2001 Chevrolet Impala LS

I own a 2001 Chevrolet Impala LS that at 62,000 started experiencing a problem where it won’t start at times. You have to wait 10-20 minutes before it will turn over. You never know when its going to happen. Others have had this problem as well (check complaints on autobeef.com) What do you recommend as I do not see that GM has recognized this repeatedly documented failure? Other than this problem it has been a super car.

Chevy Girl with Super Car,

Every car ever made has its idiosyncrasies. My son has a 2001 Impala LS 3800 (safe and 30mpg hwy.) that he loves and I have recently been involved in discussions here involving the problem you write about. His is doing the same thing. This problem would have been taken care of under warranty if it happened earlier.

The problem is most likely (not positively) the ignition switch, the electrical part your key and lock cylinder go into in the dashboard. The part is about $200 and a little labor.

As these age and wear, the sensors inside get senile and think that you are trying to “steal” (like you’d steal your own car) the car with a different key or screwdriver or whatever. The car’s GM Passlock Security System shuts down your fuel injection system and the engine’s crank relay, so you can’t “steal” the car. It becomes a very large paper weight. As you point out, when the security light stops flashing after about 10 minutes, it starts right up.

My GM dealer GURU told my son to try a different (spare, original, other) car key. Sometimes that helps or fixes your problem.

Anyhow, good luck and enjoy that Impala. Remember, we all have our idiosyncrasies!

P.S. I forgot, one place I read suggested holding the key to the “start” position for several seconds(?) when it does not start. You are supposed to hold it a short while, until it suddenly cranks over and starts. We haven’t tried this yet and don’t know if it does anything.

America, what a country! (and nice cars, too!)

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