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DIYguy2000 06-14-2010 08:42 AM

2006 Chevy Impala - Rear Door Won't Open.
My rear drivers side door will not open from inside or outside. I have unlocked from the key fob, inside electronic unlock, and by manually lifting the lock on the door. The lock goes up and down when you lock and unlock the door.

I had this problem last year and the garage I brought it to said they played with the lock and door handle as they locked and unlocked the car. They explained to me that it got stuck somewhere halfway and they spent 10 minutes just playing with it to get it unstuck (without having to take the panel off). Problem is, I moved since then and can't bring it back to the same garage.

This can be a serious issue since in an accident, the rear passenger wouldn't be able to get out safely, even if someone tried to open the door from the outside.

Any ideas? Or should I just start fiddling with the lock how the garage explained it?

I've heard Impala's are notorious for door lock problems.



HawkZ28 06-15-2010 11:24 AM

Sounds almost like you have a rod that is disconected somewhere. I haven't stripped down an Impala door, but from the other GM cars I've stripped down with electric locks, there's several metal rods that can bend, lose hold, etc, and cause a problem like that.

I'd remove the door panel (window up) and look for something obvious. Then actuate both the inside and outside handles, as well as the lock. That will help you see exactly where the problem is.

Good luck! Doors can be a PITA for anybody with hands larger than a 5 year old.

schilder 07-17-2010 06:54 AM

My rear doors won't open either
Hi Dave,

I have the same problem on my 2006 Impala. First the left read door seized. I took it to a GM dealer in Waterloo, Ontario. They ended up removing the panel and resetting something. A year later, the same door went. I delayed having it repaired for a week, and on a Labour Day weekend, went away and ended up having my mother in law stuck in the backseat as, you guessed it, the right door failed to open. I had them both repaired again. The GM advisor said at the time when I complained that "oh yeah, we have seen that happen on the Impalas and Malibus". I took my complaint to GM, claiming that this is a serious safety problem, but even after numerous phone calls and emails, they claimed that because my warranty is up, too bad, so sad. My left door has now seized again, and I am gearing up for another round of battle with GM.


DIYguy2000 07-17-2010 10:35 AM

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the post. I'm sure many impala owners experience this problem. I ended up calling the garage where I used to live and asked them how they did it. They couldn't remember exactly, but said they just played with the lock and handle until it worked. I tried unsuccessfully :(

I brought it into the GM dealership here and was told it would cost a minimum of $700 to fix it. After mulling over it for a week or two while considering my DIY options, I forgot all about the door problem.... I walked out from work one afternoon and opened the rear door to throw my jacket in the back seat.. I didn't realize until about 4 hours later what I had just done! It worked! I don't know how.. but it fixed itself I suppose. I'm not holding my breath because if it's happened twice now, it will happen again when I'm least expecting it.

The next time it happens I'm going to take the panel off myself and see what's inside before I bother with the GM dealership again.

Keep my updated on your Impala.


Thurman 07-17-2010 02:58 PM

This would ALL depend on your FIRST warranty claim for this problem, IF you made a warranty claim and have the paperwork. GM does not like warranty claims, as a former GM employee, I believe that. The dealers are giving people hard times over warranty issues with the units under warranty. Most people really do not understand their warranties. Didn't buy the car new, no problem, did the original owner make a warranty claim for this problem--it is a safety problem to say the least. Some, not all, some reputable dealers would take this to heart and call the area GM division rep, Chevy, Buick, etc. and see about getting it covered. I've seen some go over the area GM rep to the division rep to get things done to prevent a safety issue down the line. You are lucky that on that particular day the door handle/lock worked and let you in. IF you are not comfortable with removing the door panel for a good inspection, then find an independent shop and ask them what they would charge to do a good inspection of the locking mechanisms. David

cowboy dan 07-23-2010 10:44 PM

it could be your plunger mechanism for your door lock. not sure what they call it, but inside the door panel it is far from sealed, all kinds of dirt builds up in there. they all have a flexible rubber sheeth and are always remotely located, meaning the lock is connected by several rods and plastic joints. it could be that the mechanism bound up or not have full range to lock and unlock. it may have bent a connecting rod, or cracked a joint but not broke. i have seen some situations where the child safety lock interferes with the door handle also. you won't know for sure till you take it apart. i might recomend that you invest in a small mirror on a flexible stick cause just removing the inner panel will not reveal as much as you think.

James N 09-27-2010 04:47 PM

03 Impala door locks
When you put this car(03 Impala)in park all the doors lock instead of unlocking. They will unlock when you press the unlock button. Bought this car new and this problem didn't occur until early this year. Otherwise the door locks work fine. How can I reverse this sequence?

Rabslincoln 01-06-2012 10:26 PM

I just fixed tis
<LI class=comment nodeIndex="2">I Just had the same problem as of 1/6/2012 I took the inside panel off which can be done by an amatuer in about half hour,with the door closed. you can find a quick video on how to take it off on youtube.... Anyway just take it off slide your hand inside the door you can feel the rods i just toyed with them until the door opened, took about 5 minuets then i sprayed the mechanism from the inside with lubricant, i used PB blaster, and then sprayed it from the outside on the mechanism which the door locks into. Really easy skip the mechanic on this one not work your 300$! i would do it for twenty bucks and a beer.... Anyway you could probably just spray the heck out of it from the inside without messing around to much and im pretty sure it would open. obviously some part is getting stuck and needs to be lubed up around 60,000 as im finding quite a feew threads with this exact same issue on this car. and im guessing every 20000 after that hope this helps!! any questions you can email me at

J.Matthews 04-22-2014 01:24 AM

2006 Chevy Impala - Rear Door Won't Open.
I notice no one has posted since about 2012, but has anyone got anywhere with GM or any solutions?

My left (Drv) side rear door started acting up about 2 years ago. It would open, but when you closed it, it would not latch. I use to lock & unlock the child safety lock and then the door would close. About 6 months ago it closed and now will not open at all.

Recently the right (Pass) side rear door did not latch. Once again I locked & unlock the child safety lock and it latched when I closed it.

I am now concerned because if there was an accident or something happened a passenger in the rear seat may not be able to get out alive??

I have been using my wife's car when I have to take passengers.

Very frustrating.

Any Suggestions??


DIYguy2000 04-22-2014 05:05 AM

Thanks for bringing this thread back to life. It is a safety issue for sure. Not opening the door during an accident was one of my biggest worries as well. I have not had a problem with my rear door since my last post in the summer of 2010, so I haven't given this issue much thought since. Perhaps others could chime in if they were able to get anywhere with GM.

Is your Impala a 2006 as well? It seems pretty late to be getting any warranty work done, but if you bring it to GM's attention as a safety issue, especially with their ignition switch recall fiasco going on right now, it might get you somewhere.

J.Matthews 04-22-2014 05:28 AM

Thanks for your reply.
Yes it is a 2006.
So far I have sent the concern to the dealership where I bought the car.
Pending their response I will most likely contact GM next, but I'm not sure where to go from there.
This problem we are having seems to be very common, so I do plan on posting my results as I go to keep you and others informed.
I believe this should be a recall issue.

DIYguy2000 04-22-2014 06:33 AM

just did a quick search and there was an article on CAA's website that states:

If you suspect that your vehicle has a manufacturerís defect, report it directly to Transport Canada by calling (800)-333-0510, or filling out an online Defect Complaint Form. In your report, youíll be asked to include the make, model and year of your vehicle, its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which can be found on the driverís side of the dashboard, and a summary of the suspected defect. Transport Canada will log your complaint, and if they feel itís justified, investigate further. Nigel Mortimer, head of recalls at Transport Canadaís Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation Directorate, also suggests you contact your car manufacturer to report any problems.
Doesn't look like the link is working for me right now, so maybe best to call in? I should take down my VIN number at lunch as well and phone it in. The more they have on record, the better, right? Perhaps it would trigger Transport Canada to investigate further.

J.Matthews 04-22-2014 10:19 AM

Good Idea. I am still going to call GM first, but will definitely follow up with Transport Canada. Great job!

J.Matthews 04-24-2014 04:38 PM

I contacted the Dealership where I purchased my Impala. The gentleman was very helpful and gave me the toll free number to contact GM Canada's Costumer service. He also offered to have a look at it for me as well.
The GM customer service number is 1-800-263-3777.
Upon contacting GM Canada they took my concern and asked me to take the vehicle to a authorized GM dealership to have them assess it and requested that I give the dealership their extension number to follow up with GM Canada.
So far everyone I have spoke with agrees it is a safety concern and has suggested that everyone that has this problem contact GM Canada customer service so they can deal with it firsthand.
I believe in giving GM an opportunity to fix this first. If this does not work I will follow up with transport Canada.
I have still yet to bring it to the dealership due to my busy schedule. But will follow up with regular posts and updates for everyone.
Thank you DIYguy2000 for your help and input.

DIYguy2000 05-02-2014 03:11 PM

Also as a follow up on my part, I contacted GM on-line with my concern. They phoned back a few days later and I spoke to them regarding the issue. There really wasn't much discussed during the phone call, but she did mention that there was no recall for this issue and that GM was not aware of it (yeah right...). She said that recalls are generated as a result of Transport Canada investigations, so she suggested that the next step would be to report the problem to Transport Canada. That way if there is a valid concern, Transport Canada will investigate the issue further and bring their findings to GM's attention, which could then generate a recall.

I'm not saying this will get as far as a recall, but that GM will only issue a recall if initiated by Transport Canada.

So, next step is to report it to Transport Canada if you want it to go anywhere.

Glad you're able to get some help from the dealership, but it would likely be best to bring this to Transport Canada's attention also as they probably have much more say in the matter of recalls.

Best of luck everyone! I'll be calling Transport Canada in the near future.

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