Security Light stays on and car starts and runs fine..

I have a 96 Camaro Z28 and for the last 2 years my security light has stayed on after I start my car. I've done nothing about it because..well... the car runs just fine.
I am getting ready to get another vehicle and will be trading in my Camaro. I'd really like to fix the problem to avoid the questions about why the light is on. Calling a couple of dealers to get some guidance didn't really help. They just wanted me to bring the car in and pay them 90.00 for a diagnostic fee. There are no OBD II codes stored in the computer.
Is there a way to determine why the light is on but everything runs just fine?
Thanks for any guidance!
-Fred Smith snipped-for-privacy@Carolina.rr.com
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Did you ever replace the battery... or disconnect it? Someone told me that you need to have someone reset the security after you do that... any truth to that?
-Geno 1985 Blue Camaro 2.8L w/T-tops (150k and going... getting worried) 1988 Blue Firebird Formula 5.0L w/T-tops 1985 Brown Firebird 5.7L w/5-Speed (No T-tops though) Still looking for an '82-'84 T/A w/T-tops or parts from one
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Yes, the battery has been disconnected a few times and replaced twice since the time I have owned the vehicle. I bought it new in 96.
I would be surprised if it were that simple. :-) I'd love it if it were.
-Fred

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Fred, Disconnecting the battery has nothing to do with it. Its totally a separate system on that model. That may be the case on newer vehicles that utilize a different type of theft deterrent system. On the Camaro, the system does not "reset" especially after a battery disconnect.
I never got why people refuse to pay for diagnostics. There is no ploy to lure you into the dealership to steal all your money. I know $90.00 is a lot of money and in my opinion that it is excessive. The dealership technicians don't get to set the labor rate, that is set by the suits up front. And don't think for a minute that we get paid even 1/4 of that $90.00 an hour. The reason why the dealer wants you to bring the car is to check it out is because it could be any 1 of several faulty components. You can't expect them to guess and tell you whats wrong over the phone to have you replace the wrong part? That would be like asking a doctor to diagnose cancer over the phone without running tests. Why is it unreasonable to pay for auto diagnostics? I can list the different components for you to change one by one and you can spend well over $1000.00 until you get the light to go out, or you could bring it to me, let me test a few components and tell you exactly which one needs to be repaired or repaired for a lot less. At worst, if you didn't want to spend the money on the repair after I present you with an estimate, you will have paid $90.00 and know what exactly is wrong with your car and maybe you can tackle the repair yourself. Its just not that easy to diagnose things over the phone or newsgroups.
I can tell you one very common fault that happens a lot on VATS systems. There are 2 wires that lead up the steering column from under the dashboard that go to the ignition cylinder. Those wires help the theft module "read" the chip on the key. From the ign cylinder turning all the time those little wires tend to break a lot making a ignition cylinder replacement necessary. That harness is part of the ign cylinder. That is just one of several things that could be wrong, its just the most frequent one I've seen. The chip in the key could also be worn. Both of those issues will also keep the vehicle from starting with the security light on. Again, without looking at your vehicle and diagnosing it by running tests, those are my best guesses. Good Luck!
--
Jason E.
ASE Master Technician with L1 Advanced engine performance
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<Soapbox>
Im about sick and tired of hearing about "Chip" keys or "Computer Chip" Keys. It's a Resistor. Nothing fancy. VATS works by the value of that resistor. If you know that value, you can tap the wires and put a resistor in. Then VATS is bypassed. After that your free to pick the cylinder and Repo the car. </Soapbox> Charles
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Jay,
Thanks for your post. I will probably end up taking it to the dealer to have them find the cause but I find it strange that I have not had a problem starting or running the vehicle since the light came on. If it were a problem with the key or the wires then I would figure that the car would not even start. I was going to see if I could take the bulb out but I really don't think it's fair to the next owner, especially if the car does fail to start because of this issue. I just don't want to spend $500.00 to get it repaired when I'm going to trade the vehicle in.
If you or anyone else can think of a reason the light stays on when all else appears to be well let me know.
Thanks!
-Fred
So, aside from taking it to the dealer is there anything else I can look at?

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I would stop by an Autozone or similar auto parts store - they will usually read diagnostics codes on a car for FREE. Not sure if the security ties into the computer so you could see a fault, but it might. its worth a shot.
paying $70 - $90 for a dealer to spend 30 seconds reading your engine codes = rip off, don't do it unless absolutely necessary.
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First off just getting a code from the ECM does not tell you the problem. It only says what sort of problem it is.
Even OBD I cars send out more data then just error codes. A good example is TPS readings, O2 Sensor Readings, as well as other sensor readings. Why replace a good factory O2 sensor when the low voltage issue is a corroded terminal at the wiring connector?
OBD II is more advanced, not only does a scan tool have input options, it reads more.
When it comes to fees for diagnostic, Every Shop charges them. Especially if you decide not to have your vehicle repaired by them. Some shops will not charge you if you have them do the repair. Most of these fees are a flat rate. Even if it takes 2 Techs 4 hours to find the issue.
Charles
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I'm pretty sure I know what the probem is, if you have the keys with the small 'computer chip' on the black plastic part then your car is equipped with a sensor in the ingition (where you actually put the key into) that is supposed to be able to sense the key, to make sure its the real key. In many cases, the wires from this sensor become loose or faulty and wil trip that light.
What I find curious though is that you have NOT had problems starting the car, as I have the security light come on and off and sometimes it DOES prevent me from starting the vehicle (you then have to wait 3 minutes for it to cycle) and I have a 94 Trans Am and have had this problem for 3-4 years.
You are right though, it will NOT show up as an OBD II code bc its not that type of problem.
I suppose the only way you could be sure to fix this is to get the ignition changed but I have no idea how much that costs. It is most likely NOT the chip on the key it self as they are not known to fail and besides those cost over $100 if I recall correctly.
Please let me know if you find a way to fix this as I would like to fix mine too (with out getting a new ignition).
Hope this helped!
-K.A.
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Oops, sorry Jason, I didn't see your reply before I posted mine, pretty much the same thing anyhow. In your experience, is the only way to fix the broken wires to replace the entire ignition cylinder?
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Sorry for the multiple posts, the server went down for second... this is what it was suppose to say:
Oops, sorry Jason, I didn't see your reply before I posted mine, pretty much the same thing anyhow. In your experience, is the only way to fix the broken wires to replace the entire ignition cylinder?
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Oops, sorry Jason, I didn't see your reply before I posted mine, pretty much the same thing anyhow. In your experience, is the only way to fix the broken wires to replace the entire ignition cylinder?
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Oops, sorry Jason, I didn't see your reply before I posted mine, pretty much the same thing anyhow. In your experience, is the only way to fix the broken wires to replace the entire ignition cylinder?
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Sorry for the ridiculous multiple posts guys, it kept telling me my messages were not being posted and to try again. Silly me I'm used to using forums that actually work.
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Oops, sorry Jason, I didn't see your reply before I posted mine, pretty much the same thing anyhow.
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I had the same thing on my 2001 Z28. I checked everything I could think of. Even tried to finally "reset" everything by disconnecting and then reconnecting the battery. Nothing helped and I couldn't find anything (like door or hatch switches sticking etc) wrong. After a while I cried uncle and made an appointment with the dealer service center. Wouldn't you know, by the time I drove it into the garage the problem was gone, and could not be reproduced! It has been perfect ever since and I never did learn what went wrong.
I know this isn't much value to you to try and find out what might BE wrong, but still thought it might be noteworthy.
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