pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
92,409 miles
Total Complaints:
55 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. not sure (32 reports)
  2. buy a Toyota or Honda (4 reports)
  3. wait 20 - 30 minutes to try to start again (4 reports)
  4. disconnect battery for a few minutes then reconnect it (3 reports)
  5. replace computer module & passlock sensor/cylinder switch (2 reports)
  6. replace ignition cylinder (2 reports)
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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.

- , 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.

- , 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!!

- , Germantown, Wisconsin, 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.

- , 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.

- , Murrieta, CA, USA

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!

- , 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!!!!

- , 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.

- , 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!

- , Valley Stream, New York, 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.

- , 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.

- , Live Oak, FL, USA

problem #44

Jul 262011

Impala V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,971 miles

I have had this problem now for the last 2 1/2 months and I am so freaking pissed off, I am never sure If it'z gonna start or not, too damn scared to go anywhere. GM needs to recall these freaking vehicles this has happened to way too many people and it seems that it's gonna happen to many many more.

- , Syracuse, New York, USA

problem #43

Sep 252010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,395 miles

I have had my 2004 Chevrolet Impala for 2 years and later discovered the problems with the security light coming on and car wont start. I called the dealership to see if there were any recalls reference to the above and was advised no recall. Just about everybody I know who has an Impala has the same problem. I notice when the ignition switch is turned on and sits for about 20 to 30 minutes after failure to start the vehicle starts. I am in agreement that this is a defect and should fall under the manufacture for repair.


- , Belleville, IL, USA

problem #42

May 092011

Impala 3800 Series Ii

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

We have NEVER had problems with our Impala except the occasional dead batter from listing to music too long and a few tire pressure troubles, but never as worry-some as this. On 5/7/11, the light went on when we were eating out and again occurred today (5/9/11). The light is the light that says 'SECURITY' on the Message Center. Nothing has gone wrong yet. We tested it again today not to long ago, and it NEVER shown. Please give me ideas on how to fix it.

- , Rock Valley, IA, USA

problem #41

Mar 152009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

for what i paid for it i should not be going thru this i just think its very annoying that im scared to turn it off somewhere like to put gas or when doing other errands and it does not turn on its so humiliating i mean its a nice car but has this certain problem and makes me just want to get another car

- , Mercedes, TX, USA

problem #40

Jun 152010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

I am so irritated with the 2004 chevy impala. This freakin security system sucks! I have been late to work because of this issue and it makes no sense at all. I dont even know how much it will cost to get fixed. I have to wait about 10-30min for it to even start up. This makes no sense and GM should be ashamed of themselves.

Has there been a recall or does anyone know how to fix this problem? Please let me know! Thnks!

- , Arlington, TX, USA

problem #39

Dec 072010

Impala 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 179,576 miles

Just Picked up my kid for the weekend and droped him off at my mothers whaile i ran out to pay a bill in town, next thing i know, come outside, and the P.O.S wouldent start. I'v had this passlock light flashing intermetly for a few days, but didnt think anything of it seeing as winter just came and i thought it could have possibly been my battery draining overnight when the temp. droped. but now im finding out that it could be the damn ignition assembaly. i talked to my father which is a mechanic and he says that it could have been avoided if your like me and have more then a few keys on your keychain, apparently it will wear your tumblers out quick and then you get the passlock problom.

so far nothings worked to fix it, although i can get it to fire up if i waithalf hour or so, but then again, this is unacceptable. GM should have recalled this or offerd a free bypass kit for those who dont want to be botherd. Biggest PILE i have ever owned, I'll deffinetly not buy a GM next, ill be purchaseing a G35 for my next sedan.

- , Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada

problem #38

Feb 162011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,125 miles

I have been having the same problem with this car for about 2 years now and its getting really bad now. It would happen every now and then but now it is happening every week like 2 or 3 times a week. Don't have the money to fix it and I don't think I will for a while. I really do think that there should be a recall because by the looks of it, there are A LOT of people out there with the same problem. This is my lesson learned to NEVER by a Chevy again. Thanks for the tips that I have read on here. Would really like to know how to override this problem if any one know how. Getting kind of desperate now.

- , Pattison, TX, USA

problem #37

Jan 222011

Impala S 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

This is a GM Passlock System issue. What I found which helped me today was by disconnecting the battery from the car then the car will start. Somehow the car believes that I am trying to steal it due to the Passlock System locking me out of my own car. I removed the terminals and the car worked just fine. GM dealerships are a waist of time and money. They know what the issue is, however they are just after your wallet and not after fixing your car at all.

I did find something on the internet which I will try tomorrow which is suppose to permanently disable all GM Passlock Systems which may be helpful to everyone else.

To Read the original article or read similar articles please visit


Hope this helps!

- , Marietta, GA, USA

problem #36

Oct 202010


  • 100,000 miles

Well like everyone else my problem seems to start as I go to start the vehicle it wont start. The security ligt started coming on intermittently then no lights some lights on dash all depends. HAd my ignition switch changed out 3 months ago. So here I am again with the same problem. This is rediculous there should be a recall! I try to start All my lights start flashing saying traction needs service security chnage oil blah blah. Then I have to wait 30 seconds sometimes multiple times of trying to start the vehicle before I can get it to turn over and all the lights not flashing BS. Today it was a half hour!!!! I hope everyone calls the consumer complaint department like I did!

- , Red Bluff, CA, USA

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