GM PassLock System

I have the opportunity to purchase a clean 2004 Pontiac Grand AM for a really good price.

My concern is that it had issues with the Passlock system in the past; the security light was on constantly. The owner said he never had issues starting the car. However, a few weeks ago he cleaned the connections on some of the control modules. After cleaning them the car would not turn over. He did a security system relearn, the car started, and the light is now out.

I read this can be an easy fix. I’ve also read that once Passlock starts acting up, it starts to get worse.

Anyone have experience with this system? A good way to bypass it entirely, perhaps install a remote start? Should I run the other way?


I count this as 1 huge red flag so running away is your best option. My uncle had a Passlock problem on his Monte Carlo of the same year vintage. He loved the car but when he was stranded one too many times…he sent the car to the scrap heap.

Yeah, I can’t afford to be stranded with my job.

However, it seems there are many ways to fix this, one being putting in a standard ignition with a generic key. I suppose that leaves the car susceptible to theft, but I plan on installing a remote start and probably could go up to higher end model with a keyfob kill switch.

Just hoping someone has been through this and can offer some good insight.

The car is susceptible to theft with the passlock too. Illegal chop shops run quick-pick tow trucks now. 10-15 seconds and your car’s on the tow bar and being hauled away.

As long as you’re OK with the idea of rewiring the ignition system at some point… Personally I would not want to buy a car that I knew there was a good potential I’d have to do that.

My vote is to skip it. I think the potential for ongoing issues is too high.

I think every early 2000’s GM with passlock has the potential for problems, but it’s a solid power train bracket and a low cost…guess I have to pick and choose what I want to risk when spending less than $4k on a car.

There is a simple override or workaround for passlock. It involves replacing the chip inside the key with a resistor from Radio Shack. Google for it.

With all the used cars out there why even consider one that even sends up a small red flag?

Because 90% of used cars, from what I’ve found, are either overpriced or junk. 5% are gems that are hard to grab before they’re gone, and the other 5% are decent, but require a little elbow grease.

Just from my experience.