In late December 2017, I discovered my 2011 Impala wouldn’t start.

My boyfriend and I jumped it with our other vehicle and it worked. We disconnected the cables and left it running for a while. We turned her off after 20 mins or so and thought we’d try to start her up immediately after to see if we charged the battery well enough. It would NOT start.

We had the car a while and decided the battery was no good and thought to ourselves we will replace the battery when we get the extra $200. Well 3 months later, we replaced the battery and she turns on, but many things seem to be wrong.

I feel terrible due to all of this was more than likely our fault for leaving it sit without any kind of power and against the crazy Indiana elements. And as a couple that have little to no experience with the mechanics of vehicles we need help figuring out what’s going on so we don’t get ripped off at a car garage when we take it in. But anyways, here’s what’s going on:

  1. Idling in park, the RPMs jump from 1,000 to 1,500 consistently.
  2. While in Park and when the gas pedal is pressed, the engine will not rev.
  3. The gasoline and temperature gauges seem to not move. Despite having the engine running for more than 20 minutes, the gauge didn’t indicate that the engine had heated up at all and the last time we drove the car, we had a half tank of gas, but the gauge says we are empty.
  4. When we shift, the car jerks violently. No matter what we shift it to, the entire car shakes and jerks.

This is only what I have observed to be wrong. And yes, we have asked others who have more knowledge about cars for help, but we seem to get a lot of different and uncertain answers.

Was hoping to ask online and give it a go before I call a tow. Maybe there are some things we could fix at home before taking it in. Thank you in advance!

  • 2
    Welcome to the site. Can you tell us how much fuel was in the tank while it sat over the last 3 months? Is the Check Engine Light (CEL) on? Or any other warning lights? Do the gauges cycle (self-test) when you turn the key on, but not start? Have you looked under the hood to see if small animals nested there while the car sat (they could have chewed something)?
    – CharlieRB
    Mar 13 '18 at 20:38
  • 1
    There was about a half a tank of gas before it went dead in December and yes. The CEL is on. The Traction Control Light is also on, but none others. The gauges do not move when starting up the car or with just the key in the ignition. And when we replaced the battery, we notice quite a few leaves and walnut shells under the hood, but nothing that stood out to be a nest or anything, but I suppose small animals chewing on wires could’ve been a possibilty. I just don’t know the first thing to do or what to look for! Mar 13 '18 at 21:08
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    @ShelbyLynnBaker 2 things I'd do: look for broken/chewed wires and get/beg/borrow/take-the-car-in to have codes checked (CEL). The warning lights are there for a reason :)
    – user31423
    Mar 13 '18 at 21:20
  • I second the opinion to get the CEL checked out. There are cheap scanners you can buy from Harbor Freight that could at least give you a code if you can't get it down to Advance/Autozone/Oreillys for a free scan. They will also test your battery for free if you take it to them (for future reference). Mar 13 '18 at 23:38

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