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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
113,518 miles
Total Complaints:
19 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (17 reports)
  2. replace head gasket and manifold (2 reports)
2002 Chevrolet Impala cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2002 Chevrolet Impala Owner Comments

problem #19

Aug 182015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 181,000 miles


I'm a college student who purchased this for commuting. This seems to be too common of a problem for this vehicle, and I'm hoping they will make it right.

- , Cheboygan, MI, USA

problem #18

Mar 112014

Impala LT 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

The coolant leaked out completely when I was traveling, forcing me to miss appointments. I had to struggle to get home and it took several days to fix. I was told this is a recurring problem with the particular engine, 3.8L V6. Why this is not part of a recall is beyond my understanding.

- , Clinton, IA, USA

problem #17

Nov 182014

Impala V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

The Coolant Level Low light goes on and off while driving. The coolant levels are ok.

- , Aurora, CO, US

problem #16

May 252014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


1st repair, $300. 2nd repair, $500. Coolant leaking for months. Sensors, turn signals and coolant leak paid approx $300. Spring 2014. Drove a few miles stopped. 12 hrs later driving home stopped, car coolant was blowing out from the hood. Driving had to put coolant in. Obviously didn't get fixed! In.

May car began to overheat, stopped filled coolant, it just kept leaking out every couple of miles. It took me 7 hrs to drive home because had to drive a couple of miles fill it up, wait to be sure it cooled, then continued this for miles. Unable to afford to fix car, sat until this week.

Had it towed - new radiator put in. $500, drove away with air conditioning blowing hot air. Never a problem with AC, it always works great. Called and left a message with mechanic. Any idea what could have happened during install why my working AC now does not work? We have been financially broke from funeral,, medical costs, etc. Thank you very much!

- , Canton, MI, USA

problem #15

Oct 242012

Impala 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

Bought my '02 Impala used when my '99 Intrepid's floor pans started rusting out. When I got it, it ran great -no problems or no hangups aside from a broken strut that we replaced. Then the car hit about 112000 miles and suddenly the temperature spiked, the low coolant light came on, it began blowing coolant out, would steam/smoke from the leaking fluid, and quit throwing any sort of heat from the vents. At most, you'd get what felt like less than lukewarm bathwater-temperature. Tried replacing the thermostat and it ran well for a week or so, then it started all over again. Tried bleeding the lines to let air out, and again, it worked for a few days then the problem repeated. Didn't blow anything out through the exhaust and the lines from the heater core were almost too hot to touch. Nobody we talked to seemed to know what the problem was or how to go about fixing it.

About two hours ago, we decided to try something else entirely and removed the thermostat, then took the car out to run it hard for a bit. Car started throwing heat just like it had before the problems started. No steam or smoke. Nothing dripping from underneath. The lines which were too hot to touch before were no longer so. Temperature sat around 145-160, but showed no signs of problems. Hopefully this works as a temporary fix until I can get some real answers, because aside from this, I was honestly liking the car.

- , Blairsville, PA, USA

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problem #14

Oct 312011

Impala 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

coolant level low sensor comes on and off every 10 minutes or so. The level is fine and judging by the amount of owner complaints and mechanics' inability to resolve the issue... this is obviously a defect or a malfunction with the sensor or computer.

GM! Step up please, and remedy the situation.

- , Spencerport, NY, USA

problem #13

Feb 012011

Impala 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles


I bought a 2002 Chevy Impala one year ago. When the problem started it has not stopped. First I put a transmission hose on that cost $150 to fix.One week later the car would not start I replaced the starter that cost $200. One week later the car started running hot the mechanic said it needed a radiator, I fixed that $540. Two days later it was still running hot the mechanic said it needed a thermostat that was $100 to fix. After about a week still running hot now it needs a water pump another $250. Let me also mention that I have also had to pay to have this car towed like four times I have never had so many problems with a car in all my life this is very frustrating I am at my wits end with this car. I am still not finished either after all this the car still running hot. I have also replaced the motor fan which cost another $300. The car is still running hot I keep thinking the next thing has to fix it but it still keeps running hot. I am out of money and patience with this I will NEVER buy a Chevy again in my life. The car has another problem as well half the time it will not crank it has some kind of pass lock system that locks you out which keeps the car from cranking till it resets itself. I don't want to buy a new car but it looks like I am going to have to.

- , Wilmer, AL, USA

problem #12

Jun 162010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

WHAT A PIECE OF SH*T CAR I loved my car when I first got it. it was the nicest car i ever had then after about 2 years of having it and driving the check coolant light came on. well no big deal or SO I THOUGHT. we replaced the thermostat that took care of it for a min then the same thing happened again. my mechanic then flushed the radiator got a little better then came no power and I blew a head on it so then I replaced the WHOLE motor for 1000$. thought all my problems were over, WRONG times 100000000. The same thing with the coolant lights so then we gave it a new radiator water pump another new thermostat fan all new lines flushed the heater core... i should keep going but we'd be here a while. in the end we have replaced every single part that has any thing to do with water or the temperature and it still is overheating. I'm at my wits end with this piece. sometimes its really not hot, sometimes it is but the gauge still reads hot all the way in the red only when it wants to. my mechanic did tell me tho that the thermostat was reading steam. there was air trapped in the radiator that needed to be let out. well they have done that several times and it keeps coming back and that is what caused it to read hot when it really isn't. the heater doesn't work because of this problem. it cuts in and out like I say tho. these problems are only there when the car wants them to be. sometimes it will run great with no trouble at all like nothing was ever wrong but then all of a sudden they will be there and it will get hot again with no heat. again i have taken this car to more than one mechanic for this problem and none of them have been able to figure it out. they think they have and give it back to me and in a day or two, back same thing. last time it wasn't even a whole day I think I need a bike!!! It wold be cheaper. up to date i have spent 12 to 15 hundred dollars trying to fix this 1 problem. what gives. I could have bought a whole new car for that. THANKS FOR NOTHING CHEVY

- , Wagoner, OK, USA

problem #11

May 192005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

need to explain my answers via the registration; i may be a little off with how many miles were on my car when my problems first began. i purchased my impala in 2002 brand new; no miles. in 2005 (the mileage had to be pretty low because i had only driven it to texas when i moved from alabama and then around texas) i began experiencing cooling problems which continue to this day. i have replaced the radiator, thermostat, flushed the system, etc. etc. to correct this problem to no avail. my low coolant light stays on. i have no air despite putting freon in my car several times.

forgive me but i don't use the computer much- wish i had seen all of the complaints and maybe would have approached my problems differently. I have had two recalls both of which seems too near to the problems i have with the car. today i have 170,000 miles on the car and i have been misearable the whole time with this car. i have replaced the body control unit two times- everything was going crazy with my lights and locks. my cruise light wants to stay on and i cannot get my high beam light to stay on. the tracking system is horrible and does not work, my car makes noises when i turn and feels like something is trembling when i push the brakes. ihave had both hub assemblies replaced and nothing has worked. i was told it was a long line that keeps getting wrapped around the wheel. every now and then i will see smoke from the driver's side of the hood. i think something is leaking.

i can't put any more money in this car. i have kept 85% of all my receipts/paperwork for car repairs and it feels like a book!!! the only thing i have enjoyed about this car is the onstar and luxury feel on the inside only; this, plus the fact that it is paid for makes me reluctant to trade it in but now i want to get rid of it! how do you think it is worth? i want to be part of the class action law suit as well.

- , Dothan, AL, USA

problem #10

Apr 012008

Impala 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I have a 2002 Chevrolet Impala purchased new in July of 2002. I replaced the intake manifold gasket using my Bush stimulus money. Since then I've had to replace a radiator, water pump, low coolant sensor. I talked with a retired GM Engineer who told me about the bad coolant used by GM. He told me I could have gotten my money back for my repair to the intake manifold gasket but that program had since expired. The gauge reports the engine is over heated but does not appear to be. The low coolant light continues to come on at various times. Recently there is not heat. My mechanic found the heater core clogged with junk. After flushing the radiator and the heater core and a new thermostat the problem continues. Tomorrow I am trading this American made vehicle for a 2010 Honda Accord. They will give me $1500.00 for it. My mechanic told me to get rid of it ASAP. No more GM for me.

- , Liberty, Tn, USA

problem #9

Oct 132009

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,548 miles


the engine coolant level light comes on intermittently. I have filled the radiator and overflow with coolant. Will have to check for gasket to see if it is leaking. I do not see any puddles underneath the car and the temperature gauge does not move. I drive frequently and am always nervous the car is going to either breakdown or overheat. There should be a recall on this as there are many complaints on this issue.

- , Lynn, MA, USA

problem #8

Apr 032009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles

yeah so i guess take everything everyone else has complained about on here and that's pretty much where it stands. first the right rear door handle snapped off (it always starts small), then the catalytic converter threatens to explode the car but was luckily covered under the recall, turn signals decided to subvert my authority while driving, then the low coolant light would just kick on for no reason. when this first started happening i checked it every day but was always filled to an appropriate level. at that time the breaks needed work so add that to the list. it's been about 2 or three months since the coolant light has started acting up and now it appears if there is a reason. upon inspection today, the coolant tank was almost empty after the heat warning almost sent my fiancee into a panic as she was driving last night. so i added water to the tank and decided to use the car to run errands. 5 minutes into the drive the familiar red and yellow lights stated up again. pulling the car over i popped the hood only to find the coolant tank empty. HA! guess i should get a second job from what i'm reading here! THANKS GENERAL MORONS!!!

- , Secor, IL, USA

problem #7

Feb 132009

Impala 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles

I withdrew my entire savings from the bank to pay down on this car... As soon as I drove it off the lot, the high coolant temp light came on.... then later, the low coolant level came on.... the high coolant temp light is very annoying, because there is a constant "ding" "ding" noise while it is on..... even music can't drown it out... I took it back to the crooked salesman, for him to tell me to take it to the shop, that I can't get my deposit back!!! he fixed the FAN SYSTEM in it..... Car is still doing the same thing... I went and bought a water pump and thermostat... Got that put on.... CAR WAS DOING THE SAME THING.. But now, the car has started slowing down when the light has been on for a while...I almost had a wreck the other day..... I'm completely lost.... PLEASE HELP ME... I have only had this car for 11 days, and 7 out of those 11 days it has been in the shop or getting fixed on... The car dealer is crooked.... I'm STUCK

- , Ochlocknee, GA, USA

problem #6

Apr 052005

Impala LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I purchased a 2002 Chevy Impala in April of 2005. The minute I drove it off the lot, I noticed the air conditioner was blowing hot air. I took it back to the dealer where it was purchased. They kept my car for about a week. They told me that it was the brain. They replaced it, but told me that they had to remove the alarm system because it was causing the brain to fail. This really frustrated me, because I purchased the car with the alarm system. Every since then and til this day, half of my sensors aren't working. My check engine light comes on once in a while. My low tire pressure light always comes on and I cannot reset any of the warnings lights. I am very frustrated and will know better next time on the type of vehicle to purchase.

- , Spring Hill, FL, USA

problem #5

Sep 102008

Impala 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I checked the coolant level and it is more than half full. The light on the dash keeps flashing on and off. I looked in the manual and it didn't tell me how to stop it from flashing. Is there a way of fixing this problem.

- , Mishawaka, IN, USA

problem #4

Jul 152004

Impala 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles

This was originally my parents car. They bought the 2002 Impala used in 2004. My step dad noticed the low coolant light flashing about one week after purchase. My mother urged him to take the car back to the dealer to look into the problem. He felt and still does feel that if it runs then why fix it. For nearly four years the car has been driven with the low coolant light on, and my step dad even noticed that something (i.e. oil) was leaking into the radiator. I opened the radiator cap two days ago and noticed some creamy sludge in the radiator. Now get this, he is mad at me because I feel I should take the car to a shop to repair the damage. I bet my step dad's mindset is similar to the mindset of upper management and quality control at GM; I guess I understand why he can tolerate s*t. You think like st, you produce nothing but st. I bought this P.O.S because it was so cheap for 2,000 and I want to have it as a second car since my Nissan already has 163,000 miles. I figure if the repair is 800 to 1000 I come out ahead because I see car max sells these crappy vehicles for seven to nine thousand used; junk like this should be given away since repairs may total many times more than the actual price paid for the s*t. Hmmm, after that comment I guess I got ripped off since I actually paid for it. The Impala only has 77,000 miles. I have more faith in my 163,000 mile Nissan than this hunk of junk on wheels. I think the smart thing to do is repair the P.O.S and then sell it for nearly 5,000 if I can. Hey 3,000 profit isn't too bad. I'm the dumb one for actually buying this crap even if it was for a dirt cheap price at 2,000. Oh well, I guess if I get it repaired for nearly 1,000 I come out ahead; lets hope nothing further goes wrong with the Chevy IMPALeyA for cost of repairs.

- , Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #3

May 282007

(reported on)

Impala 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,300 miles

Chevy, when will you own up to this? This was a defect on your part. You released a product with a built in incompatibility and have not yet made the situation right for your customers... This is sickening. This was my first foray into American steel. Now I think an import will be on the horizon! At least then my recall issues will actually get recalled... You make me want to curse Chevy!

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #2

Aug 272007

(reported on)

Impala ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

The "low engine coolant" light comes on every 10 minutes or so when I drive. Dealership looked at it, said it was more than $500 to fix and that it wasn't a big deal, just to check the level on my own and keep an eye on the engine temp.

- , Richmond, VA, USA

problem #1

Jan 042007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

At 50,000 miles have had to replace coolant twice, thermostat and sensor once, so far bills running up to $400 + and growing. Will have to evaluate whether it has a leaking manifold is the problem, after reading other owner complaints. Obvious Chevrolet Motor Company isn't acknowledging anything, right? Maybe a Toyota or Honda is the only solution to the problem..........

- , Elgin, TX, USA

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