1998 Cadillac Catera from North America


A sporty quirky fun lil car


Bought the car in a no start condition.

General Comments:

The Catera, as most cars these days, is too complex for "my mechanic" or "my guy" to fix, and if the dealer you take it to can't figure it out, don't pay them, that's their job to find the source of the problems.

I am a world class certified Cadillac tech. Any tech that has worked on a Catera LX can tell you the heater control valves leak, and fix it for about $350.00 AT THE DEALER before you run the car out of coolant and blow the head gaskets - $4500.00.

And the timing belts, pulleys and tensioners are covered under a recall for free on most all Cateras. Also a water pump alone is only about $300.00 at THE DEALER, so if some shade tree is charging $800.00-$900.00, you are getting taken.

The mayo look on the oil filler cap is normal, not an indication of a bad oil cooler. Open the radiator overflow cap; if there is oil in there you have a problem. On the underside of the cap it means nothing, any engine with a long fill neck for the oil will have residue .

These aren't bad cars, but they are expensive to repair, so find a knowledgeable dealership and spend your money wisely, not brashly with some clueless shade tree.

Good luck, I love mine.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th November, 2008

13th Dec 2008, 17:10

Good luck getting those pulleys covered under warranty... which by the way is no longer valid anyway.

31st Jan 2009, 19:15

If you do have oil in your overflow, the oil cooler is busted and needs to be replaced. It's under the intake manifold between the heads. The part at the dealership is $378. Replacing it is not really all that bad, if you're mechanically inclined.

13th Apr 2010, 20:28

I bought my 98 about 2 & 1/2 years ago. And it had 50K. It now has 89K and I still love my car.

Yes, if you buy this car, expect to have maintenance expenses higher than a generic car. I bought the repair manuals on ebay for $20, and my mechanic said they are worth their weight in gold. ha ha.

I have had to replace the ignition coil and wires. This is the only thing that has actually went out until now. The rest has been maintenance. Timing belt, water pump, serpentine belt.

I am just now having a coolant leak that looks like a heating valve? Anyway, these are good cars if you keep them up, and I recommend buying the manuals for your mechanic. I plan on keeping mine.

1998 Cadillac Catera 3.0 liter V6 from North America


Same as GM, a nightmare


General Motors Cadillac Catera tensioner pulley recall issued by NHTSA in 2002.

I took my vehicle to a dealer and received an invoice; no charge, parts replaced.

Four months later the engine destroyed itself, same as the recall warned could happen. GM instructed I had to take the vehicle to the dealer that did the recall repairs. If due to the recall, they would "assist" with putting a new engine in the vehicle. Nothing in writing would be provided. The dealership instructed I could not have a representative witness the tear down and determination of cause of damage.

I found an independent repair shop, and invited GM and the dealership to the tear down, but they refused to come. The tear down revealed the new parts invoiced to correct recall were in fact not replaced.

Two years later I found an attorney to file a lawsuit as neither GM or the dealership would talk to me.

General Motors settled for $5,000, and the dealership's insurance company paid the dealership's defense and I ran up a $60,000 attorney fee I could not pay, and had to give up, never got to trial.

The NHTSA that issued the recall was kept informed, and never responded except for receiving my status of lawsuit communications.

An auto recall is useless when all the manufacturer has to do is send the recalled vehicle to dealership that made the recall repairs, and the consumer is refused to have an expert allowed to witness the diagnosis of failure. No dealership is going to say it is a recall matter that failed when they invoiced for parts they did not put in.

The fact NHTSA allows this to happen at the American public's expense is my story. On top of that Iowa is the only state in the union that has no private cause of action for fraud, and consumer cannot sue dealership for fraud. In insurance it is illegal to direct an insured to a specific repair shop to get repairs, it is called steering, insurance companies are careful to avoid it. But it is OK for Cadillac to steer recalled damaged vehicles to same dealer that invoiced the recall repair to be diagnosed, which is a huge conflict of interest, and the consumer is going to bend over and take it, nothing you can do about it. They got more money for lawyers, and that is how the justice system works.

General Comments:

Ended up trading my Catera in; received $1,000 for the trade with no engine. Am now in debt paying for another vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th July, 2008