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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,119 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Cadillac CTS electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Cadillac CTS Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #30

Dec 012014

CTS 6-cyl

  • miles


2003 Cadillac Cts consumer having computer problems with the keys and can't get in the car or trunk. The dealer informed the consumer, they would put him on a list, as the parts were not available for the ignition recall.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #29

Mar 012014


  • 127,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. The contact stated while driving approximately 50 mph, the engine stalled. As a result, another vehicle crashed into the rear of the vehicle pushing it off the road. The air bags failed to deploy. The contact sustained back injuries that required medical attention and the other driver sustained hip injuries that also required medical attention. A police report was filed. The vehicle was restarted. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact received a notification for NHTSA campaign id number: 14V394000 (electrical system). However, the VIN was not included. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 127,000.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #28

Aug 012014


  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. The contact stated that the air bag warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the air bag module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The contact also stated that while driving at 3 mph, the vehicle suddenly shut off due to the key fob making contact with the driver's knee. The vehicle was able to restart. The contact stated that NHTSA campaign number 14V394000 (electrical system) was previously performed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 28,000.

- Belleville, IL, USA

problem #27

Nov 052014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. The contact received a recall notice for NHTSA campaign id number: 14V394000 (electrical system) and stated that the part needed was unavailable to perform the repair. The manufacturer was not notified of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- St. Petersburg , FL, USA

problem #26

May 012011

CTS 6-cyl

  • miles
2003 Cadillac Cts. Consumer writes in regards to GM recall #14172.* ld the consumer stated in May 2011, while driving, the vehicle cut off in traffic. When the consumer arrived home, she/he was unable to remove the key from the ignition switch. The vehicle shut down, and he/she was unable to re-start it. Three years later, the consumer experienced the same problem. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, the next day. An inspected revealed a problem with the computer, and replaced the ECM.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #25

Oct 152014

CTS 6-cyl

  • 145,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. While driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle crashed into a tree and the air bags failed to deploy. A police report was filed and no injuries were sustained. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 145,000. Updated 11/19/14

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #24

Oct 102014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 10V105000 (service brakes, hydraulic) and NHTSA campaign number: 14V394000 (electrical system). The contact stated that the part to do the repair was unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The contact did not experience a failure.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #23

Oct 012014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. The contact received a notification for NHTSA campaign 14V394000 (electrical system). However, the parts needed were unavailable. The dealer was uncertain when the parts would become available to service the vehicle under the recall. The manufacturer was notified of the problem and they informed the contact that the parts were available. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #22

Aug 202014


  • 74,000 miles
The contact owned a 2003 Cadillac Cts. After the vehicle was parked, there was an explosion and the vehicle caught fire without warning. The fire department extinguished the fire. The source of the fire was unknown. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 74,000. Updated 10/30/14

- Hudsonville , MI, USA

problem #21

Sep 232014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. The contact received a recall notification for NHTSA campaign number: 14V394000 (electrical system); however, the part needed to repair the vehicle was unavailable. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Peoria, AZ, USA

problem #20

Aug 082014


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. The contact stated while driving 10 mph, the vehicle stalled as multiple warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the electric control module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #19

Sep 052014


  • 92,509 miles
While entering the highway at about 50mph I noticed well into a left veering merge, that my vehicle engine had shut off. All the accessories were still running as far as radio and air conditioner while the battery light flashed on the dash. My steering wheel locked in a cocked position as well as losing the ability to stop the vehicle with the brakes. I was forced to slam the emergency brake to the floor to get my vehicle to stop before being crunched from oncoming highway traffic at 60 to 80+ mph. While also trying to avoid from being rear ended! once I finally got the vehicle stopped I was able place it into park and turn the key to the "off" position. After restarting the ignition the car seemed fine.

- Aliquippa, PA, USA

problem #18

Jun 252014


  • 105,000 miles
While driving turning left onto an expressway entrance my engine shut down I believe it was the ignition switch.ive taken the vehicle to the dealer numerous times and they can't seem to find a solution. I am in fear that one day this car will lose power at the wrong time and cause a serious if not fatal accident. I would like the problem fixed or a reimbursement to invest in a new vehicle before it is too late.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #17

Jan 012008

CTS 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,730 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. The contact stated that the vehicle exhibited a recurring stalling failure. The vehicle was taken to the dealer numerous times where several unknown repairs were performed on the vehicle but to no avail. The failure mileage was 59,730 and the current mileage was 79,000. Updated 06/30/14 MA updated 07/3/2014

- Murrells Inlet , SC, USA

problem #16

Feb 012006


  • 30,000 miles
Since I purchased the vehicle used from a Cadillac dealer I had experienced the vehicle would shut down when the vehicle would hit a pot hole or hard bump. I had dealership and several mechanics from other garages over the years check for engine shut down. No one was able to replicate the issue. Recently the news has been discussing issues with General Motors ignition problems. I went out to my vehicle and started it, put the vehicle in drive and smacked my key ring and the vehicle stalled. My primer key ring contains a large number of keys with weight to them when I would drop of the vehicle I would always leave a single key. Since the news broadcast I have only used a single key and have had no additional issues. I would like someone to address my complaint or examine my vehicle because I see no information indicating that the Cadillac models are involved in this issue. I believe that this problem is more widespread. This stalling has happen several times over the years. On of the most critical incidents occurred on a rainy night while traveling in the left lane of a 4 lane limited access highway. I struck a large pothole and the vehicle shut down. Being a very experienced driver I placed the car in neutral and attempted to restart the vehicle. There was no response to this attempt. There was no left shoulder so I activated the emergency flashers, brought the vehicle to a stop and placed the vehicle in park. Again an attempt was made to start the vehicle with no success. The key was removed, placed back into the ignition switch at which time the vehicle restarted. This incident almost caused a high speed rear end collision because I was unable to get off the roadway.

- Glenside, PA, USA

problem #15

Nov 022013

CTS 6-cyl

  • 62,560 miles
Street.. on Nov 2 2013 I was unable to get car started stranded at walmart 10 at night tried to get a. battery chgd by walmart automotive dept no good came from that nxt day bought new battery had it installed. The nxt day going another stranded situation ask macs car dearler to help they advised me to have cad dearler check it out they would pay for diagnostico they could not find. Anything wrong.as soon as I left stoppe at ss building there for an hour, get to car wont start again..clld tow truck he couldnt get it started he lowered the flatbed to hitch my car for towing. He said let me try one more thing. He put car in N it stared making us look like fools..the same day got hm stopped at dollar store. Good thing I live across.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #14

Sep 202012


  • 73,000 miles
Starting around September, my car would randomly shut off while in motion, at various speeds. After hundreds of dollars in diagnostic fees, I found some Cadillac forums stating it was a crank shaft sensor malfunction, which is common in 2003 models. My car would also show the traction control was off with no warning, and not get out of gear while being on, with no warning as well. The computer system would show low oil pressure and other warnings although nothing was wrong. And lastly, at around 78,000 miles, while driving 70 on a highway, the car make a huge bang, and smoke erupted, almost causing me to crash on the highway. All the oil leaked out, and the car won't start. I'm being told to replace my entire engine because of a possible head gasket, which according to multiple forums, tends to be faulty in the '03 models. These should obviously be recalled if so many cars are affected. I'm paying over 5000 dollars in repairs and costs for this. I refuse to ever let anyone I know, as well as myself, purchase another Cadillac, unless this gets resolved.

- Biloxi, MS, USA

problem #13

Jun 022011

CTS 6-cyl

  • 92,200 miles
The 2003 Cadillac Cts has various electrical problems, where the power/instrument panel display cuts out repeatedly. The safety concern that alarmed me enough to find this form has happened 3 times where I am driving on the highway and suddenly the car's power shuts off and the message display is to re-start the car. When this happened, I put the car in neutral, turned off the ignition and re-started the car (twice on the highway at higher speeds and once on a local road at lower 30 -40 mph velocity. With no reason or warning.

- Bal Harbour, FL, USA

problem #12

Jan 282011


  • 73,638 miles
While traveling at moderate speed vehicle began shaking violently and loosing power. The engine was missing on one or more cylinders. Dealer recommended replacing coil, sparkplug, valve cover gaskets and oil cooler. This seems to have been caused by a defect mentioned in cad Cts tsb id # 1609265 dated 2005. This tsb states that the crankcase vapors and engine oil will vent through the cam/valve cover seals when the crankcase ventilation system becomes blocked. The oil on this vehicle evidently vented and leaked several places including into the ignition coils causing a short. If this had happened in interstate traffic at high speeds this could have caused an accident or if the oil had leaked on very hot surfaces possibly a fire. The tsb specified kits that were to be installed to prevented this from happening. Evidently, these were never installed on this vehicle.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #11

Oct 292010

CTS 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
2003 Cts - service tracking system began to display and engage frequently. Took to local dealer and was told nothing was wrong with vehicle. Problem continued and began vibrating badly and pulling toward left (unable to brake). Returned vehicle several times before they replaced "steering sensor" $650. Two months later began to lose power immediately after start up, dealer replaced battery. While driving vehicle home problem began again. Displayed low battery, then multiple warning lights for service (ABS, tracking, airbag ect...). returned vehicle to dealer and they are currently replacing alternator. I have no confidence that this is the real problem based on what I have read on-line regarding this same issue. I also have same leakage issues from both coolant and oil sources that I have read on-line. Dealer continues to tell me to replace both gaskets and thermostat. These again are common issues that are posted consistently on-line by consumers. These are seriously dangerous failures based on people's personal safety. GM must step up and honor these safety issues by recalling these items. Inability to control vehicle due to tracking system engaging and not able to brake, vehicle losing power and stalling while driving 50 miles an hour, and lastly fire hazard due to leaking plastic valve cover gaskets.

- Brandon, FL, USA

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