Question about 1997 Pontiac Sunfire

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Cant get key out of ignition on 97 sunfire - 1997 Pontiac Sunfire

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  • Pontiac Master
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I have worked on several vehicles with this same problem and each one was a relatively simple repair with no parts involved, first off the shift interlock has nothing to do with it and will not prevent your vehicle from going into park, it is designed to work ONLY when coming out of park. The problem your having depends on the type of shifter handle your vehicle has, if the release lever is on the bottom and you have to push up with your fingers to release it, then the problem is...there is a rubber type cover that surrounds the release button, after time it becomes distorted and bunches up preventing the shifter from fully engaging in the park position (even though it appears the vehicle is going into park)if your careful you can work the rubber cover out and your problem is fixed. If your shifter button is on the side and pressed with your thumb the cable needs to be adjusted, this cables only purpose is to prevent key removal except when in park and is easily adjusted, with the center council removed, if you look at the front of the shifter base you will see 2 cables that snap into the shifter frame, the larger one is the gear selector cable, the smaller one runs up to the steering column and operates the mechanism that prevents key removal, where the cable snaps into the shifter frame is where the adjustment is done and is identical to a kick-down cable used on older vehicles with automatic transmissions, right where it snaps into the frame there will be a button you can press down releasing a spring loaded adjustment arm, make sure you first mark the arm for reference then press down the button and adjust it a little either way until it functions properly, hope this helps and good luck   

Posted on Jun 30, 2009

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My 97 sunfire starts but shuts off...... if we put gas in the intake it will run....we have tried everything someone please help........


Is your security light staying on? If so, I would expect one of the small wires that go from the ignition lock cylinder down the column and connects to the VATSS anti theft system has broken and the computer is unable to read the chip in the key.

Mar 30, 2016 | Cars & Trucks

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I have a 97 Pontiac Sunfire...The key is stuck in the ignition turned on...won't turn off...How do I get the key out?


Make sure the car is in park, if that does not work, put it in neutral and try. Search for a button under the ignition key to release the key. Also turn the steering wheel so it is not in a locked position. Good luck!

Mar 06, 2016 | Pontiac Cars & Trucks

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Hi Paul,here's how to reset your system.
  1. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF.
  2. Attempt to start the engine, then release the key to ON. The vehicle will not start.
  3. Observe the SECURITY telltale, after approximately 10 minutes the telltale will turn OFF.
  4. Turn OFF the ignition, and wait 5 seconds.
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 two more times for a total of 3 cycles/30 minutes. The vehicle is now ready to relearn the passwords on the next ignition switch transition from OFF to CRANK.
  6. Start the engine.

May 30, 2013 | Cars & Trucks

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Key stuck in ignition pontiac sunfire


ignition keylock cylinder broke. you have to remove ignition switch and remove keylock cylinder and replace ignition switch keylock cylinder with new ignition key then you have to reset theft security system which dealership has to fix.

Jan 27, 2013 | 1999 Pontiac Sunfire

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How do i disarm my theft system on my 1997 pontiac sunfire? just starting to not allow me to start my car. second retry usually works.


SOUND LIKE YOU FAULTLY WORN IGNITION KEY,FAULTY IMMOBILIZER READ COIL IN THE IGNITION SWITCH OR BCM FAULTY HAVE VECHICLE CHECK OUT AT DEALERSHIP AND FIX YOU CANT DISABLE THEFT SECURITY SYSTEM.

Oct 05, 2011 | 1997 Pontiac Sunfire

1 Answer

Changed out battery to new one now car will not start with key but can jump solinoid and start 97 sunfire 2.4l


Are you getting any anti theft lights? The sunfire is pretty similar to the cavalier, and I worked on a 96 that had a problem with the passlock system.

If you are not familiar, you can turn the key but nothing happens. There is a yellow "anti-theft" light that blinks on the gauges. There is a resistor in the ignition switch that sends a signal to the computer to tell the car to start.

Your problem sounds similar, and since you just changed the battery, you may have reset the system. To re-enable it you unfortunately have to go to the dealer. I searched EVERYWHERE and found no quick fix for it, and I took the cavalier to the dealer as well. Hope thats not your issue, but if so let me know I will try to help however I can.

Mar 05, 2011 | 1997 Pontiac Sunfire

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When I turn off the Sunfire's ignition the car


it sounds like a bad ignition switch problem, not the key part but the electrical part of the ignition, hope this helps.

Jan 20, 2010 | 2000 Pontiac Sunfire

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MM theft system has been activated on my 98 Pontiac Sunfire and now my car won't start. I've checked my trunk for a button and I've removed the alarm fuse and still my car won't start.


I have a 97 Malibu and when the theft system light kept coming on and would only start after letting the car sit for 10 minutes we ended up replacing the complete ignition where the key goes in. Then it was fine. It wasn't cheap either. Sorry, good luck.

Dec 10, 2009 | 1998 Pontiac Sunfire

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How to remove or bypass the factory installed anti theft vehicle immobilizer.


in the 1996 sunfire GM uses an anti theft lock system. It can be triggered by all sorts of things. In order to relinquish this you must have a key to turn the ignition. These are not coded just plain cut keys. Once you attain this you put the key in and turn the ignition to the ACC position and wait ten minutes (theft lock light will turn off), turn off and take key out. You MUST do this 3 times and then the theft lock will be disarmed.

May 10, 2009 | 1996 Pontiac Sunfire

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02 pontiac sunfire won't crank at random times


Hi, I had the same problem with my girlfriend's 97' sunfire, it wouldn't start so I jumped the starter terminals which I think screwed it up even more (causing the theftlock light to come on). It turns out this is a common problem that can be solved by hooking up a GM Tech2 scanner, going under "body" codes, and following the instructions for bypassing the PASS LOCK SOLENOID. Hope you find this helpful, Byron

Dec 10, 2008 | 2002 Pontiac Sunfire

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