Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,263 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Cadillac CTS Owner Comments

problem #18

Apr 022016


  • miles


When the car is driving at 50 mph or higher a message is sent across the dashboard saying to "service stability system" I took it to a mechanic so sensors were bad and he could not find the issue, when this message appears on the dashboard at high speeds it feels like ABS kicks in without me touching the brakes at all, so the car will brake on its own and almost caused a multi-car pile up because my car started braking on its own out of my control

- Palatine, IL, USA

problem #17

Aug 122013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. While parked, the vehicle accelerated independently and crashed into a dumpster. The air bags failed to deploy. A police report was not filed and there were no injuries reported. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #16

Jun 252014

CTS 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
While driving turning left onto an expressway entrance my engine shut down I believe it was the ignition switch. I've 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 #15

Jan 122014

CTS 6-cyl

  • 69,000 miles


When driving it would engage to stability mode and also service stability.. however the car would get out of control and it would be as if you put you brakes on when you were in water... but no water and I hadn't put the brake until I had to.. because it went out of control for a quick (but more frequent) time...I took it in finally and asked if there were any recalls becausewhen I purchased it in 2003 new. I had to have the shaft bolt fixed... then I had to have the air bag serviced and they charged me for that another time. Then my seat motor went out. Etc. All within the 1st 5 years with low mileage too. So I've bee waiting to fix this since I am a widow and don't who to trust anymore... I was told this time it is leaking in the differential and that's why it runs rough and jolts when I put in gear...and the thermostat and 2 caps in front leaking... who knows.. but tomorrow they will call me with the amount it is going to cost... approx. 13 hours of work....

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #14

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 #13

Dec 012006


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. The contact stated that while driving approximately 70 mph the reduced power warning message displayed on the led screen. The contact stated that the vehicle had no throttle response and began to decelerate independently. The contact was able to stop the vehicle and turn the engine off. Once restarted, the engine and the vehicle operated normally. The vehicle was diagnosed and repaired by an independent mechanic. The contact indicated that the throttle body was replaced. The contact indicated that the defect had recently recurred but had not been repaired. The manufacturer was notified and no solution was offered. The vehicle VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 70,000.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #12

Jul 112012


  • 77,000 miles


We own a 2003 Cadillac Cts that we bought new back in late 2002. It currently has about 85,000 lightly driven miles. About 1 1/2 years ago, the engine become stuck at high revolutions. In other words, the car accelerated to high speed and would not slow down. Had to turn off the engine to regain control. We referred to this as a "throttle control" problem--although that may not be the correct terminology. It was repaired by the Cadillac dealer at that time (at considerable cost). Since then, the same problem has occurred two more times. It was repaired by the dealer about 6 months ago but the problem has now returned for a third time.the car is unsafe to drive as unexpected acceleration may occur at any moment. Most recently, the dealer claims that the problem is due to the engine control module (computer)--but it remains to be seen if that will indeed repair the problem. On another occasion, while on a short trip about 9 months ago, the engine began to run extremely unevenly--barely functioning. We limped into a Cadillac dealer who diagnosed the problem as two faulty coils. They replaced those (again as considerable cost) and the car ran well again--until this latest episode of unexpected acceleration where the engine becomes stuck at extremely high revolutions.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #11

Jan 022012


  • 108,000 miles
I was driving home from work when this first happened. All of a sudden a loud screeching noise and the brakes would not stop in time. I had to pump the brakes to work. I took my car to Cadillac in Arizona and they had it for 2 days and could not find an issue. I drove home that day with it and sure enough it did it while I was home. It had now began to jerk me to the right and left when I press on the brakes, scaring me thinking I am going to hit the car next to me. I took it to midas this time and they noticed a problem and said maybe its a wheel barring. They replaced issue duplicated itself shortly after. Since I did not have a second car or pay for a rental I had to take my car home to go back to work the next day. This problem is a safety hazard and I have even been pulled over because the cop asked why I was swerving while driving. I told the office its the code that comes up on my screen and it makes my car halt while driving and I can not control it. He stated that its a very serious issue and if another officer was on duty they might impound my car due to a safety hazard but he would give me a chance to take it home to go to the shop. I am almost close to trading in my vehicle and buying a new one, but not a Cts. If Cadillac can't solve this, the creator, who can? I am scared I'm going to veer off the freeway or hit a car on the way to work. I drive an hour to and from work everyday and my safety is the utmost concern to me and my family.

- San Tan Valley, AZ, USA

problem #10

Nov 212011

CTS 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
I purchased this vehicle in November 2011 with approx. 97,000 miles showing on the odometer. During a thanksgiving holiday trip of some 1600 miles, consisting mostly of highway driving with the cruise control engaged, and for no apparent reason, the asc (automatic stability control) would disengage the cruise control, "tug" the vehicle to the left or right slightly, seemed to have a slight braking effect (although it may have been the sudden deceleration that caused the sense of braking) and would display " stability control engaged". this occurred numerous times. Also, on this same trip, the "traction control" would engage, without warning or need, and disengage the cruise control causing sudden, unexpected, deceleration. This too happened numerous times. Although I did notice that the "traction control" seemed to engage when in a curve on rough or bumpy roads. I concluded that this was the result of a sudden "wheel hop" or "spin" as a result of losing traction from the "bounce" when hitting a bump or rough spot. I've run the "onboard diagnostic system" several times and no codes pertaining to these events are displayed.

- Clinton, OK, USA

problem #9

Aug 112010


  • 40,000 miles
I have a 2003 Cadillac Cts with 52,000. Miles..I bought it new /demo with 4,000. Miles on it. In the last two years I have had the car in the repair shop at the dealership 4X. The stability engaged system light appears and the car pulls to the left and the accelerator pedal vibrates. They can not fix and have replaced several areas of front end. Sse light still appears and is now more frequent. Yesterday it happened 6X in 20 min. I got off at the next exit and then upon brake pressure, vibrating pedal, ABS engaged. I have been to many forums to try to find a fix for this problem to no avail. This problem is increasing and the car pulling and vibrating is going to cause an accident. Is that what it's going to take to demand this problem be repaired?you have to look into this problem. It is very numerous and GM is ignoring the problem or worse yet they don't know how to fix it...please help!

- Lees Summit, MO, USA

problem #8

Jul 052010


  • 77,000 miles


We have a 2003 Cadillac's Cts with about 77K miles. On 7-5-2010 as we were pulling into a parking spot in a shopping plaza at less than 5 mph, all of a sudden the car went to full throttle, jumped the curb, thru bushes, and onto the hood of the car facing us. Within a few weeks prior to this, while sitting at a red light with our foot on the brake, we notice what seemed to be the engine revving up. The car is in the shop now.

- Danville, CA, USA

problem #7

Apr 292004

CTS 6-cyl

  • miles
The vehicle would not back up when placed in reverse. When the accelerator was pressed, the vehicle would all of a sudden come to a jolting halt, the engine would rev from the gas pedal and still be depressed. The solenoid would be replaced which didn't fix the problem and then the consumer was told that a new transmission was needed.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #6

Jun 012004


  • miles
There was unintended acceleration when the vehicle is placed into wadrive. The dealer could not duplicate the problem. The vehicle would have to be placed in neutral to stop or slow the vehicle. The consumer requested for the vehicle to be fixed or his money back.

- Salisbury, NC, USA

problem #5

Jun 012004

CTS 6-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
Consumer complained about a sudden acceleration problem. While driving at moderate speeds throughout the community, T he vehicle suddenly and without warning accelerated. The driver applied the brakes, but it was ineffective. The consumer had to place the vehicle in neutral in order to stop the vehicle.

- Salisbury, NC, USA

problem #4

Mar 132004

CTS 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles
While driving 30 mph, the vehicle stalled. The consumer managed to restart the vehicle. There was a loud noise inside of the vehicle, rough jerks at shifts, vibration at mid to high speeds, loud noise from back tires when riding over bumps, burning smell from under the hood along with smoking, water in the tail light, black exhaust dust/dirt in the tail pipe, the engine would shake. The jerking was as if the brakes were applied while in drive.

- Clinton Township, MI, USA

problem #3

Mar 152003


  • miles
Pulling to a parking place, slowly, foot on brake, half way into the parking space when the vehicle suddenly accelerated resulting in the vehicle hitting a cement pole. No injuries. Extensive damage to the left front. Had to exit the passenger side car.

- Rehoboth, DE, USA

problem #2

Apr 032002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle was at a complete stop with foot on brakes, and it accelerated at a high speed.*akconsumer had stopped with foot on the brakes. The vehicle speeded up and consumer had to cut the vehicle off to stop. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they found nothing wrong. The vehicle is also experiencing electrical problems.

- Morgan City, LA, USA

problem #1

Sep 102002

(reported on)


  • miles
While parking and shifting vehicle into park and without any indication vehicle took off, resulting in a crash. Please provide furthr information.

- Lynbrook, NY, USA

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