Ignition clicks, Engine will not start.

  • 2.4L
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • 68,000 MILES
2008 Chevy Malibu LT

Went to install an aftermarket radio yesterday. After I secured all connections I turned the radio on and it worked without any issues. I proceeded to turn the vehicle off and secured the radio in the dash. Once I reaffixed the dash I attempted to turn the car on. Suddenly I heard a constant ticking sound and the doors kept locking and the anti-theft symbol on the dash started blinking all simultaneously and the engine wouldn't start. The battery appears dead so I recharged it. After a few minutes I attempted to start the car again. The same issue occurred. I then reinstalled the factory radio and still the problem persists. What could this be? What could be making the anti-theft light up and blink on the dash? What's the clicking noise I'm hearing? How might I resolve this problem and what might the cost be?
Do you
have the same problem?
Thursday, February 12th, 2015 AT 6:29 PM

1 Reply

Oh boy. We don't get involved with costs here because there's way too many variables, but be prepared for a pile, just in case. You can't remove the original radio from your car. They had a 100 percent failure rate of their CD players in the '90s. To prevent people like me from repairing them at a very low cost, they stopped allowing us to buy radio service manuals and parts, so you were tied to their two grossly over-priced repair centers. Instead, a lot of people put in nice aftermarket replacements. To prevent that, they cleverly designed the Body Computer into the radio so you can't remove it. At a minimum, you have to find a "radio relocation kit" that allows you to mount the radio in the trunk, then you can snip just the speaker wires and hook them to your new radio. That lets you keep the chime, locks, and other accessory functions. The Body Computer, which you removed, is the master computer that tells all the others when to turn on. There can be three to four dozen other computer modules.

Your radio may be locked up now from unplugging it. Since I'm not able to work on therm, I can't say for sure, but it's pretty certain you're in for a trip to the dealer.

There's another sore point to be aware of. When mechanics connect a scanner to diagnose computer-related problems, they have the option to press the "lock" selection from a drop-down menu. There is no reason to do that that I'm aware of other than spite, but that locks every computer module on the car, electrically to the Body Computer in the radio. You will never know if that was done unless / until the radio needs to be replaced, and that is likely to be needed at some point. That "lock" programming can not be undone. With a new radio, none of the other computers will turn on. Every one will have to be replaced, then they will need to have software installed. GM has it worked out that you almost surely will have to have that done by a dealer. They are working very hard to lock out the independent repair shops from working on their cars.

I understand wanting to replace some original radios, but I don't recommend trying it on 2002 and newer GM products. They have too many traps built in. Please let me know how you make out with this. I hope it won't be as bad as what many people have told me.
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Thursday, February 12th, 2015 AT 7:05 PM

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