2008 Impala not starting

Hi all. I drive a 2008 Chevrolet Impala. The car has had some electrical problems going back about a year and a few months that I have neglected to fix. The first problem was with the shifter not being able to move out of park without hitting the button inside the center console to do a shift lock ovveride, which started last August. The second problem was with the ignition not being able to release the key without hitting a switch inside the ignition, which started back in the Spring. I have just been rolling along promising to eventually address those, but yesterday the car radio stopped functioning. Then this morning the car would not start.

The electrical system comes on just fine (save the radio), but when I go to start it the car just clicks over. I did not leave any lights or switches on, so I am assuming it must be some sort of problem with the electrical system. Any insight on this and just how much it might cost to fix this? Please let me know, thanks.

How old is the battery? CSA is right, I forget to disconnect a fairly new battery (~2 years old) while doing some interior work on my Blazer. The interior lights stayed on long enough to drain the battery down to 5 or 6 volts. I was able to charge the battery afterwards, but ended up replacing about 6 months later when it failed completely.

I would have the battery load tested before proceeding further.

Ed B.

I Agree That The Battery Is Suspect. An Original Battery Is 7+ To 8+ Years Old!

Also, Are You The Original Owner Of The Vehicle?
I Don’t Recall Any Switches Inside The Ignition (?) Or Inside The Console. (?) On 2008 Chevrolet Impala Models.

I am possibly not understanding your description of these “switches.” Look in the Owner’s Manual and see if you find anything about them.

Is it possible that this vehicle has some kind of add-on, jury-rigged, or after-market accessory alarm/theft deterrent system or some such thing?

Thanks for responding. The battery was purchased in November of 2013. I had one problem with the battery before, last November, when I left my parking lights on. The battery was purchased from Wal-Mart for about $110. I’m confused though; if the battery is the reason the car isn’t starting, why is the car radio malfunctioning?

I’m not a mechanic or even close, so maybe I am unable to properly describe this. Inside of the center console to the right and down inside beneath the shifter handle there is a button that you can depress that enables you to move the car out of park. Here is an example (if you look around 1:14 where his finger is pointing, that is what you depress):

Beneath the ignition switch, there is a small rubber panel that you can remove that enables you to reach inside and press a small cylindrical switch that enables you to release the key from the ignition. Here is an example:


As far as the after-market accessory, I am completely unsure. The car was purchased preowned.

As to the battery, I should also add I had one problem this year as well. I had to move to a different town for a few months and left my car and did not disconnect the battery. When I returned (mid-August) it was depleted. However, hooking it up to a portable jumper brought it back to life with no problems. I’m unsure of what impact the depletion may have had in the long-term, however.

Now I See What You Mean About The Inter-Lock Switches. I Didn’t Realize That You Meant Removing Any Pieces In Order To Access Them. A Can’t Do Videos, But It Seems That Those Switches Are Probably Original “Factory” Parts.

I’ve had good luck with Wal-Mart Maxx batteries, but draining one completely dead is really tough on a battery. Is that the Maxx battery? If it tests below specs then it possibly has a 3-year free replacement warranty.

I cannot remember which brand the battery is. I will have to get back home and look in the glove compartment to look at the receipt.

Is there any chance that this is something other than a dead or depleted battery? In the past when I have had battery issues, usually for at least as few days the start might be a little weaker or I may have to turn it over a few times

And any idea on the radio? Sorry if am asking too much; I know you’re clearly not here to inspect the car, but I figured you might have some insight. Thanks.

@LemonSqueezed I looked at your posting history, why do you even keep messing with this problem plagued vehicle ?

Could You Supply A Bit More Information?

…but yesterday the car radio stopped functioning. Then this morning the car would not start.

When the radio quit was the car already running and (important) was that during the last time the car was started and driven until it didn’t start today?

The electrical system comes on just fine (save the radio), but when I go to start it the car just clicks over.

What part(s) of the electric system comes on just fine? The dash lights?
Have you tried the horn and high speed heater/A-C fan?
Have you tried headlights? Are they bright? Do the headlights dim down when you try the starter?


I’ve gotten as little as one year from a Walmart battery but usually 3-4, but you have to check to see if it is charged or not, then put a charger on to see if it will take a charge. If it takes a charge, then you could have a parasitic drain somewhere that depleted the battery but its probably shop time.

Clicking is caused by a high resistance connection in the high current starter circuit. The circuit loop starts at the battery positive, then the starter solenoid contacts, the starter armature, the starter case, the engine block, finally to battery negative. On difficult to diagnose versions of this problem, mechanics will sometimes do an electrical test (called a “voltage drop test”) where they measure each of those resistances, to see which one is causing the problem. The total resistance in that loop, adding it up for the entire loop, has to be less than about 0.015 ohms.

It often turns out to a combination of several problems. But fixing one of them will bring the loop resistance down to less than 0.015 ohms so it will start again. Until one of the other problematic resistances goes up, at which point it will return to being stubborn. This is bad for the car owner but good for the companies that make replacement starter motors, b/c often replacing the starter motor will reduce the loop resistance enough to make it start, even though other problems remain.

What I’d do in that situation is measure the voltages at the starter terminals during attempted cranking. That’s usually the quickest way to determine if the loop resistance exceeds 0.015 ohm.

Thanks for that, George. My car responded to a portable jumper and is came on. Radio is back on too. I drove around for about 45 to let it charge. I let it rest for about 20 and started it 3 times with no problems. Nonetheless I will be getting this battery checked tonorrow. Any clue what exactly happened here? Could the battery have a dry cell or something? I also got a message to service the airbag, but can’t remember if this was on before.

Make sure you get the airbag system checked out. If you have an airbag light…your airbags will not function during a collision.

I also got a message to service the airbag, but can't remember if this was on before.

A low battery can trigger that message.

I also think that the battery needs to be load tested.

It’s time to spend some money and fix these existing problems so you have a clear path to diagnose future problems.

As far as the radio goes!!!

Many of the newer radios will not function without enough voltage.

I found this out by accident. I put a car radio in my fishing boat to pass the time and something to keep my mind occupied, while I FEED the fish.

As the voltage drops from using the trolling motor too much, the radio will shut itself down whenever I run the trolling motor. Once I shut off the trolling motor the radio starts back up without touching it.

Weather this is to protect the radio, or to conserve battery power…I’m not sure.


Or a poorly designed radio.

It’s possible to design a radio to operate at any voltage from 2 to 20 volts. But at the lower voltages, the current consumption goes way up, so the designers could be considering battery drain.

It is my understanding that once a battery has been depleted it needs to be charged with a battery charger . An alternator needs a certain amount of battery voltage before it will start charging the battery back up . Older vehicles with generators would charge a battery from dead . Correct or not folks ?

Thanks again. I am taking it in this afternoon to get tested. Utterly puzzled at how it got drained.

“Utterly puzzled at how it got drained.”
“The battery was purchased in November of 2013”.

“I had one problem with the battery before, last November, when I left my parking lights on.”

Could be the battery isn’t completely “drained”. Could be that it suffered enough damage when the lights were left on that it’s not well, on its death-bed.