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Chevrolet Impala: Problems & Solutions



  • bh628bh628 Posts: 100
    Having had a very difficult time finding the right car for me, I can relate to your situation! I actually have the opposite issues--most seats were too hard, and I didn't like the position of the other pedals. But I am quite tall and have other needs.


    I don't know what part of the country you are in, but is there a good "Relax the Back Store" near you? Many of them are staffed by former physical therapists (I think the chain was started by one), and they might be able to give you a little expertise.


    When I was considering the type of seat to look for, I went to their store. They had a bucket seat set up so that you could try it with different types of cushions. The store manager would also go out to a car with me, and help me problem solve. The manager told me of only 3 cars that he never sees, needing help for seating comfort--BMW, Volvo, and I forgot the last one.


    They let me try every cushion in the store, after I brought my new car around. I knew the Impala was the best fit, after I rented one for the weekend. And I knew which cushion would make it more comfy, by my prior testing.


    There are many types of cushions and foam. Some are more dense than others. You might want to look for a denser piece of foam/cushion that is only big enough to fit in the soft center, so that the whole seat is firm for you.


    If you don't have a "Relax the Back" store, there are probably similar stores. Just ask around--your doctor, or a physical therapist. Places for people with back pain are all over, and there are lots of products--even if you don't have back pain! There are places, found in the phone book, you might find that sell foam--all kinds--and you can have a cover sewn on for cheap. It would be a shame to have to lose money on your car.


    I think the reason the Impala is more comfortable for me is that I've spent most of my life in Chevys! Even so, I didn't like the position of the pedals on the Malibu, and it's one reason I didn't buy one. I don't know what to suggest to you on pedal position. Maybe if you get the seating issue changed, the pedals won't be as much of a problem. You might also considering adjusting the seat differently.


    If you are considering getting a different car, you might consider renting one for a whole weekend. I learned a lot from the rental, and even more the second day, about the comfort and features for my needs.


    Hope this is helpful to you. I hope you'll report back with positive news...
  • arbyarby Posts: 8
    I can't get comfortable in my '03 LS either. Same problem with the cloth seat. Center of seat bottom "gives" too much, and the seat back is too curved. My wifes '00 LS with leather seat is much better. It has a relativly flat surface and I noticed the underneath structure is totally different. I'm considering buying a leather driver's seat to use as long as I own the car, then re-install the cloth seat at trade time. Sell the leather on ebay. Arby
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    I've never really paid that much attention to the placement of the brake/accelerator pedals on the Impala until after reading these posts - I made a point of tilting my steering wheel all the way up at a stop light today just to take a look, and realized I regularly only use the very lower right-hand corner of the brake pedal. I bet I almost never put my foot square onto the brake pedal - whether that's because the pedals are too far apart or what, I don't really know; that's just what I've realized I do. I know I've never had any problems getting my wires crossed between the two pedals, so they must be relatively far apart.
  • From my experience with the exact same problem I would have to say it is a GM design flaw. Ive been under my dash and had the cold air vents below the wipers opened and cleaned the drain. It drains fine. My 98 Grand Prix has the same problem during hard rains. Its very sad. I have a solution you can try if it is still happening. When I leave my car before shutting it off I turn the control to max a/c then turn the fan off and it does not leak in. The reason is because when the heat/ac runs on any other setting the vent opens to bring in fresh air. When the setting is on max a/c the blower motor shuts out the fresh air vent and re-circulates the air in the car so when it rains hard the water does not backflow from that cold air vent into the floorboard. Its rediculous to have this kind of problem on an automobile that costs thousands but so far this is the only way to prevent this from flooding and you may want to try this.
  • I guess it is all relative! With my size 13 EE shoes, it is nice to finally (in my 05 Impala LS) be able to reach the gas pedal without having to worry about catching the brake pedal at the same time!
  • scheckscheck Posts: 8
    Thank you for your suggestions. While we don't have the store you mentioned, I've found a man who does restore/modify auto seats and he has good references. He's willing to remove the center part of the seat and replace the foam with something more to my liking. His estimate was $90 -$120.


    I haven't scheduled anything since my wife is now driving the Impala with her own seat cushion invention. We'll see how long that lasts before she wants our Vibe back.


    I've talked to a couple of dealers about trades, but we would just be pounded by doing something now. I will have the seat re-done before giving up.


    I checked again with my dealer about adjusting the throttle/gas pedal so that I could rest my foot on it when up to a relatively steady speed. They again said that is controlled by the computer and there is nothing they can do. I understand some Bonneville owners have the same complaint.


    It sort of reminds me of the time I had a Pontiac Sunbird and you could not use the visors without hitting the rear view mirror. That's GM for you.
  • bh628bh628 Posts: 100
    Regarding the pedals, there are many ways to use them. For me, the placement is great for the way I use them. However, I don't feel comfortable making these suggestions, especially on a permanent web posting, and neither of us posts their email address. Could be questions of liability, who knows? But I am sure you will figure out a different way of using them. Good lucck.
  • Help! I've just leased a 2005 Chev Impala Sedan. I love the car, but my rear and drivers side windows get really icy when I drive on the highway. I've been to the dealer once about wind noise and they said they fixed it, but the problem (noise) is still there. Is there anything I can do? Would an auxillary heater work or some special kind of window coating? I live in North Dakota (it was -18F today) and it isn't safe to drive with Window like this.


    Thank you,


  • Why did you have to pay if it was a recall???


    I refuse to pay.

  • arbyarby Posts: 8
    Update. i called my dealer parts dept to price a leather seat. Seems the seats come in numerous pieces, and assembly is required. It's also expensive. The parts guy hooked me up with a guy that does custom interiors for street rods. He was well aware of the problem. He has a new GM pickup that he has had to modify the seat a few times to get comfortable. He told me that in the past couple years GM discontinued making their own seats, and that they buy them from an independent supplier-I think he said Lear Corp. This explains the big difference betwen the seat in my wife's '00 Impala and my '03. Anyhow he put in pads where I wanted more support, and the result is a fabulous improvement. Well worth the $'s. Anyone else with a similar complaint should find someone who can rework these lousy seats.
  • txguytxguy Posts: 57
    My '01 LS with over 119K miles continues to run strong and achieve 26-29 mpg with freeway driving.


    During the last round of cold weather here, the temp gauge reading dropped during my morning commute. It dropped completely out of normal range. I checked coolant level and all was fine. On the drive home, the check engine light came on. On-Star ran the codes as I drove, and the code showed a cooling system failure. Not a critical problem (according to them) but should be checked in next few days. The next day the temp gauge was normal. After a few days it malfunctioned again, but I noticed that when the gauge ran too cool that the cooling fans were running continuously. If I disconnected one of the cooling fans, the temp would rise. I checked relays and sensors and possibly had a loose connection on the coolant sensor located on the front of the block. After that I ran the car for awhile and the computer reset itself. No check engine light, and the temp gauge has been normal. It's probably sensor and computer related but I still don't know what caused it for sure. It sounds like this is not an isolated incident. I think it is time to start filing complaints with NHSTA . The only thing that seems to get GM's attention is numbers.


    Other than that the car is great. The warped brake rotor problem is common with many new cars. Switch to heavy duty service types for the Imp and you should have no more worries about warped rotors..
  • txguy -


    Just went thru same thing with my '01LS with 105k, turned out to need a new thermostat.
  • txguytxguy Posts: 57
    Interesting. I wonder why mine fixed itself without me replacing anything?
  • Well thats how thermostats act when they go bad, one day they can just go and the next day they can be fine,they "stick" open or closed literally if they stick open the vehicle will constantly receive coolant and constantly be cooled therfore the temp gauge will be low and your gas mileage will suffer,when they stick shut it can result in a meltdown quite literally,as the engine will recieve little if any coolant resulting in a massive over heat,the $5.00 thermostat is a definate replace if it starts to give you trouble,I'd rather pay $5.00 then buy a new engine.
  • As Chrsis30 said - my did it on and off for 3 months, light would come on for a few days, and gauge would cease to work while fan ran for minutes after stopping car.

    Then light out, gauge works, no extra fan action, this for a few days.

    Finally, light came on and stayed on, so I brought it in, got new thermostat, problem solved.
  • txguytxguy Posts: 57
    Thanks Gang! Will get a new thermostat on the way home tonight. And thanks to Edmunds for this forum!
  • I'm printing your advice right now - thanks. Actually went back to auto glass and advised them that if I went to dealer and they found any leaks from windshield replacement, they would pay me back. Luck be it - they found a leak. Not really sure if I'm over it yet. A quick repair at shop - leads me to wonder when next leak will occur. Did have sense to have them document repair though.

    Will definitely try your suggestion in case of further leaks.

    Another question for you - I've always struggled with learning how to use controls for temperature inside vehicle.

    Example - I lie in Michigan - cold most of the time - easily "steams" up with multiple people inside (couple dirty/wet kids from wrestling).

    What's the best way to manuever these controls??

    Problem occurs especially when it's very cold outside.

    What seems to be an issue is that front windshield cleans easily. How do I get side front and back windows to easily clear of fog???

    Sorry for lengthy question - just happened to jump on site tonite and noticed your reply. Always looking for helpful advice and you seemed to have a good answer.

    Thanks for taking time to read this over - believe me I need help (technically challenged to say the least - you should see my son's eyes roll).
  • I just purchased my 2003 Chevy Impala LS, and I've been loving it. The one question I have is in regards to the factory theft deterrent system. I know this car has it installed in it... The blinking light on the radio, and the Carfax stated it was present at the time of the second inspection. However, when I go into the car setup, I am not given the option to change the Alarm setting. It's not present on the menu. I can change all the other settings but not the alarm setting.


    Could this be because the previous owner had the theft deterrent system installed after he purchased the car? If so, how can I make sure it's functional? Is there a way to set it off by accident?


  • charts2charts2 Posts: 618
    lock your doors with the key pad....then unlock your trunk with the key on your key pad....the alarm should activate with the horn beeping ..then push the horn button on the key pad to deactivate the alarm...if this doesn't work then you system is not functioning...
  • Thanks for the reply. After locking the doors with the keypad, I checked to see if the light was blinking on the radio. I tried opening the trunk with the key to the car, but no alarm. If I press the alarm button on the keypad, it will simulate the alarm for up to two minutes, but I've yet to be able to make it go off any other way.


    I looked on my insurance slip, and they gave me a small discount for having an "anti theft device on the car". If it's not the factory theft alarm, then I wonder what it is they are referring too. I'm going to give the dealer a call tomorrow so he could shed some light on this. Maybe it's there, but not active like you said.


  • Well when I bought my impala ls new in 2002 the alarm was partially programed,it would chirp when pushed but I could STILL OPEN the trunk with a key without the alarm sounding,so as far as that being a test factor I wouldn't rely on it,the other thing is some gm's don't chirp you have to go into the radio or rds system in the radio by holding a series of buttons and making a series of selections on the types of chirps you want your car to make,the best thing to do is get out your owners manual and go step by step to get it to do what you want it to also there is a site that gm has with the owners manual in pdf if you for some reason no longer have a owners manual well good luck and I hope I shed some light to the situation. P.S. I think it may not be listed as alarm it could be listed under other things (long chirp,short chirp) you'll just have to look in the book and research it
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    You could try testing the alarm by having the trunk lid down but not latched, and setting the alarm with the keyfob, and then opening the trunk - that should set the alarm off. On the 2000 models (which is what I've got), the trunk would barely open when you pressed the button - there's been a couple of times when I've pushed the dash button for the trunk to open, and gotten out and automatically locked the doors with the keyfob, then reached over to open the trunk and set off the alarm.


    Or maybe try rolling down a window, then locking the doors with the keyfob from the outside, and then reach in and unlock/open the door; that'll usually set it off too.
  • I'm thinking of buying a new car, Impala 2001 V6 Power, 55,000 miles. After reading all the messages from this website I'm not to sure. What really worries me is that I can't reach the pedals good, to where I feel comfortable. I've already tried adjusting the seats but it doesn't work. Does anyone have a suggestion or any advice, Should I really buy the car???


    Somebody please give me some advice....

  • I think youd better reread your manual. Im not sure what you mean by "changing the alarm setting"


    THeres the "passlock, VTD" TDS and the "content" TDS.


    I believe all of the cars come with the passlock and its suppose to keep the car from being stolen along with someone stealing your radio and trying to use it in another vehicle. The passlock is suppose to disable the engine and NO alarm is sounded.


    the "content" TDS is an option and it works like your typical alarm if someone breaks into your car.


    hope this helps.
  • NO.


    Is there a reason why you want the Impala?


    Have you tried the MAXX? its suppose to have adjustable pedals on the upper trim version.


    If you are height challenged? (PC), i would try alot of other vehicles and check specifically for your requirements. EIther go to one of the rentals that have a selling lot, or maybe a used car lot. I detest dealers, and ive found that the Car rentals/sellers are more likely to leave you alone.
  • I have the same problem with my 2000 Impala LS. But after 196,000 miles of faithful service, I am not surprised. The problem is the fuel level sensor cost about $200.00.

    It has also just started having transmission problems sliding between 3rd and 4th gears at 45-50 mph. It is currently being rebuilt by AAMCO for $2,500. I've been driving a KIA rental for 5 days and can't wait to get back behind the power of my 3.8 V6 engine!

    I'll drive my Impala till the wheels fall off!
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    Is the fuel level sensor something easily replaced by the shade-tree mechanic, or is this an "in the tank" complicated thing best left to a trained professional?
  • Thanks for all of your replies. I called Chevrolet customer service, and they told I did indeed have the alarm, but when I called the dealer, they looked into it further for me and confirmed that I didn't. In between everything I tried what I could to set the alarm off if I had one and of course couldn't because I didn't.


    I'm probably going to just get a Prestige alarm installed as I already have the Passlock, and Radio theft deterrent which chrisis30 mentioned. It would have been nice to have the factory alarm, but it's only a factory install
  • The sensor is inside the gas tank. If you are not experienced with auto repairs it is best left to a mechanic.

    You will need to empty the gas tank as much as you can, disconnect the battery and "drop" the tank. Replacing the sensor itself is simple, about a 4 hr. job.
  • My son bought the same thing with no alarm. He had a non factory installation but had a lot of problems with it. They finally found it was a 'fleet' vehicle resale and the wiring system was different. He finally had to disable it.
    Just in case you have bugs.
    I bought an '03 new and no probs at all. If my veh is locked and I use my key to open the trunk it'll set off the alarm every time!
    Take care,
This discussion has been closed.