2004 Impala Won't Start...Please Diagnose

So this car has been having overheating problems since I first purchased it. I’ve operated it, but I’ve had to keep the heat going full blast to keep the coolant tank from overheating.

Last night I was driving on the interstate, and it began to overheat. It was running hot for maybe 3 minutes before I was able to pull over. I let it sit and cool for probably about 20-25 minutes, pulling over on a dark portion of the interstate, before I started it with no problem and moved it to a safer location (it ran hot again, but this was maybe for 30 seconds before I pulled over and shut it off.)

I let it sit for a good hour so that it could cool all the way down from 260 to 140. I then attempt to start it. It turns, but does not start. At this point, I call a tow truck to come for it. About 30 to 40 minutes after this, I start the car again. It starts with no problem. I put it in reverse, and roll it back to see if there are any leaks. There’s leaking from the coolant tank…quite a large puddle. I refill it with distilled water and it leaks some more but sits mostly. I then start it again, and roll it forward. The tow truck arrives maybe 30 minutes later, and I attempt to start it to line it up behind, but it turns and does not start. We have to put it in Neutral and turn it to get it in line for the tow truck.

We get to my destination, probably about a 40 minute drive, and he unloads it. I attempt to start it…again, it turns but does not start. This morning, about 8 hours after that, I try to start it…it does not even turn.

The oil is just fine, the battery is not dead (lights/radio/horn/etc. works), but the battery does seem weak since the dashboard lights are dimmed no matter how much I turn them up. Even thought the coolant tank has been somewhat depleted, it was never close to being empty or bone dry. There weren’t any “knocking” noises, there was no smoking or anything from either the hood or the exhaust.

I need to know what this is…a blown engine, or something that’s fixable and not as serious.


First you need a good battery. How old is yours? How many volts is it reading? What happens when you try to jump start the car?

I have not tried jumping it yet. I do not know how to determine how many volts it is reading. Should I just try to jump it right now?

Turns out it was the battery, thanks.



I take it you already bought and installed it?