Chevy Colorado Passlock Problems

Chevrolet security light symbolChevrolet Security Light Symbol

Unfortunately, Chevy Colorado passlock problems can leave you stranded with a no start condition. This becomes a situation where the vehicle fails to recognize the key and activates a false lockout mode. In other words, your ride treats you like a car thief.

This lock down mode shuts off the fuel pump creating a scenario where the engine cranks around, but fails to start. This happened on the Chevrolet Malibu years ago. However, this time, the manufacturer included a program to reset the system in an attempt to get drivers going again.

Nevertheless, the procedure is lengthy and inconvenient at best. At worst, it won't work at all and you'll still need a tow truck. Before we continue to discuss the Chevy Colorado security system problem, let's talk about the reset procedure first. When the engine fails to start and the security light remains illuminated or flashing, you can attempt to bypass or reset the system.

Chevrolet built in a feature to bypass the factory installed anti theft device, but they couldn't make it easy, because that would lead to a huge amount of stolen trucks. Unfortunately, the process requires precision timing and about 35 minutes to accomplish. But, it might just get you going and save you a tow bill.

The procedure includes turning the key on and leaving it in the run position for 15 minutes. Next we turn the key off for 30 seconds. Then you turn the key back on for another 15 minutes and off again for another 30 seconds.

This time when you turn it back on, you can crank the engine and it should start. Unfortunately, this reset only works one time and you'll have to perform it over again every time you lock the doors. Activating the door locks re-arms the security system. So let's dive in and find out what is causing the Chevy Colorado Passlock problems and how to solve them.

Chevy Colorado Passlock reset update. The motivation behind this article is a long time customer of mine owns a Chevy Colorado. They lived with the problem for  months before they came up with the funds to fix it permanently. The family uncovered a YouTube video that outlines a streamlined Passlock reset procedure that worked every time for them. Here's a link to the video.

Chevy Colorado Diagnosis and Repair

This is the area that I normally talk about properly testing each individual component to ensure proper diagnosis. However, in the case of these Chevy Colorado problems I've seen no variety in failed components. In other words, so far for me, it's always a failed key reader located at the end of the ignition lock cylinder.

The telltale warning sign this reader failed is the illumination of the security light displaying the locked padlock symbol. As we mentioned in the opening paragraph when this system detects trouble, it disables the fuel pump causing a no start condition.

After discussing the issue with some dealership technicians they also indicated they go right for the lock cylinder replacement. These guys have specialized equipment at their disposal for diagnosis and in most cases, they don't even use it, because of the high failure rate of the plastic key reader.

Replacing the Chevy Colorado Ignition Lock Cylinder

Chevy Colorado ignition switchChevy Colorado ignition switch

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room before we discuss replacing the Chevy Colorado ignition lock cylinder. Many people opt for replacing just the little plastic sensor mounted on the back of the ignition switch. Unfortunately, they don't sell this part separately, at this time, so it comes with the entire lock cylinder housing.

At first glance it doesn't look like there's a good reason to replace the housing, because it's made of aluminum and looks fairly sturdy. Although this is true, inside we have a few plastic linkage pieces that can wear out over time and cause a different set of problems.

Therefore, I know it's a lot easier to replace just the little plastic key reading sensor on the end, but I would take the time to do the job right. The other reason I always replace the entire part is because it seems wasteful to purchase the entire assembly and only use that small piece.

Note: If you decide to just replace the key reader, you'll probably need an offset or 90 degree angled Phillips head screwdriver due to the limited access space.

To replace the Chevy Colorado ignition lock cylinder assembly you’ll have to disconnect the vehicle battery first. And remove the steering wheel to gain access to the ignition housing retaining bolts and screws. For this reason I recommend leaving the job in the hands of a trusted professional mechanic.

For those that have experience with taking a steering column apart on other year, make and model automobiles this job should fall in your wheelhouse. In fact, disassembling the steering column on the newer models is actually quite a bit easier than cars built 20 years ago. Here’s a series of videos showing how to replace the Chevrolet Colorado ignition lock cylinder assembly.

Fixing Chevy Colorado Passlock Problems

Bypassing the Chevy Passkey System

You can poke around the Internet and find people that have engineered ingenious ways to bypass the Chevy Colorado passkey system.

I would argue that this is really not the way to go. Let me use a specific example where people like to take the yellow and black wires and connect them together to bypass the key reader in the ignition switch.

When you connect the yellow and black wires the engine will start every time you put the key in and turn it to the crank position.

With that said, the security light will remain illuminated as long as those two wires are connected. Although you might not be interested in the vehicle's resale value at this time, it will be a problem when you go to sell the truck.

As the Chevy products age, we sometimes start driving around with illuminated dashboard warning lights. Especially, the check engine light and now we can add the security light to the list.

If we continue down this path, when we trade the vehicle in, they will subtract money for each failed system indicated by a lit dashboard lamp.

Unless you plan on giving your car to Goodwill or one of those charitable organizations, it will probably be cheaper to fix the Chevy Colorado Pass lock problem once and for all.

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