Chevy Impala Problems: 4 most-Common Issues (Explained)

The Chevy Impala is a popular car for people looking for safe and reliable transportation. For decades, it was considered to be the flagship passenger sedan for Chevrolet.

While the vehicle stopped production in 2020, there are still thousands of these vehicles available for sale on the used market, often at great prices since they were so popular. 

If you’re thinking of buying one, though, you may want to be prepared for these common issues.

Before we dive in, make sure to check our piece here on how long the Impala models typically last.

Shifting Rough/ Transmission Problems

This problem was most commonly reported in the 2005 model of the Impala, but owners of several different model years up through 2015 reported this issue around the point their cars hit 100,000 miles.

The most common culprit was a leak in the transmission fluid lines.

If the problem has been left unchecked for too long, this usually means that a new transmission will be needed.

While a new transmission is a serious and costly problem, it seems as if owners who had their transmission fluid lines repaired (a repair costing a few hundred dollars at most) were able to avoid it.

Replacement of these lines is a common issue in many vehicles around the 100,000 mile point, but if you’re buying an older model used Impala it may be something to make sure your mechanic checks out.

You can read more about this in our article on the best and worst Impala years.

Poor Illumination

This is mainly an issue with Impalas that were sold from 2014 and beyond. The problem seems to be in the design of the car itself, the beams simply don’t light up enough of the area around the car.

A redesign of the vehicle in this model year was meant to improve visibility, and while there were improvements made, several drivers noticed that lighting around the car at night did not extend as far as it used to.

Some drivers reported spending around $400 on improving the quality of the lights, but this seems to have done little to fix the problem.

While the quality of light improved, the reach of the beams will require the car to be redesigned in order to truly fix the issue.

It is important to note that the problem does not seem to effect all drivers, which heavily implies that the issue could be with the angle at which the driver perceives that lights and the road. If you’re thinking of buying, ask to test drive the vehicle at night and see if this issue affects you.

Loss of Power Steering

This issue seems most common in the 2014 model year, and in one instance the issue resulted in a serious accident according to the NHTSA. There are two possible causes.

In some cases, drivers reported a leak in their power steering fluid line that caused them to lose the whole system.

Fortunately, this was solvable by fixing the power steering fluid line leak.

In more serious cases, the car seems to have lost the ability to steer all together.

This was the case in the 2014 accident reported to the NHTSA, in which the driver reported that the car seemed to have lost control after it reached speeds of over 70 mph.

It’s important to note, however, that this was the only accident reported out of thousands of these vehicles on the road.

If you’re buying an older model Impala, it’s probably a good idea to have all the line checked in the vehicle anyway. Look carefully for leaks, and consider asking the mechanic to do a quick computer check of the steering system if you’re concerned.

Electrical Accessory Issues

There were a few issues with electrical accessories reported by owners of later model vehicles. Most of these involved interior lighting systems that would not turn on or car doors that would not unlock.

In the 2018 model year there was a report of the Driver’s Assist program not working while someone was driving the vehicle.

It’s important to note that issues with more expensive and harder to reaper system such as the air conditioning were very rarely reported.

In fact, many of the reports of issues with electrical accessories seem to be related to the battery going dead.

It appears that the vehicle tends to cut power to non-essential systems when the battery needs to be replaced, conserving power for starting the car.

While these issues can be annoying, they do not impact the overall safety of the vehicle, and none of them could cause the vehicle to be in an accident. Even the failure of the Driver’s Assist program simply meant that the driver had to manually take over braking and could not use cruise control until the car was shut off and the system automatically reset.

Considering that the failure of these accessory features was the chief complaint for the vehicle for the 2018 through 2020 model years and that the problem was usually resolved with a simple system reset, it seems as if a later model used Impala would be a good choice for a car buyer looking for a reliable vehicle.

Pros and Cons

The Chevy Impala is a good car for anyone who is looking for safe and reliable transportation.

While the vehicle isn’t known for its luxury, it has relatively few issues, and those it does have often have a simple fix or can be categorized as problems that can be expected for cars of their age.

Meanwhile, the Impala has a lot of room in both the cabin and trunk and a reasonably comfortable interior.

Because the Checvy Impala has been in production for so long, it can be difficult to make a blanket general statement about the vehicle. Based on maintenance reports and reviews, however, most of the more serious problems are found in the older models of the vehicle.

Nonetheless, if you are considering purchasing an IMpala, make sure that your mechanic looks for these problems:

  • Transmission issues, especially transmission fluid leaks
  • Poor illumination
  • Power steering issues, including power steering fluid leaks
  • Electrical accessory issues

Of course, just because these issues are the most common ones does not mean that every Impala will not encounter other issues. 

Be sure to check all systems, particularly those that are related to driver safety.

What do the Reviews Say?

Regarding older model Impalas, Consumer Reports said that, “For 2014, the Impala was completely redesigned.

With a contemporary interior and powertrain, as well as impressive ride and handling, it became one of our top-rated sedans.

The spacious and quiet cabin features generally high-quality materials and trim. Get the 2LT to garner Impala’s advanced safety systems.

“The Convenience package includes the rear-view camera, which is essential, given the Impala’s poor rear visibility. The Driver Confidence package adds forward-collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot detection and lane departure warning.”

“According to Car and Driver, the 2018 Impala features, “A large trunk, plush seats, and a smooth ride are Impala trademarks that continue to define Chevrolet’s full-size family sedan. Performance is adequate, and the Impala hides its heft well, driving much like the smaller Chevrolet Malibu. Its expansive cabin, while comfortable, is starting to show its age, but the Impala’s handsome exterior styling, intuitive infotainment system, and vast cargo capacity keep it in the hunt.”

Essentially, the Impala is a reliable vehicle that has relatively few maintenance issues, but does not provide a luxury driving experience. 

Older models of the vehicle, (generally meaning those made before 2014) don’t have great visibility, but the fact that they were well made is why so many are still available on used markets today.

After the 2014 redesign, it seems as if the few maintenance issues with fluid leakage were improved, and the drivability of the car along with its interior was really upgraded. With so few of these vehicles still on the road, this becomes less of an issue every year.

It’s important to realize that the Chevy Impala stopped production in 2020. That means that problems will likely continue to show themselves as these vehicles age.

What is the Resale Value of a Chevy Impala?

Resale values have fluctuated quite a bit over the past three years. This is a snapshot of the range of prices of Chevy Impalas that are currently on the market, but actual prices in your area could vary by thousands of dollars.

Remember that the last production year for the Chevy Impala was 2020, so you will likely only find used models for sale.

Year Mileage Price
2013 91,000 $16,000
2016 9,000 $35,000
2018 76,000 $28,000
2019 52,000 $29,000

Prices on these vehicles have climbed in recent years as the market for used cars becomes much tighter.

A combination of an increase in demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, a shortage of new vehicles on the market, and overall soaring levels of inflation have made it so that many current owners of the Chevy Impala are able to demand amounts practically equivalent to what they originally paid.

Because the car is no longer in production, it’s impossible to compare the prices on a new model to a used one.

Go back to see problems for all Chevrolet models.


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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.