Catera problems

danjonwigdanjonwig Member Posts: 1
edited April 2014 in Cadillac
Greetings! My family owns a 1998 Catera which has
had several problems (autoleveling putting the car
at a 20% angle, sun-roof failing, wipers failing,
and now...). Recently, the differential went
opened up the sealed unit & said that we must have
been doing something because the fluid had
evaporated... if the unit is sealed, how the heck
can it evaporate?). At around the same time the
tires had to be replaced due to "uneven wear".
Because the tires wore unevenly, GM claims we have
somehow abused the car and will not pay for the
differential repair. I learned from a friend that
many Catera had issues with uneven wear on the
tires because of misallignment coming off the
assembly line - and GM KNOWS ABOUT THIS and is
still using it against us (and denies chronic
issues)! Anyone have any more information about
this (or similar) issues that they could share?
buddy said he saw info' about the uneven wear on a
website somewhere, but we've both failed to find
it since.

We're going to arbitration in the next couple of
weeks and I need evidence to prove it ain't our

Thanks in advance!


  • msknetmsknet Member Posts: 1
    I cannot believe the dealer is claiming you are responsible for the differential problem. If you have regular service records, the dealer should have been checking the differential not you.

    Differential fluid does not evaporate from within the differential case. There must have been a leak or the unit was improperly filled in the first place. Differential fluid is not a volatile liquid. Evaporation is not an issue even if the case were open to the atmosphere.

    It seems like you have a good case for warranty repair, but they are making you work for it.

    This is ridiculous. Makes me wonder if I ever want to buy one of these cars.
  • sroseysrosey Member Posts: 1
    at 25000 miles, my tires were replaced under warranty due to the car being out of allignment, I had to bring to attention of dealer due to uneven wear, they did not call me but were very good and replaced tires. Also, just had harmonic balancer replaced-recall. But, jury still out now have electrical problem. 1997 catera,32,000 miles, car has had a few blown fuses and shorts without being repaired, car caught on FIRE while driving in traffic. Under warranty, but there is sits at Cadillac for two weeks now and no word on what's the problem, why it happened, anyone else had this problem? HELP, now I am worried for safety, wish I had leased instead of paid cash!
  • ajustsoajustso Member Posts: 1
    I am in the market for a used Catera. I am looking at a 1997 and a 1998 model. Any suggestions? Also, I live in Buffalo, New York where we get hit with tons of snow. How is this car in the snow? I have a 1989 Buick Regal GS that is excellent due to the front wheel drive. I am very happy with this car as a to and from work vehicle, but really like the looks on the Catera. Any help would be appreciated.
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    Welcome to Town Hall!

    There are two topics in our Sedans conference that you should check out, here are links:

    Cadillac Catera (Topic #3779)

    Cadillac Catera Owners (Topic #3092)

    I'm sure someone in one of those topics can help you out. This conference focuses on maintenance and repair issues for vehicles our members already own.

    Good luck!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • ahsoahso Member Posts: 1
    My 98 Catera has experienced most of the problems mentioned and more. In response to the dead battery, the Catera cannot handle extreme heat. The air conditioner cannot take 100+ weather. My steering wheel has also locked up. I live in the mountains and the windshield wiper broke the first snow.
    They are plastic. The fuel door broke, its plastic. The Catera will not pull hills in the
    snow, otherwise it handles fine. My panel lights keep going out and the air bag had to be replaced.
    The cooling system leaked, and the car always shows its running hot in the extreme heat. The final touch is that your front brakes are going to
    cost you about $600.00. Cadillac claims you have
    to replace the rotors as well as the pads even if the pads are not completely worn. Hope this helps.
  • use1timeuse1time Member Posts: 13
    My wife and I bought a new '98 Catera for her parents on their 50th anniversary in late spring of '98. The car ran great until the first hot/warm weather resulted in the a/c being used for the first time. After that, the battery would just die within hours of shutting the engine off - wether or not the a/c was used. This all occurred in the Anderson, S.C. area where the weather at that time of year is variable. The dealer tried to solve the problem several times, even to the point of contacting GM regarding for a solution. After 4 or 5 tries, the final solution offered by the dealer and GM was that my in-laws would receive a new Olds Aurora for the Catera. Without question, a more than fair offer. According to the dealer the Catera was to be air freighted back to Germany by GM, where it would "be taken apart piece by piece" until the problem was found. I guess the point of all this, is that GM must've known about the electrical problems, to be so generous in their replacement offer. After nearly 2 years they probably know what the problem is and have a fix documented somewhere.
  • lbj4lbj4 Member Posts: 1
    I leased a '97 Catera - and thank God the lease it up on 10 OCT 00. There are serious mechanical defects with this vehicle - and I feel very lucky to be alive with the problems I have had. At 20,000 miles the Serpentine Belt broke. I was told that it was due to an alignment problems and was lucky that I hadn't had a tire blowout because 2 of the tires were severely worn on the inside due to this alignment problem. My dealership replaced all 4 tires at no cost. During the last year I have had many minor problems - but yesterday as I was backing out of my driveway the front passenger side tire axle broke. YES - THE TIRE AXLE BROKE. If I had been on the highway with my kids there would have been serious injury. I am turning in this death trap as soon as it comes back from the shop. I strongly urge no one to buy the Catera.
  • edwardh1edwardh1 Member Posts: 88
    On a 94 Camry 4 cyl, when you check the auto tranmission fluid level using the dipstick, are you also reading the transaxle fluid level?
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    Perhaps you meant to be this topic:

    Camry Problems (Topic #597)

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • ga3477ga3477 Member Posts: 1
    I am so heartbroken by my experience with my Cadillac, the dealership, and GMAC. We were the first in our family to own a Cadillac, a dream of many Southern families. The file we have on our Catera is twice the size of all of the other cars we have ever owned in 22years of marriage combined. I think if I hear my husband call my car a CADI-lemon one more time I will scream!! We had the same tire problem that was not covered under warranty, and we found out there is only one tire made by one manufacturer that fits this car.
    We had problems with the thermostat and the coolant. The car was in the shop for a month for that one.
    Did you know that if your brakes need to be fixed, they have to replace the whole brake system? Something related to the engineering style of this system. The warranty had just run out so we had a $1800 bill for tires and brakes on a one year old car. We heard the same abuse of car story too. Does GMAC think drivers buy Cateras and start mistreating cars? Funny, the four cars I owned before were not abused. I have a 92 Honda Accord that has a tiny maintenance file.
    Two days after we picked up the car we should have been suspicious when we had to wait two weeks for a fan to be repaired that would not stop running after the car was turned off causing the battery to run down. We had to have it towed for that.
    Have you ever heard of replacing a glove compartment? We had a squeak in the glove compartment that would not stop. After five service visits and a ride with the service manager, they finally agreed to replace the glove compartment. That was another two weeks in the shop.
    When you put these problems with a car along with the apathy of Cadillac to accept the responsibility and the hideous "Smart Lease" program we did not read carefully, we are so disturbed by this experience with an American car maker. We had a lease expert review our lease for us so that we could trade the car, he couldn't believe the terms of the lease. Of course we were buying a car on the reputation of the manufacturer and didn't worry about the terms. We truly thought Cadillac would stand behind quality and satisfaction.
    I am sure my husband would consider a class action toward the company. Of course our car expenses may inable us to put too much money into legal fees.
  • sierra01sierra01 Member Posts: 1
    I own a 1997 Catera which I purchased new and currently has 62,000 miles.

    It is in the dealership a good four times per year with all kinds of problems.

    It now needs its fourth set of tires for uneven wear. On the second set cadillac charged me for an alignment. This car needs constant alignment adjustments.

    It has been in for the sunroof not operating, coolant light staying on, traction control problems, door locks not operating, door not closing properly, brakes, etc.

    I even have lights go out on the car and then several days later come back on.

    While the dealer has done what they can, Cadillac has been no help and based on my conversations with them has no intentions of making things right.

    This car is a LEMON and after speaking with individuals connected with GM in Detroit, GM knows it is - has been - and always will be a lemon.

    So, at 40 years old, GM has lost all my future business. Not to mention, all of the individuals I have personally steered away from the purchase of a Catera. (I enjoy when someone asks me how I like my Catera)

    When you see this car - go to the other side of the street.
  • darylf2darylf2 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 Catera and so far have had very few problems with it.

    The only real problem is that the LEDs in the radio are very dim. The radio itself works perfectly, and the other dash LEDS (for the climate control system, etc.) are at their normal brightness. The radio LEDs aren't always dim; at (increasingly rare) times they are at normal brightness (it's probably some minor elecrical problem or a defective LED panel). My dealer couldn't fix this because they had trouble duplicating the problem. Now that it is happening nearly all the time, I'll ask them about it again.

    In general, I'm thrilled with my Catera. The ride is quite good, the handling is superb, the soundproofing is fairly good, and the interior comfort and style are excellent. When my lease ends on October 2002 I'll probably buy the car (though that may depend on the new Catera, the Cadillac CTS).

    - Daryl
  • gmcateragmcatera Member Posts: 6
    Have the dealer check the ground connection. I have found that the factory doesn't clean the metal before making the ground connection.
  • nicke1nicke1 Member Posts: 9
    I was in the market for a used car for my 78 year old dad. Saw a black 1997 catera at carmax (usually overpriced) for less than the Edmunds trade in price (price was $14,998, Edmunds trade in was $15,187 with 50,000 miles). Now I now why it is so cheap. I'l just keep looking. Thanks!!
  • felton10felton10 Member Posts: 1
    I own a 1997 Cadillac Catera and like everyone else was excited at the prospect of owing a Caddy. Well, after numerous problems including two waterpump replaced and numerous other problems, the bloom is off the rose. After writing to the chairman of GM and the Cadillac GM, I did get them to extend my warranty an extra year, but the number of time I have had to take this car in is unbelievable. This car is much worse than the 1989 Hyundai Sonata I previously owned. But the bottom line is that Cadillac doesn't care. They know this care is a piece of crap. Cadillac should be ashamed of themselves.
  • sarettasaretta Member Posts: 1
    I am now deep into catera country. I purchased my '97 catera from Enterprise sales in aug 99, I have had it in the shop approx 13 times for different things. I also thought if it's a caddy it has to be great. BIG MISTAKE! I live in Texas and would swear it runs hot, and they say nothing wrong. It lost its coolant,the ignition had to be replaced,it did not come with keyless entry and it has locked me out twice and I had the key. My car has 1 lock and it is on the drivers side and their is only 1 key. The first time it locked me out Smart Rescue came and opened the door for me, and when I took it to local dealership the mgr of the service dept said he couldnt fix it unless I recreated the same scenerio, and about 3 weeks later it did just that. I had it towed to them, and they didnt get it open until the next day. The svc mgr replaced the entire locking system and installed keyless entry for my inconvience, but I want a different car. I dont trust it, especially after seeing everything in this web page. My chrome casting on my wheels is peeling. I have written the CEO of GM, and the vp of cadillac div. I have also now talked with the gm of the dealership where Ive been taking it for repairs, and off the record a technican adv me all '97 Caters are crap. By the way they furnished me with a list of how many times its been serviced since being on the road in Mar '97, which is approximately 45 months, and it has been the shop at least 22 times. Don't by a CATERA
  • lisacateralisacatera Member Posts: 2
    I am sorry you have had so much trouble with your Catera. I have had some minor problems with my 1997, but overall I am very happy with my car. Often uninformed shoppers turn into angry owners. I did some research before buying my car and carefully avoided cars like yours (rental).

    I dropped in to point out that all Cateras are equipped with remote keyless entry (that's why there is no lock cylinder on the trunk or passenger door). You simply needed to buy a transmitter (really 2) and have it programmed by the dealer. The dealership should of provided you with transmitters and more than one key.

    If you bought your Catera from Enterprise, it was a rental car. Any brand of car that has been used as a rental is trouble.

    I hope that you are able to either get your car fixed or find something that you like better. I just wanted to point out that not ALL 97s are bad, the ones built between 10-96 and about 3-97 are the ones to be weary of.
  • franhalpfranhalp Member Posts: 3
    I leased a 2000 Catera in January. Since that time, I have had the car back to the "shop" on 12 different times for various problems. The last three times the problem dealt with the drive shaft. The problem still was not resolved to my satisfaction. I wrote a letter to Caddy Hdqtrs. They called me and advised that I take up the issue of an "exchange" with the Dealer. That process took place. After a few weeks of negotiating, the Dealer advised that Caddy will buy back the car and that I am under no obligation to lease another Caddy.Needless to say that I will Not lease another Caddy. However; since I was told of the decision, 3 1/2 weeks have gone by. I am still waiting for the paper work to arrive. If I do not hear anything in a fewe days, I am calling Caddy again. Any comments?
  • croaktaracroaktara Member Posts: 1
    Hello fello Catera owners. I have a 1998 Catera.
    I leased the car new, this was my third caddy at
    age 19. At three months my brakes started to
    make a horrid sound, kinda like a mac truck. I
    had it serviced right away. They gave me this
    piece of paper stating that this was normal, that
    it was the material that would do this. Since
    then the car has been fine, but I have ran into
    a few problems. I had a flat front tire and I
    had the car jacked up properly and the jack gave
    out and the car came slamming down, luckly it didn't do too much damage, mainly body damage. I
    had the defective jack replaced under warranty.
    The first summer my battery died. I disregaurded
    this since I live in Southern Nevada and batteries
    really don't last. The problem I just had at 28,000 miles is my brake ware light came on. I took it back to the dealer and they told me that
    it would be $600 - $800 to replace the brakes
    and Rotors. They also told me that I was lucky
    that I got 28,000 miles out of the brakes, which
    I think is rediculas. I had a 1990 Deville that
    had over 67,000 miles on it with the orignal brakes. I then had a 95 deville which I needed
    to replace the brakes at 40,000 miles. Cadillacs
    response to that was that the Deville is a
    "Front heavy Front wheel drive car" so the brakes
    ware fast. Now back to present times, I was also
    told by the dealer that they are replacing brakes
    with the other caddies at 9,000 - 10,000 miles.
    If you ask me, I think this is going to be my
    last Cadillac. It has been nothing but a consistant problem. I spoke to a friend back in
    South Jersey and found that He took Cadillac to
    court for Lemmon law and won, once I find out
    who he talked to and if I can get the same
    deal as he did, I will defanantly post it here
    for the rest of you that have unfortunatly have
    been screwed big time by poor engineering and
  • dickb77dickb77 Member Posts: 1
    You mentioned an exchange with Cadillac. How did that work? I have a 2000 Catera Sport that I am very unhappy with. I would appreciate any options short of a lawsuit.
  • stuskistuski Member Posts: 4
    after Cadillac made my Mother, now deceased, sit in a car in 100 degree heat, within sight of a dealer, for an hour because the timing belt had broken. Onstar and Cadillac as well as ALL of GM are a complete FAILURE.
    Lemon Law arbitration quickly ruled in our favor regarding the '98 Catera. It was cake walk, they know they are selling a piece of crap. The rep. did not even show up, he was on the phone!

    I was lucky enough to see my Mom in her new 2000 Lexus GS 300 for two weeks before she finally passed away from a battle with Leukemia for well over 10 years.
    Cadillac knew of this and DID NOT CARE ONE BIT!
    Lexus knew of this and expedited the order for the GS 300. What a car the GS 300 is, phenomenal!
    American cars are garbage with exception of some Ford models, American cars branded from Germany are Garbage.
    I really feel bad for anyone who must deal with GM with their problems. There service is pathetic and may all the losers who work for GM ROT IN HELL.
    Over 1,000 people attended my mothers funeral and the last of her memories has to be the terrible experience GM and Cadillac put her through.
    Well we screwed them in the end, the car is forever titled with LEMON on it. And after we had the value locked in, GM did not pick up the car for a month so we REALLY abused it and put quite a few miles on it before we got the new LEXUS. How stupid GM is.
    Lexus gave the GS an oil change at 5000 miles as well as wheel rotation. The loner was RX300 with 3000 miles on it, awesome. The loner at Caddy was ALWAYS a Chevy Cavalier, a real piece of CRAP.

    I feel bad for anyone who builds GMs pieces of CRAP, its not their fault, its the overpaid idiots who run the company. They have NOTHING to be proud of. Imagine going to work knowing you contribute ABSOLUTELY nothing to the automotive world. Pathetic, these execs have not learned one thing in 20 years.
  • teoteo Member Posts: 2,508
    I have news for you.....Lexus will be using the same OnStar service that you had in the maybe Lexus is another junkster!

    Get real dude...I had an Acura that came with the TLC (Total Luxury Care) program and included roadside assistance. The few times I had to call for a tow truck they made me wait on average 1 or 2 hours depending on the hour and day of the week. Neither Acura, Cadillac or Lexus have their own Tow Trucks waiting for your orders. They rely on local tow truck companies to perform any roadside assistance for their clients, simple as that. If your Lexus breaks down late saturday night in a bad neighboorhood, the Lexus operator will make you wait until they can get a hold of a local tow truck operator to rescue you.

    Learn your facts before you type crappola!
  • stuskistuski Member Posts: 4
    Lexus's do not break down. Cateras are known to be garbage. The GS300 has the highest customer satisfaction of any car made.
  • teoteo Member Posts: 2,508
    Lexus do break down like any other car in the road.....hint...they are made by Humans!

    You sound like a disgruntled EX-GM salesman or mechanic....find a better way to sell your beloved lot of Lexus snobmobiles.

    When I bought my Acura I was told "They never brake down"...guess what it DID!
  • stuskistuski Member Posts: 4
    I personally do not like Hondas. The maintenance intervals for Acuras and Hondas are far more frequent than Toyota/Lexus and Cadillacs for that matter. That leaves me somewhat suspicious of there motives. I had to laugh today when Toyota said they were not at all interested in acquiring Mercedes.
    Teo, best of luck to you and your Catera , I just feel bad when someone who served in two Wars , WWII and Korea ,buys a Cadillac, and finds its a big load of you know what. It does not sink well.
    Look above and notice there many disgruntled owners of Cateras. Not so with any Japanese Luxury brand. That IMO is sad.
    I know the Catera is produced in Germany and I do not blame the people who make them, I blame the people who design them , who engineer them.
    But did you know that these employees have terrible labor, management relations?

    I truly enjoyed the car when everything worked, but that NEVER lasted very long and I have huge problem with that. The automobile is now about a century old and GM still cannot it right.
    What company is the most consistently auto company on the planet? you guessed it , Toyota.
  • chuck_thomaschuck_thomas Member Posts: 3
    I have a 98 Cater and a 94 Carry. My wife and I are always arguing over who gets to drive the Caddy. The Cater is much more prone to stuff breaking and has been to the shop way too many times that it should. The Carry never breaks, but compared to the Cater, the ride and handling are so bland that no one wants to drive it.

    The best solution: a car with the ride and handling of the Cater (with perhaps about 50 more horsepower) and the dependability of the Toyota. Does such a thing exist without killing my bank account?
  • rasputinrasputin Member Posts: 3
    Just lift the hood on your Catera after you've driven it and note where the radiator hose is routed. You'll find it hot as hell and hugging the side of the battery. This was a serious design eror that they attempted to mitigate by wrapping the battery in an overcoat that's supposed to insulate it from the heat. Guess what? It doesn't work, as the excess heat causes frequent battery failure. That design might get by in northern Germany but not here in Miami where the temperature is in the 80's most of the time.
  • chuck_thomaschuck_thomas Member Posts: 3
    rasputin - I think you're onto it. I live in Texas where we get 115+ in the summer. I used to have this problem on my Catera in the summer but since I went with a smaller battery mounted further away from the radiator it's never happened again.

    P.S. I bought the car very cheap because it wasn't starting when I bought it and the orig. owner was sick of trying to figure it out.
  • rasputinrasputin Member Posts: 3
    Sounds like a smart move, Chuck. I'm going to insert some additional insulating material between the hose and the battery. Hopefully, that will do the trick.

    I now have another problem which my local dealer cannot seem to duplicate.
    Whenever I start my 98 Catera (w/15,000 miles on it) after it's sat overnight or for eight hours or more, I get one helluva loud knock just as the starter catches. Thereafter, the engine runs smoothly. If I shut it off and start it up again, there is no knocking sound as before. I have had it to the dealer three different times and they initially replaced the timing belt tensioner which failed to solve the problem. Since then, I have left it with them overnight several times, but they can't seem to duplicate the sound. Today, I let a car buff friend of mine who also owns a Catera listen to it as I started it after an eight hour hiatus. It gave a really loud knock which he thinks
    came from the back of the car. He diagnosed it as a faulty fuel pump solenoid.

    Anyone out there have a similar experience or suggestion? My dealer has been very supportive and seems committed to resolving the problem. Lord knows they've spent a small fortune without complaint on my Gold Key rentals whenever I leave my car there.
  • catera1998catera1998 Member Posts: 5
    I own a 1998 Cater with 24000 miles. I bought it because the price was great (18500 with 14000 miles and all options sans on star and rear sunshade) and I like the looks. I am an atypical buyer being only 23 year old male. Anyway everything has been great so far, more reliable than my previous car (1997 Saturn SC2). Only rob is a broken cup holder and the driver side tire is wearing odd. Was there a TB or recall on the tire problem? Also is it easy for the dealer to replace the cup holder? Dealers in Houston, TX wont take appointments and I think it would be silly to leave it there over night. Overall I LOVE THIS CAR! Also what kind of battery are yall using ? I have found that only the dealer has batteries for Catera.
  • catera99catera99 Member Posts: 1
    I am sorry that so many of you are having problems with your Cater's, but do not fret, my story is not all glory. I originally purchased a new 1998 Cater, for which from the day I drove off with it began having minor problems. After approximately 10 minor trips back to the dealer for service, I was told that this vehicle had a coolant problem. I was accommodated greatly by my dealer, who provided me with a choice of vehicle to use while this one was in the shop. After approximately two weeks I became a bit upset as to the status of MY vehicle. I was told by my service representative that there were some problems getting the right parts to fix the vehicle, and that since they replaced the head gasket they experienced additional problems. HEAD GASKET replaced on a vehicle that has less than 6,000 miles on it??? Well to make a long story short, I did not want this vehicle any longer, even if it was fixed. (My reason is that the head is aluminum and once removed, they could not assure me that all was to be o.. in the future.)

    I contacted an attorney, who would have accepted my case, and charged me big $$$, with no guarantees. Instead I enlisted the dealer to get me in contact with the big guys at General Motors in the Cater division. I advised the dealer to share with them that I was giving them a week to get in touch with me and failure to do so would prompt my calling the local MEDIA. I assured them that I would tell the world about the problems I encountered and that it would not be nice.

    Within two weeks I was in my new 1999 Cater, I am proud to say I have had no problems with this vehicle. I have just turned 18,000 miles, and no service appointments have been made other than to change the oil and rotate the tires. I love this automobile!
  • chuck_thomaschuck_thomas Member Posts: 3
    Catera1998 - Look at where your cup holder attaches to the armrest. You'll see two prongs extending upward, pinch them together and your cup holder assembly will pull out. You can give that to your dealer and have them give you another one. As for the tire wear, you probably have an alignment problem. This seems common for 98 Cateras (mind had it) any tire shop or the dealer can fix this. You'll want to do it soon though or your tires will wear out like mine did at 20,000 miles. I'm using a Sears gold battery that is smaller than the original batt but with similar power specs. It fits looser in the holder and doesn't seem to be as impacted by heat as the orig. (notice the radiator hose right next to the battery) or maybe it just vents better being smaller and not pushing up against the radiator hose. Anyway I've never had any problems with it.
  • jothomas63jothomas63 Member Posts: 8
    Back in January I purchased a 98 Catera w/30K for 16400. Seemed like a great bang for the buck bargain. The car was immaculate. Drove and handled like a dream. A couple of weeks later I found this web page a did a free Lemon check. To my horror it came back as a manufacturer repurchase LEMON. I immediately returned the car to the dealer and made them take it back and write me a check. From now on I will always pay for the CARFAX reports for any vehicle I purchase. Better save than sorry. Even though the vehicle was great during the time I owned it, I was screwed when it came time for me to sale and who knows how many dealership visits were in my future. I ended up buying a 2000 Infiniti I30t. I decided reliability was worth a little more money. Just remember: Buyer Beware!
  • juanaejuanae Member Posts: 1
    I purchased a used 97 catera in oct'00 w/48k miles..from day one i felt there was something wrong, but the car still had its warranty so i asked the dealership to check this knocking noise..they did and stated the timing belts were loose..well a few days later took the car to a well know cady dealership and had them check for the noise..for 3 weeks they could not find this noise and told me catera's for some reason are not as quite as the other cadys...after a 4th complaint and telling me i would have to pay for a loaner for them to keep the car over the weekend to check it out again..a service tech finally heard the noise then all of a sudden they were able to give me a loaner at no cost..and then i went back to have a lube and was told i needed to have this additional service done "because it was time" so i did that..then i was told after my sixth visit in 2 months that the hormonic imbalnacer was i left the car for that repair...then for my next lube finally everything was fine..per the service advisor...but, guess what i was taking a short trip 2 weeks ago and this warning light came in "!" with a cirlce around it...called the dealler and took the car in and they made me pay for a loaner car..then that afternoon i get a call that the torque converter needs to be replaced but that might not resolve the problem and i might need a new i had them make the repairs...3 days later...the light comes on again and then the check engine light comes then next day i call the dealer and he said well i don't know what that could be..and i can drive the car for a few days and see if the light goes out..needless to say i was in his face within the then he comes and tells me i need a new transmission...and i have to pay the cost....i will never purchase a cadillac again. they do not stand by there cars...the warranty ened 3k miles ago,.and i do not believe i should have to replace a transmission on a 97 catera with 53k miles.
  • alabissierealabissiere Member Posts: 1
    I just want to report something that I don't see every day. Last week, I saw someone driving a Catera with two big lemons on it. I kew this was not a great car, is it that bad?
  • morgan19morgan19 Member Posts: 1
    My 97' Cadillac catera has had one problem and the dealer just can't get it right. I first took it in because of the engine light was on.
    Almost a year later it's just too late. the first thing they tried to tell me was it had to be the spark plugs and wires with a bad valve gasket. I let them change that. Didn't help at all.
    Next up they said it was the harmonic balance and they changed it,only to have failure as a result once again. The service manager said they would be working with a Cadillac engineer to get the problem resolved. The manager said they thought it might be build up in the cylinders.
    They cleaned the whole top end of the engine. this also did nothing but make me lose more money and patience. they said it then could only be the computer was going bad. Replace? Of course.
    That did nothing but make the car run like carp.
    the car finally said enough and one morning just wouldn't start. Took it back in to the rep. and they said it was three bearings that run the timing belt. which they said it was probably that the whole time!!!!!!
    So the bearings would have cost around $300 and now they say ,since the bearings went bad the timing was thrown off and the valves are bent and so are my rods. they said I could either fix that for $3,000 and take a chance of something else being wrong or spend $5,000 for a new, but used engine. Instead of finding the problem right away .
  • pschwahnpschwahn Member Posts: 1
    My '97 has been a reasonably good car so far (2 yr & 27K miles). Just got my car back from local Caddy dealership for recall on harmonic balance replacement and they told me I should have the timing belt and replaced since car has close to 60K miles to the tune of $780. They said usually go bad about 50K miles (conveniently when warranty runs out). I found the belt/ kit at Brasington Cadillac in Florida for $140, but I'm having trouble finding someone to install it since has not yet released after market specs needed for installation. Has anyone else out there run up against this situation and what did you do about it? I have a real problem paying the dealership $780 to do a job that should cost less than $400. Any help is greatly appreciated!
  • dhanleydhanley Member Posts: 1,531
    I'd be mad if my car ran like carp too!!

    The catera was one of the cars i was seriously considering, and this topic makes me a little relieved i didn't get it.

  • gmcateragmcatera Member Posts: 6
    Two things I would do are 1. Check EBAY for a service manual for the Catera(a good price about $30.00) 2. Stop by a Saturn or Saab Dealers and have them price the job out. (the 3.0 V6 is used in Saturn & Saab cars)
  • stankovicstankovic Member Posts: 1
    I am leasing a 2000 Cadillac Catera Sport. My lease started in June 2000 and very shortly after my problems started. First it was "check engine" signal that prompted Cadillac service to replace oxygen sensors (car spent 2 days in service). The "check engine" sign was gone but then stalling problem started to develop. The engine idles very low when the car is not in motion and frequently stalls. It is an extremely worrisome problem as this stalling happens when, for example I am making left turn on intersection or when entering roads/streets after stoping at the stop sign or red light. The car was in the service for at least 5-6 times. The engine computer has been reprogramed and re-started several times, however the same problem of stalling at a very low idle continued. Finally a brought my car back to the dealership that I am leasing from. They still have my car (over 4 weeks now) and they claim that even GM Canada has addmited that this particular vehicle is unrepairable. The dealer is promising another car of similar value (fully loaded Oldsmobile Aurora)for the same monthly payment. However, it is taking too long and the exchange of words between myself and Cadillac dealership is becoming increasingly bitter. Meantime I have checked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration web page (an official US government web site) and found many similar stalling problems with Cateras that have been already reported to the US government. I strongly believe that GM is franticly trying to cover up a serious problem with Cateras and perhaps we as owners or lessees should make more "noise" so to force appropriate government departments to react and call for an outright recall of these extremely unsafe vehicles.
  • lsg90035lsg90035 Member Posts: 1
    Is anyone having good luck with 97 Cateras? I
    have 60,000 miles and a 70,000 mile warranty. The
    engine and trans are strong but I have had minor electrical problems like everyone else and just had to call Mr. Goodwrench for a service call for
    my third new battery. I have had good service from my dealer. What do I do now, considering low
    resale value? Run it past 100,000 miles and plan to junk it or hope that all of the problems will be resolved before my warranty expires or sell it
    now and take the hit money-wise?
  • alex80alex80 Member Posts: 3
    I too have had problems with my 2000 catera stalling. It has only stalled four times but the last time I was on a hill and started to roll back before I realized the car was stalled (it is very quiet when at idle). Has anyone worked with a dealer to find a solution to this problem? How many people have it?
  • safetyguy2safetyguy2 Member Posts: 6
    If anyone has a stalling problem with 1999-2000 Cateras, and believes it is a safety problem, please report it to NHTSA at:
  • jaime100jaime100 Member Posts: 1
    I bought my 2000 Catera Sport in November 2000 and had it repaired four times for stalling.
    The first two repairs consisted of software updates. Next, the dealer replaced the crankshaft
    sensor. The last time I brought it in, they replaced the crankshaft sensor and the O2 sensor.
    The car continues to stall from time to time when I slow down going up a slope or driveway, or
    when it's crawling in slow traffic. I suspect it's got something to do with the low and inconsistent
    idling. I don't want to waste my time bringing this car in again until they figure out a fix.
  • alex80alex80 Member Posts: 3
    When I have the AC set on auto and the outside temperature is about 85 F and it is sunny, the fan runs at 1/2 to 3/4 speed just to keep the car cool. The auto setting is at 68 F. The air coming out is cool, but not cold. On my explorer the air comes out very cold, so you barely have to let the fan run to remain cool. I noticed that the tinting on the explorer is much better than the catera, which can only help keep the truck cooler. Has anyone had problems with their AC system? If so what are they and what were the symptoms?
  • wmatystiwmatysti Member Posts: 15
    First I want to attempt to convince everyone here what a great car the Catera really is. My first reason being safety. I got into a MAJOR accident in my mom's catera, the car had $9,000 in damage, but I walked away with noting but the shakes from being so scared. The front and side airbags worked beatifully (allthough they scared the [non-permissible content removed] out of me when I saw them pop out at me), and the front left crumple zone abzorbed all the impact (incident was simmilar to those offset crash scenerios). After the damage reapair, I've only experienced one major issue, and am taking it to the dealer tomorrow: There is major hesistation when stepping on the gas, and a bid delay between pedal depression and initial acceleration. Its probably an electronic control issue computer relay related. I'll let you know how it goes. Oh, and to make my safety point clear, I was hit head on by a Ford Expedition at 40 mph...the driver in the SUV died...I walked away. Yeah, it may be a little rigid and heavy, but the Catera is built like a brick sh** house, and I wouldn't want to get into an accident in any other car. Thank you GM for saving my life! If that accident was in my 300M, I would be dead.
  • angrydriver1angrydriver1 Member Posts: 1
    I recently took our 1998 Catera to the dealer in reference to an alignment problem that I became aware of on the Internet. Our car currently only has 30,000 miles on it, but the front tires are already worn badly on the inside. When I first took the car in and called GM they gave me a bulletin reference number; the dealer called and confirmed that the alignment and replacement of the tires would be covered. Later the same day, the dealer informed me that they would not cover the repair unless I could provide written evidence that the tires had been rotated according to schedule. Unfortunately, I was only able to provide evidence of one rotation. After calling the GM zone manager, I received no satisfaction even though they admitted that the 1998 Cateras were improperly aligned at the factory. It seems to me that when a car comes out defective from the production line, it is defective from day one. No amount of rotation is going to correct defective alignment. After spending numerous hours on the phone, I decided that Cadillac really doesn't care about customer satisfaction or safety. When the car is returned to me from the dealer after the other repairs are completed, we plan to switch to a Ford product as I think that they are more concerned with customer safety and satisfaction as evidenced in their recent tire recall. This GM problem could have easily been resolved, and the sad part of it all is that we had been pleased with our Catera in other respects...
  • cateraman97cateraman97 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 97 cadillac catera in which I bought in August of 2000, with 44,000. Since then I have had problem after problem. Here is a list of problems I have had:
    1. Head Gasket leak
    2.Bad o2 sensor
    3.Fuel pump died
    4.Alignment problems
    5.A bunch of other little thinkgs

    The newest and biggest problem started like this:
    When the dealership did my head gasket they informed me that I should do the timing belt while the heads are up. So I authorized the work. 10,000 mile later I was driving down the street and my car sounded horrid and the dash was bouncing up and down, basically the car felt and sound like it was going to blow up. I got my car towed the dealer and it was my timing tensioner. It blew into pieces, in turn cause all of my 24 valved to be bent and nicked by the timing belt. So I authorized the work 3 weeks later and 4,800 dollars short. I have been fighting with cadillac over this matter because the tensior should have been serviced when the had done the belt. It was never serviced leaving me with a bill of 4,800 dollars. Cadillac will not be responsible for it and the dealer won't either. All I have had was constant problem with this car. I love it to death but I'm 21 years old and only have a limited money to spend on repairs. There is definately something wrong with these cars that GM is not explaing to us. So if anyone has had and similar or just any problem at all email me at [email protected] I'm trying to go after GM on this to compensate the owners for our hard earned money wasted.
  • traderalex1traderalex1 Member Posts: 39
    All one has to do is just read the archives of this site to confirm what has already been out in the news almost since day one of the car's introduction to the North American market: it is an unreliable piece of crap. One could probably make a better case for Yugo ownership. It is a pity, too, because once upon a time GM's Adam Opel unit produced vehicles of pretty high quality. Times change, but GM get's what it deserves. These problems with the quality of any of their vehicles goes back at least 30 years, already, just about the point at which mass market import vehicles began to enter the American market, in volume.
  • 300mowner300mowner Member Posts: 1
    Being an auto enthusiast and always keeping an eye on the automotive market (while owning a 300M and Catera), I must say that GM is one of the most poorly managed businesses ever. It's amazing the crap they sell. When they do have a (potentially) good vehicle, they kill it by releasing the vehicle to market without proper development, with a lack of quality, and a poor dealer network. Prime examples of this include, but are not limited to; Pontiac Fiero, Cadillac Allante, and the Camaro/Firebird twins. When GM finally gets the vehicle right, it pulls the plug. Pathetic.

    Thankfully, I've experienced only one minor problem with my Catera Sport (that the dealer fixed in one day) and love driving it. I hope (pray?) that I do not experience the problems many of you have been experiencing. I will also make sure to keep my eye on (and keep records of) any issues that many of you have mentioned.
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