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Chevrolet Impala: Problems & Solutions



  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    I'm signed up on there, and do check it occasionally. I didn't keep track of my maintainance on there very well, because I didn't find the site until I'd had the car for awhile. But knowing about it now, I'd definitely sign up, and keep track of everything you do there - if nothing else, should you have any problem with the car that causes a warranty debate, you can point out your maintainance record there as proof as to what you've had done, and when.
  • jugjug Posts: 4
    I have a fairly 2004 Impala LS with the 3800 engine that has kinda of a weird problem with the power steering making an annoying hissing noise all the time. It seems to get worse the more that it is warmed up and can be heard quite easily at a idle and around 1500 RPM. The power steering pump and lines have been replaced. The dealer says that they all do it. I can't believe that and the ones that I have listened to are quiet.

    Anyone else having a similar problem ?
  • spark1espark1e Lancaster, PAPosts: 19
    Hello, how many miles can I expect to put on a 2001 Impala LS before the shocks need to be replaced? Are the front shocks struts? Any suggestions for good replacements?

  • bh628bh628 Posts: 100


    I've never had a key fob before, and I am just learning what it does. Since I don't have the driver info system/alarm, is this just a convenience in opening or closing the doors? I mean, nothing happens if I open the door with the key, right?


    Also, I have never had a car that has only one key for the doors, trunk and starter. Always used to give just one key to the valet--the starter. Now, if I go to valet parking (I usually don't), they will have access to the car, starter and trunk. What do you do in this situation?


    Thanks so much.
  • mitzijmitzij Posts: 613
    Yes, your key fob is just a convenience to lock and unlock doors and pop the trunk. As for valet parking, I'd just give the kid the key only.

    Enjoy your Impala!
  • arbyarby Posts: 8
    Anyone else puzzled by the operation of the automatic lights? (I have an '03 Impala LS)My daytime running lights do not come on very readily even on bright mornings; however they seem to operate just fine on cloudy-even foggy conditons in the middle of the day. The dealer has checked this out 3 times and can find nothing out of whack. Does the sensor read the angle of the sun to the earth or something like that? Seems they never work before 8:00 am whether it's bright or cloudy.
  • bh628bh628 Posts: 100
    YIPPEE! This is just so exciting, having this new Impala! What a wonderful, smoooooth ride! :)


  • mitzijmitzij Posts: 613
    One thing I forgot...If you use your remote to lock the car then your key to unlock it, the alarm will go off. To shut it off, put the key in the ignition and turn it on, or hit the unlock button on the remote. Using the remote to lock the car sets the alarm.
  • bh628bh628 Posts: 100
    Thanks, mitzij,


    But isn't that if you have the driver information center and alarm option? My alarm doesn't go off in this type of situation.


    I would love to add an alarm option, but I am not sure that's possible. My insurance company did tell me that having the special key requirements to connect the fuel system on startup is the best theft deterrent, but I'd like something for contents.


    Having a separate key for the trunk is actually useless for my car, with fold-down back seat, come to think of it.


    I am amazed at the people who are excited by my new Impala--the guys who like to work on cars! I was getting a spare key for my other key ring in case of lockout (I know, it won't start the car), and told the car buff customer next to me that I just bought an Impala. He got so excited, saying what a great car it is, but I thought he was just being nice. Friday, a grocery clerk was helping me take my groceries out to my car, and I was telling him that my car's a new Impala--like it's no big deal. Wow, he kept telling me what a GREAT car it is--that he works on cars for fun with friends! He just was so excited, you should have seen his face as I showed him the features of the car. My mechanic, and the guys who work for him, rated the Impala over the cars I gave him in a list.


    Feels great to know that the guys who work on cars love the Impala!
  • bh628bh628 Posts: 100
    I'm a new owner, but I thought I'd give helping you a try since I have been pouring over the owner's manual a lot lately. I haven't seen any other comments on your situation, so maybe I can help.


    The dealership mechanic--what did he tell you about when the lights SHOULD come on? My new '04 owner's manual said that "a sensor on top of the instrument panel, makes the DRL work, so be sure it isn't covered.... When it's dark enough outside, your high-beam headlamps will turn off and the headlamps and parking lamps will turn on...."


    For me, this is great. The headlights automatically come on when I hit a patch of road that is in shadow from a building, is really overcast, or when I go into an underground parking structure. When I leave those areas and the sensor senses enough light, it goes off.


    Of course, the manual says you still have to turn the lights on when it gets dark/night--to have full brightness. I'm amazed at how many people think DRL means they never have to turn their lights on or off again.


    Hope this helps you, arby!
  • Bright red car that I really enjoy. I have had the car since 2001. Got 50,000 miles. Have had the typical steering clunk noise and manifold issues with both covered under warranty before my 36,000 warranty expiration. Replaced brakes and 2 front rotors at 40,000 miles (had the rotors turned a couple times during warranty also). Bought Michelin Hydro edge tires at 45,000 miles. Much better than the Goodyears that came with the car.


    Need some advice


    Temperature gauge only going to the 2nd line. It usually runs close to half. Heater only putting out warm air but not hot like it used too. Checked both radiator and overflow levels. Radiator full and overflow container is between cold and hot. I have driven the car more than 30 miles to work and it still did not warm up as it usually does.

    I called the dealership about problem and asked if it might be a thermostat. They said if it was a thermostat, it would cost over $200.00. They said it could be the gauge. I told them that it doesn't put the heat out like it used to. Then they said it could be a sensor or another problem and will need to be brought in to be checked. They said it could cost up to 4 to $500.00 if it was a sensor or more depending on what they find.


    I am hoping with all the experienced people at there, someone could give me some ideas and assurance that this is a reasonable or unreasonable cost to look forward to or any other advice.


    What happened to the days of buying a thermostat for a couple dollars and changing it yourself?
  • YOu may want to reread your manual.


    The DRL are ON always. the sensor on top of the dash is for the Lights. If its dark/cloudy your driving lights will automatically turn on. Or if you feel handy, you can turn them on the old fashion way if you like driving with your lights on during the day.


    Even if you want to turn off your lights at night, you cant!. try it.
  • when you are driving the car, are you using the heater?


    supposely, if your car is overheating, you can run the heater and that will remove some of the heat from the engine.


    just a thought.
  • arbyarby Posts: 8
    The dealer states they DTR light are to be on and the night time lights to be off when the sensor picks up enough daylight to make the changeover. They have checked the computer readings for any malfunction, and have compared its operation to a similar car in the lot. The problem is that by the time they get to look at it, the sun is high enough in the sky that they work properly. The sensor is not covered. The frustrating part of it is that on real bright sunny early mornings and late afternoons the night time lights are on, which means the dash lights-even turned up all the way- are not always enough to read the clock,radio station, gear select, etc. in the still bright sun.YET on a rainy and even foggy mid-day when you would expect the night time lights to be on, the DTR lights come on. In addition, when I go through a shadowy area or tunnel and the Nights come on, the DTR lights are often reluctant to switch back when I get back in the bright light. Any ideas? Thanks.
  • bh628bh628 Posts: 100
    I was quoting from the manual, p 3-15 of the '04 manual. Maybe I should start the car up outside, and go look at what lights are on front of the car during the day. It sounds like I am confusing the headlights coming on in the dark with something else.


    Thanks, but please remember that I was trying to be helpful, when no one else answered this person's post. All I know is that my headlights come on when I hit a dark area. I didn't know that other lights came on at other times. I just got my car 2 weeks ago.


  • The issue is that it is cold outside, the temperature gauge is not moving to the half way point as it usually does. The inside temperature controls are both turned to the HOT position and only getting warm air, not HOT air as it used to do.


    I have had this car since 2001 and know what it is suppose to do, even in the winter. I drive the car more than 2 or 3 miles, I drive 30 miles one way to work, more than enough time for the car to warm up to the temperature it should be at.


    The problem isn't with the engine overheating, it is not reaching the proper temperature as it should be to allow enough warm air to be blown into the interior of the car.


    I hope this information helps clarify the problem that I am having.
  • I'm having the same situation. This is my first winter with the car. I changed the thermostat to a 180 degree and coolant to green after buying the car (always do)and it was fine in the summer. Sounds like the 180 may not work in the winter.


    Going to change the thermostat again. It's a 10 minute job, requiring a 10mm socket. If that doesn't work, reasonably confident that will fix the issue. I'll probably go back to the 180 in a few months until next winter.


    Do it yourself, it's easy, fun and costs $10 instead of $200.



    Mike "Greasy Fingers" Kulina
  • i dont check out this site anymore due to all of the whiners. although there maybe some people that need real help, i think that if youve read any of theese posts you will know that the impala isnt perfect nor does it tout to be.


    If youre going to check your lights at night, note that they wont come on until you either release the parking break or shift into gear. Also note that you cant turn them off either unless you engage the parking break or put into park.


    The DRLs are suppose to be on during the day rain/sun/snow unless its dark enough and the dash sensor turns on your lights, or you turn the on manually.


    also, you cant turn off your DRLs. unless there is some aftermarket feature installed.
  • I feel for you, but HOt and COld are relative terms. since you know your car better, then me or anyone else, i would recommend you take it to your fav mechanic/dealer to look at the issues/problems.


    The previous post has a good point and if youre a DIY then try that. A simple thing to check is the thermostat. run the car and see if the intake to the radiator will get hot. after the thermostat reaches a certain temp (not sure what stock temp thermostat is), it should open the hose will get hot.


    regarding the overheating issue, i mentioned not because your car is overheating, but becuase when you use the heater it draws heat from the engine.
  • I appreciate the feedback. I wish I had the time to go ahead and replace the thermostat, but I will not have any time to work on it until the weekend. Then that is the Holidays and will have a lot of family visiting time.


    I will be taking the car to the dealership today and will let you know the outcome.


    Thank you!
  • arbyarby Posts: 8
    If you are not getting heat inside the car, and your temp gauge is not up to normal after reasonable warm up time (gauge should be about in the middle at 190-200 degrees) your thermostat is not restricting flow enough to raise the temperature. Replace it with the exact degree that it came with-probably a 195 degree. If you put in a lower temp thermostat you could encounter all kinds of other problems. The engine and transmission were designed to operate at certain temps. If you have an LS with tachometer you might notice that the RPM's will read higher at 50 mph until the engine reaches full operating temp. This is because the torque converter won't shift into lock-up until it is warm enough. Installing a thermostat with too low temp could keep that from working, thus causing excessive engine/trans wear and bad gas mileage.

    If your temp gauge is at or above normal reading and you still aren't getting heat inside the car it means either the thermastat is not opening enough to allow flow, or you have a clogged heater core. Suggest you have the system flushed and a proper new thermostat and fresh anti freeze installed. Arby.
  • Sounds like mine! lol Only I could add about 10 more things to the list.
  • About 2 weeks ago, the turn signals of my 03 Impala stayed on, didn't blink, I turned the hazard light on and off a couple of times, then the turn signal came back to work, and they have been worked fine after that. The day before yesterday (Monday), I dropped the car to a Chevy dealer for oil change, asked them to check it out to see what caused the signals problem. The guy at dealer first says - well, because the problem can not be replicated, the technicians won't figure out why. I say - I saw on the internet, some people also got the same problem, and their dealer found out there was a bad wire ground at the hazard switch. The guy says - OK, you can leave the car here, but we are busy, so it will take some time, won't be done till end of tomorrow (Tuesday). In Tuesday afternoon (1:00PM), I called the dealer to check the status,

    that guy was on the phone, I left him a message, asked him to call me back. One hour passed, no response, I went to the dealer. That guy was on the phone, pretended didn't see me. I standed there for about 15 mins, finally he says - what I can do for you, I say what the status? He says - Oh, I just about to call you, it will take longer, how about come back end of tomorrow? I say - are they working on it? he says - no, haven't looked into it yet, they are busy on other things. I asked - how about the oil change? Answer - no, can you wait for another day? I said - forget it, give me my car, don't waste my time.


    I am really mad, they let the car sleep there for two days without even look into it, even didn't do the oil change, and no update to me on what's going on. I have been a die hard GM fun, but now I think the Impala will be my last GM car, when the lease is up in 1.5 years, I will go for a Ford. The other car of ours is a Ford, the dealer experiences are a lot much better.
  • Part is $15 at the dealer, you can replace it yourself if you have half hour to kill. Dont even need to remove the entire Instrument Panel face, just from the drivers door to the radio/center stack.


    The problem is fixed when you replace the hazard switch itself, it contains the turn signal elextronics inside of its housing, and it protrudes about 3 inches back from the button you press from the front. I replaced mine when I had the problem you are having and it fixed it immediately. Girlfreind's 2000 Malibu had the same problem , same fix - just a different part number.


    When you buy it at the dealer, explain you need to purchase the button/switch, NOT THE RELAY!! The relay is a seperate part and generally not the cause of this problem. They may try to sell you both parts at the same time, but you wont need to buy the relay which is a seperate part and part number.
  • Why go Ford, Considering resale value and quality I finally decided to get a honda Pilot. Daughter's Civic is great! Wife's Malibu and my Impala are both problems. Wife's Malibu had pistons replaced at 21,000 miles. Impala eats front AND rear rotors like a teenager eats chips. Tired of the hassle. 2001 Impala LS with 75,000 miles on it only worth about $6000 Kelley Blue Book.
  • middleageguymiddleageguy Chicago areaPosts: 42
    Purchased used 2000 Impala LS two months ago to replace a 1998 Buick Regal which my 17 year old son totaled. Impala runs as well as the Regal, except for the slight oil burning smell. (Any ideas?) I drove the car in foggy weather and had a hard time turning on the fog lights. Only solution was to pull the light control out. That allowed me to turn on the fog lights. This brings up the question of whether the regular lights were on or just the running lights.


    Middle Age Guy
  • Foglights cannot come on unless regular lights are on, they will not come on if running DRLs. The sensor that changes the system from DRLs to regular lights (and turns on the rear lights) takes time to activate. I have been in shade when I started the car and it took forever to go to DRLs. Then again, I have had the opposite occur and it took a long time for the regular lights to come on. Driving in and out of shadows is when this effect is best seen. If there wasn't a time delay built into the sensor everybody's lights would be flickering all the time as they sent down the road and passed through shadows.


    Foggy weather may not be dark enough to activate the regular lights. Fog seems to account for the few times I have had to turn on my lights manually.
  • rdavierdavie Posts: 1
    The cruise control buttons on the steering wheel of my 2003 Impala have a thin layer of black paint and are lettered in white paint. The leds underneath the buttons shine through the white paint but do not shine through the black paint. The black paint has worn in spots from my fingers and finger nails when I adjust the cruise control, causing the light from the leds underneath the buttons to shine through unevenly.


    My vehicle is past the 36,000 mileage warranty. The service manager at the dealer had no constructive suggestions on how I might repair and/or replace these buttons. Can anyone help?
  • scheckscheck Posts: 8
    I've had my 2004 Impala for about ten months, but I still struggle to find a truly comfortable driving position for my right foot. The distance between the gas and brake pedals is greater than any car I've ever had. Also, I'm not thrilled with the soft center padding of the cloth seat, with the outer padding being very firm. I've used seat covers, pillows, foam and everything else trying to get more comfortable with no success. When I get in my wife's car ('03 Vibe), I'm always comfortable.


    Other than the two issues, I really like this car. Can anyone relate to what I'm saying. If I can't do something to get a little more comfortable, I'm going to take a bath on a trade.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Switch replacement is straightforward BUT requires disarming and removal of the airbag module before removal of the steering wheel. Not a DIY project.
This discussion has been closed.