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Cadillac STS: Good Quality?

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,093
edited July 2014 in Cadillac
Talk about STS quality here.


  • cumptrnrdcumptrnrd Posts: 52
    I'm thinking about buying a new car and the Cadillac STS is one of my considerations. I was wondering if owners could tell me any griefs they've had with the car, major or minor. I just want a car that will be as trouble free as possible. Also, if anyone knows any other useful information about the car (i.e. how the 2006 Buick Lucerne is using the '91 Northstar V8) it would be much appreciated.

    I have a '01 Pontiac Montana, and I'm very reluctant to buy another GM vehicle, be it a Chevy or a Cadillac. In 70,000 miles, we've already had the transmission rebuilt, AC compressor and condensor replaced, and the majority of the major brake system components replaced, just to name a few major problems. Compared to its competition at the time, at $35k, the car was not even cheap either.

    If I'm about to drop another $30k+ on another GM, I want to make sure it's not a money pit like our Montana. Thanks.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    Well, to begin with, the northstar engine went into production for the 1993 model year, not the 1991 model year. The Lucerne's northstar is the current FWD edition, which was redesigned for the 2000 model year. The STS has a RWD northstar which was also redesigned and is not the same engine as the FWD. The northstar engines have had some problems over the years but if the owner is alert most problems should not result in disaster. The STS price tag runs into the $50,000 plus range with V8. Perhaps you should consider a 300C?
  • cumptrnrdcumptrnrd Posts: 52
    I thought I read on an Edmunds review that the current Lucerne was using the outdated Northstar... Maybe I read it somewhere else...

    Anyway, I don't mind the price. I'm just saying, we already spent $35k on a GM van that has probably spent more time in the shop than on the road, and if I'm going to spend any amount of money for another GM car, I want to know that it will at least be reliable, if not blowing the doors off the competition.

    If we were to get an STS, we would probably get a full option V8, so at $60k+, it better at least live up to its heritage and stop getting outclassed by cheaper Japanese imports and its German counterparts.

    All I'm saying is to give me a reason to buy the STS, other than because it's 'just as good' as the competition and because I'll be helping the economy. Isn't that how every car owner should feel, especially at this level?
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    There is no "outdated" northstar in production. However, the FWD northstar does not have variable valve timing, which the RWD version does have. The Lucerne has the same drive train (engine and transmission) that the DTS (old deVille) has.

    The long term J D Powers survey of owners puts the Cadillacs at somewhat worse than Buick. Buick is better than Toyota, but worse than Lexus, which is top rated.

    If you can afford to blow over $60,000 on a car, then you can probably afford to replace a few parts now and then. The magazines have not thought too much of the STS, thinking that the Germans are still better.
  • baltomanbaltoman Posts: 43
    I have a 2005 STS V6 lux. Got it in April 05. Now 13 mos old with 13 K mikes. Not a hiccup. I was a little GM shy myself from a previous Buick. But I love the in your face American styling - and I admit to liking USA products when they meet or beat the competition.

    Personally, I would do it again but get the new STS with even more goodies. My dealer is excellent, but since I have had only 2 oil changes, I haven't had to "put them to the test" - and don't think I will time soon.

    No transmission "hunting" a la Lexus and Toyota. No engine problems. Regular gas if you want. Plus the car automatically emails you monthly about it's service status and sends an emergency email if it detects trouble!

    Only dislike is the useless glove compartment, but it is the same for every other car in this class.

    BTW, the transmission is built in France by a GM - Franco group and it is the same 5 speed automatic as in the BMW 5 series. The V6 is peppy as heck and I saw little difference between it and the V8. If you don't want to spring for the Nav, wait for a June or after STS with the "turn to turn" On-Star feature. It's a Nav system with voice directions and turn indicators on the instrument panel, but no large (space eating) display above the console. On Star is vastly underrated - every car ought to have this or similar, including the built in phone.

    If you're looking for a full size car, go DTS. The STS is a smaller, sportier car but actually has a bigger wheel base than the DTS, but less interior room.

    If you are considering a rear wheel, BMW 5 series type car, this is a great choice and it has the largest interior in that class. Plus you can make a great deal with GM - they are out to move their iron.

    The Cadillac division has bent over backwards to be courteous and to thank me for my business. A refreshing surprise.

    Hope that helps.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    While it is true that at one time BMW used GM's 5 speed automatic, now they have a 6 speed from some other supplier. There is a possibility that the 2007 STS will get GM's 6 speed, perhaps as an option. I say this only because the XLR is getting the 6 speed. However, the Corvette is using the 6 speed, so perhaps this not really a clue.

    I think that BMW may still be using the 5 speed on the X-series trucks made here in the US.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 3,007
    Since many (most?) of the GM cars with few changes for 2007 (CTS, Corvette, others) have their ordering guides out, I cling to hope that the STS (non-V-s, with no ordering guide yet posted) will (also) have the six speed automatic added.

    Though one could certainly argue that the CTS (with "only" 6 cylinder motors) might benefit more in performance, and I was certainly hoping for the six speed there as well, I suppose it is possible that the RWD six speed might be seen as the ‘most premium’ component, and appropriate for the most premium model = STS.

    We’ll see . . .

    - Ray
    Whishin’ & hopein’ . . .
    2016 BMW 340i
  • baltomanbaltoman Posts: 43
    Per GM's Strasbourg website on May 2 2006:

    "The Strasbourg site provides automatic transmissions to a number of high level external customers, such as BMW, Land Rover, Opel and Cadillac"

    I believe the 6 speed is not yet available to any but Cadillac and Corvette until production ramps.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 3,007
    (Outside the Corvette & Caddy) It is also listed as available for the 2007 Yukon Danali:

    "MYC Transmission, 6-speed automatic, heavy-duty, electronically controlled with
    overdrive, tow/haul mode and tap up/tap down shifting"

    - Ray
    NOT currently in need of such a large Sport Ute . .
    2016 BMW 340i
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    If you check with the BMW website you will find that all of their cars and trucks (3-series, X-3, X-5, 5-series...) have six (6) speed automatics only. At one time in the dead past GM's 5 speed automatic was used at BMW, but not now.
  • baltomanbaltoman Posts: 43
    I'm sure you are correct about USA models.

    But my point had to do with the quality of the STS - that high end autos such as the BMW use(d) the same GM designed and manufactured tranny.

    Back to the "does BMW still use the GM tranny"...

    Pls be aware that in Europe, the Z4, among others, is available w/ your choice of manual or 5 speed automatics.

    From the Ireland BMW web site:
    "In addition to a choice of 5- and 6-speed manual transmissions, the BMW Z4 also offers the option of 5-speed automatic transmission..."

    Looks like everyone is having problems getting enough 6 speeds for every model in every market. Consumers obviously want them with the cost of petrol so high.

    I'm sure every high end auto will move to 6 or 7 speed trannys as soon as possible.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I do not think that BMW equips their car in Europe with a different transmission than the ones that are sent to the USA. The Z4 on the international site is shown to offer a 6 speed automatic only.

    The history of BMW using a GM automatic dates back to when they were using a ZF automatic and there were too many problems with those transmissions. So, BMW asked GM for a transmission, and started with a 4 speed, but this was upgraded to the 5 speed that GM has been using in the RWD sigma Cadillacs. I think that ZF has returned to supply BMW with a 6 speed automatic. I suppose that BMW has made sure that the new ZF transmission will be reliable.

    GM is correct in that the 5 speed was used by BMW, but the proper term is "was", not "is".
  • bigmike5bigmike5 Posts: 960
    Love the Northstar. If they are using the engine that is in my wife's 00 Eldorado ESC in the Lucerne, then I think it is one of the best decisions they ever made. No oil burn whatsoever, and her Eldorado gets [no bull] 32 mpg on the highway, and about 23-24 on around town driving. We had one issue with crankshaft sensors that were replaced under warranty. [It may have been a common problem because the svc. tech diagnosed it as soon as I told him the problem symtoms--stalling at a light-- but nothing else in five years. Gets better gas mileage by far than my 6 cyl. Chrysler 300M, and also just edges out my 04 Vette which gets about 30 mpg at highway speeds under 70. The fact that a Northstar was going into the Lucerne piqued my interest, but the car design is so bland I have not driven one, and will probably go for an STS first. :shades:
  • My wife and I purchased a used 2002 STS with approx 52,000 a year ago. Since then the check tire pressure is always on even after manually checking each tire against the man. specs, the auto. windshield wipers no longer come on when it rains, it vibrates at exactly 60mph but stops at 65mph and it continually leakes oil even after paying to have a gasket replaced which required the engine pulled out in order to get to the gasket. Now the 6 disk CD changer has gone on the blink. Is this what is to be expected from Cadillac? I've gone to the dealer and been told that they either don't know whats wrong with it and even if they did none of it would be covered under the extended warranty we purchased.

    Any suggestions, constructive comments, ideas or anything else that may assist in getting this car to the level that I thought cadillacs should be at?
  • ohgeezohgeez Posts: 12
    Amazing, a few years back I owned a 94 STS and did some posting, nothing has change with Cadillac. Chronic vibration, oil leaks, wobble handling. I just don't get it, GM makes an excellent car like Pontiac GP or the Impala then they fail with Cadillac by giving us junk at double the price.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    First off you can't blame Cadillac for problems with a used car. How do you know that this vehicle was treated right. It could have been used, abused, and misused. I once sold a 76 Ford truck to a Olds dealer on a new 98. The following spring I came across the same truck on a sod farm. Guy said the dealer said he bought it from a lady who's husband had died suddenly. I said, guess what, I'm still alive. I have had 4 STS's, my buddy 2, my dad one and none of them have had the kinds of problems you are talking about. My 99 had a short in the main wire harness and that was fixed and only problem. None of the above ones have had a problem that put it in the shop for over night. Mostly just growing pains. I can remember a road test in one of the car mags that was complaining about a Lexus they were testing that everytime they parked it they would come back and the sunroof was open the windows were down or going up and down on their own. Also got wet inside a couple times. Seems Lexus could find nothing wrong with it. When you buy used it a big gamble.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Ive had my share of STS's and Devilles without any of these problems. Northstar is a very smooth engine. Vibration could have been a tire out of round.
  • ohgeezohgeez Posts: 12
    I owned one of these used 3-4 year old STS's and experienced same exact things. Used cars are not a problem, this car is. A)Engine gasket, believe it or not i resolved this my self by loosening on the front as many bolts i could, soaked area with engine cleaner, dried it up with alcohol, finger applied silicone engine gasket seal, retightned bolts, leak stopped. re occurring northstar engine problem, GM doesn't care to end the disease. B) Chronic vibrations "at any speed", In my opinion the Electronic ride control that sounds fantastic but is inferior than a shock system, is temperamental and develops a basketball bouncing effect. Out of round is the usual excuse, nobody has this problem, only Cadillac...nothing worse than a shaking car, can't enjoy it. Changing tires or rims will not work, been down that road. MY friend you are probably thinking of selling and you will realize that It's very hard to find a Cadillac buyer and you will only get about as much as good 2002 Taurus if not less. Service Ride Control should be flashing very soon, fixing it may not improve the ride, 6K+?. A conventional shock absorber suspension system will run flat and perfect rebound control on a 20K car.
  • Hey everybody! I'm considering selling my '00 Toyota Camry LE and and looking at getting a '00 Cadillac Seville SLS with 58k... I was wondering how the quality of these are during the '98-'04 models? My Toyota has been trouble free for the past year and I'm ready to upgrade to something a little faster and alot more comfortable. I have found a SLS for around $9,950 (shocked at the low prices of these cars) Do you think that is a good deal? Thanks for the help.
  • mediapushermediapusher Posts: 305

    If you want a trouble free car, please don't buy a Cadillac Buy a Lexus or a Toyota. If you don't believe me just take a look at their track record throughout the years compared to GM's vehicles. If you want trouble free the chances of you getting one from General Motors is like the chances of getting a WILD CARD.

    The horror stories you mentioned that you had with your GM vehicles are notaberrations, they are the normal experience. I know, because I've had friends that have had their cars. They are designed and built to break. That's how they make their money. They make their money on parts.

    If loyalty is important to you, then buy a Cadillac, however, think about what loyalty is going to do to your wallet in the long run.
    reference text::::
    I'm thinking about buying a new car and the Cadillac STS is one of my considerations. I was wondering if owners could tell me any griefs they've had with the car, major or minor. I just want a car that will be as trouble free as possible>
  • mediapushermediapusher Posts: 305
    First, to answer your question. The STS isn't as good as the competion. If you don't believe me, drive a Lexus or a BMW, then go test drive an STS.

    Actually, I don't think GM really cares if people buy cars that have their nameplates on them because they are a global entity car manufacturing and distribution conglomerate with cosmetic engineering and cosmetic galore.
    Case in point. Did you know that the Chevrolet Prizm is actually a Toyota Corolla in GM skin. The Chevrolet Aveo is built in South Korea.

    More profound is the fact that Daimler Chrysler's headquarters are in GERMANY.
    reference text:::::

    All I'm saying is to give me a reason to buy the STS, other than because it's 'just as good' as the competition and because I'll be helping the economy. Isn't that how every car owner should feel, especially at this level?
  • mediapushermediapusher Posts: 305
    Yes, I have a suggestion, take them to court with the lemon law, and please stop buying GM origin cars. They're not worth anyone's money.

    I have a Toyotta Corolla. The cheapest car Toyota makes. The fist time I had any major problems with it, was at 150,000 miles, so there is no way anyone can convince me I should waste my money on a General Motors origin car. Not in this life and not in the next.
  • mediapushermediapusher Posts: 305
    Why would you "downgrade" to a Cadillac SLS if you've owned a trouble free Toyota product. I don't get it. Why not upgrade to a used Lexus luxury model?

    The reason why the price of the Cadillac you were looking at is so cheap is because it wasn't worth it's overinflated price to begin with and didn't hold its value anywhere near as well as a Lexus or Toyota.


    Hey everybody! I'm considering selling my '00 Toyota Camry LE and and looking at getting a '00 Cadillac Seville SLS with 58k... I was wondering how the quality of these are during the '98-'04 models? My Toyota has been trouble free for the past year and I'm ready to upgrade to something a little faster and alot more comfortable. I have found a SLS for around $9,950 (shocked at the low prices of these cars) Do you think that is a good deal? Thanks for the help.
  • tricky73tricky73 Posts: 132
    Be careful! I own an '07 Lexus 460L w/Touring Package and am having quality problems. Also, the park-o-matic option is a fraud; Lexus HQ will not support it; says its the dealer's responsibility to train the owners. However, no DVD or video is offered similar to their excellent guidance furnished for the navigation system. I have owned 4 Lexus in the past 3 years and this is the first one I have had to return for repair; others were flawless. A switch failed and it took 3 days to diagnose/replace it; they seem poorly trained to handle this barrel of snakes management has given them.
  • BeamerManBeamerMan Posts: 64
    Well, as a BMW owner of the last 20 years I went out and drove a STS, 2007 and took delivery on March 3, 2007. See my review in the review group. I just got back from a 500 mile trip last night, the car handles better than my 5 series and is so comfotaable a ride that it is hard to stay awake. I leased the car for 3 years and since I owned a BMW they gave me an additional 3,000.00 off. In total I got 8,000.00 off and leased the car at 420/month with no money down. The warrenty even covers tires! I must disagree as to the comparison of cars as Cadillac has done a fine job here. Their stabilitrak is great as well as onstar. The base lease price on mine was 37,000.00 after discounts etc, try to get a 5 series to that? It might fall apart but what I see so far is a nice ride. Wayne.
  • BeamerManBeamerMan Posts: 64
    Hi "mediapusher" I was just like you until I opened my mind and tried the Cadillac. This car has changed so much. The factory manager where the car was built called me 3 days after purchase to see how I liked the car and if anything was wrong. I am convinced GM is making a comeback. Please give them a chance. Drive the car! I know we all have become jaded over the years but look at GM's whole lineup. They are making the adjustments Ford has not. Wayne.
  • I think you have a good point. If GM people call you after making a Cadillac purchase, then that really is a good sign of GM changing.

    A purchase this high demands special treatment. GM shows us that they are aware of the competition and are doing what they can to ensure the customer that they made the right choice with a GM product.

    I sat in an STS and have to tell you, its a fine car. I have recently been in a BMW 5 series and have to tell you that from the outside it looks like a Pontiac or Nissan. Once you get in then you see its an expensive car.

    The STS looks good either way. I think the V8 is no longer good enough to compete in the segment but I don't think GM will belike ford and ignore this problem.

    If the '09 or '10 STS is any good as the '08 CTS, then Cadillac will really begin to re-establish itself.
  • BeamerManBeamerMan Posts: 64
    Well yesterday I got a email survey of 100 question from GM about the quality and any troubles with the car. I am more and more impressed every day. I think GM gets it. Poor Ford, 3 channel antilocks? My God how behind the times is that. I do not think Ford is going to make it.
  • bigo1201bigo1201 Posts: 2
    i'm thinking of buying a 2003 STS help me make this a wise decision. how does the car handle? in snow? mpg in town and on the highway? should i buy a certified car or go with a used one without it. any horror stories or good ones for that matter. i'm trying to decide between the 2001 740il BMW vs the STS comments, thoughts? anyone had some of the older STS models and then bought a 2003? what are the goodies i want on this car to be looking for? thanks for all your help
  • If you tolerated a Camry, you will love an STS!! My 2005 sts has been trouble free and a pleasure to drive in town as well as on the highway. The v6 is more than adequate. The original equipment Michalin tires had a dreadful lack of traction on wet or snowy pavement making winter travel downright dangerous. I took the plunge and had Goodyear Eagle F1 mounted. What an astonishing difference!! Unfortunately I haven't found a buyer for the michalins which have only 13400 miles of use!!
    Nevertheless the tire change was well worth the price!!
This discussion has been closed.