2002 Impala Acceleration Problems

I have a 2002 Chevy Impala driving it in the city of Chicago. It’s recently had the oil changed, and the transmission fluid flushed and filter replaced.
This car was mine before I went off to school, and I meticulously maintained it for three years, and then my step sister inherited it. She drove it for two years, and then it sat in the driveway for a year and a half. It’s got about 175,000 miles on it.

Problem: Every time I start to accelerate past 25mph and get around 2000rpms, the car starts to give out, sputter and jerk. It starts to drop off right when it should be shifting to second gear. When on the highway, even if I floor the gas peddle, it won’t accelerate normally, but instead just crawls slowly to higher speeds. It will eventually reach the higher speeds, but it takes about 5-10 minutes for it climb up from 25mph. I don’t know enough about this level of car trouble to make a diagnosis myself, and would like an estimate of the cost for repairs. Also the car is getting around 19mpg on the highway, which I need to improve if I’m going to survive the $4.50/gal of Chicago gas. I’m hoping that fixing this problem will take care of that as well.

Is this a fixable problem? How much will it cost?

Also, an recommendations for reliable mechanics on the north side of Chicago?

check engine light on? Clogged catalytic converter?

According to Fuel Economy you should be getting (depending on motor) either 17-27 or 19-29 (cty-hwy). So you are on the low side.

By “filter”, which one did you get replaced? I’d like to assume “oil” since you had the oil changed, but you know what they say about those who “ASS-U-ME”. Consider doing the normal tune-up stuff, and that may help some. Air filter, spark plugs, at that mileage I’d consider the fuel filter, too, since they cost all of $15 for the expensive one.


My 03 Impala had similar symptoms at 83,000 miles which were solved by replacing the clogged catalytic converter (thermostat also needed replacing - failure possibly caused by converter failure). If you haven’t replaced this yet, it is way overdue for failure (they are warrantied for 80,000 miles by Federal mandate). Cost ~$500 for converter part and labor. I also had the fuel filter replaced at the same time which was also very dirty. I would have replaced it myself if it hadn’t been so rusted in. Car has run like new ever since.