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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,059 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 #17

Mar 132008

Catera 6-cyl

  • miles

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

Engine have a problem with oil pressure that stay below minimum at idle when engine is at operating temp. Front control arm bushing fail with less then 90000 miles. Auto transmission fail with less then 90000 miles. Have engagement problems and shifting problem.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #16

Jun 232009

Catera

  • 20,654 miles
The tensioner pulley & timing belt was a know defect for vehicle and was recalled but I was never notified, at the time of failure I lost all power & control of the vehicle on an decline in a high traffic location in a server rain storm. Vehicle is now doa and GM refuses to remedy tues evening 6/23 the check engine light goes on, in 30-45 seconds the car stopped running, earlier in the day I heard a knock and thought I ran over something as all gauges indicated everything was running normal. Had aaa tow it to my home and next day (wed.) to the caddy dealer. They charge me $109 to assess the problem, then tell me the timing belt broke! it will cost another $600 labor for 5 hours of inspection to check the problem and depending what they find $$$$$$ to fix, daaaaa! I call the service manager he tells me he'll check it out and call me back. Ok so now he calls me and tell me the rep miss-quoted what they were going to do. Now it's the tension pulley that failed casing the timing belt to snap, to replace the whole set is $699 + labor and suggested I invest another $150 to change the coolant pump as it's showing signs of leakage at the same time so it doesn't run me additional costs later as it's in the same part of the engine as the pulley and belt. Grand total of $1207 + tax. "but" depending on what happens after they replace the tensioner pulley & timing belt there might be additional cost if the car still will not start. Ok so I tell him to go ahead. I decided to goggle the problem to see what it is I am paying for, hellllllo! what do I find but a major recall back in 9/2002 on the tensioner pulley failure causing the timing belt to snap!!!!!!!!! & the replacement of the coolant pump. I was never notified or advised of this recall. They never told me anything every time I brought the car in for service. I only have only 20,654 miles on the car, as it's my 2nd vehicle and use it locally for shopping. Normal replacement for the timing belt & tensioner pulley is 70K mi.

- Sunny Isles Beach, FL, USA

problem #15

Apr 232007

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,145 miles
A/C compressor leaking and A/C compressor not cycling and leaking from the chase valve system. Compressor had to be replaced. Updated 01/11/08. The heater coolant valve had to be replaced. The front brake pads and sensor were replaced and the rotors had to be resurfaced. Updated.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #14

Aug 092006

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,737 miles

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

Faulty head gasket faulty warning lights.

- Ottawa, 00, USA

problem #13

Jan 102005

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles
Car over heating, smoking, steaming. Took to mechanic, was told that engine blew, later to find out oil cooler went. Also just found out my transmissions needs over hauled, no warning, no leaks. Heat regulator has been replaced twice, ignition coil has been replaced, all wires have to be replaced. Engine has and still does run too hot, causing continuous problems with engine parts. Etc. I purchased the car in 2001, purchased extended warranty, that has since ware out. My sun roof does not work, my keyless entry does not work, here it is 2005 and the car only has or around 65,000 miles on it, when purchased only had 23,000, I only drive the car to work and back, and too run errands. Why am I having so many problems with it, I can't even get a dealer to take it as trade in.

- Parma, OH, USA

problem #12

Jul 142005

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles
I would like to place a complaint on record about the poor quality of the Cadillac Catera. These vehicles should have all been bought back by GM to protect the american public from their poor quality. I have a 1998 Cadillac Catera, well cared for. Over the past year though the car has begun to leak oil heavily, to the point of actually being an enviromental hazard. The other day I took it to a local Cadillac dealer only to be told the car has leaking valve cover gaskets, cam cover gaskets and an oil cooling line. They say $1200 will seal up most of the leaks. The car only has an original 65,000 miles on it. Upon hearing this I did an internet search on Cateras and the horror stories are endless. It seems they all including mine have broken headlight aligners. This is apparently caused by heat and cheap manufacturing. This off course makes the headlights impossible to align and aim.it also seems that all Cateras wear out tires in a very rapid time frame due to poor front end design. My 1998 has all these problems plus all four radio speakers have blown although they were never played loudly. The headlight lenses have heavily yellowed over thus reducing greatly the headlight power. I would strongly suggest you review accidents involving Cateras as they could easily relate to the all to common headlight adjustment problem on these cars not to mention the oil blow by from the engine onto the front brake rotors. Please help get these cars off the road.

- Williamsport, MD, USA

problem #11

Jul 242004

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,279 miles

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

On July 24, 2004 while driving between 65-70 mph in the left lane on I-81, I could feel that the power steering was gone in the vehicle, there was no indication in the idiot lights or the gauges that the vehicle was in distress. As I got to the right the battery light came on, then the radiator light came on, I immediately stopped the vehicle. The repair shop had the car for 2 days and finished the repair of the water pump. When I started the car the idiot light came on again I got out of the car and noticed that there was white smoke emanating from the exhaust tail pipe. The car was towed to Cadillac for repair the next day. They told the head gaskets were gone and it would be $ $1800 for the left one and $1900 for the right one in addition to the gasket and the labor for the repair. I found out from the dealer that this vehicle was recalled for the water pump nd 2 other pulleys. The record showed that the recall work was performed by kristal Cadillac the dealer I purchased the vehicle from. They never informed me that the vehicle was recalled for any reason when they sold me the vehicle. My total out of pocket expense for repair $2314.38. I got my vehicle back on August 6, 2004. The car now broke down completely and had to be towed into kristal Cadillac. The dealer has had the car for 2 weeks and have still not looked at it furthermore they are claiming that it is now an ignition problem and not an engine/water pump problem. I believe that they are trying to distance themselves from any liability in this issue with this false diagnostic of the vehicle. This problem is definitely related to the recall and should be paid for by GM totally.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #10

May 042004

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,600 miles
Like all Cadillac Catera owners we know, we have had and are continuing to have endless major repair bills on the Catera (98 model). The water pump has failed and caused the engine to run hot. The water pump was on recall. Cadillac replaced the pump but charged for belts and other parts damaged by the failure. We have spend over $1,900 trying to solve a morning cold start skipping problem. The problem comes and goes. Cadillac dealer replaced the heater control valve and charged $953. Problem still occurs. Then a repair shop charged over $600 to replace the spark plugs and spark plug wires. Problem still occurs. Then they told us it had to be the coil pack. We spent over $300 on that. Problem still occurs. The car in back at the Cadillac dealer's shop yesterday and today. So far they cannot locate problem. A co-worker of my wife's at the Georgia motor vehicle safety department ownes a Catera. She and her husband have spent over $9,000 on their Catera in the past two years for repairs. They cannot keep tires on the car. The co-worker said they had the same cold start problem with their Catera. It cost over $500 for a starter switch part. It appears Cadillac threw the car together from an engine from england, a transmission from france and assembled the car in germany. I don't think it is fair for consummers to have to foot the bill for Cadillac's neglegency in not properly testing the car prior to marketing. This is nothing short of consummer fraud. We have owned two Cadillac Seville, a Deville, and a small Cadillac back in the 80's. we presently drive a Seville. We have never had any major problems with Cadillac products until this Catera. It is not Cadillac quality and appears to have been marketed without proper training of mechanics in the field in spite of GM's constant advertisements about the excellence of "Mr. Good wrench." Cadillac should be required to fix their problems with the Catera design.

- Newnan, GA, USA

problem #9

Apr 252004

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have had so many problems with this car and they just keep piling up. I just replaced the head gasket and valve cover gaskets a month ago and now my oil pressure is failing. My service writter tells me this car is notorius for problems with the engine, specifically the way it handles oil and cooling. I sent a letter to Cadillac when I had probles a month ago but have heard nothing. Is there anything I can do?

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #8

Jun 152001

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
Sensors went bad. Oil currently in the engine, head gaskets gone. Too much play in the steering column. Crank sensor and ignition coil pack repair

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #7

Mar 252004

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,590 miles

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

Car ran hot. Towed back to dealer. Dealer stated Cadillac had a recall on the water pump. Cadillac replaced the water pump. Dealer paid for belt, etc. Amounting to about $190. Less than a month following the water pump failure, the coolant began leaking. Cadillac dealer charged $950 to replace heater value and a few hoses. 1 week later, car leaked again. Returned to Cadillac dealer. Dealer kept car for two days, re-seated a water hose. 1 week later, car began skipping. Now Cadillac dealer wants to remove hoses, etc. To get to elec spark plug. No estimate of cost yet. I believe all of this is related to the faulty water pump which I understand Cadillac had on recall but I do not find the recall on your site.

- Newnan, GA, USA

problem #6

Sep 092003

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles
Engine cooling fluid leaked onto the engine and caused the vehicle to stall, and will not restart. Had to be towed to the dealership.

- Fallbrook, CA, USA

problem #5

Aug 272003

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Numerous issues with 1998 Catera. Had timing belt tensioner-pulleys/cam drive replaced last year(3-2002) while under warranty. "service campaign" was issued by Cadillac in Sept 2002 for Catera's to have came drive idler/tensioner pulley/water pump replaced with new version. Got vehicle serviced today and was informed that car had another serious problem that needed to be corrected-out of pocket-coolant crossover leaking into oil cooler, and valve cover was leaking oil.....the car runs extremely hot, has poor performance, gets terrible gas millage, battery has low voltage when nothing is left on by mistake, replaced the battery 4 time in two years, A/C had new compressor replaced past summer 2002 still not able to cool car and while in use the car sounds like a tractor, boggs down the perfromance. Had to have entire brake system replaced (cost over 800.00) at 34,000, purchased 4 sets of michellan mxv4 tires in last 2 years-inside tread seperation on front tires caused blow out twice.

- Irving, TX, USA

problem #4

Dec 261998

Catera

  • miles
Water valve failed resulting in coolant leak, the dealer replaced valve and refilled system, oil cooler line leaking, dealer resealed housing and replaced coolant bridge oil level sensor shorted. Nlm

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #3

Dec 261998

Catera

  • miles
Water valve failed resulting in coolant leak, the dealer replaced valve and refilled system, oil cooler line leaking, dealer resealed housing and replaced coolant bridge oil level sensor shorted. Nlm

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #2

Jul 061999

Catera

  • miles
Whenever vehicle is parked overnight it would fail to restart again. Would have tow vehicle to dealer each time this happened, 8 times so far. Mechanic would reprogram key; replaced battery/faulty fuel injectors and the temperature gauge. GMC epurchased this vehicle in October, 1999 for the full purchase price less $400.oo

- Indian Wells, CA, USA

problem #1

Aug 301998

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Temperature guage failed.

- Mission Vi, CA, USA

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