how to over-ride anti-theft so car will start?


Asked by Jun 14, 2007 at 08:16 PM about the 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Base Coupe

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

my 96 cavalier will not start because the anti-theft security light is staying on and i have tried using the key to unlock the doors and diconnecting the battery I've tried almost evrything except replacing sensors how can i over-ride this safety feature?

42 Answers


You'll have to contact the dealer to find out the security code or have them tell you how to disable your cars security system. The only other way to do it would be to disconnect the battery but if you've already tried that then nothing else will work other than have the code.

36 out of 36 people think this is helpful.
Ben Thelen

I have a 00 Cavalier with the same theft system. and online solution that works is to stick the cavalier into neutral and then start the car up that way and if i remember correctly is that you cranked it once to turn on the electrical systems not trying to start the car and let it sit a good while and then try to start it up

34 out of 34 people think this is helpful.
Bill Flunker

find a shop with a TECH 2 scan tool and they can unlock the security system on the car your age newer ones are touchier then that but on the old ones its fine, if the battery gets dissconnected and the light is on on the steareo it will lock the car up and your screwed well good luck if you dont have it fixed yet

25 out of 25 people think this is helpful.

I am having the same problem with my 96 Cavalier. Sometimes it starts, sometimes it doesn't. Did you find out to solve the problem?

103 out of 103 people think this is helpful.

The way it was described to me for OBDII gm's is to turn the ignition on, depress the fuel pedal for a full minuite, release and turn the ignition off for a full min, then retry. This is also similiar to how you reset check engine light on gm's newer cars, except you have to hold the radio button while depressing the pedal and IGN on

33 out of 33 people think this is helpful.
Dan Boughton

it may have the pass key feature.. which there is a computer chip in the key you use to start the car... you can try to start the car then leave the ignition on for exactly 10 minutes then turn the key off. then dont start but turn the key on for another 10 minutes exact. then turn it off and do it once more.. the third time you do it turn the key off then try to start the car. it may work and it may not work but its worth a shot.. good luck

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn

yes but if you dont want to have a stop watch lol just watch for the security light to go out. it goes off after 10 mins. make sure you turn it off after the third time before you start it

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.

i have a 1995 cavelier and it starts then about 1 minute later it quits also the engine light comes on when you turn the ignition and then it goes off its more like a flicker it has me stumped??????

33 out of 33 people think this is helpful.
Teresa Rushlo

I was told to try and start the car, it should start and then turn off by itself. Just leave the key in the run position and the "Theft System " light on the dash will be flashing. Leave the key on for about 10 minutes and the light will stop flashing and go on solid. Then the theft system is disable.

31 out of 31 people think this is helpful.

well i have i 1996 that will not start when its cold i spend about 30 th 60 min trying to get it to start it well try to then it well shut off but after like 10 am after the suns bin on it it well fire right up i dont get it and now my full pump well not ingage when i turn on the key i changed out the relay didnot work then i ran a wire from the relay to my ing fuse now the full pump well turn on and the car runs good what do you all think cold help me truble shoot this problum?

27 out of 27 people think this is helpful.

I have been having a problem starting my 1999 Sunfire in the cold am. The theft device keeps killing the engine. I thought it maybe had to defrost in the sun, cause it seemed to start within an hour of my first try. I tried a bunch of things which didn't work then a couple mornings ago, instead of trying to start it I turned the key to the on position WITHOUT turning over the engine and waited 10 seconds then it turned over like a charm AND yesterday did the same thing. Viola! Will try again this a.m. I still don't know for sure if it is a theft device, but it does seem like it may be. Anyway, good luck fellow motorists! :O)

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn

Not an anti theft thing more like a fuel pump thing

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Well, it doesn't do it anytime, but after it has sat overnight - the first start in the morning. The theft device activates that first try, unless, I turn the key forward for the ten seconds. The rest of the day it works fine...????

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Whatcha' think? (AND, THANKS FOR YOUR REPLY)

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn

The security light usually comes on with all the the lights and just like all the lights it will go off within 10 seconds as long as no error is seen. The check engine light, oil pressure, and battery lights all stay on until the car is started because when its off there is no pressure for oil, no current from the alternator, and no crank signal from the sensor. If the security light shuts off within 10 seconds that means there is no issue with the system. It sounds like the fuel system pressure is bleeding off over night. There is a one way check ball in the fuel pump that will hold pressure and when the engine is not running there is no vacuum applied to the fuel pressure regulator so it will close and also hold pressure. It seems like one of the two has failed and is causing the system to lose pressure and needs to be "primed" after it sits for a while. When you turn the key on in the morning it is allowing the pump to prime the system before you are trying to start it. Try turning the key on for 3 seconds shut the key off and turn it on for 3 seconds again and then try to start it. When you are immediately trying to start it, it's not getting enough fuel so it either cranks till it builds pressure or when you stop trying to crank it the pump runs for three seconds priming the system allowing it to start when you give it a second crank.

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.
Josue Canas

if you have a chevy cavalier 94 up to 99 if the theft system is on don't try to leave de ignition on or disconnecting the battery you only be wasting your time just replace the ignition switch that is located under nit the signal stick the screws is holding the switch u may need a special tool just use the same u took off from signal stick. u will find out good look

23 out of 23 people think this is helpful.
Tom Clark

poor enginering its a common problem up to 2005 my 2004 chevy cav stranded me last night at a circle k in a bad neiborhood if gm wont recall this ill never buy another car from them.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn

Tom stay out of the bad neighborhoods, your car is almost 10 years old, they are not going to recall this because it is not a "safety" issue. There is a 5 year warranty on the cars from the factory because they know the thing isn't going to last forever. Thinking they should recall something that starts to fail when it gets old is just stupid. that's like saying they should recall every vehicle for old ball joints going bad, it's not a defect it's called old and worn. And if you don't want a new car then take care of your old one, if you buy a new ignition switch, get one with a lifetime warranty, then you will never have to worry about having to buy another one.

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2002 cavalier. The theft light doesnt stop flashing. I have replaced the ignition cylinder, Ignition switch and the ECM and the injectors are still disabled. I have tried the battery trick, turning the key trick, unlocking the door trick. Nothing seems to work

51 out of 51 people think this is helpful.

If the theft system is messing up like in my 97 cavalier I was told by my gm mechanic that its either the ignition itself or the instrument cluster in the dash. For some wierd reason gm made the guage cluster the part that reads from your ignition. There are also four factory recallsm one of wich gm hass to replace the wiring harness going to the ignition, some bearing or gear in or to the rack n pinion and a new relay going to the starter for some sort of power overload that could happen. Gm will run the vin and can tell what has been done n what still needs to b done. Had my wire harness for ignition replaced and I still have the problem

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

i had a 2000 with the same problem... all i did was find the anti theft wire, and snip it... make sure you but connect it to keep it from potentially starting fires, although the theft light stays on, the car will start and run fine... just my 2 cents

20 out of 20 people think this is helpful.

For the older Cavaliers, Sunfires and alike "J" Body fourth vin, 96-00 try this. Take you Steering wheel covers off. Under the ignition cylinder there is a small connector. Unplug it. This is your passlock sensor. Key on 3 times for 11 minutes each. You may need a battery charger. At the end of the 3rd ignition cycle if the PCM doesnt see the passlock sensor "because you unplugged it" it will disable the passlock. SHhhh, known about from exp.

37 out of 37 people think this is helpful.

I have a 1996 cavalier and i removed the remote start on my car and now the car wont start because of the theft system light is on. idk what to do. i have tried to unhook the battery, i have tried to turn the key foraward and still nothing. can anyone please help me thanks.

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn

Does the engine crank? You tried the thirty minute procedure?

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

Do what gfg76 says!!! It don't take 10 minute ignition ON,gas pedal to floor,Turn to OFF,Let off gas, Wait One minute. Restart. Starts every time!!! My Dad has always been a diehard Chevy man and hes had several cars that did this. The one minute trick ALWAYS works. ALWAYS!!!! & my Daddy is 86

15 out of 15 people think this is helpful.
Cheryl Monroe

I have a 2000 Ford Winstar SE. Last night the "THEFT" light was on flashing & my van would not start. Could someone "PLEASE" advice me on HOW to start my vehicle. I do not have a remote to this vehicle I bought off Craigslist. I called my mechanic & he towed my van to his shop. I hope someone can HELP me. My van has a good start but will mot turn over. Thank you got any & all help. Can I have a remote programmed to turn on & off my remote???

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Cheryl Monroe

*not turn over *Thank you for any & all help.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

you have to bypass the theft system, common Chevy issue. you can do it by clipping the wire or installing a remote starter. it acts like a fuel pump issue but it's the theft system causing the fuel pump to fail. many have replaced 3 to 5 parts before finally getting it right, and the p arts were likely still good

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
Jeremy Wayne

I have a 1997 cavalier base with the 2.2l.ohv and it came with out a tachometer. I wanted to have the tachometer because it looks cooler but when i swapped out the cluster it brought on my security system light, after reading a lot of forums i seen in every one that if i turn the key to the running position for ten mins it resets its self. I did just that and low and behold i can now drive my car with no issues. Now i did read that it is unclear to how long this will last behold having to do it again, but if you don't mind letting it set for 10 mins before starting not every time but only when it happens then this is the cheapest rout that anyone can take that actually works

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

I have a 95 cavalier. My anti theif light will not come on at all. I just bought the cat and it ran a couple of days and now when i crank it, it dies. There is something going on that We cant figure out. It has a new fuel pump started coil pack and new plugs and wires, also a new alternator. Can someone please tell me if it could be the security system causing all this problem.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
Suli Haskel

TECH 2 tool in Amman anybody ?

Suli Haskel

2000 dollars I payed for fix till now more and more new problems are coming out . PEOPLE HAVE MERCY ON YOURSELF DONT BUY AMERICAN CAR and save yourselves from deep trouble.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Rick Olson

Its funny reading all these so called "Expert" answers ! Been an Automotive Technician for 28 years and a GM Master Technician for the last 17 of those years. Take your car to the dealer and get it fixed properly

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

we have tried everything under the sun except bypassing the theft wire. can someone tell me what color the the theft wire is on on a 01 cavaliar?

22 out of 22 people think this is helpful.

We have tried every single suggestion on here and none of them worked on our daughter's 99 cavalier, piece of junk! Told her not to buy it. Any other suggestions?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

If anyone is seeing the anti theft light on the console in their cavalier it is most likely a wire harness issue. I spent many time with a dealer to have them never figure this out! I have a 99 and the anti theft light ALWAYS comes on when there is a starting problem. This is caused from loose wireing or a loose console. Pop the dash cover. Place some pressure o. The wires on the right side and start the car. It may take a couple tries but if it does not work the first time remember to pull the keys all the way out and try again remember to keep pressure on the wires while trying to start! Have a good day everyone! Www.gofundme/charityautorepair

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I had this problem after changing the steering column in a 2000 Chevy Cavalier. Turning the key to the on position until the theft system light stopped blinking then each time turn the key to the off position even after the third time. Then start the car. I literally just got done doing this after I spent two hours trying other things. Lol.... It works

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Laura-Tee Samuels

I have a 2005 Chevy Malibu.... What is the best way to bypass this?. I have tried turning the key to on/acc position and I have to wait over 20 mins.... What is another way to bypass this that quick and efficient. Or what is a way to bypass it permanently.... Please help!!!!

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Brandon Myers

First thing to check is the small connector on the instrument panel. Mine wasn't fully connected and solved the issue. This was on a 98 cavalier. It was starting then shuting off. Theft light would blink and then go solid


Specifically for Rick the GM guy. Instead of being the douchebag you appear to be, how about helping people solve the problems instead of being a self serving prick

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

I have a 97 cav. and I ran current to the orange wire on the connectors next to the injectors on driver side waited about a min. anti theft stop blinking but disconnect hot wire once started or car will run ruff

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Hello cavalier owners this is a common issue with this model, I am a cluster technician and have repaired at least a hundred of these cavalier cluster with described symptoms, the issue is in the cluster itself, it has the theft system built in, and time will make components fail, causing the cluster to believe it's being stolen and going on theft mode. The only solution is replacing bad components in the actual cluster. My name is Mario I live in arizona feel free to call me 623-236-4401. It is a common issue $250 will take care of it. And one week turnaround. Thank you all have a great day.

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