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Cadillac Catera Maintenance & Repair



  • khicekhice Posts: 13
    We've had 4 Catera's: 97, 99, and two 01's. Except for the 99 they were generally trouble free but, we do take good care of our cars. We leased all of them except one of the 01's. The car is fun to drive, sounds good, goes fast and is all too easy to get a ticket in. The only thing we don't like is the depreciation (We're having little success getting a dealer to offer more than 10K on a trade). Also, the OEM Goodyear Eagle's track & tend to wear out at about 25,000 miles. Bridgestone Turanza's are a better (but expensive)alternative on this car--quiet, sticky and no tracking. You need to keep the tires rotated & balanced. AND get the front & rear alignment checked every 12,000 miles. There were some lemons and Cadillac's recommended service interval on some components under the hood was way off track which led to a lot of bad feelings. Insist on seeing the service records. You can get a lot of car for the dollar, if you find one with a good history and reasonable miles.
  • Any one else have leaky cam covers ? Are gaskets available from anyone other than a GM dealer ? Anyone successfully replace gaskets without replacing the cam cover as well ?
  • chortonchorton Posts: 149
    My wife has a 99 catera sport. We have had to put two headlight bulbs in it and thats it. We do have a SLOOOOOW oil leak in the rear main seal. That will cost SEVERAL hunderd dollars. the only way to fix it is to take the transmission out. The dealer told me it is not common to develop a rear main leak in ANY cadillac, just check the iol every 500 miles or so. So far it has never leaked any noteable amount. so I guess I will just let it drip a little here and there. We have been trying to sell it for about a year not it's got 63k on it. The only bites we've had are people that want us to finance it. we are upside down as far as trade in goes, we owe about 10,300 but we should be able to get that retail for it.
  • browncowbrowncow Posts: 4
    Has anyone with a '98 Catera had the problem of the oil light coming on when it gets hot and the buzzer going off and no oil is needed?
    I had it diagnosed and was told that I have a faulty oil pump which will cost about $1,200 to repair. Does any owner know if this is correct, or maybe I just have an oil sensor that has gone bad?

    Also, about 15,000 miles back (85 + now) I had to have value gaskets replaced. I noticed leak and thought it was where mechanics were spilling oil. When asked on survey form what dealer did wrong, I replied that 3 oil changes back they should have noticed the leak. I found it after having my engine cleaned and leak reappeared.
  • browncowbrowncow Posts: 4
    Re transmission, I have a 98 Catera and ever since I've had it, it sounds and acts as if the transmission is hanging when I first take off, and I don't have my foot exactly right on the accelerator, and its trying to change gears. I inquired about this and was told there was nothing wrong with it. I now have 87,000+ miles and sometimes I notice the gearstick shaking just a little bit.
  • browncowbrowncow Posts: 4
    Concerning cost for brakes. I had to have brakes done and rotors on the front at 86,000+ and the cost was a little over $600 at dealers.
    My cousin heard a roaring and called my attention to the fact that it was my brakes. After that, no roaring sound. I thought it was a high price to pay, but at least I didn't have to go back again.
  • browncowbrowncow Posts: 4
    From your account, I think I got a fairly good deal for brakes and front rotors on my 98 catera at 86,000+ miles, at a little over $600.
  • pberkpberk Posts: 1
    Hi all. Was thinking of buying my dad's 2000 Catera. He is offering it to me at a good price, but was just up having the oil changed on my wife's car, and my mechanic said to stay away from the Catera. His experience was that parts were hard to get, and even the dealers didn't like fixing them. However, some of your postings on here sing praises for the car. More feedback from all of you would be great!
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    I bought a 2001 Catera new for my wife. we absolutely love it! It has that tight,snubbed-down feeling typical of German sedans. It's actually a little flinty for my wife,but she knows what a car nut I am and tolerates it. I'd definately keep the Catera in your family. They do have horrible redale value-most think they are problematic cars. We've had ours for a little over three years with no complaints. I can't saw I'd necessarily reccommend one buys a Catera on the open market right now,but it really is a wonderful car. They are rapidly depreciating now,though...
  • ironmieironmie Posts: 1
    have you had this oil light problem fixed. I have '98 with 73kmi and started getting the same problem 2 months ago. the oil light / sound come on when the engine gets hot (>15 min driving) and I stop / idle in traffic. Light goes off when restarting engine, but then comes back on. I noticed that the OIl Pressure drops down in red zone and triggers that alarm.

    ANd same thing with the valve cover gasket, it started leaking earlier this year...

    I'll take the car to dealership on Monday.
  • I have a 98 Catera with 50 k miles and have had so much trouble, I don't know where to start.
    1. I have put 4 sets of tires and only have 50k miles! These tires are not cheap.
    2. oil leaks all over my drive way. I read some other posts saying no big deal, just check oil every 500 miles! What about the mess in the drive not to speak of damage to the driveway.Cars are'nt suppose to leak.
    3. new motor for sunroof, valves in cooling system , window washers needed fixed, New tie rods, brakes, back panels of front seats came off.
    4. The latest... the blower motor is done.No ac no defroster. The new blower has been on order for over a month!I can't even get the parts to fix it even paying the ridiculous price they ask for a new blower.
     To say I am disgusted with Cadillac is understatement of the year!
  • I have 1998 Cadillac Catera 62K, coolant leak as my dealer inform me from 0il cooler unit. It is high cost repair $1,700.00 I cant believe this estimate . What can I do for reduce thats cost? Thanks
  • Wow. I'm reading the posts from everyone and it scares me from even considering the purchase of a used Catera. I've rented Opels in Europe and found them to be solid cars. Did GM just take a good thing and screw it up--or are the later models better cars?


    Yes, the resale is extremely low; that's the attraction of buying used. Look, are all of these cars lemons or are there certain years to avoid?
  • I bought a used 2001 Sport about a year ago and love it. I am the 3rd owner. It had 37,000 miles on it so it was still under factory warranty. It had to have the oil pump and the hot water control valve replaced. She handles and rides just great and has plenty of power. I live in Denver so she gets a good work-out with mountain driving. This vehicle was originally purchased in Wyoming as a lease vehicle, driven for 18,000 miles and sold to someone in Colorado. I had a front brake job done at 40,000 miles by Just Brakes. Everytime I drive another vehicle (friends or rental) it makes me appreciate my Cat.I do have all the other scheduled maintenance done by Cadillac. I think that most of the problems were worked out by 01. It feels really solid and secure. I had a Deville loaner and it is similar in feel to that but it doesn't have the "floating" feel like a big car. Mine has all of the options except the CD changer. I am very pleased with the fit of the windows and doors and have not noticed any whisteling or squeaks. As a used car you are getting alot of car for your money as you should get a good price on it. Mine went for $15,900 a year ago. This is my first Caddy and I plan on keeping it for a long time. I don't like the model that replaced it, the CTS I think. There are so many little things like the storage areas within the doors, trunk space designed for golf clubs, etc., that make this car a standout. I would recommend that you take it to your local Cadillac dealer and find out if you can buy an extended warranty. Any work on a Caddy is expensive. I am sold on this car and like I've said, I plan on keeping her for a long time. It is really a pleasure to drive.
  • Thanks for the response. My gut feeling is that they did get the bugs worked out in the later models. It's funny, though; you read through all of these posts and no matter how badly everyone bashes the Catera, they love the handling.


    I've rented the Opel Senator (same body/frame in Europe) and was blown away with the handling. Yes, the cost of parts and repairs scares the daylights out of me. I've had an Alfa-Romeo 164 (4 door--size of a Catera) and it had been a maintenance nightmare. I mean, I had the mechanic's phone number speed dialed on my cell phone. I got seduced by the looks and handling, then I was stuck with rotten reliability. The fact that you've had an oil pump replaced at around 40K is a big concern. An extended warranty would be a good thing.


    Another concern is the lousy service at the Caddy Dealers here in Atlanta. Ask anyone around here--these dealers must go to night school to learn bad service. I know people that were long term Caddy owners that traded to another car brand due to bad Caddy dealer service.


    At least my Alfa mechanic was a decent guy.
  • I would like to know if the dealer was able to fix the oil light problem.

    I have a '97 with 55K miles and have been experiencing the same problem but with an added twist. My engine temperature gauge goes up into the red zone wile the oil pressure plunges to its red area. This happens at the same time yours does. It is quite obvious there is nothing wrong othrewise. The car goes back Monday for the 3rd time, same problem. The dealer can't seem to fix it.
  • tslick28tslick28 Posts: 1
    I have a 98'Catera with 50,000 miles. I had it for 8 months and put on 20K of the miles. First major problem when I use my twilight sentinel for night time head lamps and they will not turn off automatically or manually with light switch or by turning the sentinel off. Anybody experience this problem? Flustered
  • malvinmmalvinm Posts: 1
    Just bought a 98 Catera with 77,000 miles on it and the (!)light for brake pads is on and noticed the brake pulsates as I stop. Also, the tranny light comes on once in a while. I turn the car off and it goes away when I turn it back on. The oil is leaking but I am not sure where its from. What should I do? Any one have any suggestions?
  • hellieanhelliean Posts: 1
    yeah we have a 1997 catera and it's beginning to be a nightmare!!!! we're have a bad skipping problem .we've put on new wires and plugs then it still didn't run right so we had the alternator checked and it wasn't putting out the recommended votage so we had it rebuilt and it's still not running right so we put it back on machine it still saying the same thing .miss fire 2cycl. &high rpm can u help with this issue whats really wrong
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