How to Bypass a GM VATS System

Written by herman cruz
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How to Bypass a GM VATS System
You can swiftly bypass the VATS system and get your GM started. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Various GM vehicles come with a VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft System), also referred to as the Passkey System. This factory-installed security feature protects your GM from getting stolen; however, glitches with the system may give you problems when trying to start your motor. When the VATS system malfunctions, your GM will not start and the "theft sys" light will randomly display on your dashboard. In such a scenario, you can bypass the GM VATS system by executing the "relearn" procedure. This bypasses the VATS system by resetting it.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Insert the key in the GM's starter, try to start the car as usual and let it stall. After the car stalls leave the key inside the starter in the "On" position. Do not turn the key to the "Off' position after the car stalls. You can determine when the key is in the "On" position because you're able to play the radio, use the A/C and the lights on your dashboard are on.

  2. 2

    Pay attention to the blinking "Theft Sys" light on your dashboard and wait until it stops blinking. This will take between 10 to 15 minutes depending on your GM model.

  3. 3

    Start your GM vehicle once the "Theft Sys" light stops blinking. You GM will now bypass the VATS system by resetting it and the car will start normally.

Tips and warnings

  • If the VATS system keeps giving you problems, take it to the dealership to fix it. A mechanic can also disable the VATS system permanently.

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