Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Security light on Pontiac Grand Am

When mother purchased car she wasn’t given an alarm fob. She just locks the doors. One day the “Security” light comes on and the car acts like there is a kill switch on it. Can’t seem to locate the problem. She purchased it used in another state. Any suggestions?

is this a factory alarm or aftermarket alarm? what year is the car?

It’s a 2004. Factory alarm

There’s a malfunction with the security system. But I guess you already knew that, right? That car has a factory anti-theft system. Most likely a problem with the ignition switch, possibly the key. Anyway, a good local independent shop or perhaps a quality locksmith should have the equipment to diagnose this.

The passlock sensor is most likely the problem

Common scenario on GM vehicles

Does she have another key? I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had people ask me about problems like this due to thier only key for the car, and the security chip fails. A second key will almost always works , and makes it easy to get a replacement. No second key usually means a trip to the dealer. Special equipment is needed to put the security system in ‘learn’ mode to program a new key.

99 times out of 100, it’s the Passlock module in the ignition switch failing. They are easy to bypass with a minimum of tools, a $5 trip to Radio Shack, minimal mechanical aptitude, and about an hour’s time (half of which is spent waiting for the Passlock module to relearn the resistance value so the car will start). I bypassed the module in my sister’s '02 Grand Am GT to eliminate this problem following this article: It says Alero and shows an Alero being worked on, but they are essentially the same car. If anything, the Grand Am is easier to work on.

Also, I don’t think the article mentions this, but the wires you will be dealing with is the group of three smaller wires. They are much thinner than anything else back there, so that’s an easy way to know you have the right ones.

EDIT: here’s a better method that doesn’t require soldering:

Thank you guys so much for your comments. It helped narrow it down and my husband replaced the ignition switch (where you put the key). You can tell I’m a real expert. Now I have another problem!! Ugh! this car!!

Driving along and the car suddenly looses momentum like I threw it in neutral. Engine starts and runs. Everything works but it won’t go in drive. It will do reverse though! Any suggestions?