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Cadillac CTS Engine Problems



  • madctsmadcts Posts: 6
    When the oil gets low, the computer tries to shut down the engine. That is what was going on when it felt like the transmission was falling out!! Same thing happened on our 2008 (70,000 miles). I also took ours into the dealer and they changed the oil. (it was 3.5 qts low!) After 3000 miles, I took it back to the same dealer and had them check how much oil was still in the engine. It was nearly 4 qts low. Thats when I told them the rings must be bad and that it was covered under the 1000,000 mile drive train warrenty. They then talked to the factory and was told to run the Oil Consumption Test. They then ordered the parts and fixed the engine. They also had to put on a complete exhaulst including the converter. The rear seals were leaking on the rear and they replaced them also.

    The dealer should not give you any trouble. They get reimbursed for everything including your rental. Tell them to run a oil consumption test. The factory limits on oil consuption is very high!(like .75 quarts every 1,000 miles!) They should then replace all the pistons and rings. They sould check the catalytic converter because it gets ruined with all the oil being expelled. It will take 7-14 days to get it all done.

    PS The timing chain is under factory recall. They souldn't have given you any crap.

    PSS First, the engine will shut off if the oil is to low. Second, If you read some of the prior posts, you will find out that some owners have gone on long road trips and ran it out of oil!3000-4000 mile trip.

    owners should not need to fill up the engine oil everytime we fill up the fuel tank!!

    Remember back in 2007-2010 is when GM got their bailout. It seems as if they began cutting corners about this time. Don't take any crap from your dealer. My guess is that your dealer does not have a clue about the problems this engine has with OIL!

    Good Luck!!!
  • madctsmadcts Posts: 6
    It shouldn't have cost you anything!!!
  • temj12temj12 Posts: 450
    I have a 2009 CTS also. I have not had the oil comsumption problems that you write. I have my oil changed every 5,000 to 6,000 miles at my Cadillac dealer. When I asked my service department on my first oil change visit how often to change the oil, my advisor said that I needed to change it every 6,000 miles. He told me that they were finding that they had to replace the actuators at 50,000 if you had gone by the OLM. The OLM is a piece of junk. It misleads so many people. Do you have receipts on all of your oil changes? In my case, my dealer would have the record. If you have receipts, there is no way that your warranty should be voided. The OLM does not tell you when the oil is low. The dealer will tell you that. My guess is that they are wanting to hold you responsible for not checking the oil level between visits. My 2009 has 28,000 miles and 3,000 since the last change. I just checked it and it was down a pint. Push them on this!
  • bdahlg68bdahlg68 Posts: 2
    I have the records on the oil changes. Not too worried about that. But I was looking also through the manual in my Pontiac G8, and it says to check the oil at every fuel fill. In winter in Michigan? Yeah right. But, it also says that basically low oil is my issue and it can void the warranty. I'm sure the Caddy manual says something similar. I understand to a certain extent to cover major negligence. But, with regular oil changes there really shouldn't be an issue. I'm very curious to talk to the dealer tomorrow. Hoping they surprise me in a good way.
  • billpaulbillpaul Posts: 103
    With all the reports of low oil levels in these cars, I am surprised the cause (assuming there is a single cause) has not been identified. If there is a defect causing rapid oil loss, then it should be covered under warranty rather than void the warranty.
  • gmcustsvcsarahgmcustsvcsarah Posts: 1,964
    Good morning,
    I see in your later post that you will be discussing things further with your dealership today. If I can be of any assistance, please let me know!
    GM Customer Service
  • My 2007 CTS is currently in the shop @ 98000 i was told the cat converters were bad and had them replaced. $850.00 later the check engine light still on and now they are replacing the timing chain.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    I apologize for your frustrations and inconvenience. Please keep us updated on your situation. Please feel free to email me directly. I look forward to hearing further from you.
    GM Customer Service
  • temj12temj12 Posts: 450
    Since I also have a 2009, let me know how you come out on yours with the dealer. I also live in Michigan for a few months each year. I have never followed the guideline of checking at each fill. When I buy a car, I check it periodically during the first 5,000 miles to get a gauge on oil usage. I have never followed the "every tank" schedule. If I had to do that, I would get rid of the car. I understand why you don't in Michigan. I know that they put that in manuals, but it is absurd. I checked mine yesterday for the first time on this oil change at 3,000 miles.
  • Christina,

    GM Customer Service was great!! I appreciate the 3 follow up calls I received to make sure the car was done. As well as the calls to the dealer to make sure it was being taken care of.

    the issues with the 2007 CTS are fixed and covered under warranty.
    New timing chain and tentioners and passengers side air bag issues resolved/fixed.

  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Thank you for your update on your concerns and vehicle. If you need anything else, please don't hesitate to contact us! Enjoy your weekend!
    GM Customer Service
  • cmonearcmonear Posts: 1
    Hello I am a newby to this forum. I googled Escalade engine oil pressure low indicator problems and this forum came up.

    I purchased "gently used" ( I was told) a 2005 Escalade ESV less than a year ago from Lithia Chevrolet. About 90 days after the purchase the Oil pressure low indicator and alarm started going off.
    The Lithia Dealership changed the oil, but didn't check the cause . I took it to another mechanic and he said the Dealership put the wrong oil in it. They changed the oil again. 90 days again the same alarm this continues on/ off regular oil changes all the while. Then the alarm stays on continually . Oil indicator fluctuates. Took the car in 2 more times to have the sensor changed still coming on and staying on. Finally insist the Dealership look further. $1600.00 later oil pressure low sensor still coming on staying on now. Dealership wanted another $1400.00 to drop the oil pan and clean out the sludge and to change the oil filter, pump and screen. Was treated with such distain and indignation by the Service department at the Lithia Dealership. I left my Caddy in there hands again only to have it sit in the parking lot for 36 hours with out so much as it being moved. During this time ( I live a block from this Dealership) I would call and ask about the progress on my car.( while looking right at it sitting in the parking lot)I was told each time yes it's being worked on , yes it will be ready by 4pm today. $pm came and my car had never been touched. Yet I was the bad guy and treated like I was the problem. I then took the Cadillac to another mechanic and replaced the sensor again, the alarm cluster,and last but not least to the tune of $4000.00 had to have the engine a completely rebuilt. The cam was marred and scarred and pocked. Evidence of being ran with out oil, cooking the engine, to thin an oil, you name the possible scenarios.
    I pick it up this past weekend and seems to be running alright. Not smooth on the low speeds seems to surge and hesitate.Balls tot he walls on the highway. Now this morningimmediately the %%^&*&*^%^%$%^& OIL PRESSURE LOW sensor SOUNDS that annoying and tooooo familiar DIIIIIIIIINNNNNGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!
    So to sum it up I havea Cadillac Excalade ESV with new alarm cluster, new sensor, (same engine just rebuilt)rebuilt engine new cam new everything! And I still have an OIL PRESSURE LOW ALARM!!!
    These engines are aluminum could this be the PROBLEM? HELP! Lithia sold me a LEMON and GM BUILT IT!!!!!
  • rriddlerriddle Posts: 7
    I have owned my 2011 Cadillac for 5 months (Purchased in October 2011). Three days after the purchase the sunroof leaked due to a bad seal. The dealership repaired it with no cost which was good. Now I have had three incidents where the car has a complete loss of power upon accelerating from a dead stop. There is NO warning, no clicks, hums, thumps. It just shuts down like a light switch is turned off. The most recent time being this week when I was pulling into 4 lanes of oncoming traffic with my wife in the car. Somehow we were able to coast to a stop in the side lane (after having to cross 2 lanes of moving traffic) and not get rearended. I just had the CTS at one local Cadillac dealership for 2 days and they cannot find the problem. The tech says that the computer does not show an error code and he cannot get it to recreate the problem while driving. As I said, I have owned the car for 5 months and it has happened 3 times. It is very intermittent. Their solution is just to return the car to me and asked me to let them know if it happens again. That is if I survive? If the car isn't wrecked due to loss of all power? I am now going to take the CTS back to the Cadillac dealership where I purchased the car and see if their service techs can determine a problem. Wish me luck?? :(
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    We won't chase you away, but you found your way to a discussion for CTS owners, so if any Escalade owners have found a solution, they won't be in here.

    You can find a list of Escalade discussions here:

    Posting in the Escalade Maintenance & Repair discussion is probably your best bet, though you might scroll down the list and see if there's one specific to your issue.


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • gmcustsvcsarahgmcustsvcsarah Posts: 1,964
    Hello cmonear,

    I'm sorry to read about the frustrating processes you've already been through trying to get this oil pressure concern resolved. If you haven't already been working with Customer Assistance, we'd be happy to get a case going for you. Please send us an email at with the following information: your name/Edmunds username, phone and address, last 8 digits of your VIN and current mileage, and the name of your dealership (I realize that some of this information has been included here, but my coworker Christina who answers inbound emails will not have known about this thread).

    GM Customer Service
  • gmcustsvcsarahgmcustsvcsarah Posts: 1,964

    I hope your upcoming visit goes well! Please get in touch via email ( if we can be of any assistance (please include your name and the last 8 of your VIN).

    Looking forward to an update,
    GM Customer Service
  • Hi all,

    I just read through several hundred posts and was very surprised to see all the posts saying "no light came on to warn me about low oil". There is no low oil light on the 2003-2007 series CTS.

    Please take some time to read through your owner's manuals to familiarize yourselves with your vehicle. You can save yourself a lot of money and heartache that way.

    Good luck.

    BTW, my 2005 CTS with only 56,000 miles needs a new timing chaing. Initial quote is $3,200! Holy cow!
  • zebandcozebandco Posts: 22
    Nope. No light. You're correct. But there is an oil pressure gauge which apparently indicates normal and steady oil pressure regardless of weather there is any oil in the crankcase or not. Suggesting that owners read the manual does not address the root cause nor the fact that many experiences listed in this post show oil consumption exceeding 1 qt every 1000 miles. Idiot light or not I doubt there are many people checking their oil every 1000 miles. You would think, in the absence of any obvious signs of leaking or smoking the normal inventory of oil would last until the next oil change at 5000 miles. It's a reasonable assumption based on the history of the combustion engine in automobiles over the past fifty years. Apparently there is also the issue of inadequate oil distribution even when the crankcase is full. No light for that either. A vehicle that can tell you where you are within three feet, report the air pressure in each individual tire and monitor 200 plus critical engine functions should be able to provide a reliable indication that something is amiss with the oil level or lubrication of the engine. Before the motor eats itself, I mean. That would be the point.

    Sorry to hear about the timing chain going. Another all to common complaint. There is no reason a timing chain in a modern engine shouldn't make 100K plus miles. To many competitor power plant have a long history of that level of performance and reliability.
  • gm_bigotgm_bigot Posts: 20
    edited March 2012
    I was at my dealership yesterday getting an oil change. I had a rather lengthy conversation with my service advisor whom I have known for the better part of five years now. We discussed the oil consumption issue and she told me that they have been working with several cars per month that have had the problem. None have had catastrophic oil losses, but all had oil consumption issues. She printed out the TSB regarding this. Apparently the cause of the oil consumption, according to the TSB, is worn rings and pistons. This causes oil burning/consumption. It also ends up frying your catalytic converters if you let it go long enough. But the amazing part of the TSB is the explanation as to why these rings and pistons are failing. GM has tied it to the improper installation of the air cleaner/reassembly of the air cleaner assembly after service. This causes a warpage in the assembly over time which then allows debris from the air to go directly into the combustion chamber. This wears out the rings. It is like driving around with no air filter. After this discussion, I went back to the quick lube area to pick up my car. I had a quick conversation with the tech. He said you wouldn't believe the number of CTS vehicles coming in there whose air cleaner assemblies are not reassembled correctly after service. In any event, it appears that we finally have a definitive reason for the oil consumption issue: bad rings and pistons. Whether you believe that the air cleaner is the ultimate culprit is another story. I have 51000 on my 2007 CTS. I check the oil every two weeks when I wash the car. And, knock on wood, I have not had any consumption issues. All of my work is done at the dealership.

    On a separate, but related, topic, I received a letter from GM extending the warranty on my timing chain(s) for 10 years. That took a load off my mind. Glad to see GM owning up to this particular issue.
  • nwraaanwraaa Posts: 170
    I own a 2008 CTS. I bought the car new. It consumed a quart of oil (Mobil 1) about every 1,200 miles. The dealer said that this was normal. (I haven't owned a car that used oil like that since the mid eighties). As long as the car was under warranty, I used the weight specified; as soon as the engine was out of warranty, I started using Mobil 1, 10w 40 and 15w 50 weight oil. Now the car uses almost a half pint of oil per every 3,000 miles.
  • motorcity6motorcity6 Posts: 427
    Yesterday, I made a bid on a used 2008 Pontiac G6 GXP w/16k mi to a dealer in central Florida.. I see it uses the same 3.6 engine as the base Model CTS..The G6 Pontiac is no dream, but the GXP is equipped nicely with leather, sunroof, and other goodies..My bid was safe and their asking price was way too high, and they countered, but still way off..They have my number if they decide to get serious..After reading all the complaints on this forum, the base 3.6 power is not worth the risk..Having owned 53 cars to date including 3 Caddies, all new and driven by wife mainly except for the 15 round trips from Michigan to S. Florida, I would not spend any money on a new one. The engines in mine were 1-4.9 and 2-Northstars. The 4.9 was replaced by Cadillac @59k and car was sold 150 miles later..The Northstars were okay..

    Mobil oil seems to not last in the Aluminum Blocked V-6s or 8s, so I switched to Pennzoil on the Nothstars and the Olds engine V-6 called the Shortstar..3-4k before down a pint..

    Currently I use "Royal Purple" in my Supercharged Pontiac GT and is changed every 6k..Hate to part with the car for I bought it 1/2 price in 2007 w/4300 mi.. 2006 model. Had a tranny oil cooler installed for the Florida heat destroys the transmissions. The interstates in the South are great places to roar and the tranny temps ramp up quick..At 70k miles showing it has been cheap fun, only gone thru 5 batteries, 3 steering shafts, and main engine and tranny mounts..

    The old iron-block 3.8 V-6 sure isn't high-tech but it doesn,t mind being pushed..Never complains..

    Good luck-Caddy fans
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    If you're buying GM I think it's best to stick with the old tech OHV engines (i.e. 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, 3.8, or 3.9 liter engines). The gasket problems are easily recognizable and can be remedied by the updated gaskets. These engines are generally good for 150 to 200k miles without any other major problems. The 3.6 seems to be good for about 50 to 75k miles and then all the troubles start. Good luck.
  • motorcity6motorcity6 Posts: 427
    I agree and have had the a few of iron blocked V-6s, 2-2.8, 1-3.1, and 6-3.8 with the current being the 260 hp S/C 3.8..Had 2-3.5s, the dual overhead cam, alum block V-6 used solely in Olds Intrigues 1999-2002 and the Olds Aurora..Both Intrigues were loaded GLS models, 1999 went 75k miles and traded on a 2002 Intrigue which did 120k miles..Both cars had only one modification, catback exhaust system by SLP..Zero engine problems, the 2002 had a spark plug change @110k..The 3.5 alum engine had a 6.5qt oil pan capacity..

    Not a Caddy fan, but my wife liked them, so one knows the rest of the story..She was a great gal..My son has had 7 Caddys, last one was a 2002 STS which suffered a cracked block around 170k, and was quickly traded in on a new 2008 300C Chrysler Hemi..
  • cetoceto Posts: 3
    Hi Sara I just got my car back today 4-12-12 from the Kuhio Motors service very disappointed,I pick it up for the oil consumption test after 1000miles but I went over 380 more miles couldn't find the right time to bring it in,for that 1380 miles on my 2010 cts consumed 3/8 of a Quart. almost a qt, the dealer said it was normal for the 2010 to 2012 to consume a quart every 1000 miles. till it breaks in.?????.so I ask myself when will it break in and when will it stop eating oil.I thought only older cars with high mileage consume a lot of oil.I bought this car for reliability and its the other way around. problematic but to the dealer nothing is wrong.So they top it off again and said they will monitor it again for another 1000 miles.I told the mechanics why did you top it off again?no ans. should just left it till 3000miles .just bring it back after 1000miles and monitor. I'm sick and tired of this run around.#808639-1679 vin A0105493 DEALERSHIP KUHIO Motors
    3033Aukele st Lihue Hi, 96766 808245-3949
  • gmcustsvcsarahgmcustsvcsarah Posts: 1,964
    Hey ceto,

    I'm sorry that you're so frustrated at this point. I am going to ask our Technical Assistance Center about the approved oil consumption rate for the 2010 CTS. Once I hear back from them, I'll have a better idea of how to proceed from here!

    GM Customer Service
  • gmcustsvcsarahgmcustsvcsarah Posts: 1,964
    Hello again ceto,

    I heard back from our Technical Assistance Center, and they stated that the accepted rate of oil consumption for 2012 and prior vehicles would be 0.946 liter (1 qt) in 3200 km (1988.387 mi).

    If we can set up a Service Request for you, please send an email to with the following information:
    your name and Edmunds username
    phone and address
    the last 8 of your VIN and current mileage
    the name of your dealership and description(s) of any recent visit(s) you have made there on this issue

    I realize you posted some of this information here, but as my coworker Christina answers inbound emails it helps to have all of the information in one place for her.

    Thank you for your patience as we work through this with you,
    GM Customer Service
  • zebandcozebandco Posts: 22
    How about GM tells its customers why there is any oil consumption to start with? How about GM warns its customers on the front end before their $55K Cadillac is a P.O.S. that no body will touch? Is it the synthetic oil? Is it the model of motor? I don't know about you, Sarah, but many of us have driven GM (and other brands) for decades that never, never consumed oil. If there was any oil consumption you couldn't measure it on the dip stick. The oil would eventually break down or become loaded with deposits and not lubricate adequately, but you didn't lose oil unless you leaked it or burned it. It has been a long standing fact that the crank case would stay full of oil until you changed it at 5000 or even 10000 miles. What is going on? Why is no one at GM addressing the underlying issue of consumption? This 3.6L V6 should come with a warning to check the oil every 100 miles. At least that would be "up front" about it instead of letting the customer fine out the hard way. It's a curious way to build brand loyalty. Unless, of course, that is not part of the marketing strategy. Puzzling, me thinks.
  • motorcity6motorcity6 Posts: 427
    The alum blocked ones I owned were all somewhat on the thirsty side for oil consumption.. The Northstars weren't too bad but the Shortstar, the Olds version was thristy..however it had a 6.5 capacity..Qt every 1500 was normal, however on the last Olds Intrigue 2002, I stopped using Mobil and went Pennzoil..went to a qt every 3k, Both Olds Intrigues were driven 90% of the time a high freeway speeds...

    GM will not be of much help...
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,142
    GM will not be of much help...

    Words to live by.
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