To gain access to the ignition switch on an Oldsmobile Alero you will need a 7mm socket, a socket extension, a small flat head screwdriver, and maybe a ratchet. First, remove the trim from around the gauge cluster by removing the two 7mm screws which are located on the upper part of the trim. Also, remove the harness that is connected to your trip reset button by using a small flat head and lightly prying up on the U piece of plastic which locks it in place. Tilt your steering wheel to the lowest position and remove the four 7mm screws that hold the gauge cluster in place (two on top, two on bottom). One piece of advise, if you are keeping track of your gas mileage, write down how many miles are on your tripodometer before going any further. Next, tilt and turn your gauge cluster so you can gain access to the harness attached to the rear. Remove it and store your gauge cluster somewhere it can't get broken. Lightly pull back on the trim surrounding your radio and climate control console. Remove the screws holding the radio in place and easily pull it out. You may want to leave the radio plugged in so it won't go into security mode, but I personally have an aftermarket radio and bought the car off of my brother with it in and it won't go into security mode (Anti-Theft). You may also need to lightly pull up on the plastic that surrounds the shifter to have more room to move the climate control trim around, and if you just want it out of the way use the flat head screwdriver to pop the pin out of the front side of the shifter, then pull up on the shifter which will remove it, and remove the trim. Don't forget to twist out the light and disconnect the ETS buttons harness.
Now you can see the screws holding the ignition switch in place. I know there are at least two, there may be a third but they are in plain sight with one being behind the radio trim to the left... All 7mm. If you can move the ignition towards the front of the car, you have all of them. This part can be a little tricky. The ignition switch can and does come out from where the gauge cluster was. On the bottom left rear side is the Park safety cable which tells the ignition Yes the car is in park and it will allow it to start, if its not in park it won't. Release it by using the small screwdriver to press the tab in, which will release it. Next disconnect both wiring harnesses by once again pressing in the tab with the small screwdriver. Insert your key, if it will turn, and turn it to run... All the way to the right without attempting to start the engine. On the ignition switch there is a small square hole located at the 5 o'clock position, near the bottom of the switch. With the key REMAINING in the run position, insert the small screwdriver into the opening and press in slightly. As you are doing that pull on the silver ring of the ignition which will pull the Ignition Cylinder free of the Ignition Switch.
Now, I have never removed the switch from my 2003 Alero. The reason being, there is a connector for the vehicles Passlock sensor which I have never tried to remove. You may be able to just pop it off, however I do not know. If you can replace the switch, I assume the connector comes right out so it can be put in the new part. The actual Passlock sensor is located on the Ignition Cylinder that you removed earlier.
When installing the new switch, make sure to turn the cylinder to the run position, or it will not slide in to the new switch. If your car continuously goes into security mode (flashing security light) and you are required to keep the key in the run position for 10 minutes before you can start it again, your problem is the Passlock sensor. To fix that do a search on Google for Alero Passlock Sensor Fix. There is a website dedicated to the fix and its straight forward, and only requires the purchase of a small resistor.
Now reassemble.......... Now I get to go back outside in the dark to put my entire dash apart... My problem is my fuel pump won't always turn on but it I slightly hit my dash it fixes it. Turned out that the switch is going bad. I popped the rear tan plastic piece off of the ignition switch to find contacts that were scorched and electrical smoke soot all over the plastics.
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