Here Are The Used Chevy Impala Years to Avoid

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you in the market for a used car that’s both reliable and comfortable? Look no further than the Chevy Impala, a classic American sedan that has been a favorite for generations.

But buyer beware, not all Impalas are created equal. Don’t let a lemon ruin your driving experience.

Before you make your purchase, it’s crucial to know which Impala years to avoid to ensure you’re making a smart investment in a vehicle that will serve you well for years to come.

Don’t settle for a subpar driving experience. Do your research and make an informed decision when shopping for your next car. Happy hunting!

Chevy Impala years to avoid

Worst Years

During your research about Chevy Impala years to avoid, you might want to focus on the early 2000s models, specifically 2002, 2003, and 2004 Chevy Impalas.

These years have been notorious for their issues and poor reliability.

2002 Chevy Impala

The 2002 Chevy Impala stands out as the model year with the most owner complaints. This model had a broken passlock issue, which is meant to prevent the engine from starting without the correct key.

Unfortunately, the passlock system in the 2002 Impala was prone to malfunction, leaving owners stranded with a car that wouldn’t start even with the right key. You’re better off avoiding this model year altogether.

2003 Chevy Impala

The 2003 Chevy Impala also ranks as one of the worst years due to its poor reliability. This model year received over a thousand complaints and eight recalls, earning it an “Avoid Like the Plague” seal.

Common issues included a problematic cooling system, a tendency for the engine to stall, and transmission failures.

You’ll want to steer clear of this model to save yourself from potential headaches.

2004 Chevy Impala

While the 2004 Chevy Impala had fewer issues than the 2002 and 2003 models, it still faced reliability concerns.

This model year suffered from similar cooling system issues and was also prone to engine failure.

Although the problems might not be as widespread as in the previous two years, it’s still a good idea to be cautious and consider other Impala years instead.

In summary, you should avoid the 2002, 2003, and 2004 Chevy Impala years if you’re looking for a reliable vehicle.

These models have been marred by various issues that can cause significant inconveniences and expenses.

Common Problems

Transmission Issues

One of the most frequently reported problems in certain Chevy Impalas is related to the transmission.

You may experience transmission issues such as poor or delayed shifting between gears in the 2000-2015 Impalas.

Additionally, some owners have reported transmission pressure control solenoid failures, which can also lead to poor shifting.

Electrical Problems

The electrical system in some Impala models has been known to cause a bit of a headache for owners.

Specifically, the 2002 Impala frequently experienced a broken passlock system. This system normally stops the engine from starting unless the correct ignition key is inserted.

However, a malfunction in the system can leave you stranded, unable to start your car.

Apart from the passlock system issue, some Impalas are also prone to battery drain problems. These issues may be hard to pinpoint and could be challenging to deal with in the long run.

Mechanical Issues

Mechanical problems in some Impala models can also be a cause for concern.

For example, the 2000-2004 Impalas were often plagued by leaking head gaskets and worn or faulty piston rings, which may result in oil leaks.

Oil leaking onto hot exhaust components can be extremely dangerous.

Likewise, the intake manifold gasket was a common problem in certain models. A faulty intake manifold gasket may lead to engine overheating, coolant leaks, and loss of engine power.

Another prevalent issue in some Impala models, particularly the 2003 and 2004 versions, was related to the steering column.

Owners reported grinding noises and occasional steering column lockups, which could pose a safety risk.

Remember to thoroughly check any potential Chevy Impala purchase for these issues.

Major Problem Years

2002 Chevy Impala

The 2002 Chevy Impala is a model year you should be cautious about. According to, it has the highest number of owner complaints.

One of the main reasons is the broken passlock system, preventing the engine from starting unless the correct key is inserted. Unfortunately, the system malfunctioned and caused issues for owners.

Additionally, this model year had transmission problems, which can lead to extensive and costly repairs. You may want to consider avoiding the 2002 Chevy Impala to save yourself from potential headaches.

2004 Chevy Impala

Another problematic year for the Chevy Impala is 2004. With common issues like leaking head gaskets and worn piston rings, this model could lead to dangerous situations, such as oil leaking onto the hot exhaust.

In fact, these problems even led to a recall in 2015 that affected Impala models from 2000-2004. It would be wise to steer clear of this year to avoid dealing with severe engine issues.

2013 Chevy Impala

While the 2013 Chevy Impala might be a more modern option, it’s not completely free of issues. This model year has a recall related to a faulty ignition switch, which can affect the overall reliability of the car.

However, compared to the 2002 and 2004 models, the 2013 Impala has fewer recalls and known issues.

Despite these concerns, keep in mind that every used car will have its own history and any mentioned issues may have been addressed by previous owners.

It’s essential to have a trusted mechanic inspect a vehicle before you commit to a purchase, regardless of the model year, to ensure that it is safe and reliable for your needs.

Chevy Impala Safety and Performance

When it comes to the Chevy Impala, you may want to pay close attention to the safety and performance aspects of different model years.

Some years have better reliability, safety features, and performance – elements crucial for an enjoyable driving experience. Let’s dive into some key points for you to consider.

First, let’s talk about reliability. While the Chevy Impala has had many great years, certain periods, specifically from 2000 to 2004, have been marked by some reliability concerns.

In these years, you might encounter issues such as the 2006 Chevy Impala, which received unfavorable reception due to a lack of power, uncomfortable ride, and poor fuel economy.

Regarding performance, the ninth-generation Impala introduced a 3.9-liter V6 engine that proved to be quite resilient with fewer repairs over its lifespan.

This engine may interest you if performance is a top priority when choosing the Impala. Safety features also play a vital role in your decision-making process.

For instance, the 2007 ninth-generation Impala had lower safety ratings from the IIHS, making it a less desirable year for those who prioritize safety.

To summarize, if you’re looking for a Chevy Impala, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of different model years.

Focus on elements that are most important to you, such as reliability, safety features, performance, and engine specifications. By doing thorough research, you’ll be able to find the perfect sedan that suits your needs and preferences.

Recent Years and Future

Let’s dive into the recent models and their performance.

2015 Chevy Impala

The 2015 Chevy Impala provides a comfortable ride with practical features. It comes with a strong V6 engine and offers a spacious interior. This model is appreciated for its fuel efficiency and smooth handling.

2016 Chevy Impala

The 2016 Chevy Impala continued with the improvements of its predecessor. You can expect a comfortable and quiet ride. This model comes with an updated infotainment system, offering better navigability and additional features.

2017 Chevy Impala

In 2017, the Impala kept up its good run. This vehicle offers a comfortable ride and boasts a user-friendly infotainment system. The spacious cabin and trunk space are noteworthy features of this model.

2018 Chevy Impala

The 2018 Chevy Impala maintained the strong reputation of the recent models. It offers excellent safety features and scores well in crash tests. The model features a responsive V6 engine and comfortable ride quality.

2019 Chevy Impala

The 2019 Impala continues the trend of offering a spacious and comfortable cabin, along with a user-friendly infotainment system. Its V6 engine delivers strong acceleration, and the overall ride experience is enjoyable.

2020 Chevy Impala

The 2020 Chevy Impala marks the final year of production for this iconic vehicle. Despite being discontinued, it still comes with an efficient V6 engine, comfortable seats, and a user-friendly infotainment system.

As the Chevy Impala has been discontinued, it will be interesting to see if any new models in the future borrow features or design cues from the Impala lineage.

Until then, you can enjoy the recent models which offer a solid combination of performance, comfort, and reliability.

Chevy Impala Competitors

Let’s take a look at some popular alternatives to the Impala.

Nissan Maxima

The Nissan Maxima is a sporty, full-size sedan that offers an attractive design and powerful performance.

One key difference between the Maxima and Impala is that the Maxima is generally considered to be more fun to drive, thanks to its responsive handling and strong acceleration. Get more details for list of Maxima most reliable used models list here.

However, Maxima lacks the trunk space and interior roominess found in the Impala. Two common issues with the Maxima are transmission failures and power steering leaks.

Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is a well-rounded sedan, known for its reliability and fuel efficiency. It offers a comfortable ride and a good balance between performance and practicality.

Compared to the Impala, the Accord tends to have a higher resale value and boasts better fuel economy.

However, some owners have experienced premature brake wear with Accords and occasional transmission issues.

Toyota Avalon

The Toyota Avalon is another full-size sedan competing with the Chevy Impala. It stands out for its comfort and luxurious interior, providing you with a smooth and refined driving experience.

Like the Impala, the Avalon offers plenty of interior space, but it comes with a higher price tag.

The Avalon has a reputation for reliability, but there are some reports of Avalon’s excessive oil consumption and engine knocking.

Ford Taurus

The Ford Taurus is a full-size sedan known for its spaciousness and comfortable ride.

While the Taurus and Impala share similar traits in terms of size and passenger space, the Taurus falls short in overall refinement and ride quality.

Two possible issues with the Taurus are power steering failures and transmission problems.

Hyundai Sonata

Lastly, the Hyundai Sonata is a midsize sedan that competes with the Impala in terms of affordability and value for money.

The Sonata excels in fuel efficiency and offers a long list of standard features. It has a slightly smaller interior than the Impala and may not be as comfortable for tall passengers. Common concerns include engine failures and issues with the electrical system.

By comparing the Chevy Impala with these competitors, you’ll have a better understanding of the market and be able to make the best choice for your needs.


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