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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,818 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.

2003 Chevrolet Impala transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Chevrolet Impala Owner Comments

problem #15

Oct 012010

Impala 6-cyl

  • 143,000 miles


Problem started with the trans - wasn't shifting right, hard shift. Took it to rotolo Chevy in fontana, ca. Dx: catalytic converter, nearly $800 to get new one only to have the car completely die on the side of the road when the tranny disintegrated. Replaced under warranty. Ever since I have had shifting difficulties - took it back a week later to be told it has a "smart adapt" in trans and needed approx 1000 miles to sync itself, now the car sputters, has a misfire code in cylinder 2, trans code. Hard starts, randomly stalls when making right turns, interior and exterior lights surge when at an idle, car constantly feels like it wants to stall - it can actually make you nauseas when sitting at a stop light because of the surging of the car. This morning the car just stalled when I was at a stop sign. All plugs, plug wires and coil pack for cylinder 2 have been replaced with no correction to how the car runs. Sounds and feels worse when you put the car into reverse, but smoothes out some when in drive. Filed complaint with bar regarding cat replacement, recommended refund to dealer for unnecessary item - dealer refuses to give money back. Told me car would never run right after the tranny was replaced because I refused to have them change the motor mounts. The car has not run right since, but a second opinion found that the mounts were ok - recommended that one of the back mounts be replaced as it was more worn than the others.

- Alta Loma, CA, USA

problem #14

Aug 282009


  • 129,057 miles
I have a 2003 Chevrolet Impala with a 3.8 liter V-6. the car radio quit working and I had to pull out the fuse because it was sending strange error messages to the body control module. Now the BCM is having even more problems. The car turned itself of then back on while I was driving down the road. I pulled over and shut the car off. Then it would not start again. I pulled the fuse for the BCM an the car started and I made it home. What in the world did General Motors do to these cars. I have been reading numerous horror stories about their cars. Was there a recall to fix this problem or do I have to go to the dealer and spend a fortune to fix this garbage pretending to be a car. How can a car company get away with this poor quality control in this day and age? my security display now shows random errors like low fuel even after I filled up the tank. Not sure if any major damage was done to the car but now the transmission hesitates when it shifts.

- Hutto , TX, USA

problem #13

Dec 152002


  • 65,000 miles
No crashes.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #12

Oct 072008


  • 63,000 miles


In the past several weeks I had noticed that the doors of my 2003 Chevy Impala were not automatically unlocking. This is supposed to occur when gearshift is moved into park position. At the time I did not view this as important. In the last several days I have noticed that my car would not start at various times of the day. On inspection, I noticed that even though the gearshift was in the physical position for park, the dash indicator did not indicate "P" on the display. I moved the gearshift into the neutral position and the vehicle started. Today, while parking the vehicle on an incline I moved the gearshift to the physical park position but again the dash indicator did not show the "P" for gearshift position. After removing my foot from the brake, the vehicle began to roll down the incline. I reapplied the brake and fidgeted with the gearshift lever and eventually the dash indicator eventually showed "P" indicating the vehicle was in park. On removing my foot from the brake, the vehicle remained stationary. There appears to me to be some malfunction with the switch sending the gearshift position indication to the transmission.

- Spokane, WA, USA

problem #11

Oct 282007


  • miles
Transmission pan bolts loosen every 25,000 to 30,000 miles.

- Howell, NJ, USA

problem #10

Apr 122007

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles
After several trips to the repair shop at two dearlerships for my slipping transmission on my 2003 Impala, the transmission finally failed after the warranty has expired on the car.

- Maywood, IL, USA

problem #9

Mar 042007


  • miles


Bought Chevrolet Impala in 2002 car had 5 miles on it and I put the 5 miles by test driving the car I wouldn't recommend anyone to by a Chevrolet. Chevrolet doesn't stand by their cars I had to replaces the intake gaskets and a catalytic and a water pump and this week I had to put a transmission in it this week and that cost me 2400 and Chevrolet would nt help us a all, Chevrolet said that it had to many miles on it what do they want for a car to have no miles on it I drive to work and back. I don't think Chevrolet should had to paid for the transmission but I would like them to help us and stand by a american made car.

- Amelia, OH, USA

problem #8

Oct 082004

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Upon acceleration car pulls to the right. Upon deceleration or traveling in reverse, car pulls to the left.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #7

Aug 042004

Impala 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving, the vehicle vibrated uncontrollably and shifted gears on it's own. The consumer was able to maintain control of the vehicle and drove it to the dealer for inspection. The mechanic informed the consumerer that the transmission needed to be replaced.

- Pacoima, CA, USA

problem #6

Feb 162003

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,818 miles
When on any grade of incline the car will begin to roll backwards unless gas pedal is pressed quickly and quite hard. This almost resulted in me hitting a car behind me while waiting for a red light on an incline when I removed my foot from the brake pedal. This has happened several times now and I have to keep my foot on the brake as I begin to accelerate or the roll back occurs. Also attempting to park at my daughters school where the parking spots have to be pulled up into, the car rolls back rather quickly as if it were in neutral. I have also noticed that it has some problems advancing it's gears if the engine is under strain. I'm very worried that my car rolling back will result in accident.

- Newburgh, IN, USA

problem #5

Jul 252004

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,772 miles


Automatic transmission periodically fails to proceed with shifts after reaching 25-30 mph. At that point, the engine roars, as though it had been shifted into neutral, and the vehicle ceases to accelerate. Sometimes this is resolved when the car shifts with a lurch. Most often, it is necessary to reduce the spead and once again accelerate the vehicle through the problematic range. This usually leads to the car resuming a normal pattern of acceleration. However, on some accasions this process has led to multiple repititions of the same problem, causing the vehicle to fail to accelerate properly into traffic for a prolonged period with resultant danger to those in the vehicle and in other vehicles nearby. This problem has been brought to the attention of the dealership five times over the past five months, with the first request for service occurring when the vehicle's mileage was just under 10,800. The first four service visits failed to result in effective corrective action. The results of the fifth service visit are pending.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #4

Nov 052003

(reported on)

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 740 miles
While driving, the consumer noticed there was too much play in the steering wheel. Also, the transmission was not working properly and the vehicle failed to accelerate. Dealer was notified of the problem. The dealer attempted to repair the transmission, but the vehicle was still unable to merge into freeway traffic. The vehicle pulled hard to the left and would become uncontrollable. The tires were replaced, but the problem remained.

- Yakima, WA, USA

problem #3

Jul 202003

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,480 miles
The transmission began failing within 3 weeks of purchase. Transmission would slam and jerk in gears and finally began not shifting out of 1st gear until 50 mph. Was fixed and then one week later began failing again. This time car would not shift into 4th gear but instead just slip gear and rev engine. Transmission finally locked into 3rd gear and would not drive in any other gear. This all occurs within the first 2400 miles and 1 1/2 month of ownership.

- Bellflower, CA, USA

problem #2

May 212003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When the vehicle accelerated from a stop on a small or large incline the vehicle rolled backwards excessively and almost caused a collision. Returned usps, 2nd attempt made 05/21/03 failed.

- Meredith, NH, USA

problem #1

Dec 062002

Impala 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 400 miles
I was driving on the interstate anf as I was slowing down the car began downshifting rough. As I increased speed out of the exit the car was "jerking" and shifting very rough. The "check engine" light came on. It took 2 weeks to replace the transmission valve body, wiring harness, and solenoids in the transmission. This car only had 400 miles on

- Decatur, AL, USA

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