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Cadillac CTS Engine Problems



  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Have you been in contact with Customer Assistance already on this matter, ctsengine? We're sorry that you're encountering these troubles on your new vehicle.
    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • csmd55csmd55 Posts: 5
    I did not have time to read through all of the posts in this forum but just from the brief browsing I have done it seems that engine failure is common in various years of the CTS. We bought a used 2007 model 13 months ago with 64K miles and it now has 84K which is both town and highway miles but with NO WARNING, the engine failed (timing chain is apparent cause) and seized up. The car has been serviced regularly since we have had it and there have never been any warning signs. We do have an extended warranty on it but was told that it "might” not be covered if there are signs of early damage - how the hell do you acquire this kind of damage without any sign of issue - warning notices, check engine light, something?????
  • ronyxxxronyxxx Posts: 19
    I'm just guessing, but I'm thinking the timing chain failures (which are as big or nearly as big an issue on here, or at least were about 2 years ago) are caused by lack of engine oil. Sounds like, after your engine has lost, burnt, consumed a significant amount of oil, that the timing chain went cause it might just be the"weakest link". Wish I could say lol, but it's definately NOT funny! Also, from what I've gathered here, I don't believe there is a warning for low oil...jeeez, my 2000 GMC pickup has that!!! The more I talk to other Cadillac owners, the more I hear that there are many oil users...not just the 3.6 litre VVT motor. I have a GMC Vortec 4.8 motor with 201,000 miles that will not use a drop of oil in 5000 miles, but Cadd says a quart in 2000 is okay, even though they set the computer for a 10,000 mile oil change. DO THE MATH!!! That's 1 quart left at your oil change interval!!!
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Have you already contacted Customer Assistance on this issue, csmd55? Let us know if we can be of any service - we can be reached via email at (include your name and contact information, the last 8 digits of your VIN and mileage, and a summary of the situation).
    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • csmd55csmd55 Posts: 5
    No, unfortunately I'm still waiting on the dealership where we purchased it to do the "tear down" and provide a report to the warranty adjuster. This is the first time in all my years of purchasing new or used cars / trucks that a major mechanical failure has occurred. I have never had to deal with warranty companies and so far am not too pleased with any of the treatment we have received - we have been treated as though we blew up this motor intentionally!! I will email further information if we do not receive a satisfactory resolution within the next 48 hours. Thank you!
  • csmd55csmd55 Posts: 5
    The oil was full when it was checked by the dealership when it was towed in - and I say full - it was 1/2 quart low which we and they believe was due to the oil that was lost when the engine blew. It has always been serviced at this dealership but I'm really starting to get frustrated with them because it has been there over a week and has not been touched!!! I am thinking of contacting my attorney to see if they can get the process moving. I have NEVER owned anything other than Ford vehicles and bought this darn car on a whim and now look - I'm stuck with pmt's for 4 more years on something that is a piece of S**T! Oh and btw, my 2007 Ford Supercrew has 210,000 miles on it and still purrs like a kitten :-)
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Sounds like a plan, csmd55! All the best.
    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • zebandcozebandco Posts: 22
    You say "I am thinking of contacting an attorney" and GM says "sounds like a plan." Really? Good luck csmd55. I will say this: I was stuck for 10K on the loan balance when my STS blew up. The dealership ate 5K of that and helped me into a new Malibu. The dealership was GREAT (Ron Craft - Baytown, TX) but GM is still not owning up to the core issue here.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Good morning zebandco,
    csmd55 stated that they would contact us further via email if they were still having difficulty after several days. I did re-read the post I responded to just to be sure and saw no mention of an attorney.

    I'm sorry to hear about your STS - how is everything going in your new Malibu?

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • csmd55csmd55 Posts: 5
    Well you know how these forums go...jk :-) Seriously though, we still have not found out the root cause although at this point I do know that it is not the timing chain unless it just jumped time as all timing chains were in tact according to the brief update yesterday but at this point we are almost two weeks into the engine failure and my fear is that I am going to be stuck on this loan with no car as I have only had it 13 months!!! I still have 47 more payments to go! Glad your dealership worked with you to lessen the burden - I have not as of yet, pursued this option as I still do not know if the warranty is going to cover the repair(s). For me is it a GM manufacturing issue with these motors - there are way too many issues of the same kind on these engine's and sounds like they need thier engineers to go back and do a root cause analysis and figure out WTH this issue is happening repeatedly!
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,142
    edited March 2013
    . . . sounds like they need thier engineers to go back and do a root cause analysis . . .

    You are, of course, correct. They may have already done it, but we'll never hear the results because there are "significant" potential costs to GM involved.

    The thing that I find interesting is that this has gone on for a number of years without a revision to the engine, or at least a publicized one. They may have figured out what's wrong, but don't want to talk about it. Or, worse yet, they don't have a clue -- let's hear it for Government Motors.

    The only way those of us here on the outside have a prayer of determining if it's been fixed is to continue to monitor whether newer versious of the engine continue to display the problem. It's called data, and it's very hard to gather in an environment in which the prime (that'd be GM) is trying their best to pretend that there was never a problem in the first place.
  • zebandcozebandco Posts: 22
    Post 628 mentioned the attorney. The next post, 629, was the "sounds like a plan" reply. I may have gotten lost in the thread. My bad if so. If I have misrepresented anything please point that out as I that is not my intention. As for the Malibu, it's fine. It's not the car the STS was and I'm upside down in it, but it is not consuming oil. Seems to be holding up okay at 33K miles. While I am clearly pissed about my experience with the STS I want everyone to know that Ron Craft in Baytown TX is class act. I didn't have to go back to GM, but chose to based on the customer service experience I got with the STS which I purchased there. Up to the point the motor grenaded just out of warranty that is. The didn't have to help me at all, but they took as high a road as they could, I think.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    No hard feelings, zebandco. I saw post 628 and the attorney reference and can see why my reply would seem inappropriate. It's past the point of me being able to edit it, but thank you for bringing my attention to it.

    I'm glad to hear that you had such a great experience with Ron Craft - that is our hope for all of our customers! Wishing you many happy miles in your Malibu, and if you should ever need anything we can be contacted via email at

    GM Customer Service
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    I believe these engine failures are a design/engineering issue. I have read other forums with comments by GM technicians that work on these engines. They speak of inserting shims to properly align the timimg chains. Shims? Shims are for fitting doors and windows in your home, but an engine I would think requires more precision with pieces that fit together with very precise tolerances. Also, why three timing chains? At some point in the vehicle's life, the chains will require service or replacement. For an ovehead cam engine with a timing belt, the cost of replacing the belt and water pump is probably about $1,000. The labor alone to replace three timing chains has to be alot more than $1,000. Why would GM even design such an engine?
  • tennkitennki Posts: 3
    Thank you for all the comments on this website re the CTS engine. Today i test drove a CTS as I am looking for a wagon - I really liked it. I also test drove another car that did not feel as good to drive but has reliability ratings in excess.

    After reading through some 600 posting on the engines in these CTS's I think I should now contact the dealer and tell him that I have decided against the Cadillac. It has been a long held desire to own a Cadillac, but I think I need to let that go after reading everything here.

    If only one person in 100 complains then this leads one to believe that Cadillac unfortunately is not the standard of the world and there are too many people who have lost too much financially in their desire to own these cars.

    I currently have a Chevy that I found found customer service so bad at the local dealership that I no longer go there - in a two year period they had it in their shop for one year total. Very difficult to deal with. Our other two cars - not American - absolutely no service or customer service issues and one is now 13 years old that I purchased new. I am keeping the Chevy because I love it and it is not a daily driver.

    For a daily driver I need to get something I know will last the distance and not have to live on hope that it will or deal with the issues that members have here.

    I appreciate all your comments and certainly feel sorry for those who continue to deal with issues with Cadillac.

    This forum has certainly been helpful to me in researching cars before I commit to buying them

    Thanking you

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,142
    It has been a long held desire to own a Cadillac, but I think I need to let that go after reading everything here.

    I think you have made a wise decision. There are many things I like about the CTS also, but I very much appreciate reliability and trouble-free operation.

    Perhaps it will get fixed one day, but we'll never know when, since any announcement would point out that there was a problem in the first place.
  • billpaulbillpaul Posts: 103
    edited March 2013
    I used to think that reports of car problems in forums such as this were just anecdotal, and not reliable indicators of a statistically significant problem. However, it turns out that where there's smoke there's fire. It took a little while, but the problems folks have been complaining about in this forum have finally also been reported by Consumer Reports: CTS model years 3003-07 generally have much worse than average engine problems requiring engine rebuild or replacement. Other systems also start to go bad, such as water pump for engine cooling, and drive, electrical and fuel systems. The honeymoon period lasts 4-5 years, and then the problems start.

    I point these things out very sadly because I think the CTS is otherwise a very good car, just the type I would otherwise have bought. I don't understand why some manufacturers have rock-solid reliability year after year, whereas others can't seem to ever get it right.
  • tennkitennki Posts: 3
    just wondering with all of this if it is the 3.0 motor or the 3.6 motor that seems to be having the issues with the oil consumption, timing belt etc. Or is it both?

    Anyway would love to know as I cannot afford the V wagon right now
  • I have a 2010 cts, I bought it used and was told it was well maintained and in great condition. The care has 36,000 miles on it and I have only owned it for two weeks. The problem I am having is when I am exiting or entering on the freeway when you have to do a round about my abs or traction control automaticity kicks it and it kinda breaks me and pulses. It's extremely hard to explain and a unique thing. It has been at the dealership for a week now, the car is not showing anything wrong with it when they hook it up to the computer. They can get it to do it every time they take it out and year drive it, they just can't figure it out. They have contacted GM and a engineer has Reyes to help them but they still have no clue what it is. They have reset the computer and replace a couple sensors and it did nothing. They also have checked the calipers and wheels nothing wrong at all. They won't give it back cause they are telling me it's unsafe but they don't know what to do. I don't know what to do, I am paying for a car they think they will have for at least another week and my car has turned into a Ginny pig. Does anyone have any ideas? They can't figure it out and have no clue what to do either does GM's engineers. All they know its not normal and not safe in there opinion. I ca tell this is going to get ugly already. Help.
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    I suggest you get a refund and choose another car. Good Luck.
  • ronyxxxronyxxx Posts: 19
    My car did weird things like that too. Then it decided to lock itself down. Sat in my driveway for weeks and wouldn't even turn over. As soon as I had it towed to the dealer it worked perfectly, of course and they could find nothing wrong. So I get it back and it locks up again 2 days later. Long story short?...defective computer, but intermittent. I know another one was replaced here in my town too. Both are 05 CTS. Computer warranty is under emmissions, so longer warranty somewhere around 7 or 8 years
  • ronyxxxronyxxx Posts: 19
    Sarah I tried to contact GM customer service per your message #622, but there's no website and you didnt give me an email address. Help! Ronyxxx
  • bill417bill417 Posts: 1
    brand new 2013 cts engine failure. the first aluminum piston head shattered. dealership and their gm certified engineer claim due failure due to waterlocking. however car had no contact with water, no rain for weeks prior. tell tale knocking before seizure, cooling fan initiated several times prior to failure according to on board computer, point to overheating not waterlocking. coincidently the vehicle was serviced by dealer one day prior. i thought it was oil deprivation due to improper oil change, but no blue burning in engine upon inspection. 2 quarts over oil capacity. clean water placed in some areas but suspiciaously not present in secondary waterpump which was bone dry.

    i know it wasnt water, but perhaps wasnt classic oil deprivation. first piston is the one that shattered. anyone have any suggestions?
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Hi bill417,

    My name is Crystal and I will be taking over this issue for you. I am sorry you were unable to reach us at the email given. Can you private message me your full name, address, phone number, Vehicle Identification number, and approximate mileage on your vehicle please? My email address please put "attn Crystal" in the header. Look forward to hearing from you soon:-)
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Hi Everyone,
    We would like to introduce ourselves as the new GM Customer Service on the Edmunds! Yes, we did say “we.” To better address your questions and concerns in a timely manner we will now have 2 individuals as your primarily GM contact on this forum! We look forward to being members of this great community!

    Crystal and Amber
  • elanteeeelanteee Posts: 5
    Hello Bill, Frustrating isn't it. I have the same car with the same problem including the same mileage. It just started out of the blue. Gm acussed me of running it out of oil and that would never happen as I take care of maintenance on my vehicals.
    I have given up on GM and would never ever buy another one. After all these years you would think that GM would be getting better at building cars,but no!
  • So an update on my CTS 2nd blown engine. it turns out that the oiler meter is way off and the engine burns up the oil. At 40% left in my oil life...according to the meter. i blew my timing chain guide. my mechanic who personally put oil in the car himself said there was not a drop of oil in the car. luckily it was just the guide. now less than 1 thousand miles later...i blew my engine. crank shaft exploded and there was metal chunks in my oil pan. GM was some what supporting of me. they bought my hunk of metal for 2,500 bucks, gave me 3,000 in new car credit, steeply discounted by 3,000 dollars the new 2013 malibu turbo. Now im not really a chevy fan but its much better than not driving. The ironic part is my new car's alternator just caught on fire, now i have a law suit with GM. so now i ask myself is this limited to cadillac or GM. i may have just answered my own question.
  • csmd55csmd55 Posts: 5
    Well I see Engine failures continue to happen and while I am now at the end of my 6th week of a Cadillac CTS in the shop, with a warranty replaced engine, still not running, sent from shop where warranty was being performed to the local Chevy dealership as they did not have the programming required, it STILL is not "fixed" and will not be for some time as I was informed this morning. As you can tell I am beyond frustrated with this whole crazy mess and of course I am still making the payments on this piece of work that Cadillac put out in 2007. Luckily I have a dealership on my side in this fiasco as they are out thousands of dollars trying to get this car running and dealing with a "shady" warranty company that sent them a POS replacement "core" engine instead of a "complete" replacement engine. Does anyone have any suggestions on next steps short of contacting an Attorney and being out more money?
  • rriddlerriddle Posts: 7
    I see the oil problem seems to persist in the older CTS...has anyone had this continued problem in the 2011 or newer CTS? I have a 2011 CTS with 32K miles on it and I'm a bit concerned this problem may come up. Thanks.
  • tennkitennki Posts: 3
    see posts 620 and 645.

    It appears GM/Cadillac has not dealt with this problem even in the new cars. It is not unreasonable to expect a 6 cylinder engine today to comfortably go 150 to 200K, but with the issues that are raised in this forum, this does not appear to be something you can safely bank on.

    I think the Cadillac sales people know there is a problem. When I looked at buying one and after researching this forum and other sites I told the sales person I was going to pass. I explained why and where I had got my information and he didn't try and dispute it or try and encourage me to buy, he just wished me well.

    Another dealership some distance from me, has multiple dealerships, one being Honda and the other Cadillac. I am helping a friend with her car purchase and she had opted for a Honda because of her previous bullet proof experience with them. We went to this Honda dealership rather than the one close to us because of price and the way they treat you. I mentioned to the Honda salesperson about this forum and other web research and why I had not followed up with the person at their Cadillac dealership he had put me in touch with. He said that what I was telling him explained alot and probably why their sales at their Cadillac dealership are not where they should be.

    Come on GM - you have customer service people monitoring this website. You have a problem with the Cadillac 6 cylinder engine. With social media the information spreads quietly and maybe initially unobserved. Those younger than me, computer savvy people, research and stay away. You want to reach broader generations, fix the reliability issues. Thousands of people (I would say this is a conservative estimate) don't post, just dismiss your cars after reading the results of an initial web search. Before they even contact a dealership re a car, Cadillac is dismissed because of what they find online.

    I am a little older (50's) and was looking forward to buying a Cadillac, but thought I had better do a bit of research after I test drove the Cadillac. What I found online caused me to pull the plug quickly on buying a Cadillac.
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