Cars

Chevy Impala: The Most Common Problems You Should Know About

After 10 generations and over 60 years, Chevrolet recently announced that this would be the last model year for the iconic Impala. The final Chevy Impala left the assembly plant at the end of February. While some will miss seeing new incarnations of one of America’s favorite cars, there are still plenty of used models available.

Nostalgia aside, the Impala is known for its fair share of problems. According to CarComplaints, it has the most reported issues out of Chevy’s entire lineup. Some models, particularly those made in the early 2000s, could potentially need pricey repairs in the future. Here are some of the most common issues experienced by Impala drivers.

Gas cap problems

A car’s check engine light can come on for multiple reasons, some more severe than others. Many drivers of Impalas from every model year reported an illuminated check engine light due to a loose-fitting gas cap. While not a big deal by itself, driving for too long with this problem could cause big fuel system issues.

For some drivers, tightening the gas cap was enough to deactivate the Check Engine light. However, they also reported that the light would illuminate again periodically. Each inspection at the dealership cost drivers around $100. The new gas cap itself usually only costs $10-$20.

Faulty instrument panel gauges

Another common problem for the Impala is an erratic speedometer. Drivers reported that it would frequently give inaccurate readings, with the needle jumping to high speeds on a whim. The gas meter, RPM, and coolant temperature readings were also inaccurate for some drivers.

This issue seems to be most common in Chevy Impalas from 2004 and 2005. While it was an infrequent issue, it was jarring and annoying for drivers to experience. To fix the problem, mechanics often recommended sending the instrument cluster to a repair facility. To avoid the $450 repair charge, many drivers instead used a GPS¬† to measure the car’s speed.

Jolting

Even in later years, many Impalas are reported to jerk after acceleration. Drivers reported that the engine would hesitate to speed up, then jolt forward as the shifter “caught up”. Some drivers also said that the car would lurch forward even after they had come to a stop.

Some drivers reported that they experienced it mostly within the first 5-10 minutes of driving. Mechanics struggled to replicate this problem and thus could not give a good solution. Many drivers complained that the inspection would turn up no problems. 

Shifter malfunction

One of the most frequent Chevy Impala problems is getting the key stuck inside the ignition. Some reported that they were able to get the key out after enough turning, but most weren’t so lucky. The only way drivers were able to turn off the car was by disconnecting the battery.

The cause of this issue was caused by a broken wire near the shifter. You can check this by removing the shift console’s covering. For some drivers, the wire was only disconnected. They were able to plug it back into the shift solenoid themselves.

Bad transmission pressure control solenoid 

Some drivers never got a solution for the Impala’s hard shifting. However, some mechanics found that the cause was a failed transmission pressure control solenoid. To fix the problem, partial disassembly of the transmission was the only option.

On average, this repair can cost around $1,000. However, since it wasn’t a life-threatening issue, many drivers opted not to get it fixed. They instead tried to fix it themselves or get another opinion. One user reported that they were able to get the problem fixed for $500. After replacing the valve body, the Impala started running with absolutely no shifting issues.