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Category: Oldsmobile
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Why wont my 2003 Oldsmobile Alero start or even turn over?

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2003 Olds Alero won't start or even turn over. Verified battery, cables and starter all function. Looking into park lock switch or other ignition switch which is preventing the car from starting. Need help to diagnose and locate problem.

With the key in the on position, do you have a security message on?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

Yes a red security light comes on.

Ok well then this is a security issue and this is why you are having the problems you are. Normally this problem is caused by a faulty passlock sensor in the ignition cylinder. This would be after a diagnostic scan using a class 2 scan tool that has the ability to read body failure codes. There is a relearn procedure that may allow for this problem to go away for now, but it may reappear. Here is how that is done.

  1. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF.
  2. Attempt to start the engine, then release the key to ON, vehicle will not start.
  3. Observe the SECURITY tell tale, after approximately 10 minutes the tell tale will turn OFF.
  4. Turn OFF the ignition, and wait 5 seconds.
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 two more times for a total of 3 cycles/30 minutes, the vehicle is now ready to relearn the PasslockTMSensor Data Code and/or passwords on the next ignition switch transition from OFF to CRANK.


    The vehicle learns the PasslockTM 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.

  6. Start the engine. The vehicle has now learned the PasslockTM Sensor Data Code and/or password.

Keep in mind that if this does not work, you are going to need a scan tool that can read body failure codes such as the theft system. Feel free to contact me with any questions or problems. Good luck!

carhelp4u and 3 other Oldsmobile Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.

Great advice. After one 10 minute cycle the car started. Can you tell me why this happened and what are the chances of it happening again?

This is normally caused by a faulty passlock sensor. This sensor is located in the ignition lock cylinder of your car. There is a really good chance of this problem reoccurring. I would advise that you have the vehicle scanned for trouble codes to verify that this is the problem, normally it is. The scan tool you need to scan your vehicle is a class 2 scan tool that has the ability to read body control failures. Feel free to contact me with any further questions. Good luck!

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

Should we just replace the ignition lock cylinder and how much would this cost?

The ignition lock cylinder would be nearly $200.00. I would not replace it until you do the diagnostic scan. There are other places a problem like this could reside.