A year ago, I had a problem starting my car (a 2004 Chevrolet Impala, about 120,000 miles). When I put the key in the ignition, the engine wouldn’t turn. I knew there wasn’t a problem with the battery because my lights, radio, etc. were still operating fine. Instead, I got a bright flashing “SECURITY” message on the front panel of the car. After a few minutes pacing around the parking lot, I returned to my car and it started without a problem. I checked online, and several car forums and articles claimed that this was a common problem in 2004 Chevrolet Impalas: some faulty wiring in the security system would stop the car from turning on because it thought you were trying to hot-wire the vehicle.
After the first incident, I didn’t encounter this problem again until recently. Within the last 2 weeks, this problem has become more frequent, occurring maybe 2-3 times per week. The car won’t start and I’ll get a flashing “SECURITY” message. If I wait a while (between 5 to 30 minutes), the car will eventually start.
I finally decided to take my car into a Chevrolet dealership to get the problem fixed. I described the problem to the mechanic; she guessed that the cause was associated with the ignition cylinder, and said that it would cost a minimum of $750 to fix ($100 to check for the problem, $650 to replace the cylinder).
I’m only a college student, and this is more than half my paycheck for an entire month (ouch!!). Before taking out a loan to pay for this, I thought I’d try to solicit some second opinions. Is anyone familiar with this problem? Is the problem associated with wiring or the ignition cylinder? Is there any way to haggle the price down from $750?