2007 Chevrolet Impala fuel pump

chevrolet

#1

2007 Chevy Impala LT purchased new Nov 2006
V-6 Flex Fuel w/ 4 speed auto trans
52,000 miles

PROBLEM: FUEL PUMP GETTING PROGRESSIVELY NOISIER IN SHORT PERIOD OF TIME

  • I’m sadly familiar with the sound of a fuel pump going bad. My previous car, a 1987 Olds Cierra, went through three of them in the 20 years / 160k miles I had that car.
  • I NEVER run the gas tank below 1/4 full; in fact, I fill up at the half tank mark 99% of the time.
  • I have only ever run regular gas, NEVER E85, despite the flex fuel engine.
  • This 2007 Impala has a history of both major and minor components failing early; i.e. power steering pump, water pump, OnStar battery, antenna and remote fob control, etc.
  • Car has had all manufacturer recommended proactive maintenance done at proper mileage.
  • Have read that GM and Chevy trucks of recent years have had a history of problem fuel pumps but am not finding any particular information indicating that Chevy or other GM cars are having fuel pumps fail early.
  • Most of my driving has been and is short distances with multiple stops and restarts of the engine. Example, frequently run a route of about 10 miles with 4 to 6 stops at various places (grocery, pharmacy, vet, etc.) However, I do make a point of taking the car for a longer run of 20+ miles, including highway speeds, at least every two weeks.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Do fuel pumps typically fail earlier with the type of short distance / frequent stops and restarts driving I do? Are my driving habits leading to early failure of fuel pumps?
  2. Do fuel pumps typically last longer than 7 years / 52,000 miles?
  3. Should I view this noisy and presumably failing fuel pump at this age/mileage as normal wear and tear or is this happening early enough in age/mileage to be worrisome?

Marnet
…still reading, still learning


#2

No fuel pump expert, but my 20 year old Corolla with 200k miles has been subjected to similar driving conditions and still has the original fuel pump. I don’t think it is normal for a fuel pump to fail at 7 years and 52 k miles, no. It could be the original pump failed prematurely due to a sample defect, then it was replaced with an aftermarket version, rather than an OEM part from a dealer. 50K miles on an aftermarket pump would be more likely than the OEM part.


#3

@GeorgeSanJose – Thank you for your response. I remember that the 1973 Toyota Corolla that first my mom, then I, then finally my dad drove for a total of 16 years and 140k miles never had the fuel pump or transmission give any problems. Only engine problem was when I burned out three cylinders driving too fast on the highway and had to have a cylinder job to repair them. The body turned into rust way too early and the interior was bare bones misery, but mechanically that early Corolla held up extremely well.

At the time I bought this 2007 Impala, I had multiple good reasons for doing so. And in many ways I do like the car. But I confess that I’m concerned about too many components failing early. I don’t count needing to replace the struts and a wheel bearing last year as those were damaged hitting a road hazard. But having the power steering and water pumps fail between the 30k and 40k mileages (would have to drag out the service file to get the exact mileages) and now having the fuel pump begin to make noise makes me wonder just what is next! Despite not wanting to turn loose of the $$$$ it would cost to trade this car in for something else, I’m beginning to wonder if it is time to do so before its value drops significantly more due to age/mileage/condition. The interior and exterior are in excellent condition and all the mechanical work is up to date and fully documented. Perhaps I’ll do some shopping and test driving.


#4

Future depreciation per year is always less than past depreciation and if you buy a newer car you start the cycle all over again. If you don;t want to keep your 2007 Impala, get rid of it but don’t rationalize it being based on depreciation.


#5

@oldtimer – Thank you. You make a very valid point, one I normally keep in mind. Guess I’m just letting frustration emotions cloud my common sense. I do appreciate the reminder! :slight_smile:


#6

I don’t know if just noisy is a problem. My 86 Buick started having a noisy pump at about a year old with 20,000 miles on it. Never had a problem when we got rid of it with 110K on it, and a lot of it was short trips. Best to check the fuel pressure though to make sure.


#7

@Bing – Thank you for your response. I didn’t know that fuel pumps can get noisy without being headed for failure. All my past experience with noisy ones has ended in pump failure and replacement. Given those were on a GM car (Olds) and this is also a GM car (Chevy) I tend to feel paranoid.


#8

Not to say it won’t be a problem but I usually didn’t have fuel pump problems for maybe 300,000 or so miles. Then it seemed like replacement pumps were never much good.


#9

For now I’m going to take a wait and see approach. As long as the car continues to run well, gets the same gas mileage, no check lights come on, no other symptoms develop and the noise stays bearable, I’m going to let it make noise until it would be noticeable by the mechanic.

Experience has taught me that I detect changes in sounds or the advent of new troublesome sounds long before any mechanic can hear them. (I have hypersensitive hearing.) I end up spending lots of money for diagnostic time of the mechanic trying to hear what I’m hearing and then being sent home without anything found and told to come back if the noise gets worse . I understand that if there are no symptoms other than sound the mechanic can’t hear it is difficult for him to know where to start looking. So, I’ll wait until the noise is louder and/or additional symptoms develop. But it is annoying to listen to the darned thing whine and know it likely means another large repair bill years/miles before it should happen.


#10

To clarify my previous post, I’ve not yet taken the car in regarding the new sound I’m certain is from the fuel pump. My comment about being sent home with a bill rightfully charging for labor time attempting to hear and find a problem based on noise I hear long before any mechanic does is about past experiences of many years. I do not object to being charged for time a mechanic spends trying to hear and find what I’m hearing. It’s just that since my experience is that until a noise is much louder than the current sound the fuel pump is making (or something other if it isn’t the fuel pump) the mechanic won’t be able to hear it and I’ll just end up paying for time spent to no avail. As long as no other symptoms appear, best to wait until the damned thing gets lots louder.


#11

A fuel pump should not be failing at that mileage. A noisy pump can be caused by a partially clogged fuel filter and over time a filter in that condition can lead to an early pump death.

You’ve certainly seem to have had an abnormal share of problems with that car Marnet. Maybe it’s time to get a Mojo Hand and see if that helps… :slight_smile:


#12

@ok4450 – LOL I’m beginning to think that.

Frankly, I’m very disappointed to have had the volume of problems that should not have occurred at low years and miles. I knew that buying a Chevy would most likely be less reliable, more repair prone, etc. than some other makes/models. And I’ve never expected to keep it 20 years. At the time I bought it there were good reasons for the choice, primarily because it was the car which my aging father with a collapsing spine could enter and exit and ride in with the least difficulty and pain. So it was the right choice at the time.

I’m also disappointed in the problems at low mileage despite good maintenance because overall it is a comfy car for me – good driver visibility, great trunk space, my preferred column shift lever and split bench front seat, simple dash controls. It also would cost $$$$ to trade it in.

That said, when it was in the shop for first mechanical and then body repairs after the road hazard incident, I drove two different rentals, a Chevy Equinox and a Toyota Camry. Wouldn’t want an Equinox due to the jerky transmission, poor driver visibility, too high step in/out for short person with bum knee, and plethora of squeaks and rattles. The Camry, on the other hand, was nice. It had better and quieter acceleration than the Impala and was comfy overall. I thought then of swapping for a Camry but didn’t want the 2013 model due to poor front offset crash ratings. But with the 2014 models out, I am seriously thinking of car shopping.

I don’t consider the Impala a lemon. It hasn’t had that level of problems; it certainly hasn’t been the car from hell in any way. Overall, day to day, it is reasonably reliable, comfortable and practical. But, frankly, I’m wondering what’s next – transmission, engine, electronics, etc. I’m already noticing developing problems with the a/c heater blower and vents – still barely noticeable problems but the blower is starting to get noisy and not performing consistently. And a bunch of other undefinable squeaks and rattles are beginning, albeit still what most people would consider very minor. It isn’t that any one thing is really wrong, just appears to be starting to show age early.


#13

I’ve got several neighbors who own Impalas similar to yours and theirs have been problem-free for the most part through about 7-9 years of ownership.
Just my 2 cents, but at the 50 odd thousand miles mark you should have had few if any problems up to that point and I would also be a bit antsy about the car at this point.
Given the choice of Equinox or Camry, my vote would be for the Toyota.

Road trip to Lousiana to meet that HooDoo lady out in the swamp is next on the agenda… :slight_smile:


#14

It is the fact that most 2007 Impala owners have had few problems up to the 50k mark is part of what makes me antsy about this one. I really hate to give up the split bench seat and column shifter but better those than giving up excessive $$$$ in repair bills. I’ve been doing some math, and given I’d start over with everything under warranty on a new car and that my car insurance would actually not go up more than about $40 per year on models I’m considering, it might just be worth forking out $$$$ for a new car as opposed to looming big repairs on this one. Normally I believe in driving a car long years and miles, well maintained, and know that it is more cost effective in the long run than trading in as early as this one. But I wonder in this case, I just wonder.

So I’m thinking of looking at Honda Accord and Civic, Toyota Camry and Corolla, and maybe a Ford Fusion. Some neighbors who have an older Suburu Forrester and have had an Imprezza and Legacy in the past keep trying to talk me into looking at a Suburu. The online research for Subu’s looks nice but I recall you and some others here on the forum commenting on those being bigger maintenance costs and headaches than average?


#15

I think you would be wise to keep the car longer, even if you have to replace the pump at some point, so you can get more value out of the car. At this point you would suffer some pretty high depreciation if you traded it in, and you have low mileage on it. When you eventually replace it I think any of the cars you mentioned would be good to have, including the Subaru. If you could use all-wheel drive at all you would love the Soob in that regard. My first new car was a '83 Soob wagon and I have had at least one in the driveway even since then. They are the cat’s meow here in Alaska.


#16

@Cougar – Thank you for your response.

Agreed that the car has already depreciated significantly by far more than 50% of its new value. So in that sense it is wise to keep it and repair items such as the fuel pump, etc.

However, given the power steering pump and the water pump have both failed several years ago and now the fuel pump is making early trouble noises, along with multiple other early failures of minor components, I am cautious enough to at least start doing my research and test driving homework in case something truly major and hugely expensive such as major transmission or engine problems arise. Last time I went 19 years between car shopping and found myself with a steep learning curve and adjustment to extreme differences in old versus new cars. I’d prefer to keep more up to date about new choices just in case. (BTW, what is it with GM pumps??? Power steering pump, water pump, fuel pump…!!!)

I’d really like to keep this car as it is paid for and would cost big $$$$ to replace, it has better driver visibility than average (although far worse than cars of several decades ago), and has the split bench front seat and column shifter I so greatly prefer and which now is no longer available in sedans. It gets down to balancing various needs, preferences and finances.

Not going to just bail on this buggy. But am going to comparison shop as a contingency.

I quite appreciate ALL the responses and feedback from everyone. And thank you for letting me not only ask questions but use all of you as a sounding board for me to bounce pro and con decision makings ideas off.

But in the end, this is just a noisy fuel pump. Nothing to get worked up over compared to the ferdempton squirrels that have chewed their way back into the enclosed soffits of the house for the second time. Last time I was humane. This time the destructive critters may just face a murderous fate.


#17

Has the fuel filter ever been changed Marnet? A partially clogged filter can cause the pump to work harder and become a bit noisier while not causing any engine performance problems.
The problem with a noisy pump is that it can also mean the pump is heading for failure at some unknown date.

As to Subarus, I consider them pretty good cars although head gasket issues of one sort or the other have been around for decades. Whether the new Subarus are going to be prone to that problem remains to be seen.
Would I consider a Subaru purchase? Absolutely and without hesitation.

There’s never been a car made by anyone that doesn’t have various problems or quirks. That Impala of yours just seems to have had more than a fair share of faults and the first few years I would have given the benefit of the doubt about any hiccups. Now, not so much.
I certainly understand about the split-bench and column shift though. :slight_smile:

Squirrels in the attic are not the problem here; it’s rat snakes. They’re not venomous but they get pretty big and act pretty surly when confronted. Usually they’re in the trees after baby birds and eggs but have been known to work their way into the house…


#18

Gad, snakes. shudder Have had too many close calls with copperheads, water moccasins, and rattlesnakes. Have also survived a couple mice in the house without screaming.

As to the fuel filter, no it hasn’t been changed. Problem is that it is internal to the fuel tank or fuel pump (can’t recall which) and designed to be permanent and not changeable. The independent mechanic shop I go to laments that design problem and how it ends up being expensive in fuel pumps down the road.

I am careful to buy gas from a good station that actually guarantees their gas against problems/damage to cars (QT), to fill up at the half tank point and never run the gas tank low, and never to fill up at the same time the tanker truck is there filling the underground tanks and stirring up sediment in those tanks.


#19

As to the Suburus, am I correct that the head gasket issues have been with the 4 cyl engines and not so much with the 6 cyls?


#20

Looking around for possible replacement of the current car while not having the pressure to get something right away is a good idea alright. You may find something you really like can’t walk away from, so be careful. Starting a savings fund now for a future purchase could help you later also.

You are correct about the 6 cylinder Soobs. They are generally considered a better engine design and use a timing chain instead of a belt. They are also more expensive to work on when work is required. The earlier models at least required premium fuel to be used and I’m not sure if the new ones are like that also. The head gasket issues were more prevalent to the late 80’s and the 90’s models. Subaru model designs have really changed over to years and so have their prices since I purchased my first new and fully loaded top of the line model in 1983 for around 10.3k dollars.