Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car keeps saying the starter is disabled

asked by on

I lost the keys, so i had the cylinder changed. Now it's saying starter disabled

My car has 50000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: It sounds like the new key needs to be enco...

It sounds like the new key needs to be encoded with the powertrain control module (PCM). The original key has a resistor in it with a specific resistance value. If the PCM sees a different resistance value, it will disable the starting system. This is the theft deterrent in action. Hopefully, you have a new key that has a resistor in it. If so, the new key will need to be initiated with the system.

Doing this on your Cadillac may require a professional scanner that is usually very expensive. On most GM vehicles, there is a key relearn procedure that does not require a scan tool. I have used this procedure on many other GM cars and some Cadillacs. Sometimes this works and other times it requires the scanner. The only way to know for sure is to try. The procedure is as follows:

  1. First, you will need to have a good battery and/or access to a battery charger.
  2. Then, turn the key on and leave it on for ten minutes. The security light should stay on for ten minutes. When it turns off, you will have one minute to cycle the key and repeat this step two more times.
  3. Repeat Step 2.
  4. Start the car. If it starts, this procedure was successful. If not, you will need a professional scanner.

If you need any further assistance, I recommend contacting a professional in your area with the necessary equipment to do this for you. Or, if you've encoded the new key with the PCM and are still having problems, you may want to consider contacting a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to diagnose and replace your starter. Good luck!

Was this answer helpful?
Recommended services
Get a Quote

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: ABS light on even though brakes work fine

The most likely failure is the rear end is having problems with internal bearings of the pinion gear. The noise you hear is the gears clashing in the rear end due to the bearings in the pinion gear. The ASB...

Q: How do I deactivate the immobilizer system?

The immobilizer system is automatically deactivated whenever you insert a valid key into the ignition, and turn the ignition to ON.

Q: Are all the motor mounts the same on the sides and in the front?

No, they aren't. Typically there are four main mounts that support the motor and the transmission. Depending on the parts source you buy from, it is important to be specific about the position of the mount. Mounts may or may...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...