6.8

fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,629 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.

1997 Cadillac Catera engine problems

engine problem

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1997 Cadillac Catera Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #38

Jul 032004

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,511 miles

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

-my 97 cadilac Catera stalled 7/3/04. -7/6/04 called trenor motor company (springfield, oh). Service manager refused to look at car. -7/7/04 it appeared as though a recall on the tensioner pulley had not been done. Pulled record on car and found that the recall involving the tensioner pulley work was in fact issued (and paid for) by General Motors to trenor.-7/17/04 district service manager approved tear down time at jeff wyler, springfield, oh, to see for certain whether the recall had even been done with the stipulation that if the recall had been done (implying that the new recall pulley had been put on but went bad) General Motors would "stand behind" product, paying total repair costs. If pulley had not been replaced, "stop" and send back to the dealer that was paid to perform recall-- number 02041A (which would be trenor). -7/20/04 technician and service manager at jeff wyler, came to me and confirmed that the pulley had not been replaced. I went to trenor to see Mr. Ed tehan, who admitted that if the part wasn't bad, the part would not have been replaced by the technician in a recall! he also refused to show a parts stamp on original repair order. Recall directions from dealerworld.com (GM's website for recalls and vehicle history) state "if tensioner pulley has black bearing seal, then replace with a pulley having brown seals [given in pulley kit for recall, new part kit number 55352000, and additional pulley new number 90573616]". part number on pulley found in my car has part number 337092ca (the seal is also not brown, as the new one should be, it is black) and according to national traffic safety adm. And General Motors, should be replaced. Trenor motors failed to actually perform recall they were paid to do. -I have the actual (original) pulley, pictures, numerous documents, ten technicians to corroborate on these issues.

- Springfield, OH, USA

problem #37

Feb 112004

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,879 miles
This car was taken to dealer on 2/8/04 for recall 2041, 1037. Two days after picking up the car, the low coolant light came on my way home from work. My husband checked the coolant reservoir and it was over one inch below full, he also checked the driveway for any antifreeze and checked where you put oil in the engine but could not find any signs of external leaks, but a white milky substance under the oil cap. The car has been sitting in my driveway since. I emailed GM about this. This was their response! we have contacted the service manager for dan hemm Cadillac, Mr. Charlie caroll. He is aware of your concerns with the coolant level for the 1997 Cadillac Catera. He is willing to make arrangements to have the vehicle towed in. Depending on the nature of the concern it may or may not be related to the recall 02041, and they will need to diagnose the vehicle to verify. He has also informed us that when the vehicle was in for the recall, they did replace parts as necessary. If you have additional questions, we recommend that you contact him. If you should need to contact us in the future, simply reply to this message or call our Cadillac customer assistance center at 1-800-458-8006. Customer relationship managers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Be sure to refer to your service request number 1-226247104 in all future communication. If I return this car, let the dealer tow it to service department. I will be told that the reason my car is not drivable is my fault, and will be handed a bill for towing and whatever other charges for them looking at it! I had the car back two days, a total of 374 miles. The car has 34867 miles; I have had a lot of other problems with the car, front end alignment, headlight aimers, brake light switch's, headlight switch, ignition coil pack, air bag system. Even with all of the other things that went wrong, I at least could drive it, until I returned it for a recall!

- Piqua, OH, USA

problem #36

Apr 032004

Catera

  • 42,000 miles
At highway speed vehicle accelerated. Consumer pressed the brake pedal to the floor, but there was no reaction. Then, consumer down shifted to stop the vehicle. Consumer had vehicle towed, and dealer determined that engine and accelerator control switch needed to be replaced.

- Canfield, OH, USA

problem #35

Aug 012003

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

Problems getting 1997 Cadillac Catera engine repaired. On 08/01/03, vehicle stopped on New Jersey turnpike. Vehicle had to be towed. Mechanic attempted to repair the engine, but needed a part from an authorized dealer. On 08/04/03, customer was informed the part was recalled. Vehicle was towed to another dealer. This dealer informed the consumer the parts were missing/damaged and would cost the consumer $100. Dollars to repair before recall could be addressed. On 08/06/03, consumer visited dealership and seen parts in the trunk ofthe vehicle. Consume agreed all the parts were there and he was responsible for damaged parts. August 14,2003, consumer was informed vehicle could be repaired but he would be responsible for the damaged parts (vacuum storage tank and wire harness cover). August 18,2003 consumer received information that one of the parts were ordered and called weekly for progress. He was then informed that Cadillac didn't have anything to do with independent mechanics and repairs. Consumer requested documentation of what he was told, but was denied. Sept. 16,2003, consumer learned vehicle was ready and he would be responsible for $753.46 dollars because Cadillac wouldn't cover some of the engine repairs.

- White Plains, NY, USA

problem #34

Jul 022003

Catera

  • 58,200 miles
Consumer stated while driving on the highway at 50 mph, the engine light came on and started smoking really bad. Consumer pulled onto the shoulder where the engine died. Vehicle was taken to mechanic who in turn informed the consumer that the engine sensor was not functional and caused the head gasket to become damaged.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #33

Apr 222003

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,074 miles
I purchased a 1997 Cadillac Catera on Jan 31, 2001 from united automax in memphis, tn. From the date of purchase I have had extensive problems with this car. Beginning with electrical problems with the lights. Since then I have had problems with tires wearing out prematurely, heater core replaced, rotors replaced and wearing out again within a year's time. Fuses have blown, radiator fan along with other problems. Numerous recalls and etc. On April 14, 2003 I took my car to bud davis Cadillac in memphis and reported that I could smell oil burning. They stated that I needed valve covers resealed and to replace rear main seal. (the work was done thru my extended warranty company). I returned to the dealer and told them about noise coming from the right front end. They in return replaced right and left lower control arm. When I went to pick up the car from dealer I noticed that the noise still existed and informed service agent before I left the dealer's lot. They informed me that it was a bad strut link to which my extended warranty did not cover. After discussing the matter with another machanic (not dealer), he stated that the name of the part was a stabilizer not strut. And not only did the noise exist in the front end, but there was a hissing sound coming from under the hood and that the oil light began to come on and stay on. The mechanic suggested that the hissing noise came from a part that was probably damaged by bud davis Cadillac when repairing valves and seals. I then returned to the dealer. I informed the dealer that my warranty company did cover the stabilizer linkage and they stated that the service agent used the wrong terminology. They agreed to fix it and did, but refused to check the source of the hissing sound without me paying for it. It seems that each week or month there are extensive repairs needed.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #32

Jul 252002

Catera 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,237 miles

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

Their are to many problems and trips to the dealership to list!!! I experienced four recalls at once on July 25th, 2002. The technicians are obviously incompentent or have no clue how to fix this vehicle correctly in the first place. I called the GM customer service number given run around. I suffered a catrostrofic engine failure as a result of low coolant in my engine when failures occurred. Letters from GM state vehicles can suffer engine damaged or engine failure and that they will cover the losses and at no cost to me. I have to pay for the cost, total $1,700.71 for the engine cooler to be replaced!! GM refuses to cover the engine cooler damage!! car still is not running right and engine sounds horrible. The service manager gets on the phone and starts yelling at me because I have a filed a local lawsuit against the dealership and GM. He told me he refuses to honor my warrantys both from the recall work performed and the repairs I had to pay for 12 month/12,000 miles warranty. I have no cooperation from the dealership or GM and I'm stuck with a lemon no one wants because the value is so low compared to what I paid for the car and the known problems (lemon) for this make and model. The BBB refuses to help. This Agency is everyone's last hope that owns a Catera because GM treats us like dirt and refuses to cover the engine damages and related damages that occur when these failures that they acknowledge finally. Please help us as consumers and inforce a mandatory recall on this entire vehicle. We are all paying for cars that have little to no value with loans that we are unable to get out of because the trade in value is so poor. It's not right and is absoloutely un american!!!!! I wish some attorneys would file a class action lawsuit against GM to make them do just that or help us get out of these lemons. Please help us.

- Gardner, MA, USA

problem #31

Oct 102002

(reported on)

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer stated that the engine was replaced due to both tension bearings and timing belt failure, consumer has since sold the vehicle.

- W. Townsend, MA, USA

problem #30

May 092002

Catera

  • miles
Timing chain broke while driving 35 mph and caused vehicle to slow down to a stop in traffic. Vehicle was towed to dealer, and informed that the condition blew the engine. Feel free to provide any further information.

- Peterburg, VA, USA

problem #29

Feb 212002

Catera

  • miles
While driving at 60 mph consumer noticed car felt funny. As consumer attempted to change lanes all power was gone, consumer was able to get vehicle on the shoulder safely and had vehicle towed. Dealer found timing chain had broke causing the entire engine to blow. Manufacturer refused to make necessary repairs even though the owners manual says the timing belt should not have to be change for 100,000 miles or 96 months.

- Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #28

May 092002

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

Vehicle stalled at 35-40 mph and was towed to dealer. Dealer stated timing belt had broken, causing damage to engine. Engine had to be replaced. Vehicle is still at dealership, Cadillac has no engine for this vehicle. Engine for this vehicle was discontinued, and the new ones will not fit vehicle.

- Petersburg, VA, USA

problem #27

Jul 162002

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving 65 mph, engine stalled. Dealer determined that timing belt had broken and damaged engine. Engine needed to be replaced. When the timing belt broke, there was no indication that engine had stop running eexcept that the vehicle slowed down. Applying brakes became very hard to accomplish. Consumer was able to get vehicle to the side of the highway and restart. The check engine light illuminated.

- Grenada, MS, USA

problem #26

Jun 032002

Catera

  • miles
First of all the Catera is a bad car and is unsafe. We have put this car in the shop over 7 times. We have reason to belive that the odometer have been rolled back. On June 9 01 the car had 56615 on a order repair but when I brought the car on July 3 01 the odometer had 56512 how is possible.since then the miles have been impossible.it shows that on one order repair that I drove this car 56512 - 58101 July 3 - July 11 01.thats 1589 miles IN10 days in which I took no major trips. My wife drove back in fouth to work.on the 12 of July we had the timing belt changed which broke about 2 weeks later on 8/11/01.keep in mind we just got the car out of the shop on 7/18/01 odometer read 61095 which means we drove the car 2994 miles in about 23 days.the car have been in and out of the shop. Something strange is going on I have good reasons to belive that this odometer have been tamperd with.it shows that I have went 36532 in about 9 months no way.

- Woodruff, SC, USA

problem #25

May 082002

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Timing belt tensioner broke, causing vehicle to break down. Dealer repaired, and car broke down again. Consumer informed that dealer will not give her copy of service invoice. Very dangerous for consumer to travel with repeated breakdowns. Consumer received a campaign letter on 06/2002 with regard to problem. Coolant leaks, the coolant light is on and the engine is sluggish after tensioner was replaced.

- Creedmoor, NC, USA

problem #24

Apr 112002

Catera

  • miles
Engine failed going abouy 70 miles an hour timing belt broke, causing complete engine failure, dealer stated that this is a common problem car repaired but still has problems, dealer caused additonal problems when making repair broke bolt in engine cost to repair 800 dealer refuse to repair oil leak on valve cover gasket again dealer refuses to repair all though covered under warrenty. Cadillac refuses to acknowledge problems given the run around on customer service line car was out for 5 weeks at dealer, car has severe vibrations when idled due to repair new dealer unable to determine problem or make repair, headlamps also failed at about 50,000 miles replacement cost $1,000 to many problems to list

- Jackson, MI, USA

problem #23

Apr 112002

Catera

  • miles
Engine failed going abouy 70 miles an hour timing belt broke, causing complete engine failure, dealer stated that this is a common problem car repaired but still has problems, dealer caused additonal problems when making repair broke bolt in engine cost to repair 800 dealer refuse to repair oil leak on valve cover gasket again dealer refuses to repair all though covered under warrenty. Cadillac refuses to acknowledge problems given the run around on customer service line car was out for 5 weeks at dealer, car has severe vibrations when idled due to repair new dealer unable to determine problem or make repair, headlamps also failed at about 50,000 miles replacement cost $1,000 to many problems to list

- Jackson, MI, USA

problem #22

Mar 102002

Catera

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Engine stalled at 5 mph. Vehicle was towed to dealership. Dealer determined timing belt pulley had seized.

- Southeuclid, OH, USA

problem #21

Nov 052001

Catera

  • miles
Faulty timing belt caused massive engine damage resulting in loss of power on the road.

- Peabody, MA, USA

problem #20

Mar 102002

Catera

  • miles
Engine damage was due to a bad timing belt tensioner that caused timing belt to come off causing the car to suddenly stop in the left lane on I-75 going going 75 mph. The results of this was bent intake valves, therefore making the heads not replaceable. I had to replace the engine. I've also have found out that Cadillac is well aware of this problem becasue thay now have a kit to take care of this problem. What I don't understand is that if they knew thay had a problem whay didn't they issue a recall. Going 75 miles per hour and suddenly losing all power on a very busy interstate could be very dangerous. My father and I were very fortunate not to have had a serious wreck in the left lane. I have filed a complaint against Cadillac on this issue. The cost of this faulty part of GM/\Cadillac has cost me $5826. Plus a week without a vehicle.C00.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #19

Feb 212002

Catera

  • miles
Was driving in the left lane climbing a mountain on interstate 24 about 60 mph when I noticed the car felt funny. Proceeded to get back into right lane just as I lost all power. Was able to get on the shoulder safely. Had to have my car towed 45 miles away to a Cadillac dealership only to be given an estimate of $12,000. They told me the timing chain had broke and caused the entire engine to blow. The service advisor also told me there had been numerous reports to Cadillac for the same problem on the Catera. Cadillac customer service has refused to make the necessary repairs even though the owner's manual says the timing belt shouldn't have to be changed for 100,000 miles or 96 mos whichever comes first. This is definitely a safety hazard! if I had been going down this mountain instead of up there is no doubt in my mind I would have been in a serious accident. Please help! Cadillac needs to do something before someone is seriously injured or killed.

- Cleveland, TN, USA

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