Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
91,257 miles
Total Complaints:
223 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (67 reports)
  2. letting car sit for approx 30 minutes (37 reports)
  3. wait 10 min till securty light stops flashing, try again (18 reports)
  4. recall (14 reports)
  5. replaced body control module (11 reports)
  6. bypass the ignition sensor (9 reports)
2002 Chevrolet Impala electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Chevrolet Impala Owner Comments (Page 7 of 12)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #103

Aug 282008

Impala V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,302 miles


I have had this problem with my 2002 model for 3 years. I have replaced the battery and ignition switch ($900.00) and none of this done any good. The car starts when it wants. This maddening nightmare should fall under a recall. I paid this car off really early but, if I had known of all the nightmare problems I was going to have I would never have purchased this pice of junk. It was brand new but has only give me stress and grief. The car dealership acts like your the crazy one. Chrysler should be ashamed of this car and do the right thing. You cannot drive it without always waiting for it not to crank and sooner or later "it won't."

- , Valdosta, GA 31603, USA

problem #102

Aug 242008

Impala 3.3lV6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Well, what can I say. I have suffered this passlock problem with my 20002 Impala for the last 3 years. Passlock service light comes on, and then I cannot start my car. O'Reagan's my dealer in Halifax says well it could be a computer module ($300) or it could be the ignition switch ($175+). Not a bit of help in short. Why should I eat a big repair bill so they can try any number of things at my expense. How is it that a Chev dealer cannot tell me what the problem is with their car? Infuriating to say the least. I am getting fed up. It is clear that I am not alone with this. I am reduced to waiting 10 minutes until the computer seems to reboot, and then proceed. But 3-4 times a day is ridiculous. My professional work requires that I be on time. I have no confidence in my car as transportation at this point. I would definitely not buy another Chev product based on this, nor would I recommend one to anyone else. This should be a recall, and a class action suit is certainly reasonable given the number of people affected. GM should be ashamed of themselves. This is obviously a major problem with their vehicle, and they should be professional enough to admit it and fix it. The Impala is not a cheap car. The response from my dealer HAS been cheap. No wonder GM is going belly up.

- , Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Canada

problem #101

Aug 202008

Impala HD 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles

If you are having problems with your 2002 Chevrolet Impala NOT STARTING FOR NO APPARENT REASON, MECHANICS CANT DIAGNOSE THE PROBLEM AND YOU ARE JUST WASTING MONEY TRYING TO TEND TO THIS ISSUE, CALL GENERAL MOTORS CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE AND REPORT IT. That would be the best thing to do. If GM get enough honest and sincere complaints, they may look into this problem.

- , Austin, TX, USA

problem #100

Jan 102007

Impala 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles


My problem started after I replaced the ignition switch because the key had stopped turning. It worked perfectly for about 6 months. Then I started needing to re-program it once in a while, especially in cold weather. I was told about 1 in 4 replacement switches will do this. After a few months the security light came on and stayed on. But the car started every time. after about 4 months the light went off and the problem started again. It happens 1 - 2 times a day now. I noticed that when the security light is on constantly while I drive, it will start the next time. When it goes out, I have to re-program it the next time. The A/C or radio has not been affected by this. I tried the quick fix, but with no luck. Maybe I didn't do it right. All the "dinging" stopps in about 5 or 6 seconds. How long should I wait? Chevy should definitely fix this. The problem is too widely known for it not to be their fault. If a class-action gets going, let me in.

- , N Richland Hills, TX, USA

problem #99

Feb 012008

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

some mornings it requires nothing more other than turn the key to start , maybe pull the cluster fuse once or twice and starts up .....after that when it gets hot here in Arizona it gets worse , i may have to hose off under the hood then maybe pulling the cluster fuse out , and after many attempts the dash lights up and yes red warning light too then i may have to hold the key in the start position for several minutes to get the starter to crank , thats only part of it turn off the key and pull it out everything remains on radio, dashlights ,whatever uses power then i have to pull out the cluster fuse and put it back in to shut down everything, i also experimented with the bcm i found that the metal bracket the bcm is attached is very hot from heat the the body gets from the sun , heat travels with metal even to inside the vehicle . i also put the bcm unit in a freezer for about an hour in the heat of the day and like clock work my car acted right started right up a few times the ding ding for having key in and door open sounded out i couldnt be happier although that was not to be long lived as it got hot all failed miserably ...... i don't have 100's of dollars to spend to see if this or that is the problem , i will find another bcm myself and have it programmed and do the labor myself i am willing go that far for now wish me luck thanx

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #98

Sep 032008

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Security light would turn on a few months ago intermittently.

Then it changed to always on. The exterior and interior lights would flash 3 times when starting the car. There is a clicking sound when that happens.

Now, security stays on, all lights flash, and AC doesn't blow cold air.

I tried the suggestion from complaint 85 and it seems to work for the time being.

1) Get in and shut all the doors. 2) Put key to "on" position 3) Wait until all the dinging and the sounds go QUIET. 4) Turn the car on and all security remains OFF.

Weird workaround but its working for the time being. I don't feel like dishing out 600 bucks for a problem that some people say its the BCM and others says its the ingnition cylindar.

The whole passlock bypass is confusing to me and I don't want to screw up my car.

- , Murray, UT, USA

problem #97

Jun 132007

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles


I have a complaint on here, see number 86. I would like to propose to all the fellow 2002 Impala owners to join forces to enact a class action lawsuit to get this issue resolved before a death occurs.

- , Danville, CA, USA

problem #96

Jul 152008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

I first started noticing out of the ordinary things with my car in March. First thing that happened is that on the message center of my dashboard it kept lighting up Security in the middle of me driving and wouldn't go off until I stopped and turned off my car but that was it. Then a week later I was driving at night and the security light came on again and my headlights started flickering. That's when I called the dealership and got in touch with someone nice that asked me if I had any extra weight on my keychain, which I had recently added some chains onto it, and he said that if there was extra weight it would offset the ignition and cause the security light to come on. So all I had to do was take off the weight and it should reverse the problem if it hadn't been on there too long. Well this worked for about a month and the security light would come on once every other week. But starting in May the fuse for my automatic lights kept going out and I since now (July) I have replaced about 4 fuses because they keep burning out. And today I drive to work the car is working fine and then I get ready to leave and my car wouldn't start. The lights, radio, and dashboard came on but the car wouldn't start. And to my dismay the check engine light came on and flashed to security and flashed to service vehicle soon. I knew it wasn't the battery and I called the dealership and they said it sounded like a problem with Passlock and to bring it in. But I'd rather not shell out all that money when there may be cheaper alternatives. I've had this car for 6 years now brand new and over 100,000 miles and haven't had any problems until now. SOMEONE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #95

Jul 012008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

This type of problem should be covered for parts and labor in all vehicles for the life of the vehicle BY LAW!

- , Williamsport, PA, USA

problem #94

Jun 052007

Impala 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

I have been having the same passlock problem for about a year. It started at about 76,000 miles. I now have about 118,000 miles on the car, and it has been happening intermittently the whole time. When I turn the key to start the car, the engine will not turn over, and the security light begins flashing. I told the salesman who sold it to me what was happening, and was told that i should use another key because the car wasn't recognizing the one i was using. I switched keys, to no avail. I have to believe all salespeople at chevy dealerships know of this problem, but since there is no commonly known way to bypass the passlock system, they just keep selling impalas without disclosing the possible risks. And their is pretty significant risk when buying a car with this faulty theft-deterrent system. It's more than just a pain in the ass. I have been stuck in blinding heat and humidity as well as freezing cold (I live in Michigan). This is potentially dangerous to the driver, depending on what situation they may be stuck in until the car feels like starting. Usually, the car will start if I just wait ten minutes for the securty light to stop flashing and try to start the car again. But a few times, I have been stuck for more than 30 minutes. I've read all of the complaints, and don't intend to spend any money trying to get this fixed. Sounds like all of the people who posted this same complaint have spent hundreds replacing various parts, and the problem still occurs. My original intent when buying the Impala was to pay it off and drive it for as long as it would still start, hopefully 200-300,000 miles. I thought I was buying a quality car from a quality American company. I thought it would run for years after paying it off. Now I just want to be rid of the damn thing. I'm sure I won't be able to sell the car, though I'd like to...I can't sell it to someone else without disclosing these problems, and if I do disclose, I am sure I won't be able to sell it. I guess I am stuck paying it off, at which point I will just get something else. NEVER ANOTHER CHEVY I intend to tell everyone I know about this problem, and never buy another Chevy. It's too bad, I really like everything else about the car. If Chevy would just institute a recall and disable the Passlock system with no charge to the car owners, I would be perfectly happy with the car.

- , Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #93

Jun 012008

Impala LS 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles


I have a 2002 Chevy Impala LS, that I loved up until about a month ago. It just started going crazy. The first thing that I noticed was a clicking noise coming from the fuse box on the passenger side. We opened the box and the noise was coming from the battery run down relay breaker and it was very hot. We replaced this breaker and while waiting for the breaker to come in at the parts store I noticed while driving that my AC would blow hot air and my radio would lock. After about 10 - 30 minutes of driving the AC would finally kick in and blow cold air and the radio would come on again. After putting in new relay breaker the problem still continued. The problem gets worse from here. Sometimes when you go to start the car it will not start, the head lights go crazy and flash on and off while driving. The message center is flashing Security, Service Vehicle Soon, Change Oil, when you park the car and remove the key from the ignition the car still makes the dinging noise that it does if you leave your keys in the ignition. The problem seems to appear in the middle of the day when the temperature outside is very hot. I can drive the car early in the morning and at night and these problems do not occur.

I have taken this car to 3 mechanics and none of them know what the problem is. The last place I took it to was an Auto Electric Repair Center and they said that it sounded like the BCM and that it would cost about $550+ to fix and if it wasn't that he would change out the ignition switch next. No Guarantees that this will fix the problem. The last resort is the dealer and from what I am reading they don't know how to fix this problem either.

If you have any suggestions or soutions for this problem please let me know.

- , Vero Beach, FL, USA

problem #92

Jul 312007

Impala LS 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,894 miles

This problem first occurred when my mother owned the car.

She told me a funny light (Passlock) came on and when she next went to start the car it wouldn't start. I went over to see it and wouldn't you know it the car started fine. I took it home with me to use it for a few days and no problems until driving it back to her place when all the electrical systems shut off, radio, lights, flashers, and then eventually the car. It restarted without problems but I decided to take it in to the dealer.

They told me it was the Body control Module (BCM). It was a defective part that was no longer covered under warranty!! I told my mother about this and she told me about my father complaining about this to techs at the dealership and being told, "Oh don't worry about it, it's nothing. We'll just reset the sensor." Of course the part would have been under warranty at the time! I bought the car from my mom (so she could buy herself something smaller) and had the work done, $650 later and it was fine until just recently.

About a month ago I pumped some air into my tire and reset the monitor, and the car wouldn't start! I tried to start and start again and again but nothing doing. I walked to a nearby mechanic asked if he could take a look. He went to the gas station and it started up no problem. Two weeks later the exact same story, pretty much word for word!! A week later I filled my gas tank, tried to start the car, wouldn't start, tried a few more times (figuring it was this problem AGAIN) waited a minute or two tried again and it restarted finally. These incidents all happened at the same gas station, I figured it is haunted so I haven't been back and avoid it at all costs now!!

I must say that my family has always been a GM family, mother, father, brother, brother-in-law, always bought American (and more specifically GM) first, but after this and other comparable stories from people, I will personally not ever buy another American car again! It isn't the fact that there is a problem, it is the randomness of it. There isn't a warning or some sort of behavior from the car first, no it just happens!! Each time there is different way to finally get it started again. I can no longer defend my Chevy to anyone anymore. I had previously owned a Cutlass and it only had electrical problems, now this from a ten year younger Impala!! I feel bad for the workers at the closing plants and all their families but, for a catastrophic down fall of a once powerhous company, ALL involved must share some of the blame!! The American label alone will no longer be enough, my next cars will all be imports because I'm fed up of the North American manufacturers, lack of quality, service, and action. In the end they are getting what they deserve!

- , Lachine, Quebec, Canada

problem #91

Jun 252008

Impala LS 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

We have had our 2002 Impala for about 6 months. We have not had any problems at all with the car and have been totally impressed with the quality of the car. Plenty of power and around 30 mpg. Last week we were about 50 miles from home shopping and had several stops and starts. We were leaving Walmart and all got in the car and I went to start and nothing. I presumed the battery was dead. I turned on the headlights and got out to see if they were on. They were so I knew the battery was ok. Next I thought the starter was bad. Sometimes if your starter lets you down, you can tap on it and your vehicle will start. This did not help either. I set back down in the car and noticed that with the key on, the radio was not lit up, the daytime headlights were not on and the a/c blower would not blow. We always have the radio on, so it should have been lit up. I PUSHED THE RADIO POWER BUTTON AND THE DAY DRIVING HEADLIGHTS, RADIO AND A/C ALL CAME ON AND THE CAR STARTED NORMAL. Now when the car is running the security light stays on. I have made an appointment to get things checked out by a shop later in the week. I presume from what I have read it is the Passlock System. The car will not start at all now unless you push the radio power button. I know this seems strange but I thought I would throw out my 2 cents worth of info in case it helps someone out.

- , Centerville, IA, USA

problem #90

Jun 012008

Impala 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I have been having the same trouble as all the rest of you with this passlock. I call the dealer and was told to bring it in and they would be glad to look at the car for $95 and the fix could run between $400 and $600 to fix.

But I was thinking, what if I have a Auto car start installed this would bypass the passlock and no key issue right ? These cost around $200 cheap fix.

Can anyone tell me if they have tried this? before i go and spend the money. Use the send comment link below. Thanks!

- , Albany, NY, USA

problem #89

Jun 152007

Impala LX 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

2002 impala starting problems because of passlock - Wife, kids and myself have now been stranded in the past 3 weeks because of this problem. 3 months ago mechanic replaced the ignition - worked ok up till 3 wks ago. This is a problem affecting all Chevy models and has been going on for years. Chevy refuses to do a recall. I will get what I can on a trade in and never buy a Chevy again.

- , Burnt Hills, NY, USA

problem #88

Jun 232007

Impala 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

I was on my way to a concert, concert traffic, on RT 1 going to Foxboro Stadium. We're dead stopped I give my buddy the keys to unlock the trunk, then when I try to turn on the car, it won't start. We pushed it a half mile and put in a parking lot. After sitting for a while it started.

- , Boston, MA, USA

problem #87

May 242008

Impala 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

This is the second time this happened. I had let the car sit, I work in the city and probably drive it once a month, sometimes more. I came back from a Doctors appointment, stopped to get a burrito, and the thing wouldn't start.

I towed it to a Chevy dealership. The threw me a $3,000 bill, and told me a Unicorn, excuse me a squirrel had chewed some computer wires and they weren't sure how long that would take to fix. The also told me they had to replace the passlock thing, $500 and a bunch of other crap. I don't drive it much so I haven't had them do any work.

Thank god for this site, if I didn't see all these other complaints I would have wasted three grand fixing a car that isn't worth the time. When I have a moment I'm going directly to a Honda/Toyota dealership and getting myself a new foreign ride.


- , Boston, MA, USA

problem #86

Jun 082007

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

Well I've been dealing with this for a year now. Most of the solutions have worked, aside from actually getting it repaired. But they are now no longer helpful. But since it is electrical...we all know the warranty on that from good ole' GM.

Now.... 9 out of 10 starts the lights strobe. It sounds as if there is a mad man in my glove box (actually coming from the passenger side fuse box) desperately performing morse code. When this happens..there is no A/C.. meaning it won't even come on. Then it will come on and just blow heat. I have to pull on my lights to stop the strobe effect, but the morse code still happens. I have driven with the sound alarm, radio locked, and seat belt lock light on. It seems to resolve in anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.

I'm from the midwest..grew up in the General Motors town. Everything was GM. I will NEVER buy another American car...and Mr. Smith.. go figure.

- , Danville, CA, USA

problem #85

May 172008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

I'm putting this in the 2002 Impala site, and also sent it to the 2005 site, since most seems to have been written about here and since I went to this 2002 description most to read about my problem. My vehicle is a 2005 Impala.


A Solution that Worked for Us. Pass Lock, Security Light Problem.

Here's a solution that worked for us and might for others who have had this problem. Background: Bought a 2005 Impala in May. After about 100 miles of driving, the Security Light started coming on intermittently. Then one day my wife went to start the car and no start. I tried it and no start. I did the 10 minute wait and it started. I reported the problem on this site, but read other sites as well. I wrote to the individual who said he had a two minute fix on post #77 of 2002 complaints but he never responded. I had decided to have the lock cylinder and key replaced, but also decided to try all kinds of things first. And I found something that worked. I got into the car, put the key in, turned it to ON, but NOT to start. I let all the seat belt dinging sound stop as well as a slight electrical or mechanical sound in the column. No more sound. Then I turned the key to START. No more Security Light problem since for either of us. We have driven hundreds of miles just to see if something would happen. Stopped on the open road, drove 100 miles in one stretch, etc. THIS WORKS FOR US. So here it is in short:

1. Get in the car and shut the door. 2. Don't do anything except put the key in the lock and turn it to the ON position. 3. Let all the sounds do their thing and come to a stop. QUIET. 4. Turn the Key to START and start the engine.

It works for us and maybe it will for you.

Update from Jul 16, 2009: I wrote to this site almost a year ago. I offered a partial soultion which you can find as #85. Some people worte me and said that it helped, but others who wrote said that it didn't. Now I am writing to offer information on what was for us an absolute solution to the problem. Here is the site you will need to go to: This company makes available a system that bypasses the security system in order for a remote start system to be installed. This bypass system is contained in a small rectangular box about 2x3 inches. It is actually made in Canada, but Alarmtek is a Florida company that handles them here in the US. By having this bypass installed, the result is that your security system is bypassed, thus enabling you to avoid the problems that we have been having. It is designed for the purpose of remote start, but that doesn't matter, because it solves the passlock problem many of us have had.

I decided to give it a try since I had inquired about other solutions that many have written about here, and found that I would have to start with key cylinder replacement, etc., but might not solve the problem in the end. I called Alarmtek and talked to a very helpful employee. He assured me that this should solve my problem. I ordered the bypass which came with a number of colored wires. I also received by email some directions that were car specific for my 2005 Impala. I did as suggested, took the bypass to my auto tech/mechanic who installed it. It cost about $100 and might have been less but for the fact that my key/lock is on the dash and not on the column.

The result? Absolutely no more problems. The security light does not come on when it is not supposed to. There is no need to wait to start the car, no need to wait until all the sounds have disappeared as I previously suggested, etc. There is no problem. I even got regular metal keys and can use those as back-ups, although I still can use the keyless/remote opening as before.

This was installed on September 30, 2008. I decided to wait until nearly a year had passed to be sure that there would not be any lagging probelms, and there hasn't been a single one.

As I said before, my vehicle is a 2005 Impala, but I had put my inital post here because it seemed that there were more 2002 behicles that had the problem.

Do the Alarmtek thing! Call them; talk to them. This bypass works for a wide variety of GM vehicles even though the ad may not mention them specifically.

Now it's like we have a new Impala. No start up problems at all, and it's my wife who uses the Impala.


- , Millersville, PA, USA

problem #84

May 302007

(reported on)

Impala LS 3.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Car would not start when turning key in ignition. Happened to us a couple times. Once at a self-serve gas station, wife got out of car to pump and had left the keys in the ignition. wouldn't start for about 10 minutes no matter what she did... it seemed to have tripped some security delay timer. We have noticed if you leave the keys in the ignition this tends to happen more. I have not had this re-occur for about 8 months by implementing the following habits (maybe I'm just lucky)

1. Never leave the keys in the ignition

2. Always turn the key completely off before pulling out (the key can be pulled out of the slot slightly before the off position)

- , Lewistone, ME, USA

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