pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
98,600 miles
Total Complaints:
64 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. not sure (33 reports)
  2. wait 20 - 30 minutes to try to start again (8 reports)
  3. disconnect battery for a few minutes then reconnect it (5 reports)
  4. buy a Toyota or Honda (4 reports)
  5. replace computer module & passlock sensor/cylinder switch (2 reports)
  6. replace ignition cylinder (2 reports)
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problem #64

Jun 012006

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I'm probably the dumbest people that have complained about the Chevy 10 minute time-out passlock problem.

It's been an issue for years and is getting progressively worse, finally stranding my teenaged daughter in a sketchy neighborhood gas station. I took it to a new, recommended shop who reported back to me, 'It started right up!' After a lengthy and exhausting explanation of the historical problem with this piece of sh*t car, (and mechanics always act like they've never heard of this before, not ever! Even the dealer claims no knowledge of this!) they ran diagnostics and determined it needed a solenoid therefore, a whole new starter.

It's done and I'm going to pick it up here in about an hour. When, in a few days, it fails to start again I will go with my folder of printed and copied and pasted complaints and possible solutions I've read here. I just know for a fact that it has to be more than the starter. It's been going on for years!

The reason I'm dumb is I am probably the only person with this problem who hasn't unloaded their Impala. I haven't been able to sell or trade in because one thing after another needs repair and I simply have too much money invested in this car! I can't trade in or sell if it has all these obvious problems. I'm totally trapped with it!

If there is any new advice out there, please share...

PS I am from a GM family and grew up in a GM plant town. My parents and brothers always bought only GM cars and I have always been a loyal GM customer. I have bought 4 GM cars but will NEVER BUY ANOTHER. I'm going to look for a Honda next time, one built in the US.

- mariarco, Littleton, CO, USA

problem #63

Oct 142015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,356 miles

I bought a new car, and a couple days later it wouldn't start. The security light kept flashing and I was stuck at work. I got a ride home and Googled it. There was a comment on here that said to put Deoxit on the pins of the body control module (BCM). So I bought some Deoxit from Radio Shack for about $18 and went back to the dealer that I bought it from. I told him what I knew and he called GM for more information.

Apparently the windshield leaks down to a spot where it kind of puddles by the BCM and it corrodes the contacts in it. My window was an after market one so that problem was gone. He pulled out the BCM on the passenger side by the glove box (it says fuses on the panel that's exposed when you open the passenger side door).

He used a 10mm socket to pull off the front and back plugs then scraped all the contacts off with a pocket knife and a pair or pliers. Then sprayed all the contacts with the Deoxit (he said that 2-26 should work as well) and put it back together. Then he hooked up the code reader and showed me a whole list of the things it was affecting. It had fixed all of them. Most importantly I haven't had any problems with it since.

Don't hold your breath for a recall. They only do that if it's a safety issue, and a few people actually die or a bunch of people get hurt.

- yavva, Idaho Falls, ID, US

problem #62

May 082015

Impala LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

For a while I didn't have the starting issue, but during May, it got worse. It would start, and waiting 30 minutes for the relearn procedure is just ridiculous. I knew about resistor solving the problem, but its quite a pain to disassemble the dash, and installing the resistor.

In the end I haven't had a problem since I've done it. It starts and runs fine. It does require soldering and some electrical knowledge. But it works and is better than wasting time and money on other repairs that wont work.


- Octavio L., Prior Lake, MN, USA

problem #61

Apr 262015

Impala 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This is really becoming a problem, I can't depend on my car to start when I need it. This is the 3rd time. I think it's about time for a recall

Update from Jun 9, 2015: Make that the 4th. I replaced the starter thinking that was the problem but it's not.

- cpkeil12, Greencastle, IN, USA

problem #60

Jun 082015

Impala LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

For months now my 2004 Chevrolet Impala will sometimes not start and the security light comes on. So far I have: 1. Replaced the battery 2. Replaced the starter 3. Replaced starter module 4. Replaced ignition module

I'm fed up with Chevrolet and repair costs to date. The problem still exists and I can't depend on it because I never know when it will decide to start. I know others have had the same problem and feel it warrants a recall/repair at no cost to the owners.


- Josh P., Iowa City, IA, USA

problem #59

May 162015

Impala 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

Purchased vehicle new. Thoroughly maintained. Never abused. Security light comes on at intermittent intervals. Approximately every 3 months car will not start. Starter will not engage. Battery has been replaced, still same result. Putting shifter in "Neutral" sometimes helps to start, but not always. Situation is inconvenient --to say the least since it has happened multiple times This website has been helpful in seeing

other people are having same problems. This will save me money on repairs as it would be like chasing a "phantom".

My solution to this problem is to NEVER buy a Chevrolet product again. This problem warrants a recall be done by GENERAL MOTORS.

- joegga, Cornelia, GA, USA

problem #58

Apr 272015

Impala LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 201,000 miles

Not even a week. Had to unhook my battery last Tuesday the 21st due to this issue and it happened again on the 27th. WTF!!!!! My new car purchase can't happen soon enough. Switching to a Hyundai, hope to have it this weekend. Chevy can kiss my ass!!!!!!

- Beth V., St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #57

Apr 212015

Impala LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles

I've lost count how many times this has happened. I am officially done with Chevy. The last time this happened my car eventually started after maybe 30 minutes. This time wouldn't start until the battery was unhooked. Pretty sad that in order to get my car to start I have to unhook the f*cking battery!! Build a better car Chevy. Everything else works fine except for this. It keeps getting worse!! I have officially started looking and will be buying a Hyundai.

- Beth V., St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #56

Apr 212015

Impala 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,500 miles

Any problem should have a solid fix, simply fix it right don't experience it again. Not this, every suggestion seem to have a disclaimer somewhere else online that indicates it may not work. Even reports where the problem goes to a dealer to correct, reports exist that say money spent, fix didn't take. GM seems to have the bulk of the complaints although some others show up. So trash the design GM and build a better system. We can fly around in space, but can't seem to depend on your cars and trucks starting as they should for the owners. Perhaps someone could query the thieves and see if they have similar complaints.

- dmarchwa, Silverlake, WA, USA

problem #55

Jun 252010

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

The Security Light will turn on without warning and the vehicle will not start. The problem will occur randomly about 3 - 5 times a year mostly in hot weather. Usually after 20 minutes the car will start. This has happened at different times of the day causing me to be late for work, stuck at a gas station after refueling, or at a parking lot sweating in 100 degree weather.

An Internet search shows that other people have experienced the same problem. Repairing the problem at a dealer can cost as much as $1000.

The fault appears to be with the vehicle's Anti-Theft Security System and should be repaired by a recall and at no charge to the car owner.

- J D., Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #54

Jun 022013

Impala IS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

I am constantly getting stuck everywhere. I have AAA, they cannot figure it out either. Has something to do with my security system as my security light flashes.

Been stuck more than 20 - 30 times just this last year.

- connienh, Lyndeboro, NH, USA

problem #53

Jun 012013

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Same issue, Security light comes on occasionally while driving, Then on occasion car will not turn over however the battery is fine, lights and everything electrical works. After turning key about 20 times and about ten minutes car will start. Question? How many complaints have to be lodged before a recall is issued? This has happened over the last year at least 10 different times making this extremely unreliable. I have 135,000 miles on this car, had it for 10 years. Looking to get something new in the next few months.. If I can't get this issue resolved I won't be buying a Chevy again!!

- thomaswisconsin, Germantown, WI, USA

problem #52

Nov 262013

Impala LS 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

The GM dealer said they have had other complaints with same issue, key won't turn, car won't start. New ignition and tumbler cost almost $500. Not sure if problem fixed yet, still working on installing parts. The dealer said if a recall occurs we can get reimbursed. After seeing all the complaints already made it sounds like this is a common malfunction on the 2004 Impalas after about 75,000 miles. This car has always had some kind of electrical malfunction as well as brake pad problems. Have to replace brake pads about every 12,000 miles. But leaving Meijers with my Thanksgiving turkey and having my car just plain not start, cannot turn the key at all, is insane. Without this problem getting fixed, I wouldn't dare want to drive this car anywhere far from home.

Here I have a perfectly running car, just replaced batter with a really good one about a month ago, now this problem occurs. How does my key not turn in the ignition. And sad thing, I have two keys and neither one of them would turn the ignition. Really scary, really aggravating. GM needed a bailout and wanted us to help them but yet could care less about sticking us with a faulty vehicle that definitely is a manufacturer's problem and they should fit the bill. Very upset.

- Cheryl D., Marion, OH, USA

problem #51

Nov 232013

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

Replaced the body control unit few months ago and did not fix the problem. The problem continues.

- Carlos V., Murrieta, CA, US

problem #50

May 012011

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

click to see larger images

won't start, security light comes on won't start, security light comes on won't start, security light comes on won't start, security light comes on won't start, security light comes on

Problem was failure to start and security light would come on. It was initially very random only happening sometimes and would always "fix" itself after a few minutes. A few minutes became a few hours, which became a few days. Another aspect of the problem was seasonal. It never happened during winter (Nov-Mar). But with the onset of spring in April, the problem would return like a blooming flower! This proved very problematic, as solutions attempted in the fall would always "work". I would think the problem was completely fixed until the next Spring when it would return with the warmth and humidity. One solution that did NOT work for me was the Passlock security system bypass. That was one of the autumn solutions that looked good initially, but ultimately proved ineffective.

But I knew I was on to the solution when I removed the Body Control Module (BCM; aka, the computer) and sprayed a random electric motor cleaner on the pins and connectors. [Note: BCM is located under the dash on the driver side of my Impala; other vehicles have BCM under dash on the passenger side.] The problem was then solved for about one month before returning again. But this temporary solution was during the heat and humidity of summer, so I knew I was getting close to the permanent solution.

The issue with my Impala is corrosion on the BCM pins and associated connectors. The electric motor cleaner and the simple action of connecting/disconnecting the BCM pins & connectors fixed the problem for one month. But the corrosion came back again reasonably fast. So I searched for (and found) a product that removes corrosion, oxidation, etc. and keeps it off for an extended period. There may be many products that work, but the one I found is DeoxIT. Google the name and you will find the product, which is easily available online.

My Impala has worked wonderfully ever since DeoxIT was applied to the BCM pins and connectors. It's been 2 1/2 years now, and the vehicle is flawless. I suspect GM tried to save a few bucks and used a cheaper alloy than they should have for these connectors. That's only my speculation however.

Please contact me if you want any further information (Richard: fmh2484@yahoo.com). Good luck with your Impala, a wonderful machine once you fix this problem!

- rad!, Gambrills, MD, USA

problem #49

Jul 142012

Impala 3400

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Had a problem a couple months ago... thought it was a fluke?? But yesterday it is messed up!! Need car to get to church and the Kids were to be in the Parade today with the Boy Scouts!! ( As well as myself!) I loved the car other wise... it ran great, good mileage, quiet smooth ride!... But I see this is a MAJOR , EXPENSIVE, PROBLEM!!!!! We Bailed out GM.... So we the people own part of it.... should DEMAND OUR MONEY BACK!!! Or should get a FREE CAR OUT OF THE DEAL!!! Right??? Our tax dollars bail them out ... and we get SH*T IN RETURN!!! We expect a bit of quality in our cars!!! SO RECALL THIS MAJOR SCREW UP!!!!

- dr_wild, Green Bay, WI, USA

problem #48

Jun 012010

Impala 3400

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles

I put up with this no start security problem for 3 years. It would happen sometimes often but some months not at all. This winter became an everyday occurrence, so took it to gm service for them to figure out, passlock sensor or what? They said they couldn't get consistent voltage to troubleshoot the problem and wanted to replace battery with gm certified or one I purchased and brought to them. I chose gm certified. Once they replaced, they couldn't get the car to fail to. They tried for a week, then I went to the the car. They said if it fails to start again bring it back and they could retrieve the code. Two weeks later, It's still starting!

It maybe too soon to tell, but it definitely improved my car by changing to a good quality battery. I believe the passlock sensor might be getting weak, because security light has came on once, but started anyway and light is back off now. I will post again with updates of this problem and fixes.

- Darren B., Columbus, IN, USA

problem #47

Apr 062010

Impala 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

The really ironic part of this "anti-theft" protection is that I should be so lucky to have the car stolen. Between the instrument cluster not working correctly and the car not starting, no car thief in his right mind would want the car!

- driveway mechanic, Valley Stream, NY, USA

problem #46

Jun 242012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

My mother-in laws car, and she is 80+, she's at church with her friends then they get in the car and it won't start. This is the 5th time it's happened this year, but no errors posted and she can't make it happen - it starts fine after about 20 minutes. She is losing her sanity.

So I went on-line and found the thread here about the key sensor having a bad connector, and decided it fit the symptom.

Update from Jun 25, 2012: I chose the "add a resistor" solution because that fixes a bad connection, a faulty sensor, or anything else that might be going wrong. On the 2004 Impala I found it was worthless removing the radio because you can't get at the ignition switch that way, you have to go at it from below, removing the aluminium space-filler above the driver's knees. Once the lock is unbolted it can be pushed in and dropped out under the dash. I removed the key-lock part by setting the key to position II and poking at the release button with a small screwdriver. That unplugs the lock sensor (which is on the part that comes out) from it's connector which is trapped on the body. Remove the connector by squeezing the ears each side of the "V" inwards and it pops up. I then cut the yellow and black wires, and soldered in a 6.6K resistor between the harness yellow and the black, which I re-spliced at the same time. I followed the method of try to start, then let it sit until the SECURITY message stops (3 times) and on the 4th try it almost started but the battery needed jumping. After that it ran OK. Very grateful for the help found on this site. Thanks a bunch, and I agree that Chevrolet should do a recall. It's ridiculous having an anti-theft system that prevents owners driving.

- raywingit, Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #45

Mar 012011

Impala 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I have a 2004 Chevy Impala. The security light keeps coming on and then it won't crank. I wait about 10 to 30 min and then it will start...so tired of this. Love the car but not the problem. Does anyone know how to fix this problem without it costing an arm and a leg.

- nannamanna1943, Live Oak, FL, USA

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