NHTSA — Service Brakes, Hydraulic Problems


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
86,566 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Cadillac CTS Owner Comments

problem #11

Mar 072012

CTS 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles


While braking for some slow traffic, I felt a pop from the brake pedal. Only having about 25% use of the brakes I had to pull of the side of the road to avoid hitting the car in front of me. I had the car towed to the shop where the mechanic showed me the brake fluid leaking from the brake line connection. When he checked the other side the fitting snapped in his hand. What I would like to know is why Cadillac did not notify me about this recall. After talking to Cadillac they did confirm that this vehicle is covered under this recall. I now have to take the parts to a GM dealer along with my registration and receipt for repairs. I was told it will take 4 weeks to be reimbursed.

- Chesterfield, VA, USA

problem #10

Dec 122007

CTS 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
I purchased my new 2003 Cts in 2002 at pikeville, ky. Currently there is a recall for the Cts recall 10V105000 (GM recall no. 09149) that involves the front brake hoses rupturing due to road salt corrosion. However, the state of ky is not covered. We have road salt here as well. Pikeville is just 20 miles from wv and it is covered there. My VIN falls within the guideline. In 2007 before the recall it happened to me here in ky and caused me to have a crash. Since pikeville is so close to wv and my employer is there, I am in wv a lot. I feel that Cadillac should honor me as well!!! however, GM refuses to honor the recall since I meet every requirement except the state. Since it is a known problem, and I crashed, GM should repair my hoses under the recall. I am sure that if I decided to pursue litigation, I would be successful now that GM has admitted to the problem. The simple fact that I reside in ky is the only reason that I cannot reap the benefits of the recall. Road salt is the same in ky as it is in wv. Corrosion is corrosion. I have purchased over 15 new GM vehicles during my lifetime and am a dedicated GM owner. I currently own 4 GM vehicles. I am respectfully asking Cadillac/GM to offer me the recall as well since I fall within the VIN range and my close proximity to wv. As a matter of fact, ky should be included as well as all the surrounding states are also under the recall. I was in the process of purchasing a new camaro, but if this is GM's way of treating dedicated customers - I may rethink that. Let's see....Cadillac has admitted to the corrosion issue - I had the issue and crashed as a result - wonder how that would come out in front of a jury? all I ask for is for Cadillac/GM to replace my front brake hoses under the recall....

- Prestonsburg, KY, USA

problem #9

Apr 012011


  • 64,000 miles
While driving at a steady and even speed my car would suddenly pulled to the left as if the left front wheel had the break apply. Almost instantly my "stability system engaged" display would go on and the car would correct itself. This went on to become a regular event with each time I took the car out. The most it occurred was 30 or so times in a 90 mile trip, but it happened regularly on local 2 mile trips to the store. Sometimes it would be more severe than others. In addition and occasionally, when the breaks were applied, there would be a "loudish" crunch sound and resistance to foot pressure that would give way after the initial break application. There was also a vibration "buzz" through the gas pedal when this all would occur. The first time I took the car to the dealer they could not find anything wrong or duplicate the problem. I took them information I had found on the web about the problem and they checked their service bulletins for a problem. It was fixed by changing a steering sensor at a cost of $430.

- Laquinta, CA, USA

problem #8

Jan 102011

CTS 6-cyl

  • 59,225 miles


NHTSA campaign # 10V10500 re; Cadillac Cts models brake line corrosion problems does not go far enough in scope, in my opinion. Our recently purchased 2003 Cts had no record of compliance with this recall. In fact, both our local dealer and Cadillac corporate cust service said they showed this recall did not apply to our vechicle. Being skeptical of that assertion because this vehicle had spent it's first two years in Connecticut on lease, I had the brake system inspected at a local shop. They found (and I witnessed) the badly corroded brake hose fittings. As the mechanic pushed on the L.H. rubber sleeve covering the hose to metal tube junction to see the extent of the rust, the hose separated from the tube !! this with only the pressure applied with one finger !! we were one hard braking application from a possible accident !! but there are other areas of concern, and those are the metal tubing lines in the front of the chassis that are part of the hydraulic braking ( and anti-skid) systems. Many of these lines are heavily rusted, making them as much a contributor to brake failure as the hoses.! I believe these lines should be subject to a recall or expansion of the hose recall.

- Bradenton, FL, USA

problem #7

May 082010

CTS 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
I have a 2003 Cts since new. The brakes almost completely failed last week. No dash light came on. The problem is easily seen. One of the lines from the master cylinder going to the ABS unit badly corroded at the lowest point in its run where the line is supported. The line away from the support is in good shape so it looks like you have a design flaw or improperly implemented design with that support. I was extremely lucky and extremely disappointed. The car has never been in an accident and most of the underside body and hardware looks almost new. My dealer says they have replaced a number of Cts brake lines. You have a problem I had a lot of trouble with the Cts when it was new as you should be able to see from your records. Although replaced the rear differential still howls. I expected better from Cadillac. With that said I think GM ought to do something about the Cts brake lines.

- West Granby, CT, USA

problem #6

May 012010


  • 120,000 miles
Possibly due to reduced brake fluid levels the brake pedal on my 2003 Cadillac Cts went down to the floor, at which point the brake pedal arm became stuck behind a plastic under dash tray, resulting in reduced brake pedal travel and no breaking. Luckily, this issue was discovered while at slow speeds (backing out of driveway), so the vehicle could be manually stopped. The brake pedal was dislodged from the obstruction, which was easy while the car was stopped and the operator could lean under the dash and move the pedal. At speed, it would have been nearly impossible to move the pedal. Brake system was bled and additional fluid added to reduce brake pedal travel. Problem has not recurred as a result.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #5

Mar 232010

CTS 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


While driving in framingham Massachusetts, the front brakes suddenly failed making the cr very hard to stop and almost causing an accident. A brake shop checked the car and confirmed that the brake hose and broken loose leaving me without any front brakes. It cost $800 to repair the brake system and I feel that GM should refund me that money and also check my car to ensure that my brakes are not at risk of failing again.

- Bridgewater , MA, USA

problem #4

Jan 032010


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. The contact had driven 20 miles at approximately 40 mph, when she attemped to brake and noticed that the brake pedal went to the floorboard. The vehicle was towed to the dealership where she was informed that the brakes were corroded due to salty road conditions. Although she had recently had the brake pads replaced. The entire brake line was replaced at the dealership.the contact has noticed no braking failures since the repair. She called the manufacturer and was told that the vehicle was not included in any brake-related recalls and she was therefore denied reimbursement. The current mileage was approximately 104,000. The failure mileage was approximately 80,000

- Everett, WA, USA

problem #3

Jul 012008

CTS 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
2003 Cadillac safety issues: Premature and rampant failure of the ebcm - electronic brake control module. It is widely known these modules fail and cannot be rebuilt. Dealer cost is over $500 with most dealers charging more than $750. Premature and rampant failure of the rear center brake light. GM even admitted failure of the neon lights used for this application and quickly switched to a reliable light media. Replacements range from $250 used (if you can find one that works) to $500 retail at GM. Both of these units are known high failure items and both cost a fortune through your local GM dealer.

- Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #2

Feb 102010


  • 100,000 miles
I own a 2003 Cts, approx. 1wk ago the "add brake fluid" message appeared on screen. While coming back to work from lunch, I pulled in the parking lot and while applying the brake noticed that it was almost completely to the floor before stopping. I called my husband, that evening he checked the front passenger side brake line which when simply touch fell completely off. It was corroded. He ordered the replacement piece which came in about 4days later, once replaced, he checked the front driver side, which when touched fell off with same diagnosis. He then checked the back brake lines which he found where made and put together entirely different, thus they where fine. This is obviously a recall situation in my opinion that could have ended tragically.

- New Market, VA, USA

problem #1

Nov 012008


  • 74,000 miles
I drive a 2003 Cadillac Cts. I noticed the brakes seemed to need repair (not responsive enough) and the "brake light" came on. My car had approx 70000 miles and the brake lines had corroded! I have the brake lines that were removed. A car with 70K miles should not have corroded brakelines. In addition, it took almost 2 weeks to get replacement parts and cost $250 to repair + rental car. This was a really bad accident waiting to happen.

- Brookhaven, NY, USA

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