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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,026 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Chevrolet Impala cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2002 Chevrolet Impala Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

May 102005


  • miles


Bought chev Impala 2002 brand new, no miles. 2005 began experiencing cooling system problems-running hot etc. Replaced radiator, flushed system, replaced thermostat, etc. Etc. Several times, body control units- lights and locks going crazy, hub assembly/tracking system problems- sounds and pulsating when try to brake or turn, high beam light won't stay on to this date. Experiencing smoke from hood-may be a leak which seems to be acommon complaint but dealer put dye in and said they don't detect a leak. No air-freon replaced several times.

- Dothan, AL, USA

problem #23

Feb 252010


  • 70,000 miles
I purchased the vehicle used from another dealer in 2003. I started experiencing problems with the security system in November 2005, it would not start sometimes light would flash and after 20 minutes it starts. The problem went away until last November, and then it would do it about 2-3X a week. In February 2009 I had to replace my lower intake manifold gasket, water pump and battery. The summer 09 I had to replace the radiator due to a hairline crack in it. The security system starts to intermittently not start the vehicle again in late Sep. 09 about 2-3X per week. In Jan.2010 the vehicle doesn't start for me one day after coming out of the grocery store for 25 minutes. Since then it does it every morning when I go to take my child to school and I have to wait 10-20 minutes. I took the vehicle to the GM dealer and was told they weren't familiar with this problem and I needed $950 for parts and labor to replace the ignition switch and the BCM. I had the ignition switch replaced by another mechanic and that was not the problem and the vehicle is still doing the same thing. It's frustrating for me and my child. It's scary and dangerous. I'm so afraid that one day or night it may not start and I'm stranded in the streets and may be subjected to a crime or death. I don't drive it at night unless it's an extreme emergency now and this is such an inconvenience. I have to pay for rides at times to get my child to and from school when this car decides not to start so my child won't be late for school or getting picked up from school. I've also had to replace my windshield wiper motor and my driver's side door window regulator.

- Southfield, MI, USA

problem #22

May 152009


  • 104,000 miles
2002 Chevy Impala low coolant light coming on as many others have complained of and there's no change or very little change in level of the anti-freeze. As many others have complained of the intake gaskets are plastic and end up leaking. The 3.4 is a common problem in GM products and I should have known better not to buy 1. please make this a recall. I don't have $1000 to fix this car I already paid $4400 for it.

- Rome, NY, USA

problem #21

Aug 082005


  • 102,100 miles


8-10-2005 I bought it used mileage was 91186 7-5-2006 took it into the shop they replaced intake/vc/head/gasketsflushed radiator replaced H2O pump/thermostat coolant oil change resurface heads covered by guardian warranty over $1700 dollars 2/2008 it started all over low coolant light it would get hot brownish looking water replaced radiator/hoses/waterpump/coolantsenser /thermotstat/flushed coolant system but it stillwould get hot/but if you turn on the heater on hot but it would never blow out hot air it was cold only it smell as if theirs coolant seeping into the motor oil my mileage at the first repair was 102100 my mileage as of to day139297 as it sit in drive way I still have payments of 300.00amonth im paying for 11more months and cant even drive it not even A1/2mile to work I been told its affect in the closed coolingsystem and dex cool it internal and I cant afford the repair or the payment but im stuck with them.

- Folsom, CA, USA

problem #20

Jan 102009


  • miles
2002 Chevy Impala - did fine the first year or so. Engine light started coming on. Long story short - been having to make sure there's always antifreeze for years now and hoping and praying I don't end up on the side of the road. Now I'm noticing having to add 1/2 to 3/4 gallon of antifreeze everyday. Temp light goes off and on. Engine light went off which worries me more than when it's on. Now noticing antifreeze burning after I have drove it a little while. Leaves me a little puddle now each night. Seems to lose antifreeze more in the winter while running the heater than it does in the summer. Tired of stressing about the pos!!!!!!!!!

- Sapulpa, OK, USA

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problem #19

Jan 062009


  • 120,125 miles
I own a 2002 Chevrolet Impala. About 2 weeks ago, my son informed me that the engine is leaking engine coolant, about a 1/2 gallon a week. I found out about the dex coolant lawsuit after the filing date. I contacted the Chevrolet dealership where I purchased the car. The salesman referred me to the service department. I contacted the service department and they referred me to the lawsuit website. (this is where I found out that October 27, 2008 was the cutoff date for being included in the lawsuit.) Chevrolet so for is not standing behind their product.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #18

Feb 012007


  • 106,000 miles


2002 Chevrolet Impala I have a 50 / 50 chance of getting this junk to start. I have talked to the dealer and all they want to do is replace the BCM and the ignition, but judging from the other complaints on this model why spend the money if it is not going to fix the problem. Some one some where must know how to fix it, it can't be that difficult. What I have been doing to get it started is leave the key on the on position for a full ten minutes until the security light stops flashing 3 times. If you try and start it to soon you have to wait another ten minutes, the great part about all this is GM wants the government to bail them out because they are loosing money, I wish GM would help bail me out of this piece of junk, I'm losing money trying to keep this thing going.

- Shrewsbury, MA, USA

problem #17

Sep 222008


  • 109,000 miles
2002 Chevy Impala intake gasket on motor lets water into motor cost $740 dollars to repair. Had same trouble on a 95 Buick which ruined the engine. My son had same trouble on a 97 Buick. I think there should be a recall on this engine GM has had this trouble for years I know of a few other who have had same trouble.

- Concord, NC, USA

problem #16

Jul 302008


  • miles
Car would not start changed passlock and still will not start. Security light is on, radio is locked and the Chevy dealership does not know what is wrong with it, they are guessing that is the BCM and the SDM but they cannot promise that it will work.

- Moncks Corner, SC, USA

problem #15

Jan 012005

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
Intake/head gasket failure. Leaking coolant is due to a known defective gasket. In fact a class action lawsuit has been filed but is insufficient to repay cost of repair. This should be considered a recall item. It is well documented among web-based automotive complaint forums that this is a problem most if not all owners experience....2002 Chevrolet Impala.....

- Madison, MS, USA

problem #14

Jan 122008

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


I too am having problems with the coolant system and the leaking antifreeze. The manifold gasket issue has turned into a class action lawsuit against GM. Recently a decision was made in favor of car owners with this problem. Details should be released in Feb 08 about this but I've heard that GM will have to pay car owners who have had this problem fixed a portion or all of the repair cost. For more info google class action lawsuit, GM, and gibbs(this is the attorney).

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #13

May 032007

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,700 miles
Noticed brownish color of coolant on the 2002 Chevrolet Impala, some sludge built-up in radiator. This car has 59000 miles on it. Dealer reported the problem to be a intake manifold gasket. Cost of repairs to be $500 plus. It appeared this to be a common problem that was related to the type of coolant GM used.

- Calais, ME, USA

problem #12

Feb 082007

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
At around 40,000 miles our 2002 Impala had brown stuff similar to pudding in the radiator. We have learned that it was caused by the dex-cool antifreeze that General Motors puts in their vehicles. At about 100,000 miles the car overheated. We took it to the dealer and they said it needed new head gaskets at a cost $1300 possibly higher if the heads are damaged. This is a very common problem with GM vehicles yet GM refuses to acknowledge that it a defect in their product. We have purchased a Ford car and will never purchase a GM product again. I had been a GM man for 30 years but not anymore.

- Findlay, OH, USA

problem #11

Nov 202006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Cooling system leak low coolant warning--intake gasket replaced at 25,461 miles (August 2002) low coolant warning--water pump and intake gasket replaced at 60,045 miles again.

- Tyler, TX, USA

problem #10

Jul 012006


  • miles
Purchased a 2002 Chevrolet Impala used at a local Chevy dealer. The coolant light has been on for a month, but I could not find any leaks, the dealer tells me it is the lower intake gasket and the cost is ($1000). He also mentioned that this is a common problem in that the gasket is now plastic, whereas previously was made of metal. He also stated that the replacement part is also plastic and indicated that this will probably need to be replaced in the future. There is no better proof of planned obsolescence. As I am doing my research, I find that this problem is very common. The service manager even said they he is surprised that there has not been a recall. Thx, gek.

- Cockeysville, MD, USA

problem #9

Oct 162006

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
I have a 2002 Impala. I experienced a coolant leak for several months. I took it to the dealer who told me they needed to replace the intake manifold gasket. This can result, among other things, engine seizure, blowing a rod, etc. I believe this is referred to in service bulletin number: 070803 and NHTSA item number: 10003814 per records found on this site. After calling Chevrolet's 800 number, I was told there was a recall associated with this for my VIN, but they only offered it for 2 years, from 07/03 - 07/05. Since I purchased this vehicle used, I was not sent a recall notice and now it appears I have to pay the rather expensive repair bill.

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #8

Mar 132006

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Purchased a 2002 Chevrolet Impala used at a local Chevy dealer, in less than 8 months I have come across two problems. One, the turn signal starts acting up and affects the system and they tell me it is the multifunction switch ($400) and the second, I noticed I had to constantly add coolant/water to the radiator but could not find any leaks, the dealer tells me it is the lower intake gasket and the cost is ($1000). As I am doing my research to find a more reasonable cost to which I can accommodate, I find that these problems are too common in the version of the motors/style of vehicles. So far, that even two of the shops I have taken the vehicle for an estimate have said they are surprised that there has not been a recall, especially in the lower intake problem. Where can I turn to, to try to get help and make sure these manufacturers take care of these issues that are very costly and as you can see, in less than 3 to 4 years, the consumer has to pay for them. Thank you!!

- Lutz, FL, USA

problem #7

Apr 152006

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,400 miles
Engine coolant leak at the intake manifold, or at the lower intake manifold to lower intake manifold gasket. This condition may result in a low engine coolant level or coolant pooling on manifold. Same problem as noted in tsb#03034(NHTSA id#10003430, July 01, 2003) this problem is present in my Impala that has been well serviced every 5K miles and suddenly presented at 96K miles.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #6

Mar 072006

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Low engine coolant light went on. Had it checked out. Local mechanic said that oil was getting into the radiator, possible intake manifold or head gasket problem. Went to Chevy dealer explained the situation and he stated it was very common problem with 2002 Impala. He diagnostic the problem as the intake manifold gasket, cost to repair $1000. I phone another Chevy dealer cost $800, local mechanic $600. Cost of the parts at autozone less than $75 amount of labor time should be 3-5 hours. Chevy dealers 8 + hours. All this because GM uses bad antifreeze. GM caused the problem they need to step up and provide assistance to Impala owners. Needless to say this will be my last GM product.

- North Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #5

Nov 052005

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles
1. low coolant light was continually on, and it did require coolant at the time, but there was no indication what was happening to the coolant - after 2 weeks of smelling antifreeze within the vehicle, it was then discovered that the coolant was leaking around the lower intake manifold gasket near the bolts and then this led to the replacement of the gasket took 8.5 hours of labor and the cost of the new gasket to correct the problem. 2. there is a loud clunking noise in the front end of the vehicle when turning the vehicle at slow speeds...apparently it is the intermediate steering shaft and has been identified by the Chevrolet dealer but will not fix the problem for us...they say that there is no recall for this problem, but admit that they have numerous complaints about this and that they have tried to get Chevrolet to recall the vehicle because of the complaints from their customers. Both problems that I have listed are a continual problem for many Impala owners and I feel as though since they have issued numerous service bulletins to their dealers about both of my complaints, that they are aware of the problems but still refuse to correct them for the consumer. As a consumer I feel as though GM should be investigated and made to fix these problems for all of us 2002 Impala owners.

- Dover, DE, USA

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