alibobally_

Anti Theft or Alternator Problem?

12 posts in this topic

On December 31st I accidently locked my only key for my 2013 Chevy Spark LS inside the car. So I called triple A and the guy tried to pump my door open with an air bag looking thing (my car door didn't close all the way, I rushed to grab it/stopped it from fully closing, but it still locked) . He couldn't get it to open, and even tried lifting the lock with a long fork like object, but it wouldn't budge. Then, it finally occured to me I have my power lock by the steering wheel for the trunk. He hit the unlock and I crawled through the back to open my car!! Yay!! Now I'm thinking my little mistake might have ruined my car. A couple of weeks later my car had trouble starting (chug, chug....start) and the anti theft light was on (car symbol with lock on it). Sometimes the light would stay on while I drive & go away after a while. Other times it wouldn't start at first till I waited about 5 minutes. However it has never flashed at me like I've seen in other cars, it's always been solid. So it dissappeared for a couple of months (it's very sporatic) and then last Saturday when I was driving home at night, I flashed my highbeams & my radio short circuted (two seconds of no music and no Aux or Fm/Am info just pure blue screen) and my lights would dim as well. This would keep happening if I flashed my high beams or rolled down my windows. Luckily I made it home and as I went into reverse to park (I have a manual) the whole car almost shut off/stalled/short circuited. The radio/clock reset this time though back to 2011 and 12:00 which didn't happen while driving. Then I shut off the car and waited a few seconds wondering what the heck was going on. So I tried starting my car again, and there was nothing. Not a crank, light, or even grasshopper chirping. Completely Dead. So the next morning my boyfriend jumped my car, and it revved back to life! But, the solid anti theft light was there. I drove around for about 25-30 minutes and my car didn't die or have any issues. I bought a battery from Autozone (not the one they have listed for the '13 LS because that one is too big, but the smaller one that fit my car) back in April 2016. We used our black & decker alternator checker/battery charger and my alternator checked out as good on there. I unplugged my battery for a few hours, and have not had any issues since, but I'm worried I'm not out of the clear as that anti theft light is really random.....I had not seen it for a good month when my car had its episode last Saturday, until we jumped my car the next morning. Anything else mechanical that could be causing this? Or is it simply the anti theft causing mayhem on my car? If so, what can I do about it besides go to Chevy and pay them an arm & a leg (if anything???)!! Thank you for reading and getting this far!!! 

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Try getting a new key cut and programmed. Check your battery connections and grounds make sure they are tight and there's no corrosion.

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Hmmm, I'll definitely have to try getting a new key cut & programmed. My battery looks good-no corrosion or loose connections. Would I have to go to the Chevy Dealership to get this done or can I have a locksmith do it? How much do you think Chevy would charge? Thank you for your help I really appreciate it! 

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The dealership will be the most expensive place to get it done, a locksmith will be a lot cheaper, just shop around as prices vary a lot from one place to the other.

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To avoid a lockout..you can program the mylink to keep the drivers door unlocked until the remote is used to lock it..Makes it impossible to have another lockout..instructions in the MyLink section of the manual...As far as your current issue with the random anti theft light.. and second known good battery draining...to me it sounds like you have a random short circuit occurring..could be as simple as a loose connection or a bit more complex..but related to the anti theft circuit and probably nothing to do with your initial lockout. Since your BF is able to check the alternator he is probably able to diagnose a few simple line voltage tests and a visual inspection. Before you go getting a new key and trying other random things and if BF cannot find the short or issue, try taking it in to a trusted mechanic or shop that specializes in electronics like a car stereo shop and give them as much info and history as you can..I'm fairly sure this can be resolved quickly and inexpensive that way (specially if the BF finds something). Taking it into the dealer might not be the best route to go since they tend to replace rather than fix and that would be costly...Good luck and keep us in the loop..K?

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It could have been the battery. Modern cars are very sensitive to voltage fluctuations and a battery going bad can really cause havoc with the electrical system. 

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Thanks for all the input!!! I really appreciate it. So far everything has been good, I haven't had any lockouts or anti theft issues. Car is running like a dream. I didn't replace the keys or the battery though I just unplugged it for a couple of hours and triple checked it was put back right. I'll have to wait and see if it acts up again as the months go by. I'll keep you posted if she acts up again. So far it doesn't look like there is anything loose and I'll finally be taking the battery to Autozone this weekend to make sure the voltages are all good. As for the mylink, I don't think my car has that? I just have your normal base key no automatic locks. Here is a picture of my key. Only one I have we bought it from a private party. If there is a way to do the mylink with this key please let me know!!! Thanks again! 

image.jpg

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Some GM cars in the past had this issue of the key not being recognized by the ignition lock, and then the car would crank normal, but fuel was cut off, with the result car would not start. I guess the car's electronics made the decision a car thief was trying to start the car. Letting the car rest for a couple of hours with the key away from the car and then use the same key to start would usually do the trick 

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Posted (edited)

Ya..Just get a 'load test' on the battery..the only battery test that counts to eliminate that. Your fuel pump is obviously OK and in my previous post I thought you has a MyLink (Big screen on dash) but you don't making the issue even simpler..Once load test is done only thing left I can think of is the key or key programming itself since you bought the key from a private party after you bought the car from what I gather in your post..so if that is the case I suspect the key as it needs to be properly mated electronically to the specific vehicle..That's really my best guess on your whole issue, but either way it does not sound expensive or serious as it starts and runs fine after a battery disconnect..But, Please let us know how you make out with this issue..as we all like a mystery and it could help others with similar issues..one of the things with this forum is sharing advise or issues.'Nuff said on this.

Edited by Retired old Gearhead

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Okay, so today I woke up and my car would not start. No lights or doors were left on it just decided this morning it did not want to start. I got jumped and the car started up with some difficulty (I could tell it did not want to turn on). I took the battery out and went to Autozone so they could check it since my battery is almost a year old (April 30th 2016). Apparently the battery is at 100% still so it's definitely not the battery or the alternator. The only other thing the guy could think of is it being the starter. He said to take the starter back to him and he would run a check on it to see if it's going bad or is bad. So I guess with this new information do you still believe it could be just the key or do you think the starter could have something to do with everything that has happened with my car (anti theft, diming lights, dying for no apparent reason????). And if you do think it's the starter, is this something I could replace myself? I think it'll be $216 at autozone but I see some on ebay for about $60-$90. If anyone has any advice or diagrams for a starter change please share! I am so desperate at this point to get my car finally back to the good condition she originally was in. Thank you all for your help I appreciate it.

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Posted (edited)

If battery was fully charged, and you still needed a jump? Was the motor cranking at normal speed? If not, that indicates bad electrical connection from battery to starter. If starter was bad, a jump would not crank the motor. I would remove the cables from battery, clean the battery posts and inside of the cable connectors. 

 

If the motor was cranking normally, but car did not start, then it points to fuel supply issue or spark plugs not receiving high voltage. 

 

My wife had an Olds Alero which was notorious for not recognizing the ignition key. The motor  would crank at normal speed, but car would not start because the theft prevention system cut off fuel supply. Usually all she had to do was wait a couple of hours, and then car started fine with the same key. I have not heard of that problem with Sparks. But who knows! It is a GM car!!

Edited by Bobby MSME
!

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21 hours ago, alibobally_ said:

Okay, so today I woke up and my car would not start. No lights or doors were left on it just decided this morning it did not want to start. I got jumped and the car started up with some difficulty (I could tell it did not want to turn on). I took the battery out and went to Autozone so they could check it since my battery is almost a year old (April 30th 2016). Apparently the battery is at 100% still so it's definitely not the battery or the alternator. The only other thing the guy could think of is it being the starter. He said to take the starter back to him and he would run a check on it to see if it's going bad or is bad. So I guess with this new information do you still believe it could be just the key or do you think the starter could have something to do with everything that has happened with my car (anti theft, diming lights, dying for no apparent reason????). And if you do think it's the starter, is this something I could replace myself? I think it'll be $216 at autozone but I see some on ebay for about $60-$90. If anyone has any advice or diagrams for a starter change please share! I am so desperate at this point to get my car finally back to the good condition she originally was in. Thank you all for your help I appreciate it.

Yup..Could be a short in the starter or even a bad starter solenoid..Still not thinking the key as anything to do with this, but could be the ignition switch (where the key is inserted. Have a trusted mechanic check it all out..nothing major..just a short somewhere or bad starter..nope..replacing the starter is exact work..have it done if needed or if BF can do it with correct knowledge...Just get it all checked out as any good mechanic can find the problem and fix it in one shot..don't fiddle around trying to save $$ as it may get worse..have it done properly and NOT by the dealer..electrical issues are hard to diagnose even with the proper equipment so leave this to the pro's and you will be out $50-$500.

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