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:
90,745 miles
Total Complaints:
125 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (80 reports)
  2. leave key in the ON position for 10 minutes (18 reports)
  3. replace ignition lock cylinder (4 reports)
  4. replace the BCM (Body Control Module) (3 reports)
  5. take off positive cable, and clean corrosion (3 reports)
  6. put car in neutral and start (2 reports)
2003 Chevrolet Impala electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Chevrolet Impala Owner Comments (Page 3 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #85

Jul 232010

Impala 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles


this is messed up.chevey needs to be a shamed of theirself for not wanting to recall the promblem that everyone around the world with the same car is having the same problem with the security system. thats sounds like they wont behind they product. that is not good bussiness because if its mor then 20 pepole dealing with the same thing then its a problem. i have unhook my battery at night,i have waitied for 10 min sometimes that waorks and somtimes it dont. parts i think about repairing i read about someones esle who has done already and is still dealing with the problem. if this is not a recall item i dont know what is. all i can say is hope that it starts when you cut it off when trying trade it in because chevey wont own up .

Update from Aug 4, 2010: now it wont start if its 2 hot

- , St.Paul, MN, USA

problem #84

Jul 152010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

i have a 2003 impala and i thought i was the only one with this issue, the radio was removed from my car and then put back in, now mind you this is the original same radio not a replacement. since putting the radio back in everything is going wrong, my A/C does not work, the radio lights are on but the radio does not work, last night while driving i turned on my A/C (which did not work) and all of my gauges stopped working(speed,temp,mileage) and the battery light came on as well as the security light. i turned the ac knob to off and everything went back to normal on the gauages....WHAT THE HELL!!! i live in florida and it is almost 103 degrees everyday and i have two toddler children i cannot drive around like this. i called a dealer and they tell me it has nothing to do with the radio, i called another dealer and they tell me bring it in let them check it out but it will be 80bucks to look at it.

this is the first american car i have owned, i have owned (nissan,mitsubishi,mazda) and have never had any problems like this.....Please help !!!! is there any way to fix this without it costing me a down payment for a new car??

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #83

Jul 112010

Impala V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,731 miles

Chev dealer wants to change ignition switch which might fix the starting problem. And change BCM if that doesn't work. So for approx. $1200 they think that the problem might be fixable (maybe). The last time it was in the chev dealer garage the radio never worked since. Plug and play repairs at my expense. Honda/toyota looking better all the time.

- , Blyth, Ontario, Canada

problem #82

May 222010

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


This happened to me today. I thought it was the passlock, radio harness theft protection, battery, etc, I SPENT 2 HOURS FEELING FRUSTRATED AND VULNERABLE.but for me it really was something in the key tumblers. HERE'S HOW I FIXED TEMPORARILY:

1. Put something slippery on key, grease from oil cap works just fine need just a lil bit. if you cant get that, use carmex, hairspray, hair grease, anything to get a light film of lubrication on key. If u have nothing, use spit.

2. Put key in and remove several times to coat all inner pieces of lock.

3. Hit back of key INTO THE LOCK with a soft/firm object 2-3 times, back of flashlight, screwdriver, soft mallet, cell phone etc, don't use a hammer because you might break key of you hit from side or at a angle.

4. Try to turn key. Did it work?

if it did, send me a message to, im trying to see how many people have this problem, we might be able to get gm to do a recall and change lock for us ;-)

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #81

Jun 302010

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

I have an 03 Impala with electrical problems. It seems it does it when its hot outside. The security light comes on and the A/C don't work, the headlights flicker, the interior lights flicker, it loses power and i hear this constant ticking while this is all going on. My twin brother is a rwal good mechanic, and could find any issues from scanning the vehicle. He found this website amongst others showing the complaints about this vehicle. Its sad what we are all dealing with and Chevy is doing nothing! Its like there saying "whatever". Well I'm never buying a Chevy again. I'm actually selling the other Chevy vehicle i have and the one I'm having problems with?....well lets just say I'm not going to let anyone else deal with this issue. I'm gonna take this Impala out to a farm and smash the hell out of it! I'm gonna drive a front end loader over it and then burn it. Sorry for you Chevy but you lost one Life long customer and probably many more. You should be ashamed of your actions on ignoring people who trusted you product. So Sad! Go to there site to complain too!

copy paste link below to complain to Chevy now about your Impala

or go to and click on contact us under email.

- , Hopewell, VA, USA

problem #80

May 122010

Impala 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,623 miles

The car not starting(security problem)should be recalled by GM and fixed for free!!!!

- , Jamestown, NY, USA

problem #79

Apr 102010

Impala 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,401 miles


This Passlock security problem is really annoying. I dont see why GM is not doing anything about it. I have seen soo many complaints about the same problem. My next vehicle is not going to be a GM vehicle.

- , Merritt, British Columbia, Canada

problem #78

Nov 122009

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

The car starts when and if it wants to. You never know when its going to happen. Security light comes on and you turn the key only to have nothing happen. I know its not the battery.... It was tested. As far as I know its gms piss poor excuse of a security system that prevents you from stealing your own car. Now I know why all these years I owned a FORD! AND will always own a Ford. Its pretty sad all the people that are having trouble with gm cars and trucks because some f*cking geneous thought it would be a good idea for a security system like they have. I would be willing to bet he is not an owner of one! I will NEVER buy another chevy product no matter how cheap the price may be! The worst part about this whole thing is all the dealers that keep making money off this problem! Isn't that considered robbery when you knowingly take someones money for something that you havent fixed?! Passlock is another bail out for them piece of sh*t GM dealers.

- , Hamburg, PA, USA

problem #77

Apr 122010

Impala LS 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

Same problem as everybody else! All began with that stupid "SECURITY" beacon on the dash panel. We wondered what that was all about and it happened for a week or so before the car wouldn't start. My wife was at a convenience store and tried to turn it over about 20 times before she called her dad to pick her up. Then out of nowhere it started. It has happened a handful of time since. We have not had it looked at yet, but a mechanic friend said it sounded like the battery control module may be bad. We also have never tried the "Starting in Neutral" theme that I've read about on here. (Will try that next time!)

Here is our fix for it...

1. Lock/unlock doors a few times and try again. This usually works, but not all the time.

2. Turn key to "ON" position WHILE applying brake, remove foot from break turn. (This has worked only a few times.)

3. When all else fails, leave key in "ON" position for 10-20 minutes, then turn. This has worked both times we've had to come this far.

GM should really buck-up and do the recall so badly needed for this annoying problem!!!

- , Billings, MT, USA

problem #76

Jun 012009

Impala 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,565 miles

In January 2009, the dealer replaced the ignition key cylinder at cost of $700.Six months later, the message board would light up saying the key was in the ignition and the engine wasn't running when it was.Then every so often I would try to start the car and all you could hear was faint clicking like the starting motor was getting enough juice.I removed the key from the ignition and sat back listening to radio.After ten minutes the power conservation mode would shut off the radio and the flashing red light next to radio would start.I could then start the car 9 times out of 10.I just kept doing this until the car starts.

Update from Apr 28, 2010: Like other complaints, my Impala started the lights flashing, the relays clicking and the battery discharge light.Alternator and battery replaced and it still happened.When I work it put it to my company mechanics.The answer is the BCM.Which has to be replaced and the problem seems to be age and heat related as it is located underneath the dashboard on the right side.Here is a scary story abut the BCM.My company mechanics had to tow in a 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix because it wouldn't start.They left it to sit until they heard a a machine gun like sound from the trunk release motor.Checking inside the car and find a strong burning smell. They pull the battery and then the dashboard. The BCN had melted to the point that it had damaged the surrounding wiring.With an eye to safety even before I heard that I have been pulling the battery when it acts up and any time I park the car.Curious it has been cool since last Saturday ( no more than 13 C) here in Toronto and the problem has disappeared for now.Repair as my company mechanics put it will be pricey.It has also started like charm since then

Update from Jul 20, 2010: I had the BCM replaced at a GM dealership.My local mechanic admitted that they were best equipped to handle it. As my company mechanics warned it was pricey. $350 CDN for the part and $350 CDN labour. But that was two months back and everything is working well on this 7 and half year old car. I think we as owners have to expect these problems to crop as our vehicles age or we can all sound like my wife.

Update from Nov 15, 2010: Here I am inNovember and after the BCM was replaced all seems normal.The security light has flashed three times while driving but hasn't affected the starting after being shut off.

Update from Jan 15, 2011: January 2011 and the car is working well. Maybe this is the real solution

Update from May 29, 2011: The BCM replacement until two weeks ago seem to the be the answer. But it's back doing it again. The problem seems to crop up if the car is shut down for less than ten minutes. That is general, my Impala sat for 5 hours and I jump in to start it for a pickup of take away food and nothing. Fine let it sit for 18 hours, jump in try to start it and nothing except this. Turn to the key to start position 4 times rapidly and the car started. Whatever relay involved is located in the leftside of the dashboard. I can hear it click and then I can start the car. That's the one that re-sets after 10 minutes. My 1977 Impala never had these problems and terrified the Yuppies in their Audis and Beamers

Update from Jan 4, 2012: Same thing all over again. Even with the BCM, it's wait 10 minutes and then turn the key 3, 4, or 5 times to start. Always works even after I call my wife on her mobile phone advising her for the 20th time as to how do it.

Update from Jul 11, 2012: In general the 10 minute re-set rule has worked. But I have noted that the car has not started at first crank. Not one to give up I have had to crank as many 5 times before the engine turned over. I have started charting the times it quits vs when it starts like a charm. Just looking for a numerical link to this problem. Overall except with this problem I have been very happy with car. aside for an early tie rod end problem, five years back and a major A/C repair at 8 years of age. But I have it Rust Checked every year that may have save some electrical problems. My mechanic hates the stuff as he has to clean his tool afterwards

Update from Oct 5, 2012: I charted this problem with no rhyme nor reason. The old girl has been fine for the past month. Why GM could not have gone with the chip in key approach like Ford is beyond me.

Update from Oct 18, 2014: The car still occasionally refuses to start. The same remedy still works, removed the key, listen to radio until the tem minute cycle expires and the radio goes off with the red indicator flashing , then crank it. Sometimes it starts on first go of the key or sometimes a rapid fire of 5 turns to the starter will have to be done. But it will eventually start.

Update from Feb 11, 2015: I just had the front bearings done in November. Since that time the car has started every time. Just a side bar to that problem. The traction control that was kicking at all times to the point that that I would turn it off when taking off. Now the process with the new bearings is working fine. The car now has 235000 km on and working better than ever.

Update from Mar 15, 2015: I had the entire front done. Tie rods, bearings and ball joints, since that time that failure to start problem has not appeared.

Update from Jan 30, 2016: The problem has happened twice since the last entry. It seems to be getting better with age. Now at 13 years on the road and 254000 km.

Update from Jun 26, 2016: The car at 13 and a half years old and 262000 km is still doing it. My solution of sitting in the car listen to radio until the power conservation mode kicks in, still works. Some times cranking works on the first go but if not quickly return to the "On" spot and keep cranking to the "Start " position. # 6 works. Time for a new vehicle where the A/C works, the parking brake is in order, and doesn't leak a variety of fluids onto to my driveway. But it is still the original motor in it.

- , Toronto, Ontario, Canada

problem #75

Apr 082010

Impala 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles


Well I love my car and its been good so far, and I am like just a few months from paying it off (figures) and today it wouldn't start... I hope it not expensive fix. ALSO THE ABS/TRACTION CONTROL SUCKS. I have had that fix three times (course not sure its not the place who fixed it...) so once the car is paid off I'll get that fixed too...

- , Lyons, MI, USA

problem #74

Nov 012009

Impala V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Multiple failures starting this car. Wait perhaps ten minutes, maybe an hour, maybe a day, maybe when AAA arrives and the car, on it's own will start.

I think it maybe an electrical problem, or a computer glitch because the SECURITY light goes on sometimes, and then does not appear at all. I don't know what the problem is, I drive 'em, I don't fix 'em.

I have read too MANY complaints about this pain..... a lot of wasted repair dollars....

but NO solutions.

When I bought this car GM advertised 'We'll be there for you ..blah ...blah " I don't see them now, and they won't see me again in their showrooms.

- , Easton, MA, USA

problem #73

Mar 012009

Impala 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

As everyone reported, car worked great when we purchased it in 2006 but then started having the intermittent problem of it not starting. Got progressively worse over the past six months and now it has been off for three weeks. Has anybody had it off for this long? My husband is going to try some of the suggestions as we don't want to pay expensive repairs if we don't have to since we still owe on the car

- , Corona, CA, USA

problem #72

Dec 082009

Impala LS 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 201,453 miles

I have a 03 that would not start. It just clicked. Called the chevy garage and they told me to lock and unlock the drivers side door. I did that and had no problems after that. They told me that the radio has a transponder that reads the chip in the key. Thats why it cost so much the have one cut. If someone trys to open the doors that are locked,it will arm itself after the 4th attempt.

- , Stratton, OH, USA

problem #71

Dec 142009

Impala 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

My wife called me at work to let me know she could not carry our children to school because our 2003 Impala (71000 miles) would not start. She asked me to come home. When I did and tried, all I received was a "clicking" sound. My wife mentioned that the security system had been doing strange things with the warning light coming on periodically. We called a friend who runs a towing company. He told us to try putting it in neutral and then starting. We did and it started right up! We carried it to our mechanic, who ran diagnostics for two hours and charged us $200. He said it was the passlock system - it was messed up. He also detected two leaks near the manifold - said all repairs would be almost $2,000. He recommended dumping the Impala (which he said are prone to many, many repairs, especially with the electrical/security system) and purchasing a Toyota or Honda. We will take his advice when we have the money - no more GM (government motors) cars for us. I called Chevrolet when I received a $1,000 coupon in the mail for a new vehicle, and expressed my disatisfaction respectfully. They only said, "Thank you," and seemingly do not care. We will eventually become a Honda/Toyota family!

- , Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #70

Nov 022009

Impala V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Light does not always come on or if it does it is when I have driven many miles. When it clicks and the light turns on the lights also dim. Car always starts now, but I believe there was a recall back when I first got the car and the ignition had to be changed. I remember I had to keep getting car jumped. I am worried that this will happen again. A couple of times the door would not automatically unlock upon shutting off car. A mechanic checked the car when the light did turn on and he could not get a system reading saying something was wrong so it may or not be the sensor. I do not know what I should do as who can afford anything now. I will ask someone soon, but right now I just cover it with paper as it glares at you. The click is just as aggrevating as the light on. Even that is not consistent as it might go off if it feels like it. We have tried using different keys and there is no cure thus far.

- , Oshkosh, WI, USA

problem #69

Jun 012009

Impala 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,500 miles

I bought my Impala in 04 (used) & for the first few years, I had no problems at all with the passlock system. Only issue was a cooling system issue where it turned in to something that looked like a baby's diaper & overheated. 2 years later, most of that gunk is gone. In June 09, I went to start my car & there was a bunch of clicking & nothing going on in the 'car starting' area. My husband (thankfully) works in a shop & had my car towed. My battery cables had basically melted away. Replaced the battery & thought that would be the end of it. Hardly. Since then, the passlock system has been an issue. At first, it would only happen randomly, maybe once a month. In the past month however, it has happened at least once a week, and usually more than that. I have been stranded in parking lots of gas stations & stores that are closed with my car taking anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to restart. I will soon be attending nursing school, which will have me in bad parts of town at night. My husband is trying out the bypass to the passlock system, & hopefully that works so I am not stranded in the bad neighborhoods. I have loved my car up til this point (did I mention June was also when I paid it off? funny how that happens...), but I will be getting something more reliable once I'm done with school, and it probably won't be a Chevy.

- , Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #68

Dec 052009

Impala LS 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

security light on dash comes on randomily from time to time while driving relays will start clicking ,headlights,stop lights, interior lights start blinking will stay on till u shut car off once it cools off and restart sometimes good for a couopkle days

- , Colonia, NJ, USA

problem #67

Oct 282009

Impala LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

It seems as though many others are having the same problem as me. My car has died twice in the last two weeks, once on the freeway during rush hour traffic. My car was hit multiple times by those behind me that did not realize my car was dead. Two people had to push my car off the freeway. After about 5 minutes it started up again. It has been dying right after I start it more frequently. I took it to a garage and they said unless I take it in while it is dead, they can not figure out what is wrong. This is extremely frustrating and I no longer feel safe driving my car. I will be replacing this car and never buy a Chevy again!

- , Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #66

Jan 012008

Impala L 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

I don't know if it is me but I seem to have the worst experience with cars. It used to be constant transmission problems with my Mazda 626 (1997). Now it is the engine start/security problems with my 2003 Chevrolet Impala!! I've read some great solutions, especially the one about the BCM so I am definitely going to look into this. It's like the car has a mind of its own, it won't crank at any given moment. Sometimes the security light will display a warning and sometimes it won't!! Uggghhh I love my car but definitely not the problem

- , Greenville, SC, USA

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