Passlock Theft System Problems On GM Cars

Ok, today at work I had the unfortunate pleasure of a customer that was a complete moron and complainer! She had a Passlock Problem on her car. This happens all too often in the auto repair field, and I’m getting extremely tired of people that have no idea what they are talking about trying to tell me my job! It all started out as a regular job. A vehicle was towed in because it would not start, and supposedly the security light was on. I went to check out the car and found that the battery was dead. After using my jump box to get some power to the vehicle, there was indeed a security problem.

Checking for codes revealed there was an invalid Passlock signal from the ignition cylinder. When the ignition cylinders go bad on most GM vehicles, this will cause the security or theft light to come on or flash. The car will go into lock down and not start until a valid signal is received. We mechanics can usually do a quick program to the security system and get the car started temporarily just to get it in the shop.

So after some more diagnosis, I determined the car needed a new ignition cylinder and Passlock sensor. As for the battery, it would not hold a charge, so it either had a bad cell or was just junk. I recommended a new battery as well. My service writer sold the job, so I went about my usual repairs and installed a new ignition cylinder, new battery, and then relearned the new theft deterrent signal. The car started and ran fine. It was getting near the end of the day at work, so I buttoned things up and pulled the car around to get washed and delivered to the customer.

After picking up the car, the customer drove back into the service department and I was called back to the desk. The customer stated that her horn did not sound when she used the remote. I’m kind of shocked by this and thinking, “what does the horn have to do with anything I did to the Passlock?”

She was getting a little testy and was explaining how it worked before her problems with the dead battery and no start. I told her that I had no reason to test the horn after making repairs and didn’t know if it worked before or not. The two repairs I made, the ignition cylinder and the new battery, have absolutely NOTHING to do with the horn or would cause it to work or not work. She didn’t accept that explanation, and now I was getting a tad ticked off! I went to the effort to diagnose her problem right there in the service drive and indeed found her horn needed to be replaced. She demanded that she get one replaced and was NOT going to pay for it. At this point I had to just walk away, or I may have thrown some profanities her way.

This type of thing is probably the number one cause of mechanic stress! It’s the same as saying ‘you repaired my brakes and now my headlights don’t work’. Things have no common interest to each other, and customers that know no better think it’s something we did wrong or did not look at!! This drives a technician crazy!!!

How was I supposed to know she had a problem with her horn unless she mentioned it to the service writer and he put it on the repair order for me to diagnose? I am by no way a mind reader!! All she needed to do, was along with the other complaints with the Passlock, was just mention the horn and I would have checked it out while doing the other repairs and told her then she needed a new one.

Now, we have a problem customer who will definitely not be happy at any cost. Even if we gave her a new horn for free, this whole episode will leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. And worst of all, this was totally avoidable! This moron customer should have said something to begin with! It’s not my fault your horn doesn’t work. I didn’t break it and wasn’t told to look at it…….so poo on you!!

The moral of this story… NOT be one of those customers at your shop!!