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.

3.9

definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
31,888 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.

1998 Cadillac Catera engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Cadillac Catera Owner Comments

problem #20

Mar 062008

Catera

  • 136,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The motor in the car started cutting out and slowing down when I would try to accelerate. There was never a knocking sound. There was no engine light and the car was overheating. From reading about this car online it sounds like a timing issue. I took it to a mechanic and was told he did not want to work on the car because of the complexity of the job. From what im told this has happened to alot of these cars and no recall has been issued!! why not!

- Madison, OH, USA

problem #19

Jun 012008

Catera

  • 60,000 miles
1998 cad. Catera - no incident started the problems - a mechanic knew it had a bad head gasket before opening the hood or being told why I was there because he said 9 out of 10 Cateras have this problem. Consumer reports lists this year and model as a must to avoid car. At 60K miles had a bad head gasket, oil had gone through the system, car overheats, the hoses had to be replaced, it has to be flushed regularly, now at 80K miles, the power steering fluid is leaking, the coolant is leaking, the bearings and brakes are failing, the oil cannot be changed because the pan will break because the cap is welded on because of the heat in the engine. Why wasn't there a recall. This is too young a car to be failing like this. I would like compensation!

- Middletown, NY, USA

problem #18

Aug 292006

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 50 mph on the highway, the engine stalled and there was a loss of all vehicle power without warning. The contact managed to pull the vehicle over without incident. The engine would not restart. The vehicle was towed to a dealer who determined the timing belt separated into and damaged the engine. Due to the belt separation, the engine needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Lenexa, KS, USA

problem #17

Feb 012005

Catera 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Cadillac cater 1998 experienced multiple failure that caused engine damage. The trunk light bulbs failed. The trunk light bar failed. The key fob failed. The cd player failed. The window washer hose failed. The switch for heating and cooling system had to be replaced. The bottom gear of the crankshaft broke causing engine damage. The front and rear end had to be aligned due to the vehicle pulling to the right. The center link was also replaced.

- Beloit, WI, USA

problem #16

May 312004

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles
While driving at 65 mph, the tachometer dropped to zero, the check light came on and the vehicle stalled. The consumer was able to pull the vehicle to the side of the road, the vehicle was towed to a dealership. The dealership indicated that the timing belt had broke and destroyed the engine. The owners manual indicated that this part shouldn't been replaced until 60,000 miles and replacement is only required if the vehicle has more than one or more extreme cold start. Which hadn't occurred on this vehicle.

- Moline, IL, USA

problem #15

Nov 282003

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles
While driving 65 mph, the vehicle stalled and lost power. Consumer managed to pull over and had the vehicle towed to dealership but the problem was not resolved. The consumer stated a recall was performed on the vehicle regarding the timing, but the recall repair failed.

- Muscatine, IA, USA

problem #14

Oct 102003

Catera

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

This car has been in the dealership more than 30 times for numerous problems. Too many to list. Now this vehicle has died on one of the most busiest intersections in Minnesota.

- Minneapolis , MN, USA

problem #13

Jul 092003

(reported on)

Catera

  • miles
The vehicle stalls and is hard to start back up. Vehicle has been to dealer ten times, but the cause of the problem cannot be determined.

- Glenn Heights, TX, USA

problem #12

Jun 112003

Catera

  • miles
While driving engine locked up. Dealer diagnosed, to fixed it will cost over $10,000 since manufacturer doesn't produce any more this engine.

- Beaufort, SC, USA

problem #11

Apr 182003

Catera

  • 72,000 miles
The consumer was informed the engine needed to be replaced.

- Hyattsville, MD, USA

problem #10

Mar 262003

(reported on)

Catera 6-cyl

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The cruise control failed and the vehicles engine trembled because water had gotten into one of the cylinders.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #9

May 142002

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles
I had a problem with coolant leaking into oil possibly due to a bad oil cooler in the engine. The problem was fixed at a local mechanic shop. After a while, sometime in March of 2003 the problem reappeared and coolant is leaking into oil again. It also seemed that somebody replaced the oil cooler even before I bought the car. I had to pay a fortune to repair it the first time and now it's in the shop again and I will see what will happen this time. I am totally disappointed with Cadillac, I will never buy another Cadillac or possibly even GM after all the problems I had with this car. This was my first disappointment with american name car.

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #8

Nov 252002

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,765 miles
Coolant leaking cause engine head needs replacing.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #7

Aug 112002

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving at 65mph and with no warning vehicle shuts off. Consumer is unable to get vehicle started back up. Dealer notified, the dealer found that the timing belt broke, the manufacturer had a program to repair 1998 Catera's but since the consumers vehicle had a salvaged title the dealership was released from any responsiblity to repair the vehicle at no cost.

- Southfield, MI, USA

problem #6

Mar 222002

(reported on)

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving and without warning engine cut off. Mechanic stated that timing belt broke, causing engine to malfunction.

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

problem #5

Nov 032001

Catera

  • miles
Timing belt tensioner failed at 51,000 miles (warranty ends at 50,000 miles) causing major damage to the valves and gears. Requires new valves, tensioner, head gasket, belt, etc. Service department told me that this is a problem specific to the Catera. He said that tensioner system is unique to Catera. This problem appears to be associated with a faulty system. Other Cadillac models do not have the same timing belt system. Quoted repair cost is $4,800. This is not just a timing belt problem, which is a normal wear and tear problem. Most car owners expect to repair timing belts some time during their ownership, if they keep the vehicles long enough. However, we are talking about a $40,000 vehicle. Consumers should not expect such a costly problem to occur on this car for a very long time, if ever. Hopefully, once repaired, this will not occur again. Most consumers can not afford an unexpected $4,800 repair bill once, let alone every few thousand miles. It just seems like the tensioner must be faulty or have a faulty design. The edmunds website shows many customers who have had this problem. GM knows about this costly problem. Why haven't they made some provision for fixing the problem?

- Duluth, GA, USA

problem #4

Oct 222001

Catera

  • miles
Timing belt tensioner pulley bearing is prematurely failing and causing major damage in the engine valve train. If the car is out of warranty, this defect results in the customer having to pay a repair bill of several thousand dollars. If the defect is found soon enough it still costs the cusomer over five hundred dollars. When I bought the Cadillac the timing belt was suppose to last at least 100,000 miles and now I hear they are recommending the replacement of the assembly (P/N9120501) within 60K. The only problem with is some cars have the problem before 60K. The warranty on the replacement parts is 12 months/12K. There are also no procedures to assist the customer in reducing the costs of the necessary repairs. The edmunds website list many customers all over the country who have experienced this problem. GM should be required to have a recall to fix this problem and they should be required to reimburse all customers who have experienced this problem. As far as I know all years of this model can experience this problem. Also the current replacement parts are prone to fail at the same rate as the original parts since the design hasn't been improved.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #3

Sep 012000

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving vehicle died due to a faulty timing belt. Dealer has vehicle currently.

- Troy, TN, USA

problem #2

Jun 291999

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving about 25 mph serpentine belt fell off, causing power steering to malfunction. This happened without any indication. The problem was reported to the dealership. Crankshaft/pulley was replaced under warranty.

- Birmingham, MI, USA

problem #1

Nov 011998

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Head gasket leaking.

- San Juan Caistrano, CA, USA

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