Question about 1996 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

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VAT key not reading, my key reads 10.55 k Ohms. put 10K resistor across Vat contact under steering column. Engine will not crank & security light stays on solid.

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  • jharrsch Jul 03, 2009

    That did not work.
    I had to get a resistor & trimmer resistor to match the pellet resistance in the key exactly.
    (10.55k Ohms)



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Turn it off and let it sit for 30 min

Posted on Jul 03, 2009


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Security light on car tumbles but wont start

You can spray contact cleaner into the lock cylinder to clean the contacts that touch the resistor in the key. Many GM cars have orange wire for the security lock coming out of the steering column. I used a ohm meter to measure the resistance of my Pontiac's key and it was 3000 ohms. Having had trouble with mine I plan to cut the orange wire (actually two inside the orange sheath) and rig up a make and female plug/socket and one extra plug that will have a 3000 ohm resistor on it. When mine refuses to see the key I can always reach under the dash and unplug the key switch plug and pop in the fixed 3000 ohm plug to bypass (or satisfy) the security system. This will make it think it sees the key resistor though it actually is reading a plain resistor of the right value.

Feb 12, 2015 | 2002 Oldsmobile Alero

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My 1993 firebird was running fine after changing ignition switch and now it will not crank? told it was the vats key mod. need to know how to bypass it and where its located

Is there a pellet in the key. This type can be bypassed the pellet pushes to resistors outward to a given value from #1 to #14 if you can read key resistance then go to a electronics store a by a resistor that value now crawl under dash by gas pedal you will find a orange cord with two white wires in it place resistor across both wires and cut wires off leaving the ones going up steering column open. turn key on if security light is flashing wrong resistance value. try again. a haynes manual should have all resistance values but key code.

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Key and starting problems. Do I have a bad VAT?

If you want to keep the VATS system in factory working condition (normally recommended) then a VATS replacement is the answer IF the shops diagnosis is correct, BUT generally speaking ALL GM products built in that decade with the VATS system fail for the same reason sooner or later and it's not usually the VATS itself, but in the key resistor reading portion of the ignition switch.
My 97 Riviera had the same difficulty. Sometimes starts perfect. Other times is totally dead, not like a weak battery, but no fuel pump, no ignition, no starter at all. I noticed the 'security light was on on the dash and if I wait for 3 minutes the security resets itself and the car starts fine.
If these symptoms fit then it is the key reader and not the VATS itself.
There are 4 options if this is so.
1. Aggravation unlimited by putting up with it and waiting for 3 minutes whenever it won't start. (not recommended!!! drives you crazy!)
2. Replace the ignition switch and reader and keys (expensive, but the best all around solution if money is not a problem as it keeps your security system intact, around $250-300)
3. You can buy and install (or have installed) a VATS key reader bypass module. (also a bit expensive, like $150-200 installed)
4.My choice- I took my key to Radio Shack and read the resistance or the resistor. There are 12-15 different combinations. Then I bought 2 resistors that added up to that value + 5%. I soldered those together in line with bull nose connector ends. Then I pulled the lower steering column cover and found the 2 wires leading from the ignition switch reader. Be sure to disconnect your battery and leave the big yellow wire alone, that's the airbag!!! The 2 wires are usually run together inside a long outer sleeve similar to shrink rap and they exit the switch from a different position than the normal on/off/accessory etc. wires. Once located I clipped the wires leaving the switch leads dead and installed the matching bull nose connector ends and then plugged my resistors in line. The car now believes it has the proper resistance key inserted. The rest of the VATS system is not affected. Car starts every time!
This solution requires a little bit of time (took me 1 1/2 hours all in all) and just a little know how, but total cost came to $2.79 :)

Nov 13, 2009 | 1990 Oldsmobile Toronado

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At times cranks and runs fine other times it will not crank

Hello edspring1...the little key chip you mentioned is the onboard security system for your firebird...GM called it the VAT's possible this could be the cause of the no start conditions, sometimes they will reset if you disconnect the negative battery cable for 30 mins.
I really dont think that is your problem though...under the steering pillar...there is a "slider" type ignition switch...meaning...the terminals slide togather to make contact when the key is turned...these darn things get worn to a point they start arching and eventually wont make contact at all...i replaced one last week on a 95 firebird that had the same problem you are describing now.
i'll post a pic of the slider set in position for a tilt steering and non-tilt column....note the difference.
Good luck...i hope this helps...please rate me a fixya.


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You have to use the lock cylinder and key from the original column, the keys have a small piece or resistive wire that the sensor in the column reads and if the wrong resistance value is read then the starter or fuel pump are locked out, your car came with a factory security system so don't know why another was added, but the reason above is the problem.

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SECURITY LIGHT is ON on the dash

you have 2 fixes one replace the ignition switch
about 250 parts and labor or with an ohm meter on the 20 k scale get the reading between each side of the key chip and i can tell you how to bypass in premium chat for less than 20 bucks
hope this helps
please rate me

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Car won't start when security light is blinking

Vehicle anti-theft (VAT) system is not getting proper reading from the ignition switch. Your key has a resistor built into the head of the key (a silver bar on a black backing). Shine up this bar with some fine steel wool on both sides of the key. Possibly the wiring in the steering column that leads to the VAT module has gone bad or the connections in the ignition switch that mate up with the key's resistor no longer connect properly. End result: the starter and fuel injection system remain dead when all else seems normal............Security light on dash will stay on/flashing. There will be a 3 minute dead/reset period between each unsuccessful start attempt.

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