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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
91,296 miles
Total Complaints:
224 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (67 reports)
  2. letting car sit for approx 30 minutes (38 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 5 of 12)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #144

Nov 142006

(reported on)

Impala 3400 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


There should be a recall on the GM cars for the passlock problems.

- , Augusta, GA, USA

problem #143

Apr 032007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

There have been several times that my car simply would not start. When I first got the car I thought it was a battery problem so I would get jump offs. This has been a huge inconvenience and the dealers say they could not diagnose the problem unless the security light was on even though know what the problem. The dealership expects you to bring the car there when the light is on which is always not the case. And when it does come on you may not be near a dealer. I called Chevrolet stating they need to have a recall on these cars and I just wasted 30 daytime minutes on this. The dealer is going to charge me $650.00 to fix the problem. This is foolishness, so I think there needs to be a petition for a recall.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #142

Jul 012007

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I have posted here a couple of times. I refuse to take my car to any dealership. They like to over charge and play dumb as to the particular problem with this model car.

I had taken my car yesterday to be diagnosed from a local, honest and reputable auto center. The codes that were reported were; PO128 Coolant Thermostat P1189 Engine Oil Pressure Circuit, P1626 Anti-Theft System fuel Enable Circuit, P1631 Theft System Password Incorrect, U1046 Loss BCM, VTD, DIM, PZM, and or SBM Data. Also revealed; Parking Brake Affects the Behavior of Problem with Lights. Also, the owner of this shop did not charge me for the diagnosis. A local GM dealership wanted to charge me $250.00. This is exactly why I refuse to deal with any greedy dealership. There only purpose is to generate revenue at the expense of screwing the vehicle owner.

The service center I took my car to told me they could have trouble shot each code by replacing parts, but they were honest enough to tell me it would have not solved the initial problem and may not even made a difference to replace the parts. I firmly believe it has to do with the BCM still. I have an appt on 03/26 to take me car to the Auto Electronics company they send their service techs to for advanced electrical trouble shooting classes. Basically, my car needs a specialist. I will update this post after my appt with the "Electronic Auto Specialist".

- , Danvillle, CA, USA

problem #141

Mar 182009

Impala 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,652 miles


Ok, I found out it's NOT the security. It is your fuel. You have to put gas treatment and fuel injector cleaner in your car, and it will start every time. If you still have problems, I don't know, but paying $10 at a Winn Dixie is better than paying tons at a dealer.

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #140

Jul 142007

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Hi everyone.. well I just want to share with you owners I have been enduring this for over a year now. It started July of 2007. Of course I was stupefied at first since I had a brand new Sears Gold diehard battery. I have been fortunate that the "no start" has not affected me as much as others. For over a year now, EVERY TIME I turn the key, on a daily basis, I have to pull on my headlights. If I don't, my headlights will flash in unison with the passenger side relays clicking away. Also, if I don't manually turn on my headlights, while driving people think I have an emergency since my headlights are flashing. If I want to to use any of my interior lights, I experience a "disco" inside with lights flashing like crazy and the relays tripping. My A/C will not blow cold air either. You can hear the compressor kick on and off the with the relays triggering. Sometimes my radio will read "locked". Since I love music, I refuse to let this remain. So I have to turn off my car, open the driver door, apply the emergency brake and turn the key to the on position. Watch until the "locked" word disappears, then turn the key to start the engine. My dash lights are not active either. At night, I use the light from my cell phone to see my speed or gas level. What a gas huh !!! Other than this "Pass Lock" pain in the azz, this has been a very good car for me. Did not have to replace my original brake pads till 70,000+ miles!!! So brake pads and battery is it, and I'm the original owner.

I am just now calling around to get input from GM repair shops, to see if they "acknowledge" this BS issue since many played dumb to it. I've read where some people will install auto start to bypass the "pass lock". Others have replaced the BCM (body control module). Some have even gone as far as putting a type of toggle switch on a wire. If your car DOES NOT have any symptoms, do not take it to get diagnosed via computer. The computer will not recognize any issue unless it is happening while being hooked up.

As everyone should now know..... Toyota has finally surpassed GM as the number 1 automaker by sold cars. Way to go GM....I'm from Michigan and have many family/friends who have been and are retired from GM. GM has fallen due to poor management. PERIOD.

If I get this issue resolved, I will post my resolution on this site. In the meantime...keep positive with this challenge.. LOL

- , Danvillle, CA, USA

problem #139

Sep 112008

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

I am just so mad! This is my first car, and it took me a year working long hours to save up for it. Sometimes it won't crank, so I have to unhook the battery and let it sit for a few before it will start. The dealer that I brought it to said he was 80% sure that it was my BCM (body control modules) and he would have to reset my radio. The two repairs would run me about $1,200 and that isn't even 100% guaranteed what the problem was. To make it worse, $1,200 is all that I still owe on my loan through the end of 2009, and trading it in wouldn't be beneficial because I owe more than its worth.

Before I buy next time, I will do my research. I think my next purchase is going to be a Toyota!!! I was a Chevy girl but no more!!!

- , North Augusta, SC, USA

problem #138

Feb 212009

Impala LX 3.2V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles


I had this issue occur when I had about 32000 miles on the car...the ignition and related modules was replaced. Now I have had the issue occur two times within the last three weeks. Both times I sat around fiddling with the ignition and eventually it started.Of course the signal lights went out as usual and the radio stopped working ...a safety hazard I have been living with on and off for the last year.

The dealers eyes light up and the quotations are ridiculous ...I was offered $1500 on a trade for the car and close to $1000 to repair the system..go figure.

- , Pompano Beach, FL, USA

problem #137

Mar 112009

Impala LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles

Well, add another unhappy Chevy Impala owner to this list. My car has been having this security problem now much more frequently. I thought it may have had something to do with the weather going from hot to cold as well as humidity that was causing havoc to the passlock system. Now this morning in pleasant conditions outside the car didn't start. 3rd time in one week.

Waiting 10 minutes and then restarting does work, but this is a royal pain and, of course, I was late to work. I'm hesitant to go to the cleaners, er, the dealership because I really don't feel like forking over my hard earned money for a problem that may just come back over time--plus, they're going to be claiming bankruptcy soon anyway, so now I really don't want to give them my money.

Rest assured GM, this is my last car from you guys.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #136

Feb 162009

Impala LS 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,373 miles

Have noted that the security light comes on periodically, but paid no real attention as car always started and ran great. Today, I left for work went approximately 4 miles and stopped for gas. After filling up ($1.75 a gallon) my car wouldn't start. Attendants helped push my car to a parking space where after 10-15 min. the car started. During attempts to start (at the pump and parked) lights/electrical were strong, no indication of a charging system problem (6 month old battery), etc. but also no clicking or any attempt of the engine to turnover. Though it might be the transmission/ignition switch (starter won't turnover if the car is in gear) or possibly some sort of starter motor problem.

Drove to the dealer where I bough the car and received a call just a bit ago that it was related to the Pass-lock system/ignition switch and the Body Control Module (BCM), codes in memory. Dealer service rep couldn't even explain what the BCM was or did other than some sort of Body control. Maybe I need one for my out of shape (human) body.

Approximate cost I was told will be $948.

- , Sicklerville, NJ, USA

problem #135

Nov 142008

Impala LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

This happened several times 'til I figured out what was causing it. After that as long as I started the vehicle before opening the front passenger door I had no problems.

- , Grove City, MN, USA

problem #134

May 202007

Impala LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


BCM Mod. Replaced and a Loose wire reattached. Please check for the loose wire FIRST. Dealership told me there was a loose wire (as others listed in complaints) and to bring car back following day for a new BCM mod. because they were out of the BCM and would order it. As I was going to leave with the car (dealership was closing) with the wire reattached, I was stopped and told that they had a BCM and would replace. I wondered if it really was just the wire and had I left without the BCM replaced would the car have been ok? So please check for possible detached wire. Car works No more flickering lights, car starts, all the myriad of symptoms OK, Even the radio went out after months of this problem. I didn't trust any other dealer because each one of them said they never heard of this problem (I called each dealership for miles) and I suggested they look up this site, etc. GM totally ignored and was NO HELP WHAT SO EVER! Finally one service manager said he knew of this problem and that is who I had fix after a long conversation with him.

It has been several months now and the car starts and door locks work, no flickering of lights, etc. etc. GOOD LUCK!

- , C, MI, USA

problem #133

Feb 072009

Impala LS 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles

This starting problem is just straight silly n stupid n GMC act like they don't care, but I hope they get what coming 2 them. I love GMC but after I might just go foreign as well.

- , Columbus, GA, US

problem #132

Jul 012007

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I urge everyone that puts up with this issue to go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and submit you claim. Remember.. power of the people speaks volumes !


Your complaint information will be entered into the NHTSA vehicle owner complaint database. NHTSA technical staff review this information to identify potential safety problems. While you may or may not be contacted by a NHTSA investigator to clarify the information submitted, all reports are reviewed and analyzed for potential defects trends. Also, the NHTSA complaint database provides valuable information to other consumers and to manufacturers.

If you have any questions regarding this complaint, please contact ODI:

* By phone: 1-888-327-4236 8:00AM to 10:00PM Monday-Friday TTY: 1-888-424-9153 Have your ODI Number available. (Spanish-speaking operators available)

* By e-mail: Indicate your ODI Number in the contact form.

Thank you,

Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

- , Danvillle, CA, USA

problem #131

Nov 122008

Impala 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Typical passlock issue - get in car, try to start, nothing......wait 15-20 minutes, start car, go on your way.

Call dealer - can fix for a few hundred thanks. I asked why this is not a recall........"silence"........hello?........."silence"......he doesn't know why it's not a recall?????

I gave up and said....."and you wonder why nobody wants to buy an American made car"?

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #130

Jul 012007

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I urge all of you to call the NHTSA or go online to fill out the complaint! I have called and filed online. Not so sure how much this helps. There is a Service Bulletin on this plague. Here is the link: (888) 327-4236

I have called several GM dealership and ask the service dept mgr if they are familiar with the passlock issue. Guess how many said yes? NONE. They know of this issue and have known for years. Sadly, this is merely a business and they know how to generate revenue by nickel and diming us with so called resolutions to the problem.

This kind of customer service and quality, of a very large portion of GM vehicles has substantially impacted their fall from grace. They will try to sell the public is has been the economy, Don't let them pull that one you. Toyota passed GM in sales this year, the first time any manufacturer has done that. Look how many troubled GM owners have switched to foreign cars. I think this is what you can call a "no brainier".

Good luck to all who spend the money at dealerships. Logic dictates here, you have a 50% chance of the same thing recurring in a few years since they are replacing the OEM "BCM" with with same OEM defective part to begin with.

- , Danville, CA, USA

problem #129

Jul 012007

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

This is my 3rd post. I have done a lot of research and still have not chosen to fix the car due to the high recurrence. I am car starts everytime, it's just everything else that goes with the known problem. I found this while doing research today.. OH YEAH.. SIGN THE PETITION. It's located a few post below mine. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This letter is addressed to General Motors.

Why are many of your vehicles experiencing vehicle "security light on" (random events) and "vehicle will not start" (random events)?

My 2003 Impala has experienced these issues over the past 2 years. The "security light on" (who really cares) but the issue with the "vehicle not starting" is really serious.

I have investigated many difficult problems in my lifetime... I like to explore things fully!

I have vast experience in Electronics, Engine control management systems and Auto repair.

Currently, I am working as an Embedded Software Engineer.

I have fully investigated the PassLock II issues "online" and have found such a large number of complains directly relating to my complaint.

What is staggering, is that many times, consumers take their vehicle to a certified GM dealership and pay for the repair (I've seen up to $450.00 posted).

A day or a week later the problem comes back...

Many consumers have simply defeated or by-passed the PassLock system. The information and kits are available by doing a simple search.

I would like 1% of the money GM dealerships have extracted from consumers regarding this issue!

Now here is some interesting news for GM and their dealerships.

I have personally investigated my PassLock problem from a serious technical view point.

The dash was tore apart and eventually, I was able to remove the ignition switch which has the Pass Lock (magnetic sensor system) mounted in it.

The ignition switch was dissasembled and I looked closely and observed a few interesting things about the PassLock system design.

1) The male connector does not fit securely in the female connector receptacle. It can wiggle up and down and back and forth.

2) The connection is a "blind connection" meaning that during assembly one would not know if the PassLock connector was connected correctly or not.

3) The male and female pins used on the PassLock system are "Tin" plated and subject to oxidation over time. The pins should have been "gold plated."

The grey oxidation was clearly visible under 10X magnification.

4) The Body Computer does not adjust over time for the oxidation that build up on the PassLock pins.

The critical analog PassLock signal drifts depending on mechnical issues, temperature and humidity.

Ok - GM -> The PassLock cat is out of the bag!

What I did about this problem.

I certainly did not take the vehicle to any GM Dealership and get "rear-ended."

I simply hand soldered the three wires (Black, White and Yellow) directly to the PassLock sensor.

The vehicle is repaired and I would like to let GM know that when I sell this vehicle, I will offer a "LifeTime Warranty" on the security system for this vehicle (more than you can do)!

So what is GM doing? Well, the Dealerships are collecting a lot of money from us. They, the Dealershipsr are simply replacing the sensor ($150.00).

Can all of these sensors be going bad? The answer is no...

When the sensor is replaced the oxidation on the female connector pin is temporarily scraped and makes a better connection. Three years down the road (guaranteed!) you will be up against the same issues.

So the "root cause" of this failure and GM's inability to permanently fix this problem is now understood.

When consumers are installing bypass kits they are not bypassing the Body Computer or the three required signals to the Powertrain Controller (Class II serial communications, Fuel Enable and Crank Enable) they are bypassing the sensor and the connector. The problem is with the connector and its pins!

OK -> GM and Dealerships wake up and return all of the money you've swindled from us! You use technology against consumers and we are sick and tired.

GM, I've seen your last quarterly report and it looks like "we the consumers" in "North America" will not have to be dealing with you for very much longer.

I wish you all the best of luck!

Dr Zach

- , Danvillle, CA, USA

problem #128

Jan 012009

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

This problem actually began 3 years ago. I tried everything and eventually had the car towed to the dealer. They said I had a bad battery and replaced it. I found this hard to believe as the battery only a couple of years old. I had no problems for a while and then it happened again. No start, nothing I could do, tried disconnecting the battery etc... and still nothing. With no other choice I had it towed to a different dealer. Same explanation, Battery!!!! Recently the security light has been coming on and it has happened twice in six weeks. I took it to the dealer and they saudered a loose wire at the body control module and also replaced the B.C.M. 500 bucks. It just happened again so the 500 was for nothing. Has to be the security system/passlock. Still not fixed but the temporary solution until a permanent one can be found is to remove key, open door, replace key in ignition, sit 10-15 min. and try again.

- , Ardmore, TN, USA

problem #127

Feb 082009

Impala LS 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 189,000 miles

This has happened yet again; stranded out in the middle of nowhere. Thanks GM.

Remember; SIGN THE PETITION, even if it probably won't pan out into anything... Tell everyone you know :)

- , Toronto, Ontario, Canada

problem #126

Feb 012002

Impala LS 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

After finding this site (1st timer), I'm amazed at number of complaints. I unknowingly have this problem, but my car always starts. I feel the reason is because when I got my car I installed a Viper security/auto start system. This system bypasses the Pass-Key System. Recently though sometimes I've noticed my overhead info system wasn't coming on and A/C-defrost for at least 5mins after I started the car. Mechanics said computer had a bunch of "odd" codes stored. They cleared the codes and reset the computer, cost was $39.95 (in SD and not at a dealership and will scan n/c if check engine comes on again). Obviously it's the PassKey System and/or bad connection issue. It should be GM's responsibility to fix this problem and reimburse everyone, because of their design flaw. It saddens me to say, but after being a lifelong GM buyer, shortly my next car will be foreign. Because of issues in the past and now this, I'm tired of GM not standing by it's product and leaving it's customers hanging. This is another instance of GM and it's dealerships, knowing there's a problem with their cars and acting dumb while the dealerships profit by "parts changing" the problem, instead of bypassing the Pass-Key System or better yet FIXING the actual problem. I know this doesn't help everyone (unless you install a security system where bypassing the PassKey System) but it gives evidence to the problem and/or a possible fix. Best of luck to all. (I'm also a recipient of GM's BAD intake manifold/plenium gasket design problem w/3.8L V6's.)

- , Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #125

Mar 012007

Impala LX 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Passlock system been a problem for almost 2 years now - had ignition replaced, lasted 2 months, now will be getting a new bcm. I wrote to my US Senator and told him they should not bail out GM until GM stops making defective cars. Anyway, this is my last Chevy.

- , Burnt Hills, NY, USA

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