Cadillac neutral safety switch, shorted out my starter.


Asked by May 22, 2015 at 11:07 PM about the 1993 Cadillac DeVille Base Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hello, I have a 1993 deville, about a month ago the car would start intermittently and other times it would not. I took it to the Cadillac dealership, the parts mgr. told me those years the ignition switches always went bad so I paid them almost 300.00 to repair it, guess what it did not work. Now the car has been at the same dealership (diagnosis on them), they said it was the starter, I got one to put  on the car and now have found out the neutral safety switch had melted and burned out the original starter, now they are telling me that one to three modules could be bad, that the neutral safety switch sent a surge of current through the car. One module can be the cars computer, another was the cars anti theft modules in the keys, they said the keys are not recognizing the new neutral safety switch, and another module that I can't remember, they told me it would take from 1000 to 3000 to repair.

Anyone have any suggestions that might help me?
I sure would appreciate some help very much.


7 Answers


First, ask for an older tech to look at your car. A tech in their mid 40s or older is who you want working on it. Someone who is not much older than the car is not going to have any idea of what he's looking at! Sounds to me like the original problem was the neutral safety switch. Since they changed the ignition switch and key did they bother to check the original VATS (Vehicle Anti Theft System) key to get you the correct replacement? There were 15 possibilities! A 20 year old tech is not going to know that. The keys have absolutely nothing to do with the neutral safety switch! The ignition key has a resistance pellet (chip) on the shank. It contacts 2 wires inside the ignition lock cylinder. The computer measures the resistance value to determine if the correct key is being used. Personally, I'd let them replace the neutral safety switch, pay for that, and only that. Make them eat the rest for their stupidity! For future reference, get a copy of the Factory Shop Manual for your car and then take it to your local Chevy Dealer from now on. The Chevy Dealer will be a lot less snooty and more interested in working on an older model. You can get the shop manual from eBay or Faxon Automobile Literature in Riverside, California. They have a website. HTH. -Jim


Hello, thank you for your help. I took my shop manual to the dealership (they did not have theirs any longer) the guy working on my car is in his 20's, there is no one there old enough to know the car. They have replaced the neutral safety switch at their own expense. They say the car will not start at all now. I wonder if it might be the starter relay? I have thought about taking the car to the Chevy shop, it's right down from my home, they have older guys working on cars there. Do you think I'd have to be out that much money to have it repaired? I thought it a way too much. I really don't think they have any clue as to what's wrong with it. Thank you. Dave

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Hi Dave. Hopefully you still have the old ignition key? If anyone there knows how to check the resistance value across the "chip" let them do that to make sure you have the correct new VATS key. There's a chart in the shop manual that'll determine which key you need for the resistance value that you get from the original key. I have a '94 Fleetwood so I'm sure that my shop manual is very similar to yours. Kudos for taking the shop manual to the dealer! I always do that too! That'd be my first step. Then once you know that you have the correct key, make them get it running again. At their expense. I assume that it was running when you took it there? Then, yes, take it down the road to the Chevy Dealer. I'm sure one of their older techs be able to fix it. HTH. -Jim


*- WILL be able to fix it. (Darn computer!) -Jim


One other thing to check is make sure that the new neutral safety switch is adjusted properly. If it isn't, that'll prevent the car from starting as well. HTH. -Jim


Hello, thank you again :-) When they put in the new ignition switch, they kept the old keys, I did have one key left and still do. They did tell me it was a 13 what ever that is, the car was running just as it did before. No one there know anything about the keys, this is one thing they told me, they had to contact GM about the keys. I actually don't think they know what is going on. The only thing I will pay for is the installation of the new safety switch and the starter, the deal with them was that they would diagnos the car & I'd have to be out just the installation of the part, as it turned out the diagnosis was incorrect, they overlooked the safety switch, as it is now it caused all of the other problems and they are not wanting to repair it unless I pay for it. I think they are crooks myself. Thank you for your help, at the Chevrolet place there are older mecahnics working there, hopefully they can get it to going again ;-) Dave


To double check that you need a 13 VATS key, use an ohm meter and check the resistance value across the chip on the original key. Then use the chart in your service manual to confirm. I'm glad that you're only paying for the new switch and starter. I'm pretty sure that the switch was the original problem. I had to change mine on my '94 Fleetwood 2 years ago. If you need help with the key, post your resistance value here and I'll be glad to check my shop manual. Replacement VATS keys can be found on eBay. That's where I got my spare. HTH. -Jim

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