10th Sep 2009, 06:43

The gas cap can be popped from inside the trunk. The release is behind a flap of soundproofing.

I needed a new head gasket around 150000 miles.

The wheel alignment never seemed right, and I had a lot of tire wear and a few flats, mostly front right.

Same electrical problems everyone talks about, but mainly when it rained or was foggy and wet. But when it worked, it was smooth and elegant in every way.

I loved this car, which I understand was actually a European made vehicle from Opel. My wife totaled it, and the issues were bad enough that I wouldn't be able to highly recommend it unless you can afford the occasional repair bill in the four figure range.

If money isn't a big deal, this is a sporty but elegant ride, and it is a classic now because it was discontinued when the contract ran out with Opel. They won't be making these little gems anymore.

Too bad about the quality issues, because otherwise the running gear etc and pretty well everything else throughout the vehicle seemed fairly heavy duty and well made.

12th Oct 2009, 11:17

Doesn't oil in the coolant mean your head gasket needs to be replaced?

12th Oct 2009, 11:38

If you're getting oil in your coolant, then your head gasket needs replacing.

9th Feb 2010, 23:46

Hey, that is some story! http://www.cadillac-catera.com will post it up, just submit it to them on their site.

17th Feb 2010, 10:58

I have a 99 Catera Sport with 93K miles on it, and love it. These do require work and are somewhat fragile, but the cost of entry is low, just know it will be a project. These are good cars for people not afraid to get their hands dirty from time to time.

For the oil/coolant mix issue, your oil cooler is most likely leaking. Not a head gasket issue. For some goofy reason these have an oil cooler in the valley of the engine V, under the intake manifold. On mine it was totally removed, and we blocked off the openings under the intake, ran new hoses forward and installed an aftermarket oil cooler in front of the a/c condensor, directly behind the grill. Fixed! Works fine and no more oil/coolant mixing. Car runs cool, no issues.

Also, if your low coolant light is coming on and the coolant bottle is full, there is a sensor in the tank that goes bad. New coolant tanks can be found on Ebay for $60 or at the dealer for $80. 10-minute repair. Fixes the problem.

Sensor failure is normally caused by old Dex-Cool red coolant, which is garbage and turns to jello when it gets old, gums everything up. Do yourself a favor and flush all the red coolant out and replace it with good quality standard coolant.

Lastly there was a big recall on the timing belt/belt tensioner. Make sure this has been done!! Plan to replace the timing belt ever 60K miles, and do the tensioner and water pump at the same time. Find a good outside shop, not the dealer! Dealers charge WAY too much. And do whatever work you can yourself.

These cars are great fun to drive, and as long as you don't mind doing a little research and can find a reasonable shop to repair things over your head, they are fun cars to own. Just go in with your eyes open!

7th Jul 2010, 09:03

I have a 2001 Catera and all is mostly running OK. I purchased the car in February 2010 with 49000 miles. Although the miles are low, one must realize the parts are almost 10 years old.

Replacing: timing belt, water pump, thermostat/housing, front struts, strut mounts, control arms, all brake pads, front wheel hub assembly, all brake rotors and spark plugs.

According to Gates (timing belt Mfg) the new timing belt is good for 100000 miles.

This is a great car to drive, and yes it does require regular maintenance.