19th Sep 2006, 17:28

I'm the owner of a 1999 Cadillac Catera. I bought the car in March of 2003. The first 6 months were GREAT!!! It only had 26,000 miles when I bought it. I thought that this was a good deal. Man... was I wrong. I have had just about every problem mentioned on this survey. Now my latest problem is the timing belt & the pulleys. The engine is completely shot. This car was the worse move I have ever made. I never neglected this car. I always stayed on top of things.

4th Mar 2007, 11:01

My 98 Cadillac sucks. I want to crash and burn it. The sensors are all screwed up, and it can't even pass emissions when I replaced all of them... Stay away... PLEASE!!!

23rd Jun 2007, 21:59

I have a 99 Catera. I bought it 2 years ago, it only had 30K miles on it. I fell in love with it! Finally, a car with all the bells and whistles (Bose, heated seats, etc.) However, just about 2 weeks ago, the radiator warning light came on. I checked the overflow, filled it with coolant (to the cold line of course). I drove it for about 1 mile and the light came on again! I can't see any leaks, but the coolant is going somewhere as the coolant level keeps falling below the sensor. I don't want to get ripped off and pay for unnecessary repair work. Does anyone know what the problem is? By the way it is not overheating, but the gauge gets up there.

8th Aug 2007, 18:19

I have a 1999 Cadillac Catera that I bought used in 2003. I have had to put about $1200.00 into the car in the past year which goes along with any used car. With that being said, I still love the car. It requires a lot of up-keep, but has been well worth the extra trouble. I would recommend an oil change every 3k and using the highest octane gas available. I have had an overall great experience with this car and would like to upgrade in the near future.


25th Oct 2007, 16:26

Yeah your heater control valve is broke. It is behind the motor just under the wipers, dead center. Cadillac will replace it for about 400.00 I bought the part from a friend for 50.00 and did it myself in 30 minutes. When it cracks, the motor fluid leaks out of it.

31st Oct 2007, 12:21

My wife wanted this car. She got it. I got the stinking headaches! 1999 Catera. What a piece of junk. If I knew then (before buying it) what I know now, I would rather have rolled in my own feces than have this "thing".

We had it 1 month. Bought it used, with 119k miles. It test drove perfect. Mechanic looked it over and said it appeared to be in real good shape (stupid me didn't spent he $100 for a full test).

OK what is wrong:

Every time it rains, the transmission won't shift from 1st gear.

Every time it rains, You have to manually shift the transmission up from 1st.

The Speedometer works when it wants to, but mostly doesn't work.

When the speedometer quits, so does the power steering (now isn't that safe GM??)

When the speedometer quits, three dash lights come on with it.

It over heats and water seems to dissapear. Can't find leaks, no water in oil. HMMM...

I fill the water up (about 2 1/2 or 3 gallons) each night, drive it 10 miles and all the water is gone.

It overheats and shuts off.

Now there is a grinding, crunching noise that I can only assume is the water pump since it comes from right behind where the little sticker shows the w/p to be.

The whole car goes into epileptic fits when you get on the brakes.

It's now sitting in the front yard with the hood up cooling off.

Called to check price of water pump... $54.00. Not bad, then I ask about an engine... yeah they can get them in, in 3 days... $2519.

Didn't even bother to ask about a new tranny cost.

I will never buy ANYTHING made in Germany again, and I will never buy anything from Cadillac again as well.

Do your self a favor if you are looking to buy a Catera... SHOOT YOUR SELF In THE HEAD, it's less painful.

13th Nov 2007, 21:13

I have had two Cateras, a'98 then a '97. Now I only have one and am happy about it, but would be VERY happy if I had NONE! Good thing I owned a used car lot with a shop when I bought the '98, because it spent a lot of time there.

After straightening out half a dozen problems and falling in love with the South Dakota open road ride, I bought the '97 on eBay, ($6,000). Some (former) friends agreed to drive it from Florida to South Dakota to save themselves the airfare and to save me the trip.

Belt tensioner pulley bearing froze in Backwoods, Tennessee; locked up the engine, leaving 3 people alongside the road at the mercy of a questionably-sober, hick wrecker driver who towed it 40 miles to his backyard. They bought 3 triple-rate tickets to Rapid City after getting rid of half their take-along belongings, arriving in the middle of the night, extremely annoyed. Cost me $4,000 for tickets and hotels.

Then, I had to send 2 men, a truck and a car dolly on a 3,500 mile excursion to Tool-E-Weeds Tennessee to bring my money-pit Catera-which-I-had-never-seen. Cost: another $3,000!

Then the Cadillac dealer charged me $300 to tear down the engine and determine it was locked up solid. A DEAL on a used engine for $1500, another $1500 to put the engine in, mechanic cussing all the way.

Power steering hose rubbed on something moving, another mess on my driveway. Cost: $200.

Tires were shot. Cost: $500.

Radiator problems. Cost $500.

Engine missing, installed new Bosch Platinum plugs, ignition module and coil pack. Cost $500.

Check engine light, low-coolant light and suspension lights all stay on now. Am I going to fix the thing: Hardly...

2nd Aug 2008, 21:24

I like most owners, loved the "idea" of the Catera and all of its good looks and bells and whistles. It's easily the best good looking car I've owned (out of about 15).

I bought mine March, 2006 for ~$11,000. After spending $3,000 more on various repair jobs (including $800 for front and back brakes), a dealership took it off my hands TODAY for $2,500 (no, it's not what you're thinking... they did pay ME :>). A "reputable" national, "No haggling, No hassle" chain offered me $1,200 last night.

I traded it for a 2006 Accord. Based on the reviews for it, I expect to pay very little for repairs the next 8-10 years (200,000 miles or so). Even so, I'm sad my dream of a sporty beauty with luxury features turned into a nightmare.

14th Jan 2009, 10:17

I have a 1999 Catera and it has had it share of Gremlins. Different lights go off at different times, like the dash lights, and the headlights. All this for free and for no good reason. It also likes to stay in the lower two gears in the morning. I think it is a winter thing as it did not do it this summer. Already replaced the heater control valve and everything else seems good. I keep a good check on the engine and other mechanicals. I also have both volumes of the chassis service manual, it is the car's bible and has saved me tons of money. All said I miss my Trans Am and cannot wait to get it running again.

26th Mar 2010, 18:08

I bought my 1998 Catera in 2002 with 35k on the clock, it is a vacation car used about 3 months a year in Florida, it is currently just coming up to 50,000 in Spring 2010, so a very unique mileage car. The only issue up until now, as far as I know, was the crank shift sensor acting up, so that was replaced.

All well until this visit to FL when the transmission failed. Replacement cost by AAMCO, $3,600, just about all you could sell the car for to an admirer.

Transmission failed again a week later, covered under warranty.

Overheating on the gauge, but never boiling over, AAMCO couldn't find the problem, so pulled into Caddy MD for a diagnostic check $154.00.

Mechanic said car is running at the correct temp, but all the relays have been updated, cost to replace $650.00. Salesman offered me $1200 px against a Honda CR-V, but I couldn't stand to lose the bells and whistles and interior lux.

I own 2 Mercs in the UK, but still love this car and hope it lasts as long as my love affair with owning this vacation home. At 73, that might not be very long.

12th Jan 2011, 20:50

I'm working on a 1999 Cadillac Catera, and when I put the timing belt on and tension it, I go to turn the motor over by hand and it wants to keep jumping tooth after tooth. Any solutions??