Video: How To Fix A GM Theft Passlock System

If you’ve ever owned a GM car or truck, then you most likely know how it feels to have that certain sense of pride that comes from owning a genuine GM product. There isn’t a feeling quite like it. However proud you are of your GM, you undoubtably know GM’s products well enough that you also know that in spite of how great they are, they almost always seem to have some kind of manufacturing quirk that ends up killing the whole “See the U. S. A. in a Chevrolet” vibe.

One of the more common “blotches” that is annoying, but easy to patch-up, is General Motor’s anti-theft passlock security systems. These security systems were incorporated into many of their models, including the ’97-03 N-bodies, to keep GM cars from being stolen. It’s not uncommon to have a glitch in the theft passlock system that prevents owners from starting their vehicles. It’s a pesky problem, but easily dealt with when you bypass the system.

Initially you’ll notice with the late-model Malibu in our featured video is that it won’t start until the theft light stops blinking.

The easiest and least evasive way to bypass this system is to insert the key into the car’s ignition and turn it to “auxiliary” for about 10-15 minutes until the light is off. From that point, the car should be able to start with no hassle.

If the problem persists, it’s also possible to hook up a toggle switch in the event that you should desire to have the ability to switch the passlock system off  whenever desired.

The first step in setting-up a system like the toggle switch similar to the one in our featured clip, is to remove the protective cover from the ignition’s cylinder lock. From there, you can use a simple screwdriver to remove the stereo’s interface, but what’s important to remember is that the radio should not be unplugged during this procedure, as this will inevitably mess the whole project up.

Assuming that the car is now running, the next step is to remove the stereo and ignition bolts. With the car’s radio removed, push the cylinder lock back and to the side. All wiring harnesses must be disabled, and the toggle switch for the passlock must be fed through the car’s key hole.

Toggle switches can be bought from nearly any hardware or electrical store like Radio Shack or Lowe’s.  The switch allows the car’s passlock system to be switched on or off by splicing with a yellow wire that’s plugged into the cylinder lock. Once completed, the new switch should be placed underneath the dash right below the key hole.

Installing a toggle for your GM’s passlock may not be the hardest job that you can spend time on in your garage, but it’s one that will help you to avoid a world of headache in the future the next time that you are ready to fill-up and hit the road.

About the author

Salvatore Alaimo

After graduating from California State University, Northridge, California, Sal Alaimo Jr. has continued with his passion of the automotive industry. Alaimo's been an auto enthusiast since his early years, and grew up learning about cars from his father, Sal Alaimo Sr. If its got a set of fat rear tires and 8-cylinders, Alaimo Jr. is all for it. Today, Alaimo Jr. brings with him a pool of enthusiasm and pride as a contributing freelance writer for Chevy Hardcore.
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