. reset button in fuse box on drivers inside (1 reports)
2003 Oldsmobile Alero electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Oldsmobile Alero Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Jun 272009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


This is the second time this problem has happened. First time, stranded and had the car towed. Mechanic called an hour later saying the car started the first time they tried.

I asked the mechanic to do a diagonistic test ($75) just to see what the heck is going. No problems, no error codes reported. Two weeks later security light came on again while driving, didn't think anything of it. This more got ready to leave and the car would crank but not turn over. Had to borrow the wife's car. Got home, started searching the internet and found this site. (1 sign that there is a God) Tried the fix even though I doubted and it worked. I know it is only temp., but at least it will save me another tow charge ($55). Try it it works.

- Chad F., Evansville, IN, US

problem #15

Apr 232009

Alero V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,565 miles

As said by others here, the car when turn over will not start. The headlights, interior lights, and all other electrical systems seem to work. I received an engine warning light when attempting to turn on. The fix was simple but could of been a costly one if the wrong mechanic would of got a hold of the car. Simply turn the key to the "on" position, then wait 10 min, (or until the "security" symbol light stops flashing) and then turn off, and finally turn the car on. Worked like a charm. try this first before taking it to a mechanic who may make up a different and costly problem.

- daniel042, Florissant, MO, US

problem #14

Mar 202009

Alero GL1 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,800 miles

Strangely, I took the day off work and was going out to look at new cars to buy. Of course, the Alero would be traded in. But that morning it would not start. After checking everything I could check myself, I had it towed to a nearby shop. They diagnosed a PASS-LOCK issue and I needed a new ignition switch. With towing and parts and labor it was about $580.00.

- Tim M., Lester Prairie, MN, US

problem #13

Nov 242008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles


My car had the same problem discussed here: the engine cranked but wouldn't start intermittently.

The conditions when the engine wouldn't start are:

1) the security right turned on when the key was on ACC ON position,

2) I couldn't hear the fuel pump working.

A GM dealer replaced the ignition cylinder. The cost was about $400.

Now it works well.

- Kimihiro F., El Cerrito, CA, US

problem #12

Oct 142008

Alero 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

Yes, my problem is that the security light in my car on without warning when i stopped at the gas station to fill up on gas. When i was done filling the tank of gas got in the car without knowing i turned the key it wouldn't start showing the security light on power locks on door wouldn't or windows my most concern was the car wouldn't start after driving all day and made a final stop before going home. This is frustrating and is costing me over $400.00 dollars to get repaired and still paying for this car.

- ayolanda, San Antonio, TX, US

problem #11

Jul 242008

Alero GLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,612 miles

I originally leased this car 5 years ago and when my lease was up decided to purchase it. It looks like this may have been the biggest mistake I've ever made. In April of this year, my husband and I were away for our anniversary (more than 2 &1/2 hours from home) and the starter went on it. We had to have friends come and pick us up and then 2 days and over $600 later we had to go pick up my car. Now today, I headed over to the States to do some shopping and when I went to start my car to come home, nothing. My husband crossed over to pick me up and we had my car towed to a local garage and then later towed to a GM dealer. As it stands right now, I am without a car, haven't a clue how much it's going to cost me this time and totally pissed off.

I have under 39000 kilometres on it, my husband has over 159,000 km on his Taurus and no problems. I'm thinking that perhaps I should just suck it up and trade it in on a more reliable vehicle.

- Debbie B., Cornwall, ON, Canada

problem #10

Jul 182007

Alero GL 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles


July 2007 I purchased a Used 2003 Oldsmobile Alero with 72,000 miles. I traded my 1996 Mitsubishi Mirage in towards it and got the Alero for $7,000. I was happy with the car for about the first month. No problems. Then I went to get gas one day and after filling up my car wouldn't start. The security light was flashing. I had to push my car into a parking spot and ask the employee if it was alright to leave my car there for a bit while I tried to figure out what to do. My fiance picked me up and I came home and got online. Turns out this is a widespread problem. I read that you are supposed to leave the key in the ignition turned to the acc position for 10 minutes. When the security light stops flashing then you can start the car up. I went back to the gas station and tried it. It worked.

However since that happened, it has continued to not start many different times. Once, I was at a Drive-in movie, and we decided we didn't want to finish watching the 2nd movie that was playing. I go to start my car, and it wouldn't start. I put it to the acc, but because it has automatic lights that you cant turn off when its dark out, my headlights were shining out and ruining the movie for everyone, luckily I had a blanket, and I draped it over the hood to block the lights, but it was pretty embarrassing.

I always have to plan for it not starting. Generally I'll go out and try to start it 10 minutes before I really need to leave, sometimes it starts, so then I just have to let it idle for a bit, or if it doesn't start I leave the key in it and finish getting ready to go. I am worried that if I ever had an emergency or for any reason had to rush somewhere, that I cannot rely on it. I am trying to sell it, but I'm worried that I wont be able to because of the problem. It is a big hassle.

I feel that GM should have performed a recall to correct this problem. I am using the original key.

My previous car a Mitsubishi Mirage, had 172,000 miles on it. That car never once broke down on me. I wish I still had it. My next car will not be a GM product.

- mrthunder83, Parkersburg, WV, US

problem #9

May 102008

Alero V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

My vehicle has recurring electrical problems. Here is a list: service vehicle soon / traction control light comes on at random, blinker noise will sound at random and with random frequency ( this problem reoccurs about every 30,000 miles, imagine an hour long ride with a steady clicking at the rate of 1 to 2 a second, i've delt with it), inability to start, dome light not working, radio going out at random followed by a steady high pitched buzz, radio now works but sometimes will crackle above the lowest volume level (not a speaker issue, does it some days but not others), mirror electrical switch burnt out, pass window motor died (five days after warranty expired).

To fix the problem with starting they have replaced the ignition switches twice so far and it is in the shop now. The quality of this vehicle has shown to be lower then would be expected for a $12000 car. Sadly i am now on the verge of 100,000 miles and my extended warranty ended five days ago so I am unsure what to do from this point. The frequency with which repairs need to be made on the vehicle has become almost laughable in nature. I will never again purchase an Oldsmobile. As for the solution of turning the key in the ignition and leaving it for 10 seconds, it seems a bit asinine. God forbid i go to sell it and have to do that in front of a buyer.

- Shawn B., Egg Harbor Twp, NJ, US

problem #8

Nov 222007

Alero GE 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,173 miles

My car has continually given me problems over and over. The same thing happens. The dealership say that there's nothing wrong after I had it towed for not being able to start. The rain causes the car to have this electrical problem and my car has limited millage. I'm at my wits end and very frustrated. The dealer should pick this up and face the music. They built a really shotty car and they need to eat it. Buy our cars, G.M. We entrusted you to give you what we gave you. Money. I don't want this problem car anymore.

- Ryan M., Kenvil, NJ, US

problem #7

Nov 192007

Alero GE 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,173 miles

My 2003 Alero will not start intermittently and will leave me stranded!! I took it to the dealer to repair it and they said that it was fixed and replaced the ignition switch.. Guess what? That's either not the problem, or they put a faulty part in my car.. The car displayed the same symptoms and again will not start...

- Ryan M., Kenvil, NJ, US

problem #6

Oct 282007

Alero V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,242 miles


I bought the car feeling that I was getting a good and I am finding out that I have a Lemon. I bought the car 10/22/07 and it was in the shop 11/28/07 and the key switch was changed and then it was back in the shop on 12/6/07 and then again 12/8/07 wth the same problem. I get the car back and what should happen, well of course the same problem. I have had enough of this and I plan to take action, because there is a Lemon Law. I have to make a car payment on a car that I can't drive, how is that fair.

- dreadhead, Indianapolis, IN, US

problem #5

Jul 042007

Alero GLS 3400 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,050 miles

Every few months or so since I bought the car, the security light would come on and stay on until I shut off the car. Well...went out to the car on July 4 to head out to some festivities and low and behold the car would not start. Nothing! Just silence! The security light just started flashing rapidly. Called Carmax, had car towed and they replaced the ignition lock cylinder. Haven't had the problem since. What's up with that? Why can I get over 100,000 out of 2 Chrysler cars without a single problem and I can't even make it to 40k in a GM???

- James C., Edgewood, MD, US

problem #4

Sep 272007

(reported on)

Alero 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

Started about 3 years ago. Car won't start, security light flashes. A nice young man told me about turning the car on and waiting while the security light flashes for 10 minites. When the light goes out, turn key to off position and then back on to start. For a while it was not too much of an inconvenience being that it would happen once every 2-3 months. But in the past week, it has happened twice a day, everyday. I definitely need to have it fixed. Can it be fixed?

- Tara T., Gainesville, FL, US

problem #3

Sep 222007

(reported on)

Alero V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

turn key to "on", sit for 10 minutes, turn to off position, turn on and engine starts

- teacher, Dayton, OH, US

problem #2

Sep 222007

(reported on)

Alero V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

car would not turn over, not even a grunt. AAA came and the very nice gentleman showed me what to do to correct the problem: put key in, turn to first click of "on", sit for ten minutes, turn key back to off, then to on, car will start.

- teacher, Dayton, OH, US

problem #1

Jan 212007

(reported on)

Alero 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

car wouldnt start after putting gas in it, engine rotates but wouldn't start, drained gas put in new gas and replaced fuel filter, still did not work. Took it to mechanic he said the O2 sensors, spark plugs and catalytic converter need replaced. Mechanic got it to run for the time being by taking the front O2 sensor out. Had it running for a week with the new spark plugs and O2 sensors. Then replaced the catalytic converter.... kept working for a day in a half till it died in traffic. Security light stayed on alot before this last time it died. Oldsmobile Alero is the worst car anyone could buy. Someone with the time and money should bring this common problem up to Oldsmobile and take action. Does anyone have any advice to fix this problem?

- busboom, Port Hueneme, CA, US

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