Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cadillac Complaints and Recalls

Below are some reviews from other CTS owners of the first generation Cadillac CTS that are similar to the issues we have been experiencing with the vehicle:

3rd Sep 2007, 15:25
I have a 2003 CTS. The original tires lasted 32,000 miles before I was unable to rotate the tires due to uneven tire wear and according to the dealer this was not an uncommon problem. I was told I was lucky to get this many miles on my tires.
I replaced the tires to get rid of the vibration and wobble noise. I purchased Goodyear RSA's 17". After 7500 miles the front right tire had a blow-out at 70 mph. Goodyear states the blow-out was due to low tire pressure and no fault of the workmanship or material related condition of the tire. I'm not sure if it was the tire pressure or the tire quality whatever I'm afraid the other tires will also have a blow-out. I rarely drive this car now because I don't trust the tires. I plan to get new tires even tho I have little tread wear on these.
This will be my last Cadillac and last purchase of Goodyear tires.

2007-11-11 00:00:00 Yuma, AZ
2006 caddilac cts. four seperate incidents in less than two years where the rear differential, pinion seal has leaked at highway speeds causing smoke, noise and rendered the car un-driveable. four seperate tows, four seperate strandings. two of the strandings were in the middle of the night. blogs and discussions i have read indicate this problem is wide spread. some report the rear axle locking up and causing a situation that could have been life threatening. the car has been to four seperate caddilac dealer repair facilities and each time they just bubble-gum repair (replace the defective seal) and send me on my way hoping that my warranty will expire before the same old problem happens again. i no longer have confidence in the car. i rent when i must travel out of town. this car is going to get me killed and likely some other innocent people when the rear end locks-up on the freeway at 75 mph. the incident date noted below is only the most recent. the car was towed 40 miles to fisher chevrolet caddilac in yuma, arizona and remains there as of this date.
DOT is finally investigating the differential problem with CTS and CTS-Vs
I received a phone call from Steve McHenry with the Department of Transportation in Washington D.C.

He is currently investigating problems with the Cadillac CTS and CTS-V rear differential. The NHTSA has turned over all of the complaints to DOT and after seeing so many reports, DOT is launching a full investigation.

He contacted me because I had reported my problem to the NHTSA and he got my contact information from there. I asked if he had tried any of the forums and listed several. He said that while NHTSA is the main source of contacts, he has looked at different forums. However, he said that it was difficult to get contact information from a message board. Mr. McHenry requested that I put his contact info up on the boards for us to give him our accounts of problems we've had.

What Mr. McHenry is asking is that anyone who has experienced catastrophic failure with their differential in the CTS or CTS-V to please contact him at either

6th Sep 2006, 10:32
I have a 2003 CTS and replaced the RSA tires twice since owning (55K). The service consultant told me that he has never seen a tire wear (cupping and choppy) so bad unless it is a car that is literally heading to the junk yard. I replaced my tires... last year and wouldn't you know, it is in the dealership to get the tired replaced again... at a cost of 198 per tire. Can you believe this? They told me it is my fault and the alignment is way way out. a.041 degree). Whatever that means. If I look at degrees..041 is less than 1/2 of a degree--doesn't sound like that should be the culprit or much misaligned. Anyway, it is off to the Toyota dealership to Trade in the Caddy.. Sorry GM---if you would just pay attention to your customers. My First and LAST Cadillac.
There is some controversy surrounding the rear differential and half-shafts of the 2004-2005 models. In addition to many internet forum postings from unhappy owners, one can find reference to the "whine" problem in Road & Track's November 2006 issue. [1] There are also numerous complaints with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) for both the 2004 [2] and 2005 [3] models. On page 6 of the November 2006 issue of GM High Tech Performance, [4] author Rick Jensen claims to have an internal GM document indicating that some engineers within GM and Delphi realized the torque load from the engine could exceed the half shafts capabilities. Cadillac/GM have not released anything official, though some dealers have replaced the units under warranty. The upgraded differential starting in 2006 is seen by some as a silent admission of the problem.
Recall Date: DEC 20, 2007
Model Affected: CTS
Potential Units Affected: 275936
Recall Date:
DEC 20, 2007
Model Affected:
Potential Units Affected:
Complaint about Cadillac CTS-2005
To GM Customer Complaint Department,
Subject: complaint about Cadillac CTS
I purchased my Cadillac CTS in August 2006 and since then I have been having technical problems that never ended. At first and 2 weeks after I bought it I noticed loud noise coming out of the differential. I took the car to the dealer and took them on a ride and made them hear the noise. Surprisingly they were not able to identify the source. They suspected the noise was coming out of the bearings but apparently it was not. I had to see them every time I took the car for service and they only managed to get it solved this week.

#31 of 41
Re: replaced tire on new cts [wasco] by wunderbread
Feb 08, 2008 (9:20 pm)

Replying to: wasco (Jan 14, 2008 8:15 am)
I don't know if you've resolved this problem yet, but it sounds to me like you have a lock-up problem. The speeds at which you're describing your vibration is when the torque converter clutch engages, aka 'lock-up'. A lock up clutch can shutter/chatter on engagement--this problem is easily and often misdiagnosed as an engine misfire. There is a GM service bulletin on this exact problem for your car. Most of the time it is fixed by a simple reprogramming of the computer, if that does not fix it then step 2 is a new torque converter. Hope this helps, I can get the bulletin # if you need it.

#9 of 18
Re: Problems with 2005 CTS [ctsjunk] by temj12
Oct 21, 2006 (11:06 am)

Replying to: ctsjunk (Oct 21, 2006 5:04 am)
I am surprised that you are talking about the roaring. I have an '05 CTS with 26,000 miles. At this point, I have not had any repair problems but it is early yet. At 15,000 miles, my tires were cupped and roaring. I am replacing them the next week. I am going to try the recommended rotation every 5,000 and the alignment every 15,000 and see if the second run is better. It is ridiculous that a car would be designed with this type of alignment problem. I am not sure what the directional issue would do. My son had the same thing as you on a 2005 Civic and it affected the handling. If you have gotten 25,000 miles plus out of your tires, then I would not say you have worn them any more than normal. A guy was in the tire store here with a CTS-V and he has to replace his tires every 12,000. No wonder General Motors is in trouble. The Cadillac dealer is the one who has advised me on the rotation and alignment. He says the car has a very aggressive suspension. Wow!
- Show quoted text -

Brotherton Cadillac Experience Part I

September 28, 2009

Dear Mr. Brad Brotherton,

We are writing with regards to a vehicle we purchased from Brotherton Cadillac on August 17, 2008. We traded in our 2005 Suburu Forrester XTS and purchased a pre-owned 2005 Cadillac CTS with 38,146 miles for total cash sale purchase price of $25973.44. This included aftermarket add-on of (Sunroof, Chip Protection, Simonize and Lo Jack).

In November 2008 we began experiencing mechanical issues with the vehicle (e.g. suspension creaking noises over speed bumps and noise during slow tight turns wheel rubbing). We brought the vehicle to Bellevue Cadillac because we had moved in November from West Seattle to Monroe and it was the closest dealership to us.

At 43,002 miles in January 22, 2009, we brought the vehicle to Bellevue Cadillac. During that service, Bellevue replaced the both Control Arms and Set Camber and Toe. Technician indicated issues were fixed.

At 49,633 miles In July 14, 2009, we brought the vehicle back for service. The last service performed did not fix the creaking noise in the rear suspension. There were other issues that were new since the last service: the radio and would turn off and on intermittently, slight hesitations on hills at 20-40 mph. During that service, the Transmission Module was updated; however the radio issues could not be duplicated.

At 52,840 miles in September 10, 2009, we brought the vehicle back once again to Bellevue Cadillac. The issues with the hesitations on hills were still not resolved. The noise creaking in the rear suspension was still not fixed. Heather went out for a test drive with the technician and he confirmed issues with the Torque Converter and Rear Differential. Both were replaced during that service.

On September 16, 2009 we picked up the vehicle and the vehicle still had the rear suspension creaking noise and now a new issue with the car vibrating between 55-65mph. The vehicle was also suffering from acceleration capabilities. We noticed it lagging and chugging like a heavy duty pickup and found difficulty during acceleration.

At this point we contacted Brotherton service, spoke with Rob Cannon and brought the vehicle in on September 19, 2009.

On September 24, 2009, I spoke with Marvin and he stated the Bellevue Cadillac failed to put in the fluid for the Rear Differential, hence the car was still making creaking noises during the tight turns. He indicated the vibration was caused by “separation” tire on the front passenger side and that the other three remaining tires would need to be replaced eventually due to low tread wear.

I have a difficult time understanding how the car needs four new tires replaced with only 15,000 miles driven on them. As a GM Certified vehicle, we expected brand new tires to be put on the vehicle or tires that had enough tread to last longer than 15,000 miles. We authorized for the front passenger to be replaced.

On September 25, 2009 I went down to pick up the vehicle and took it for a 30 minute test drive. I noticed the vehicle was still vibrating at speeds between 55-65mp and the vehicle was pulling heavily to the right. The creaking noise was minimized but I still noticed a low humming noise. I returned to Brotherton and spoke with Arun about my frustration with the purchase of this vehicle. I went out for another test drive with Dan to confirm my concerns with the vehicle. Dan indicated that the tires should not have tread wear/separation within 15,000 miles. He also indicated that the slow acceleration could be due to the torque converter installation and that car may need to be reprogrammed. Dan said the low humming noise during tight turns is normal and attributed to the brake pads brushing up against each other.

After my test drive with Dan I sat down with Arun for 3 hours to discuss my disappointed and concerns with the car purchase. Arun had the service department take another look at the vehicle over the weekend.

Today, September 28, 2009 we were notified by Marvin that they replaced all four tires with stock tires from another vehicle and said that the vibration was now fixed. However, when I inquired about the acceleration issues – he said they machine did not turn up any codes.

Heather and I have been more than patient with this vehicle. After 2 months of the purchase date, the vehicle has spent more time being serviced than driven. At this point in time we are not confident all the mechanical issues are not resolved nor do we feel that it is a safe vehicle to be driving on the road.

We understand Brotherton has a long reputation for excellent customer service and selling high end quality cars, however we feel the vehicle we purchased does not fall in this category.

Under the Implied Warranties on Used Cars legislation, we would like to request a buyback from Brotherton Cadillac for the vehicle we purchased.

Implied Warranties on Used Cars

“Every used car sold by a dealer in the State of Washington for personal (not business) use has an "implied warranty of merchantability" under RCW 62A.2-314. This means that the dealer promises the used car will be fit for ordinary driving purposes, reasonably safe, without major defects, and of the average quality of similar cars which are generally available for sale in the same price range.”

“…As mentioned earlier, a used car must be reasonably fit for ordinary driving for a reasonable period of time. If the buyer has major problems with the vehicle, the consumer can request that the dealer fix the problem or refund the purchase price of the car. If the dealer refuses, that may be a violation of the consumer’s implied warranty of merchantability.”

We and I own 5 vehicles and the only vehicle we have issues with is the 2005 Cadillac CTS we purchased from Brotherton. We would like to sit down and meet with Brad and hope to resolve this as quickly as possible. As we mentioned to Arun we will be leaving town this Thursday and will not return until the second week of October.

Brotherton Cadillac Experience Part II

I am an avid fan of cars and have purchased cars every 1-2 years. I currently own a Chevrolet Trailblazer, Chevrolet Tahoe, Volvo S80, Mazda Miata and Cadillac CTS. I am not the type of person who gives reviews on consumer websites, however my latest customer car experience has inspired to me share my story in the hopes that no one else is ever treated the way we were treated at Brotherton Cadillac or any other dealership for that matter.

We have yet to hear a response from Mr. Brotherton since our last correspondence on October 28, 2009. We are presuming that they choose to further discuss this.

date Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 7:27 PM

[Brad] I was early this morning drafting an email to you to see how your tires were handling when I received your email, the tone and content of which was shocking? I will finish my comments on the tire issue before addressing the various issues you raise in your email below.

[Consumer] Brad, I am surprised that you are shocked at where we stand. We have been experiencing mechanical issues with this car for the past 12 months and it has been in the service department for more than 60 days total for the repairs. I have spent a lot of my personal time dealing with this car (taking it back and forth to the repair shop, being on the phone with service advisors, driving to Brotherton to meet with you, and speaking the GM Assistance). How can I not continue to be frustrated at this point?

[Brad] TIRES:

If the tires are not the “type” you want, I will have them switched to a set that you want. Please let me know that type you research and we will get it handled. Contrary to your apparent beliefs, we do appropriately handle our customers concerns, and will be so here in a fair and equitable manner. Tires are a maintenance item, and those on the vehicle you purchased were driven the number of miles within the manufacturer’s norm. Nevertheless, again, we will upgrade those and have offered and equivalent amount of “goodwill” in the form of one months car payment. When I saw Heather and you on Sunday, I asked Heather how she was, thanked her for her patience, told her that if the tires did not address the problem to let me know, and I even introduced you to my son, who is 8, as one of our customers. There was an opportunity at that time to excuse ourselves and talk about how upset you still were. I wish you would have availed yourself of that opportunity instead of sending an email.

I strongly believe that talking is a far better way to communicate and address problems. But, since you elected this medium, I will work within it.

[Consumer] We tried speaking with both you and Arun about this a month ago at your dealership. The option you gave us was to replace the tires or to put the car on consignment. To us, this was NOT a compromise but a decision that you forced us to make without any further discussion. It is you that left us without any other option but to file our grievances with GM Customer Assistance and other agencies.


Before addressing them issue by issue, we are the retail seller of this used car. It comes with certain warranties from the factory and us. We honor our contractual obligations and often go beyond them, as we feel we have done and offered to do with you.

Vehicle Performance: I am not a technician, but as I have learned, because you have a new torque converter your vehicle had all of its shift adaptations reset to factory specs. So the vehicle must relearn its shift points and that takes 2 – 3,000 miles. The ride should then be as expected.

[Consumer] There seems to be a communication problem among your team. Marvin and Arun both indicated the acceleration problems are fixed and there should not be a problem. Here, you are telling me that I need to wait 2-3,000 miles for the car to adapt to the new settings. Who are we to believe if you and your staff cannot agree to the same assessment?

[Brad] “Other Retail Store” : I am not sure I understand the comment about an “other retail store”. Perhaps I can address it this way. We did not see your vehicle until about 14 months after the purchase as you elected to have it serviced/repaired in Bellevue.. Only after 14 months after you purchased the vehicle did we have knowledge of any issue going on. You told me you selected Bellevue since you NEVER come to Renton after you moved. I did offer to meet you near your home or work and even offered to meet Heather in Seattle. We agreed that the base of Queen Anne was an acceptable location for any future repair work. Then as you the both of you went to lunch I offered to recommend a local restaurant and you then stated that you knew your way around because you are in the area frequently. Such a blatant inconsistency makes me wonder what is going on here.

[Consumer] We purchased the vehicle on August 17, 2008 and it was with the dealership for two weeks thereafter because we were on vacation through Labor Day and there were several aftermarket items that needed to be installed. The vehicle exhibited mechanical issues in November 2008 and was serviced in January 2009 with less than 5k miles driven on it. We contacted Brotherton to discuss the prior and current issues on September 16th, 2009. I am not sure how you got 14 months. Furthermore, is it the expectation of Brotherton that we must get it serviced at Brotherton Cadillac? What if we had lived in Leavenworth or out of state? This does not seem logically to require us to bring it back to you every time we have a service issue. The reason we brought it back to Brotherton is because the mechanical issues we experienced did not see the “norm” for a certified pre-owned luxury vehicle. We believe the torque converter, toe cam and rear differential were existing problems that manifested itself back in November 2008 but were not acknowledge by GM until September 2009.

When I used the term “Other Retail Store,” I was referring to for example Lowes. When I purchased a riding lawn mower at any Lowes store and I have a mechanical issue with the product, Lowes does not tell me to go to the manufacturer with my grievances. They honor the warranty by issuing a return or exchange for another product.

As for the inconsistency, there is none. We live in Monroe, I work in Bellevue/Redmond and Heather works in Queen Anne. The reason we are both familiar with the area is because we lived in South West Seattle for 3 years prior moving to Monroe (November 2008) and that is why we are familiar with the area. Heather also used to be a field claims adjuster and worked all over Western Washington. We spend most of our time in Snohomish County. Bellevue Cadillac is close in proximity to work and this is why we decided to use them to service the car. We did not know that Queen Anne would be an acceptable location for pick up and drop off until you offered.

[Brad] Regardless of that, you appear to be attacking the quality of our dealership, something I take as personally offensive and clearly erroneous. We have been awarded the Cadillac Master Dealer Award, we are a Standards for Excellence dealer, Mark of Excellence award winner, Puget Sound Business Journal top 75 Philanthropic Businesses in the State, just to name a few of our awards of which we have many that we are very proud of and our customer satisfaction is among the top in the industry and we are considered to be one of the top 200 in the country). Our record attests to our dealership doing better for its customers than the ‘other retail stores’ you refer to.

[Consumer] We honestly feel that in this particular case, the dealership has not stepped up and taken accountability for the product you sold us. Although we understand that cars do from time to time have problems, we would expect whoever sold it to us to stand behind their product whether they are the retailer dealer or manufacturer. However, I do not think replacing the toe cams, torque converter and rear differential are “minor” issues and the numerous trips to Cadillac to address these mechanical issues have made us lose confidence in this vehicle. Over the past year we have been driving a clunker.

[Brad] Sexist Treatment: As far as your treatment; I would really rather not get into an argument of weather you were treated differently because you are a women, but since it is a point in your letter, I will say you are seriously mistaken. I am sorry if you truly feel that. Does Heather feel that way? You received a tremendous amount of professional and courteous attention from 4 employees. Service advisors, service technicians, sales managers and the owner ALL spent time with you on this matter. Furthermore, we got the manufacturer involved to get assistance, even though your vehicle is under warranty and that is our obligation to repair defects under warranty and also perform service. A person’s gender has no bearing whatsoever in our treatment of a customer and I am personally disgusted and offended that you would enter this in your argument. One of the comments we receive from all of our customers is that over 20% of our staff is comprised of females and we are a very diverse business.

[Consumer]I am not suggesting that any of your staff outright did anything to offend us. What I am saying however is that many of your staff underestimated our knowledge of vehicles. For example, we were told on 9/24 when we picked up the vehicle by Marvin that the vehicle was repaired. When I came to pick up the vehicle and took it out for a test drive, the vehicle still vibrated and pulled aggressively to the right. As experts in your field, we are putting our trust in you to know what you are doing and repair it correctly the first time. I personally felt we were brushed off and our concerns were not taken seriously.

Every time I spoke with either Marvin or Arun, they assured me things were fixed but never went into detail of the repairs until I inquired. On the most recent test drive with Dan the Technician he questioned us about the acceleration issue with the car. We discussed it with Dan but apparently that conversation never left the car because Marvin never gave him a service order for the acceleration problem. We again left the vehicle at Brotherton for another long drive back to Monroe after once again being told the vehicle was “fixed.” We have not received a service record to show that the acceleration issue was address or what was done. This again deepens our lack of confidence in this vehicle and the service that has been performed.

Correction on a statement you made in the above paragraph. We made the first contact with GM Customer Assistance not as you have stated above. During our in person conversation, you advised us to file a complaint if we had grievances as you could not help us further except to ask for us to pay for the replacement of the tires.

[Brad ] Media Contact: We fully understand your right to free speech, but do know that there is not a right to commercially disparage us. Whatever comments you make about us must be factual, and not false or deceptive. Keep in mind the following:

[Consumer] We are not looking to disparage you or your business. We are merely evoking our right to share our views on the performance of the car and our experiences with the service we have received from Bellevue and Renton Cadillac.

·[Brad] We score very high with our customers on their satisfaction with us.

· We spent hours (at our expense, not yours) on your vehicle to determine where the problem was coming from. We had more than 2 service employees working on the explanation of your vehicle repair and what was done previously. If you did not understand the explanation of our efforts, it was for you to express that so we would know. I have explained how the torque converter needs to re-learn your driving practices, yet you still say that is not acceptable.

[Consumer] We have also spent countless hours dealing the vehicle issues, taking time out of our work and personal schedule to deal with this. It is not only you the dealership that has incurred this inconvenience. Furthermore the acceleration problem is so-called fixed however it is not documented anywhere in our service documents/receipts that it was even worked on. This leaves us little confidence that someone did actually work on it.

[Brad] · We have asked GM to make one of your payments as a measure of “goodwill” but that is apparently unappreciated by you.

[Consumer] It is not what we asked for. What we asked for was a buy back or trade of another vehicle.

[Brad] · We have offered to upgrade the tires. ( and I will do that at no additional charge )

[Consumer] The tires are the least of our worries. The lack of confidence in this vehicle is our main concern. We truly do not feel safe or feel that the repairs have fixed the problems. We are now just waiting for something to break down and to have to go through this process again.

[Brad] I don’t know where to go from here. I am sad that it is where it is and I feel that you, XX, are unwilling to be satisfied and are seeking something that you have not informed us of. The real issues before us are not insurmountable if you will only let us do what is needed (passage of time re: torque converter) and what we have offered (substitute tires and efforts with GM). We are desirous of solving problems, not seeing them escalate.

[Consumer] Our position has always been the same, we are not confident that the car is safe to drive with all the repairs that have been performed. There should not be mechanical issue within 2 months of purchase and the 110pt Certification should have uncovered these issues. It is hard for me to fathom that these were unnoticed with the amount of recalls and service bulletins we have found during our research.

We are not your average car consumer. We currently own a Tahoe, Trailblazer, Volvo and Miata, in addition to the Cadillac. Out of all of the mentioned vehicles the Volvo is the only vehicle that has been serviced within the last year with a serpentine belt replacement. All other vehicles have simply had the 3,000 mile oil, lube, and filter service. On the other hand, the Cadillac has been in the shop for a total of 60 days with major under body work.

We treat our cars very well and have taken great care of the Cadillac by servicing it at the Cadillac dealership for oil changes and major repairs in hopes that we receive better care than your average repair shop. However, with doing everything an owner could do… we are still stuck with what we consider to be a “lemon” even though it does not fall within the Lemon Law due to mileage and age of vehicle.

Owning a Cadillac should be a wonderful and exciting experience, however in this case it has been nothing but a burden. Every time we look at the vehicle, it reminds us of all the turmoil we have endured over this past year.

Yes, I am unsatisfied with the results because we as the consumer are forced to accept responsibility for a defective product. Furthermore, the GM Customer Service experience did nothing but waste our time. We are willing to work with you, but replacing or upgrading the tires is not a resolution in our opinion. Please let us know when you wish to discuss other option that does not require us to lose more money or time than we already. We hope that Brotherton values the customer relationship enough to do the right thing for the consumer.