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Chevrolet Impala Lighting/Electrical Problems



  • quietproquietpro Posts: 702
    You gotta help us out a little with a model year at least. Other details like engine size, options, etc. can often help as well. ;)
  • wbowl99wbowl99 Posts: 133
    Ooops. Sorry. '06 LT with the 3.5L. Has remote start, auto headlights, traction control and other typical options. Does not have tire pressure monitor.
  • wbowl99wbowl99 Posts: 133
    Maybe my mistake. Saw in the '06+ forum where it should be standard. Didn't notice it on the sticker (if it should have been there). Guess I need to read my manal a little closer.
  • quietproquietpro Posts: 702
    Nope, you're fine. Our buddy Frank is mistaken...he can't help it, he's Canadian. ;) Right Frank?

    Anyway, it sounds to me like you're having a similar situation to what I was having when my car was new. What's happening is your light sensor thinks it's night time and has the dash in night mode. This may be because of the angle of the sunlight not getting into the sensor...just a guess. But, with my car, it seemed to fix itself after a couple weeks. It could have been the change of seasons (longer days, earlier sunrise). I even posted in one of these forums that I thought possibly Chevy has sent a programming update via OnStar. Otherwise, maybe the car "learned" much like transmissions learn to accomodate a driver's habits. My guess is it will "fix itself" once you start your day with daylight and not at sunrise. :)

    Regarding the high beams coming on, double-check the turn signal stalk and make sure it isn't pushed forward toward the dash. In the '06+, high beams are selected by pushing the stalk forward into a second detente (not the pull-back, click/click setup of old). If your headlights are set in high beam, they will be low beam during daylight hours because daytime running lights are always low beam. But, once your car senses dusk (or a long tunnel), it will switch to nighttime mode and go directly to the high beams. Make sense? Also, make sure there are no obstructions on your dash near the light sensor. It's the little tinted bubble at the center of your dash near the windshield.

    Good luck! :)
  • wbowl99wbowl99 Posts: 133
    Yeah, makes sense, but at 7:30 it's good and daylight here. Don't have a garage and where it's parked it on the sunrise side of the house. I'm driving into the sun on the way to work. It usually corrects itself right before I get to work. Had the car since Sept and I've noticed it on and off for a while. Have forgotten it before, but I'll mention it to the tech when I take it in tomorrow for a fix on numerous things ... including the FOB problem (YEA!) Got about 10 ft away this morning and had go back to the side of the car before it would lock with the fob.

    Got the turn signal part down too. I was used to the click in my Camero and actually prefer it, but I'm used to the change now. Love that you don't have to actually turn the signal on to change lanes.

    You mentioned a transmission learning driving habits. Help a non-mechanic minded here and tell me more. I've had some harder than usual shifts lately and once when putting it into reverse to park it jerked so hard I thought someone had hit me.
  • quietproquietpro Posts: 702
    Well, I'm not THAT smart on the subject and someone else may chime in here. I'm not even sure the Impala's transmission is one of the "smart" ones but in cars so equipped, to help with shifting smoothness, responsiveness, etc., the computer builds a database of your driving habits and begins to "anticipate" when you're likely to use the accelerator vs. coast and then may delay a shift to a higher gear or shift sooner depending on the situation. From those that have it and have different drivers drive the car after it learns a particular behavior, it can make the car act strangely for the "new" driver.

    Some hard shifting has been noted by other Impala owners. I'm not convinced it's a defect because if you drive a certain way, you can set the transmission up for a hard shift. In your experiences, are you accelerating steadily when it happens or possibly accelerating...maybe slowing down as someone pulls in front of you or looks like they might...then back on the gas? If you're letting off the gas and then getting back into it just as you feel the hard shift, you've likely caught the transmission off guard where it was planning on shifting while coasting but the added power from the engine caused the "slam" into the higher gear. I would suggest making a few controlled steady accelerations, maybe a nice slow one, medium, fast, faster and see if it occurs with steady pressure on the accelerator. If it's shifting fine in those conditions, it's probably fine and the hard shifts may have been just happen stance because of your situation.

    As for the hard shift between reverse and drive, aside from an issue, I can ask for the more obvious things. Any chance you car was rolling during the shift? Is it possible you have a big foot that was on the brake and gas simultaneously? (I've done that one without realizing it). Aside from that, make note of the conditions if it continues i.e. is it cold outside, is the car cold or warmed up, excessive idling, etc.

    Hope that gives some insight. Anyone have any other ideas?
  • wbowl99wbowl99 Posts: 133
    Thanks. Most often it is when slowing down and then getting back on the gas as when your slowing for a light that then turns green. I don't jump back on the gas, but it's probably that I caught it off guard. On the parking, I thought I might not have stopped completely and that was the reason too. I made sure to complete stop before backing after that and it did it once but the jerk was not nearly as pronounced. No chance I hit gas and brake at same time. I'm a she with size 5 1/2 feet. LOL

    Another quick question on trannys. I'm in a rural area and some of our road have slow limits (30-45 mph). Driving that speed consistently, especially on gental rises, the ride gets a little bumpy or has a vibration. According to the techs the tranny doesn't seem to know if it wants 3rd or 4th. They said they could reprogram but I'd lose some gas mileage. Hate to do that because I normally average 25mpg in mixed driving. Has anyone on the forum had this problem before?
  • quietproquietpro Posts: 702
    Figured I'd start a new thread so the subject would match the info.

    For that slow rolling terrain, if the constant shifting is a nuisance (as it is with several), try shifting into third. This won't hurt anything except mileage (a little) and you can learn your route much like those smart transmissions do and shift back into Drive once you reach some of the more consistent areas.

    Regarding those hard shifts, I drive an SS and I have had a couple times where I had a "hard" shift. The result in my case was a lot of tire squealing and a mixture of pride and embarrassment. Some of the folks in the comparison forums criticize the Impala's transmission for being outdated but it is strong and reliable. As you build up more experience with the car, your brain will automatically learn how to avoid those harsh shifts or brace you for them before they occur. Good luck with your Impala and those tiny little feets. ;)
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    One other thing I/ve heard of with "smart" transmissions is if you have various people driving the same car it will sometimes make the car drive differently from one time to the next. I've heard of parents who drive sedately and let their teenage son (or daughter) take the car out Saturday night, and then on the way to church Sunday morning the folks find the car to lurch and such, supposedly because the kid drove the car hard the night before and the car adjusted to that driving pattern. Could be an urban legend, but just throwing it out there as a possibility.
  • wbowl99wbowl99 Posts: 133
    I'll try your tips and see if it makes a difference quietpro. If my son weren't away at college majority of the time I suspect nosirrahg was right. :surprise: I remember 21, too. ;) I used to not be so nice to my cars, but I've taken it pretty easy on this one so far. Guess that's why I'm getting better gas mileage than some mention here. Lowest I've had is 23 mpg one tank when weather was bad for a while and it was slow going.
  • check the high amperage fuses in the fuse block under the hood for corrosion, on my wife's Monte Carlo she has had several intermittant problems like these as well, I can't guarantee it (I am heading down to put the car back together now to try it out) but it fits all of the problems that I have had (first security light then the radio, but both seem more likely to do it when the engine compartment is hot)
  • My grand-son used my car when he was home on leave from Iraq, & the gas gauge needle quit working, BUT RANGE still works. I noticed nothing else wrong until last week & it dawned on me that the daytime lights do not work either. These 2 things are all that I can find that is not working. Does this have anything to do with a fuse? Being on a limited income, I would like to know if I can do this myself?
  • wbowl99wbowl99 Posts: 133
    Sounds like it could be gaildotcalm. Check your manual and see if they are attached to the same fuse.

    By the way, folks, the light indicating whether I'm using outside air or recirculating is still not working correctly on mine. They replaced a dash component that was supposed to be the fix under a TSB, but it's still intermittently not working. We'll see what they come up with this time as a reason.
  • I have a 2000 chevy impala and if I adjust the brightness of the lights inside of the car like on the instrament panel then I hear wierd noises from the speakers and then the radio doesn't work but if I adjust them really dim then the radio will have noise. But no here lately there is always this noise coming from one of the speakers well I think it is one of them anyway. Would anyone know how to fix this problem??
  • essilemessilem Posts: 5
    I've read through ALL the forums searching for a possible solution to my problem and I haven't exactly found what I was looking for...

    My car starts up fine, but many times when I start it non of the guages, radio, A/C, OnStar, Cruise, etc. will work. Turn signals and hazards work fine.

    Took it to the dealership one day when it was actually acting up, and the guy said he wasn't getting any error codes on it at all...which I believe, I was standing right next to him in the parking lot. Checked all the fuses, no issues there. He says it could be an ignition switch, but not sure. I'm reading that it's possible it the bcm.

    By the way, this usually only happens when it's warm outside. I'm from NE OH, so yesterday when it was 80, they didn't work at all. Today it was 35, and everything worked fine.

    Any ideas?????
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    Hi, essilem. Welcome to CarSpace Forums!

    If you don't get a reply from an Impala owner that have experienced the same problem, perhaps you can post your question in the general Maintenance & Repair board. There are a lot of auto techs that hang out there that could perhaps help diagnose the issue. Here are two topics you might try:

    Electronic Gremlins: Electrical Problems That Are Driving You Crazy

    Got a Quick Technical Question?

    Good luck!

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • quietproquietpro Posts: 702
    The BCM is the catch all diagnosis for GM cars these days. It does seem to be responsible for so many of the basic functions of the vehicle and whenever the car starts acting weird, it tends to be the BCM behind it all. Unfortunately, it's hard to diagnose for certain and it isn't cheap to replace. About the only bit of help I can give you is that with electronics, heat will play a role and the fact that yours seems to "behave" better in cooler temperatures would lend to the theory of a cracked circuit board, possibly in the BCM, that is aggravated by the heat. Any chance that on the days that it works, does it get worse later on in the day as the weather warms and the car has been used? That would point further toward a cracked circuit board.
  • essilemessilem Posts: 5
    Yes, as a matter of fact, it does get worse later in the day and/or after the car has been used. Today (27 outside) everything worked first thing this morning, but I had to make a stop on my way to work. The car only sat for about 1/2 hour to 40 minutes, and of course, then when I started it back up, things were not working. However, after the end of my work day, everything was back to normal.

    I really appreciate the info!!
  • quietproquietpro Posts: 702
    To be fair, I'm no expert, just an educated guess. I work on computers and used to work on bombers for the air force. But, some of the electronics principles still apply. I do feel for you, it's a tough situation to be in. Good luck in whatever you decide. ;)
  • neals1820neals1820 Posts: 13
    I think I got ripped off by dealer replacing the BCM for $723.58. 2000 Impala LS with 63,000 miles and car wouldn't start except by jumping. When the car was turned off all sorts of funny things happened, Radio turned on and off by itself, dash lights blinked on and off, funny noises from fuse boxes. We check the battery and everything was OK.

    Dealer charged $142.95 for diag. test with the following codes B1000, B1004, B1339, B1349, B1440. $233.93 for new BCM and $297 for labor and other stuff for a grand total of $723.00! I think the charge should have been closer to $400.00.

    I have tried to contact GM, but no luck so far!
  • :mad: I have a 2002 LS model with 81,000 miles. Everything is stock (radio, etc.). I have a parasitic draw on the battery that leaves the battery dead overnight.

    I have pulled the negative terminal off the battery and put in an amp meter. After about ten minutes the draw hits a cycle of 1.86 amps for about 20 seconds then down to 0.04 amps for about 6 seconds, back to 1.86 amps, etc.

    I notice a clicking sound under the dash and a faint hissing sound on the radio during the cycle. If I pull the CLSTR/BCM fuse there is no draw at all. If I pull only the radio fuse, I get the same cycle, but with 0.48 amps for 20 seconds down to 0.04 for 6 seconds. I have replaced the RAP relay and no change.

    If I pull the fuse for the BCM no change. I have read some posts that the BCM can get fried if you jump start the car (which I had to do about 4 months prior to this problem). How do you know if the BCM is bad? Do you guys have any other suggestions?
  • jntjnt Posts: 316

    Typical good radio draws ~1mA (or 0.001A) in sleep mode.

    In typical GM vehicles, the power to radio is supplied by some Power control module. The cycling of 12V on that module could cause radio to re-initialize (with high power), then goes back to sleep. Normally radio get the permanent 12V from this module. It will go to sleep by itself after the IGNITION signal is off (from 12V to 0V, on your Impala) or told to go to sleep by IGNITION off message on vehicle bus (on newer Impala). Within 1-2 minutes, radio would be drawing 1mA only instead of 0.5A.

  • jt -- thanks that info helps....
  • fnonefnone Posts: 4
    Did you get this fixed? My car just started not lighting the dash lights when automatic headlights turn on. I'll have to take my car to the shop. I looked at the fuses, but I didn't find anything. What did your repair cost?

    I spend way too much money on this car keeping it on the road, Granted it now has 124,000 miles, but our other cars don't have this many problems.
  • Yeah I got it fixed -- it turned out to be the BCM. I ordered a replacement BCM from Advanced Auto for $100 and then called around to the dealers until I found one that would only do the reprogramming and they charged me $95. We took it on a 500 mile road trip over the weekend and so far haven't had any problems. The dealers wanted between $500-600 to replace and reprogram the BCM which was a complete rip-off, I was just really persistent on this being a DIY fix for me..........good luck!
  • fnonefnone Posts: 4
    I just had mine fixed. The headlight switch failed on mine. The switch cost about $150 and the labor was $40± to install it. The old switch was burnt looking on one of the terminals on the back.

    I was considering buying another one of these cars because I like the size, ride, and fuel economy (34mpg on my last trip) but I have spent thousands on miscellaneous repairs after 70,000 miles. My wife says buy a different brand and I think she’s right.
  • revjim64revjim64 Posts: 78
    I have an 2002 Impala that had "BCM" problems.

    If you read my earlier post (going back a couple years)
    My dashlights were blinking and I heard clicking noises under the dash. The car had just over 36k miles and the BCM replacement was not covered under warranty!

    I had to fight with GM "Chevy" Customer service to negotiate a 50% refund! Back when I had my BCM replaced it cost $360.00. (Pennsylvania Chevy Dealer did repair)
    Chevy sent me a check for $180.

    Passlock sensor set me back $425! I probably had over 50k on the car when that went bad.

    My Impala had every common problem that Impalas are prone to:

    Defective BCM, Defective Passlock Sensor, Intake Manifold leaks, Combination Switch problems (Headlights shut off when clicking to High beam!!) Steering input shaft rattle,
    etc etc!

    Although I received the recall notice for the Catylitic converter, I never had to use it!

    GM ought to recall the defective combination switches!
    It's fun to drive down the road at night doing 60mph and when you hit your high beam switch, your headlights go out!!

    Unfortunately GM will wait for someone to get killed, and after the first billion dollar lawsuit, just maybe they will offer to replace these defective combination switches!

    I will never buy another Chevy ever again!
    :lemon: Chevy's are lemons!
  • caps620caps620 Posts: 3
    Hi All,
    2001 Impala, 3.4L
    1) Power door locks slowly died until they do not work.
    2) Rear window defogger inoperable, can't hear the relay clicking.
    3) Recently power to the Heater/AC/Blower control panel is erratic, sometimes comes on immediatly, sometimes a few seconds or minutes later. Has nothing to do with temperature.
    4) Most recently the fuel gauge is operating erratically, shows full while driving (gas sloshing around). Only time there is a level indicated other than full or empty is when the car is sitting.
    From reading comments on this forum I tend to feel it may be the body control module??
    Is there any reprogramming involoved? I don't have a keyless entry or alarm, just the basics.

    Thank you
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    If you're lucky it's just your battery going out; my 2000 model did some odd things last time around just before the battery gave up the ghost.
  • caps620caps620 Posts: 3
    Me too, but I beleive it's not. Power door locks have been inoperable for about 6 months now, other problems cropped up after that. :(
    BTW, does the BCM control the power doorlocks, rear window defroster, fuel gauge etc. etc. ? I think it does from earlier discussion on this.
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