Skip to main content

Maintenance issues take a toll on any car’s reliability, causing many unnecessary troubles and expenses for its owners. Any Chevy Impala produced after the 2013 model year will probably be dependable. However, you should be wary of a few issues if buying one of the older Chevrolet Impala models. Here are the Impala model years that we would avoid.

1. 2000 Chevy Impala

According to CarComplaints, the 2000 Chevy Impala is a certified clunker with many engine problems. Many drivers said that the engine would either stall or cease to function completely while driving, usually when the car was nearing 110,000 miles. One user reported that the issue occurred two times per week.

While a complete engine replacement usually isn’t warranted, it will still likely cost around $990 to fix the problems. Most drivers could get their cars back to normal by replacing the crankshaft position sensor. You could also need to order a new ignition switch or mass air flow sensor. In many cases, the issue was caused by a faulty passlock system.

The 2000 Chevrolet Impala is also prone to premature transmission failure, typically around the 98,000-mile mark. Around the same mileage, some drivers also reported issues with the Impala’s dashboard lights. 

2. 2001 Chevy Impala

The 2001 Chevy Impala is still plagued with passlock problems. A few drivers even reported that the issue was draining their batteries, warranting several replacements before the problem was accurately diagnosed. Other electrical issues were also prominent for this model year.

After 90,000 miles, the turn signals often stop working. Fortunately, at an average of $150, this is a relatively cheap fix. Some drivers also reported inaccurate fuel gauge readings, though none could find a permanent solution. 

3. 2002 Chevy Impala

The 2002 Chevrolet Impala is generally considered the least reliable model because it has the highest volume of maintenance issues. Passlock problems are still widespread and cost an average of $500 to fix. Once the car approaches the 90,000-mile mark, coolant starts to leak out of the engine’s intake manifold gasket. 

Some drivers reported that the gasket continued to leak after it was supposedly fixed. Repairs usually cost $820, but some users reported paying over $1,000 with labor and diagnostic fees. The issue was so severe that it prompted drivers to file a class-action suit against GM.

4. 2003 Chevy Impala

Drivers of the 2003 Chevy Impala still reported problems with the passlock system, though some were able to bypass the issue without paying for repairs. If you leave the key in the ignition system for 8-10 minutes, the engine will eventually turn over. Doing this repeatedly eventually speeds up the engine start time, according to many users.

You may also have to replace the intake manifold gasket after 87,000 miles. A handful of drivers also reported slips from the transmission.

5. 2004 Chevy Impala

The 2004 Chevrolet Impala garnered a lot of complaints over gauge cluster issues. The speedometer stops working after 65,000 miles and often has to be replaced with a new instrument panel. That usually costs around $450. Drivers might also still experience the persistent passlock problem inside this car.

6. 2005 Chevy Impala 

Pink market on a windshield of a white 2005 Chevy Impala full-size sedan at Hoskin Chevrolet in Elk Grove, Illinois
Rebate info on a 2005 Chevy Impala windshield | Tim Boyle via Getty Images
Related 4 Reasons a Used 2013 Chevrolet Impala Is an Excellent Car

4 Reasons a Used 2013 Chevrolet Impala Is an Excellent Car

The 2005 Chevy Impala’s rough shifting is one of the most annoying (and expensive) problems experienced by drivers. The issue starts without warning, usually after 90,000-100,000 miles. You may have to get a new pressure control solenoid or have the entire transmission rebuilt. 

According to CarComplaints, the latter can cost almost $2,000. Even more frustrating, some mechanics can’t find the issue causing the clunky shifts. At least the passlock problem finally seemed to be fixed, but you can likely do better than the 2005 model for a used Chevrolet Impala.