NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

2003 Cadillac CTS (Page 2 of 2)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,564 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 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

CTS 6-cyl

  • 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

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 #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

problem #10

Jun 012010


  • 74,000 miles


Purchased 2003 Cts used in 2007 with 54,000 miles. At 60,000 miles, the serpentine belt broke and destroyed engine in the middle of rush hour traffic. 30 days later coil went out and had to be towed again. Approximately 30 days after that the other coil went out and again vehicle was towed to the dealer for repairs. Currently the car is sitting in my driveway and will not start. Took to repair shop close to my house and they said the electrical system is too messed up to run a diagnostic on it. Prior to the vehicle dying in the driveway, the engine shut down in the middle of the road on two separate occasions. I lost steering and had to push it off the road. It is a dangerous and unreliable vehicle and should not be on the road. I contacted Cadillac but received no response. The car currently has only 74000 miles on it with a total of maybe 20000 added in three years of ownership mostly due to the car needing constant repairs. I cannot afford to make the payments and pay for repairs both at the same time. I do not trust the safety of this vehicle.

- Parkland, FL, USA

problem #9

May 212010


  • 90,000 miles
2003 Cadillac Cts - the backup light assembly came off in car wash... dealerships are well aware of problem but say their hands are tied because of GM. They said the reason was because the supplier to Cadillac used an incorrect epoxy to build the part. GM knows about the issue but will do nothing. Part is over $550 to replace!! one search on internet brings up hundreds of complaints for same issue. This is ridiculous. I called Cadillac and they said they would call if a recall was issued, but they can do nothing more.

- Plymouth, MI, USA

problem #8

Dec 072008


  • 34,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts. The contact stated that the vehicle displayed multiple failures over the last couple of months. The vehicle would shut off without warning. While driving 50 mph, the vehicle shut off. The contact was able to safely maneuver the vehicle to the side of the road. He attempted to restart the vehicle, but was unsuccessful. The contact heard a ticking noise coming from the engine during this time and was unable to remove the keys from the ignition. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and they stated that the battery needed to be replaced. The battery was replaced at the cost of $106. While driving home after the repair, the failure recurred. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and they determined that the a sensor failed. The vehicle is currently at the repair shop. The contact is in the process of notifying the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 34,000 and current mileage was 36,300.

- Homestead , FL, USA

problem #7

Nov 012006

CTS 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
Purchased the car used in January 2005. Electrical problems, car shut down at will going 5 miles per hour or 65 miles per hour. Stabilizing message come on, service stabilizing system, throttle body needs service. Had serviced 4 times still doing the same thing. Condition resulting replacing wiring harness. $2,000. Car is a 2003 with approx 70,000 miles.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #6

Jun 152007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Cadillac Cts (the contact was not sure if model was correct). While driving 25 mph, the vehicle stalled. He pulled over and was able to restart the vehicle. The dealer stated that there was a problem with the computer, which caused the vehicle to stall. The dealer replaced the computer. The failure mileage was 29,000 and the current mileage was 29,500. The number of cylinders, engine size, VIN, and powertrain information were unavailable.

- Allen Park, MI, USA

problem #5

Jan 012003

CTS 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles
I am and have been experiencing numerous failures with my vehicle. I have contacted GM numerous times beginning approximately a few months after I purchased the vehicle to inform them that the vehicle is defective, only to be told my vehicle is out of warranty, so they refuse to fix it or give my one that is not defective. My vehicle is still defective to this date.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #4

Sep 112006

CTS 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
When driving at varying speeds the stability system comes on, disengaging the cruise control if on, and jerking the vehicle to the left. Took the vehicle to dealer for repair, but situation not resolved. The stability system engaged message comes on at an average of every 2 minutes.

- Haines City, FL, USA

problem #3

Nov 292004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,940 miles
The consumer experienced an electrical defect. Headlights, dashboard, and other illumination components worked intermittently. Also, battery had to be replaced.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #2

Mar 292003

CTS 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Low coolant message three times in my Cadillac Cts dic. Dealer found nothing wrong, but added antifreeze every time. Antifreeze under the car took to dealer, antifreeze leaking from oil cooler plate. Car would not start even after a jump. Needed new ignition relay and battery.

- Pittsburg, CA, USA

problem #1

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

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