It’s impossible not to talk about the Cadillac CTS when it comes to the best luxury cars, but do you think this car is out of trouble? Find out by reading the common failures of the Cadillac CTS .
In addition to having low ownership costs, it has great gas mileage, making it one of the cheapest vehicles to maintain. General Motors (GM) manufactured and marketed the CTS from 2003 to 2019.
How good is the Cadillac CTS?
The Cadillac CTS was given a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.0, ranking it 17th out of 31 midsize luxury cars. The annual repair and maintenance cost for the CTS is $660, which is $70 less than its competitors.
But while the CTS has fewer annual repair shop visits than other midsize luxury cars, the model has a 16% chance of serious damage. That’s higher than the median of 12%.
Common failures of the Cadillac CTS
The Cadillac CTS is very reliable, but it can develop problems that affect its drivability and ride comfort. These are some of the common Cadillac CTS faults found in different model years:
1. Power loss issues due to illuminated StabiliTrak and Trac Control lights
The Cadillac CTS is equipped with a vehicle stability enhancement system called StabiliTrak. It is designed to improve vehicle safety in difficult driving conditions. Drivers report loss of engine power due to this system .
Some 2019 model year owners have had to replace the engine harness as it is not getting enough voltage transferred to the transmission. This has caused the StabiliTrak and Trac control lights to come on.
2. Problems with interior accessories
The 2014 Cadillac CTS has had quite a few problems with its interior accessories. For example, many owners of this model year have complained about a cracked touchscreen for no reason.
Some have also complained about malfunctioning Bluetooth settings , faded cruise control buttons, and a faulty infotainment system.
3. Premature bulb failure
Many owners of the 2003-2013 and 2015 Cadillac CTS redesigns report multiple instances of premature bulb failure. They have had to replace worn out headlights, taillights, brake lights and fog lights in just two years.
4. Powertrain problems
Drivers of some 2012 Cadillac CTS Performance Coupes report violent shaking of their vehicles when backing up and turning. Many also report hearing knocking noises, which sound like the car is struggling to stay in gear. This problem can be noticeably worse in cold weather.
Keep in mind that vehicle shaking can be caused by more than one issue. For example, low transmission fluid level, stuck valve body, faulty torque converters and accumulators (for automatic transmission vehicles), etc. If your vehicle exhibits this symptom, it’s a good idea to have it checked by a licensed mechanic for an accurate diagnosis.
5. Transmission failure
Transmission failure has been a common problem found on some units of the 2009 Cadillac CTS. It can be caused by a number of factors, such as transmission fluid leaks, a clogged transmission fluid filter, broken transmission bands and gears, a faulty torque converter and broken transmission seals.
6. Issues with loose rear bezel cover
A loose rear bezel cover may not seem like a major problem, but it has been the most common issue reported by 2003 Cadillac CTS owners. Many drivers have complained of their taillight panel droop due to poorly manufactured bezels . Some paid up to $680 to replace the plastic cover and the assembly attached to it.
7. Steering wheel position sensor problems
A faulty steering wheel position sensor on some 2003-2009 and 2011 redesigns tended to trigger the service stability message, which automatically engaged the brakes.
Some vehicles would often drift to the side, requiring the driver to manually apply the brakes. Steering wheel position sensor replacement typically costs about $100 , not counting labor costs.
8. Transfer case failures
A dead transfer case has been a common problem found on some units of the 2009 Cadillac CTS. Owners report their wheels stalling while driving due to loss of power to the driveshafts . Upon having their vehicles checked, they discovered that the spline between the transmission and the transfer case was detached.
This led many owners to replace the axle and have their transmissions rebuilt. A new transfer case can cost around $1,100 plus labor costs.
9. Passenger seat sensor failure and a rear axle pinion seal leak
Some 2003-2008 and 2010-2011 models of the CTS have had problems with the passenger seat sensor, which caused the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) airbag light to come on.
There have also been reports of vehicles with rear wheels locking up and making knocking noises due to a rear axle pinion seal leak . If left unchecked, this can lead to internal rear end damage. An aftermarket sprocket gasket replacement can cost anywhere from $20 to $50, plus labor costs.
10. Engine problems
Rough idling, engine misfiring, and stalling are some of the most common 2008 Cadillac CTS failures reported by owners. These problems are usually caused by a worn camshaft , a seized engine, or a faulty engine control module (ECM) sensor.
11. Electrical problems
The 2003 Cadillac CTS has had its fair share of electrical problems. Some owners report that their battery drains too quickly, causing the ignition switch, lighting systems, and alarms to malfunction.
Other owners have also complained of a no-start condition despite having a new battery, starter, and relay . This can be caused by a faulty crankshaft position sensor, a bad ignition coil, or a cracked distributor cap or rotor. Take your vehicle to a mechanic for an accurate diagnosis.
Keep in mind that even a luxury vehicle like the Cadillac CTS will require repairs and parts may need to be replaced over time. However, this shouldn’t stop you from taking advantage of the excellent performance and great features of this vehicle.
By familiarizing yourself with the most common model problems, you can help prevent problems and extend the life of your Cadillac.