Passlock Faulty, Nothing Happens When Turning Key To Start Car

2002 Pontiac Grand Am (Page 2 of 4) Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
85,200 miles
Total Complaints:
63 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (29 reports)
  2. wait 10 minutes with key in ignition on position (6 reports)
  3. leave key forward for 10min (5 reports)
  4. replaced passlock module (5 reports)
  5. replaced ignition lock cylinder (3 reports)
  6. towed to the mechanic, where it started right up (3 reports)
2002 Pontiac Grand Am electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Pontiac Grand Am Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #43

Jul 302010

Grand Am 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


It all started about 2 years ago! The car was cutting off while going down the interstate. We had the fuel injectors cleaned for about $300. Shortly after the car began having electrical issues sometimes the turn signals will not work along with the radio, wind shield wipers, heat/ac. Also the motor that controls the electric window in the driver side died a short time ago. But most recently and the most awful is that the car only starts when it feels like it. There is no codes showing and cannot be fixed because the problem cannot be properly diagnosed. What a piece of Sh*t no wonder GM had to be bailed out by the government because you build Sh*t for a living. Thanks for ripping me off GM!

- hatesgm, Maiden, NC, US

problem #42

Mar 252010

Grand Am GT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

I bought this car in December of 2008. Two weeks after i bought it, the car won't start. It happened to be the Starter. Then in May before leaving for vacation it happens again. They replaced it. In August my car wont start at all, no clicking just battery power. Had it towed once again...and to find out my computer module lost the memory of my key so they had to reprogam it.

Then just about a few weeks ago my security dash light would come on..then go off.. i didn't think too much of it. Thursday march 25th, i was running errands and the last stop i turn the turnover. few choice words so i was able to use the remote start that was installed after manufacturer but before i had it. (thanks..not!) I went out of town, got a ride to work Monday, tried it after work..both ways and got nothing. Towed it to the mechanic and that's where it sits. They took the remote start out cuz i didn't like it and it seemed like it was causing more problems than it was worth. They think it's a relay switch. The car's computer thinks its in Drive so won't turn on at all. From the day i bought it i've been having issues. I owe more than its worth. I'd like to trade it in but i don't want to mess up my finances. GRR What to do...NEVER BUY A GRAND AM. :)

- Roberta M., Madison, WI, US

problem #41

Jul 042007

Grand Am ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,250 miles

I have a problem with starting this car, so bad, that I have the car as non-operation for the last two years. I gave up. I don't know what to do. I believe just like many of us with the same problem that should be a recall from the company. But it appears that nobody care in particular the government and whoever supposed to protect the consumer from these kind of problems. I am very disappointed.

- robliz777, Colton, CA, US

problem #40

Feb 202010

Grand Am SE1 2.2L Ecotek

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles


Our 2002 grand am wouldn't start today, cranks over but makes no attempt to start. This is the second time in 2 weeks this has happened. Both times it was running fine when shut off, then when trying to start a short time later, no go. Security light was flashing when ignition switch was in on pos, waited 10 minutes until light went off then it started. Thanks to all who shared this you saved me (another) tow bill. This is an example of why GM should have been allowed to go bankrupt and either get their act together or go out of business. It is a shame that my tax dollars are being used to keep this company afloat. This car has been constant trouble since shortly after warranty expiration. Timing chain broke at 58000 ($2000 fix), ignition module failed several times, turn signal flasher constantly clicks, eats brakes like candy, and now this. After the no start problem last week it cost me $1300 to fix all the problems they found and it still won't start a week later. Good job GM, thanks trying to bankrupt ME.

- Dave C., Huntington, IN, US

problem #39

Dec 202009

Grand Am V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I recently moved from RI to PA and a week after moving I could not start the car. everything worked from lights to windows but it wouldn't turn over. I had it towed home and when I got there the damn thing started right up. I had not problem for four weeks but yesterday it did it again. This time I had it towed to a dealership and they think its the theft system. I am tired of this happening my car is very important since I travel for work and spend most of my time in it. My mechanic told me he has had 4 different people all with 2002 pontiac grand am's all with the same problem. Obviously this is occuring more and more I think it is time for something to be done by pontiac.

Update from Dec 28, 2009: I had to take the car in to be fixed and it took the dealership amost an entire day of running it through the computer system to find the problem. When they did it cost me over 600 dollars to fix. Three days before christmas I was completely shocked and pissed off, so many are having this problem and someone needs to do something to fix it.

- meg0123, Perkasie, PA, US

problem #38

Apr 012003

Grand Am GT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles

i have had this back to the dealer multiple times since i have had this car. cost hundreds of dollars once warrenty was up. car still doing the same thing, running fine cut it off, go to restart and security light blinking. i have to keep key on for 10 minutes to reset security system, then it starts. now telling when it will happen or how often. it will happen sometimes 3-4 times day then may go 2 weeks and runs fine.

security light is on all the time i taking it back to dealer no way... just more money to give them. i know i can't be the only one this is happening to. why is there not a recall for this problem. no wonder Pontiac is in trouble.... will i ever have another pontiac again NO WAY!!!!

- Hazel R., Bryans Road, MD, US

problem #37

Jun 112008

Grand Am LE 4 cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 79,598 miles


Here is a link to a way to fix the Pontiac Grand AM Passlock Problem:

I began having trouble with my 2002 Pontiac Grand Am SE. The first thing I noticed as I was driving to work was that the "SECURITY" light was on. There did not seem to be any effect on driving, however, and I continued on to work. After work, I started the car without any problems, and the security light was not on. Later, I stopped at a store, and when I was ready to leave, I started the car, it ran for a couple of seconds, and then stopped, with the SECURITY light flashing. The car then would not re-start, and the SECURITY light remained on (I'm not sure whether it was flashing or on solid.). My owner's manual was in the glove box, so I read the section about the security light, (page 2-68) which said:

"This light will come on when you turn the key to ON and will stay on until the vehicle starts. If you're driving and the security light comes on and remains on, your Passlock(tm) system is not workiing properly. Your vehicle is not protected by Passlock and you should see your dealer."

Well, now, that's a fine mess! How am I going to see my dealer, when I'm 40 miles from his shop? Thankfully, there is also an entry for "Passlock" in the index of the owner's manual. (page 2-18). It reads in part:

"After attempting to start the engine, if the SECURITY light flashes or stays on, wait ten minutes with the key in ON until the light goes off. Then turn the ignition to OFF before attempting to start the engine again."

The advise in the service manual worked, and in less than 15 minutes, I was on my way. Unfortunately, a few weeks later, I had to go through the same procedure to get my car started, and this time, it caused me to be late for an appointment. I decided I had to do something to fix the problem.I found a forum thread on which addressed the problem, and gave me a way to fix it. Since there are many people with the same problem, I decided to dedicate a web page on my website to explaining how to bypass the Grand Am Security System. You will find it at:

Please read it carefully. There is a lot of information there, but It will be very helpful, and it will explain the problem and how to fix it.

- Richard B., Fenton, MI, US

problem #36

Oct 012008

Grand Am GT 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

you never know where it will start or that you will have to do the 10 minute wait. there should be a recall on tis problem or at least a know fix

- luther, Lexington, VA, US

problem #35

Sep 282009

Grand Am SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

I went out the other morning and my car wouldn't start. My friend said to try this: turn the key to second position, quickly press the gas pedal three times, then turn key to off. Then the car started right up. Immediately after, different warning lights have been popping on and off. My understanding is that this is could be a major problem. I hate it because the car has been problem free to now. Trust me, I will dump it and go back to a foreign car if repair costs are more than necessary. This is why the US car industry is failing--we can't count on our own cars.

- Stacy D., Kansas City, KS, US

problem #34

May 152009

Grand Am

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,778 miles

I have a small child. What would I do in the middle of the night ..or any time of the day for that matter if he got sick......oh just wait 15 -20 minutes for the car to start the baby will be OK ...WHAT THE F%#! gm needs to own up to this one ..its just not safe!!

- pretty, Newharbour, Newfoundland, Canada

problem #33

Aug 252009

Grand Am SE 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,750 miles


My car wouldn't start less than a week ago. I put the key in the ignition. It sounded like it was going to start, but it just wouldn't turn over. I had it towed to a mechanic shop. They told me that the auto theft system engaged and my car thought it was being stolen, so it wouldn't allow my car to turn over. They said this was just due to a fluke in the system. They reset the system and said I would be fine. They thought I maybe needed a new key, but it should be fine for now. Three days later and it did it again. Not sure how to reset the system, but I did call a locksmith out who made a new key for my car. No luck. From the other posts I have read, I'm just out of luck with this problem :(

- Stephanie S., Omaha, NE, US

problem #32

Jun 222009

Grand Am ES 2.2L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Sometimes when I start the car it will not allow me to, use the directional, run the windows up and down and the radio, fan and the instrument cluster, will not work either. Then without any warning it will all come back on. Occasionally they will all start to work when I try to use the directional and then and only then the Service Engine Soon light comes on. But each time that I turn the car off and restart it I am in for a different adventure. My son-inlaw is a mechanic and when he scanned it, the ignition was at fault. But later it read nothing, he will scan it again tomorrow.

- oei, Commack, NY, US

problem #31

Jun 112009

Grand Am SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

My fiance was pulling out of the drive when the security light came on. He turned the car off and went to turn it back on hoping to eliminate the light. The car wouldn't start. He waited 40 minutes and still couldn't get the car to start. It was parked in the middle of the drive of our apartment complex & couldn't be moved!! Yikes! Well I went on line looking for fixes and we tried to turn the key and wait 10 minutes but we had to do that twice before the car finally started. I had no idea this was even a problem with this type of car until I found tons of web complaints. Why isn't this a recall?

- bellescorp, Kelso, WA, US

problem #30

Mar 112009

Grand Am GT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

I have a 2002 grandam and let me tell you them cars are a pain in the ass. its a good car but alot to fix on it and i only had it a little more than a year.. i had to fix the diver side window, the intake gaskets, something else was leaking on the car, wire harness, and a annoying clicking noise that comes from the dash board, and now my security light will come on and then i have to sit there for 10 mins to try to start it again... they should have a recall on anything that is electrical on that car. and i have a 97 explorer and its alot better than my 2002 grand am they should recall the whole car lol. i will never own a grandam ever again thats for sure... so i hope that they recall the security light sh*t.

- michellemi, Calumet, MI, US

problem #29

Jan 152009

Grand Am

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I am simply reporting to help add to the large number of ticked off Pontiac owners.

- vanauken, Springdale, AR, US

problem #28

Jul 162008

Grand Am V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

First of all, says you should enter this once for every time it happens -- well today was the fourth time it's happened. I guess I'll enter it three more times if that helps GM do a recall!!! Who has ten minutes to wait every time their car feels like doing this?! The first two times I had it towed (luckily I'm in my mechanic's auto club -- Eliot's Auto Repair in Lakeview, Chicago, IL -- and the towing was free). AS SOON AS THEY GOT IT THERE, IT STARTED RIGHT UP! BOTH TIMES! So I never knew what was wrong, except that it was a Passlock glitch. So then it happened 6 days ago for the third time, and my fiance googled the problem and found the solution of leaving the key in "ON" or "ACC" while the SECURITY light flashes for 10 minutes and goes off... then I was able to turn the key completely OFF and then tried and it started up again. I was ELATED! Well NOW it happened AGAIN for the FOURTH time SIX DAYS LATER. I just can't afford the $500 everyone says it costs to disable the Passlock "SECURITY" System. That's a friggin laugh -- the only person it prevents from driving my car away is ME! GM NEEDS TO DO A RECALL ON THIS PROBLEM!

- Tiffany B., Chicago, IL, US

problem #27

Jan 132009

Grand Am GT 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,757 miles

in the summer i was getting ready to go camping and my last stop was the beer store before i got a couple of hours sleep, then drive a couple of hours up north. i got my beer and put it in the trunk and got back into the car only to find out that my car was dead. i was pretty angry because i thought the weekend was ruined. i called my friend who knows a little bit about cars to come look at it before i had to call a tow truck. we tried a few basic things but nothing worked. just as we were about to call the tow truck, some other kid pulls up to the beer store with the exact same grand am and saved the whole weekend by telling me to turn the key forward for about 10min and wait for the security light to stop flashing and stay on. then you turn it off , then start like nothing happened. It then happened again today in January at Dominos pizza. I am pissed this is ................. no wonder everyone hates general motors thanks to the guy at the beer store in the grand am..

- Eric L., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

problem #26

Feb 132006

Grand Am SE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

Every once in a while when i try to start the car the anti theft unit keeps the car from starting

- Angela R., Lonoke, AR, US

problem #25

Sep 162008

Grand Am V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,740 miles

After numerous times that my car would not start; I'm talking several times a day in the end.....Each time I would do the 10 min. key in ACC position until the Security light went off........I had some maintenance work done at Midas and my car would not start after. They couldn't believe what I had been going through. We saw that one of the "warnings" for this car was my problem... It stated that the ignition and wiring had to be changed. MIDAS told me that the car dealer had to do it. Since it's been done, I haven't had the problem. I'm hoping that it truly fixes this problem. If I really put in a complaint (as this site wants you to do) for each time this happened; I'd be putting it in over 50 times.

- Wendi R., Lihue, HI, US

problem #24

Apr 012008

Grand Am

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

I don't know why the SECURITY LIGHT starts BLINKING; but the car will NOT START until it stops blinking. It will leave you stranded. I've had the battery changed, I've had the battery clamps changed and some other things I don't even know what they're call -- before another mechanic noticed the security problems. NOT SURE HOW TO FIX THIS!

- Cassandra J., New Orleans, LA, US

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