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Chevrolet Impala: Problems & Solutions



  • I have a 2001 Impala. Rotors turned at 14,000 mi , figured it was just poor installation at factory. At 30,000 mi the dealer said it was the rotors and it was not covered by warranty. Took it to tire place and they said the front rotors were below spec and the rear rotors were at spec and would be below spec if turned. When I asked if they meant the pads, they said, no, the pads were in great shape, it was the rotors. New rotors cost $500 for entire job.

    47,000 miles the rotors had to be turned again. Have 75,000 and am surprised I am not buying new rotors now.

    Friend has a 2000 and they have replaced rotors 4 times in 104,000 miles.

    Some have said the metal needs to be "aged". If the rotors were left out in a field, they would be ok later! (ROTFL at this one)

    Chevy dealer (different one) said Chevy had a fix that involved putting grease on some part behind the rotors.

    Several other places have all said the Impala has a problem with rotors, it is well documented and Chevy won't do anything about it.

    I personally think the wheels are too open and when driving in wet weather, and applying the brakes for a stop from 55 -60, the wheels are letting water in on the rotors which are red hot and the rotors are warping. I vote for the wheels being a bad design. It doesn't appear to be a problem with the material of the rotors and different brans seem to yield different results.

    Am trying to decide which Honda or Toyota I will trade it in one.
  • hchu1hchu1 Posts: 17
    The rotors on the Impalas are notorious for warping. I have a 2000 LS and had the rotors r/r after about 10k miles. I have since gotten another 40k miles on the car before deciding to change out the rotors after they started vibrating again. You need to replace them with after-market rotors not OEM. I got a set of 4 on Ebay for about $250.00 including shipping. I saved on the labor and replaced them myself.

    Since replacing the old set, it has been like night and day. After burnessing the rotors it stops w/o vibration straight and true. This is the way they should work. My rotors are also cross-drilled and slotted to help lessened fade and shed heat. If you go this route, make sure that the caliper bolts and lug nuts are torqued to spec., 137lbs and 100lbs respectively.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    The only light bulb I've replaced on my 2000 base Impala (at @74k miles) is one of the license plate bulbs - I replaced them both while I was at it, since they came in packages of 2. About a year or so ago, the light on the passenger side of the interior temp control went out, and recently the light on the "traffic" button on the radio went out - the switch still works fine, but no light.

    I also had the driver's window switch go out - I ended up buying some jumper wires from Radio Shack and connecting the passenger side switch to the driver's door connector to get the window up, then removed the switch entirely until I got the replacement part (I bought a new one; figuring the used ones would probably develop the same problem - but sooner than a brand new unit). Wish I'd thought about turning the switch 180-degrees, though.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    A scan tool or code reader is required to retrieve stored DTC's. Probably P0300, random, multiple misfire due to those crappy Bosch plugs, or P030(1-6), misfire in cylinder #... from a damaged wire. AutoZone will scan it no charge in the hope of selling parts.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    Agree on the Auto Zone advice; at least they can decode the error, and reset the light so you can see if it comes on again, or might be a one-time event.

    Someone posted a question about spark plugs on the regular Impala page...I saw your comment about Bosch plugs (which I've used before with no problems); I've got no allegiance to any one brand, but would be interested to know your thoughts on a "good" brand.
  • Hello all.. I have a 2004 Impala that I bought 2 months ago and only has 1,500 miles. Every so often the A/C light turns on when I turn the vent on. I checked to make sure that the car was not on defrost when I saw the light on. I brought this into the Dealership and they said they couldnt find anything wrong. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    A quick background, I've been a licensed tech almost 40 years, member of IATN with a worldwide membership of over 48,000 auto techs from 137 countries. This group exchange technical knowledge and information with other members, sharing over 1,000,000 years of combined experience. Even with my message filters set to domestic powertrain, chassis, and driveability I receive about 100 emails daily, and I've seen dozens & dozens of posts regarding driveability concerns, hard starts, poor idle quality, etc, etc, which were corrected by removing the aftermarket spark plugs, including the brand previously mentioned, and installing original equipment plugs.

    Although this can be considered anecdotal evidence, there's a plethora of it. In my part time auto repair business I have to service my customers' cars right the first time around. I don't get paid to do it over, and if there's anything I've learned after decades in this business, it's that your reputation as good as the last job you sent out the door. I can't take a chance on using aftermarket parts which might perform as well as OEM parts when OEM will do exactly what the design engineers intended. They tend to cost more, but it's a matter of value received for dollars spent, not the number on the bottom line of the invoice.

    My advice, use OEM tuneup parts.
  • 2002 Impala - Just replaced stock tires with Michelin X-radials. The folks at Costco set my pressure at 30 lbs. The tires look under inflated and feel soft, I told the guy at Costco I would probably take them to 35 lbs and he told me it would void my tire warrantee. Any feedback?
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    Unless you're exceeding the maximum pressure posted on the sidewall of the tire, I don't think you'd have to worry about warranty issues. Of course, if you have wear issues down the road, you might want to adjust the pressure to 30 before you take them back to Costco just in case. :-)
  • I have had enough and have to share the nightmare of my 2001 Impala LS.
    1. Purchased in June 2001. First year all was okay.
    2. Second year the front passenger brake locked up. It was still under warranty so it was fixed.
    3. Then shortly before warranty expired in 3rd year the same brake locked up again. This time there was smoke coming from the wheel and it had to be towed to dealer.
    4. In the 3rd year and at 44,000 miles the drivers side window wouldn't go up. Dealer charged about $170.00 to fix
    5. July 2004 with 52K miles the transmission goes out. $3,300 to replace with rebuilt by dealer
    6. The week after I get it back from fixing the transmission the gas gauge doesn't operate. Always reads full tank when it is empty. Took it back to dealer and they tell me the fuel modulator is shot and want $700. I say NO WAY. I set my mileage meter and when I hit 230-240 miles I know it is time to fill up. I have been told that eventually I should expect the fuel pump to go out.
    7. Oct 04 has a whining sound when I accelerate. Take it into dealer thinking it was the brake again. Charges for diagnostic $80 and tells me the brakes are fine.
    8. Nov 04 Still sounding bad and getting worse. Making left turns starts the whining. Now having hard starts. Take it into dealer and get told that the power steering is gone and they want $600 more.
    58,000 miles and this thing has sucked more money than the IRS. I want to dump it but I still owe another year on it. I am at the mercy of the dealer who is showing no mercy. My only salvation is to warn everyone DON'T BY A CHEVY IMPALA! I also tell people here in Indiana not to use this dealer either. I am not asking for perfection and I am reasonable and expect things to go wrong, but what I have gone through with this car is beyond reasonable.
  • Let me know if figure it out. I have the same problem. I could not see much under the dash when I removed the plastic cover. Thanks
  • can you tell me how to do this? It doesn't appear to be an easy task.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Clunk Noise from Front of Vehicle During Turning Maneuver/Steering Wheel Rotation (Replace Intermediate Steering Shaft) #04-02-35-004B - (Jul 27, 2004)

    2001-2004 Buick Regal
    2001-2004 Cadillac Seville -- with RPO JL4 (Control Active Brake)
    1997-2004 Chevrolet Cavalier
    2000-2004 Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo
    1997-2004 Pontiac Sunfire
    2000-2004 Pontiac Bonneville
    2003-2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

    Some customers may comment on a clunk type noise coming from the front of the vehicle during a turning maneuver. This condition may also be felt through the steering wheel when the vehicle is stationary and the wheel is rotated from steering stop to steering stop.

    The clunk noise may be caused by a stick-slip condition in the intermediate shaft. An interaction with the steering system creates a vibration that travels up the steering column to the steering wheel.

    Replace Intermediate Steering Shaft.
    A new intermediate steering shaft has been released to address the clunk noise.

    Engineering changes have been made to the Service Parts available through SPO. The Service Parts for the vehicles listed in this bulletin will no longer require lubrication of the Intermediate Steering Shaft.

    Install a new shaft following the Intermediate Steering Shaft Replacement procedure in the Steering Wheel and Column sub-section of the Service Manual.

    Parts Information

    Part Number Description
    10367811 Shaft -- Intermediate Steering -- Bonneville / Seville
    10377680 Shaft -- Intermediate Steering -- Cavalier / Sunfire
    10376430 Shaft -- Steering Gear -- Impala
    10376429 Shaft -- Steering Gear -- Monte Carlo / Regal
    10376428 Shaft -- Steering Gear -- Grand Prix
    Parts are currently available from GMSPO.

    Warranty Information
    For vehicles repaired under warranty, use:

    Labor Operation Description Labor Time
    E7700 Shaft, Steering Intermediate -- Replace
     Use Published Labor Time
  • Yes, I have a thumping in the front of my 2002 Impala. Put new tires on front and new rotors all around, dealer does not find any thing, car has 32,000 miles on it had one front wheel bearing replaced. About ready to dump the car. Any ideas out there.
  • charts2charts2 Posts: 618
    Sorry to here your bad experiences with your car...I have a 2001 LS and so far everything is OK...after the warranty expired on mine no way would I go back to the dealers for work...there are many reputable mechanics that are a lot less expensive and don't be afraid to get second opinions on work that was diagosed to cost a lot. Ask friends who have had good experiences with car shops and check out their hourly rates thats where it kills you. Most car dealerships have the highest hourly/shop rates on the planet.. Good luck
  • Recently had small repair to front bumper, while at body shop asked them to repair front windshield chip in glass. Windshield was replaced as I later found out a month later. Since then, water collects on front right hand side floorboard. Initially glass repair said was not their fault. Body repair guy said this is a "design flaw" of chevy and as courtesy cleaned and cleared debris out of front windshield trap(collects leaves, etc. which breakdown and clogs drain). Thought everything was find - no way. Back to glass dealer - now they look at it since body shop has cleared out debris trap - again "design flaw" - said no water leak from replacement of glass - added "double sided tape which they said would cause water to run away from car not into floorboard. Thought it was fixed - it rained today - no way.....
    What do I do???? I've got the feeling glass guy feels this is a "design issue" and yet I know if I now go to dealer they will say not there problem because window has been replaced. Should I try another mechanic?? Has anyone else ever had this problem?
    The reason I ask this is because rear defroster was repaired several times by dealer - they said could not replace because it may cause future problems. Now unfortunately, the front glass was replaced instead of being repaired and I'm afraid I will have continual problems. Am I?
    Moisture because of leak causes problems in clearing glass on sides of vehicle now as well. Should I be looking for a new vehicle because I will always have problems now???
    I'ld appreciate any input, as a woman I always feel at a loss when trying to deal with any auto repair. Thanks.
  • Sorry for late reply - just came across defroster issue after I just posted another problem. Dealer repaired defroster with paint on substance. It works however the line painted does not look show room quality. Not happy with dealer to say the least.
    Now I have a water leak in front floorboard. I felt was result of replacing front windshield. Body shop and glass repair shop say this is a design flaw of chevy. They've cleaned debris/line which collects leaves/debris, also added sticky tape to deflect water - no luck. I'm going to try repair shop that does my service/oil changes this week. Beginning to get disgusted with my chevy - wondering if I should be thinking of replacing.
    Have you had any other issues?
  • I have the same exact problem with mine, Taking it in this morning. Same problem.......
    Not sure what to do.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    I've been on this board off and on since early 2000, and don't recall many mentions of water collecting on the floorboard - I've seen it mentioned on some other GM boards (like the Colorado/Canyon, for instance), but I wouldn't say it was a well-known problem on the Impala by any means. Things like the intermediate steering shaft, warped brake rotors, peeling roof seam filler, etc. I would consider known problems with the Impala, but not rainwater collecting on the floor.
  • charts2charts2 Posts: 618
    Find another chevy dealer and get their opinion, even if it is several miles away. Don't tell them that you have already been to another dealer. Remember its a mechanic that diagnosed your car and maybe he was one that didn't finish in the top half of his class. .....indicate that you are concerned about the safety of your braking persistant! Good luck
  • arbyarby Posts: 8
    Had a '96 Pontiac GP with a similar problem. The dealer changed the speed sensor 2 or 3 times, with the ABS light coming on intermittently and inexplicably. Finally they found a bare wire in the harness running along the frame to the right rear wheel. Something to check
  • arbyarby Posts: 8
    Open the coolant expansion tank and take a whiff. My brand new '03 came with such an odor. Dealer found the coolant was contaminated. They flushed the system and replaced the coolant and added a deoderizer. Cured the smell.
  • Thanks for input. I'm headed by to shop tomorrow - they're going to have another guy look at it since the other one who's already checked it out is adamant not their fault. Next stop is dealer to look for flaw that hopefully warranty will cover. I'm heartbroken - I use to love this car.
  • duraflexduraflex Posts: 358
    re: TSB 01-06-03-005
    The flickering light symptom is apparently a problem that has occurred on many different GM vehicles.

    For those that have had the problem and applied the TSB cited above (which simply involves replacing an alternator/regulator grounding bolt- a $5.00 part)...

    QUESTION 1- Have you with your IMPALA been told that the flickering lights were caused by a defective alternator that was overcharging the battery?

    QUESTION 2- Does anyone know what is the maximum voltage that should be coming off the alternator to charge the battery?

    QUESTION 3- Could a bad grounding bolt account for higher than normal voltages from the alternator?

  • I bought the Mich X-ones over a year ago and run them right around 33 pounds. You're going to LOVE the difference in sound, styling and handling after you wear them in a little. This is a quality tire for this car.
  • Anyone know how I can tap into the car's computer system and monitor the motor systems? Quite possibly getting to the point where I will be able to optimize my gas mileage, and/or performance, over time?

    Thanks in advance.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Easy. Put a vacuum gauge on it and drive to achieve the highest vacuum readings. The ECM controls injector pulse width based primarily on inputs from thethrottle position and manifold vacuum sensors, with coolant temp also used.
  • bh628bh628 Posts: 100

    I just bought my '04 base Impala last week, and I was reconsidering my decision to get the extended warranty. I agree with your posting. Also, my experiences with any kind of insurance/warranties is that they do everything to avoid paying a claim.

    I thought I'd subscribe to this list to get any heads-up on potential problems. Anything that should concern me? It's a base Impala, sedan sport option package, 1SC option package.
  • bh628bh628 Posts: 100

    Is valuable to owners? It says that it can remind owners of upcoming maintenance or any recall issues. I suspect that I'll get more info here, but I wonder if you guys are signed up.

This discussion has been closed.