2000 Alero No Start when in Cold Weather

I am writing this about my fiances 2000 Oldsmobile Alero 3.4 liter. I live in MN so we see our fair share of cold weather. After her car has sat over night it will not start in the morning when the temp is below 32F or so. It started happening at the end of last winter and then it got warmer out and the car became normal…which is hard to figure out the issue when you cant verify the problem when you want to. Anyways we just had one of our first pretty cold nights and we went out to start her car and it barely started.

I have suspected it to be a fuel issue because while trying to start it if I hold the gas pedal in it will start to backfire lately and just acts like it is flooded. This last summer I looked over some things and found that the Fuel Pressure Regulator was leaking into the vacuum line which would go into the intake manifold and flood the car. So I replaced that convinced that it would solve the issue. It didn’t. I also found that the PCV valve was stuck so I replaced that. Last winter I dumped in a bottle of gasoline de-icer or whatever that stuff is called thinking maybe she got some bad gas and her lines were freezing. That didnt change anything.

When the car wont start I can literally crank until the battery is dead (newer battery in the car) with no luck. I have had to be jumping it and cranking it over for a good hour to get it to start. Not cranking straight time obviously. But about an hour worth of time before it starts. And at that time i am thinking it starts just because of the air temp going up in that amount of time or something…i dont know. I am not quite ready to bring the car into the shop because I know it will need to stay there for a few days to be able to get the right conditions for them to verify the problem. My fiance and me have very busy schedules between both working full time and going to school full time. So to be without a car for a few times isnt an option.

Any suggestions or help on this would be greatly appreciated.

Has this car had its check engine light on? Even been scanned for error codes? If the check engine light has been on, many auto parts stores will read your error codes for free. Get the exact codes (e.g. “P1234”) and post them.

Start with the basics. Get a spark tester and can of starting fluid. Use the spark tester to check for spark the next time it won’t start.

If you find that you have spark, shoot some starting fluid into the intake. If that gets it to fire even a little bit then you know to troubleshoot fuel delivery. Have you put a fuel pressure gauge on it?

This at least cuts your targets in half, so check it out & post the results.

Does that think have that crazy passlock security system?

Oh yea I forgot to mention. I have checked the Codes numerous times because the light is always on. But no codes having to do with anything other then the TCC for the transmission. Which is another issue it has. But I know what the issue is and am not going to fix it. OK i will have to try the starting fluid this weekend and will post my findings up here.

I have no idea what the passlock security system is. I know it has a chipped key…so if the passlock security has something to do with that then yes it does.

Have the codes read again just to be sure. The problem has been going on a while, but the computer doesn’t always catch on right away.

Yes, the chip key is part of the Passlock system. On this car, I believe that the way it will work is that the system will not allow fuel delivery if it “thinks” there is a problem. As such, you could easily get a crank-no start situation. I’d pull out the owner’s manual & look to see what it has to say about Passlockk before I did much else.

Alright I will do that this weekend as well. Yea I read up on the Passlock a little bit and found how to make a bypass. I cant remember if her alero has the security light on ever or not but I will check all that this weekend and scan the codes again in the car.

So if I were to bypass the passlock sensor would we be able to just cut a normal non chipped key to start the car with? Cause she only has one key for it and has always wanted to have a couple more made but the chipped key plus programming is like $150 per key!!!

I don’t know a thing about bypassing it but there’s lots of stuff out there on the web. I do know that it has cause many people more problems. Before you mess with it at all you want to make sure it is actually a problem. There are lots of things that can be causing this issue. Its just that on this car ruling out the Passlock is a good first step before pulling your hair out & spending needless time/money on other stuff. I think checking it out is as simple as looking to see if the little red light is flashing with the key at on/crank. If its flashing then the Passlock is disabling fuel. That’s what I think - you’ll want to verify.

FYI: a local hardware store near me recently starting doing chip keys for about $50. They have a little key programmer they use. You can also inquire with locksmiths. I’m sure she can get a spare or two for less than $150

Ok sounds good. Maybe tomorrow I can get down to where she lives and check all this out.