2008 Cadillac CTS Long Term Road Test

2008 Cadillac CTS V6 DI: Date with the Dealer

April 24, 2009


First things first: Our CTS's on-board computer was calling for an oil change. It's one of those cars with the handy count down meter and unlike some cars I can think of (bmw) the CTS shows the time remaining in big numbers, not a flash across the screen for 3 seconds on start-up. Unlike the first service, this one was going to cost us. It was going to cost us $105.95 to be more specific. That pays for an all-synthetic oil change, fluid top off and check all external lights. So basically, it's an oil change where the six quarts of Castrol synthetic cost $47.70, the filter is $10.95 and then there's another $29.95 for labor. Then add $1.12 for hazardous waste disposal and $5.43 in taxes. While not a great price, add this up and the final cost was $95.15, about 10 bucks less than what we were quoted.

But that was the easy part. Next up were the tricky bits, listed in ascending order of trickiness:

1) The bum turn signal. "Internal contact resistance" was causing the problem and the turn signal switch had to be replaced. It wasn't in stock and took about four days to come in and then just a few hours to install.

2) Faulty glue on seats. Dan Edmunds experienced this back in May of '08, we just re-glued it ourselves. Then, Erin noted this on the passenger seat of the CTS, and by the time we'd brought it in for service the driver seat was doing the same thing. They re-glued the Velcro to the seat plastic and called it a day. Our fingers are crossed.

3) There's a small plastic trim panel between the rear-view mirror and the windshield that covers the bundle of wires coming out the multi-function unit. (It's auto-dimming and has onstar built in.) Well, there's supposed to be a trim panel there. It fell off the day before going in for service. Turns out the mirror itself was loose and the cover would not re-attach. The mirror was removed and reinstalled along with the trim panel.

4) Glitchy Nav / Audio system. Josh Jacquot wrote of it: "

The front left and right speakers (all four of them -- two on the dash and two in the doors) simply weren't working -- a problem even the untrained ear (mine) can recognize. The affirmation came when I manually dialed all the power to the left front speakers (see red circle on photo), at which point there was no sound at all. Punch it back a few clicks and the rear speakers and front center channel came back on line. Hmmm...

And again, just like Dan's experience, turning the car off and back on (rebooting?) cured the problem. Bill Gates wrote this solution and for it he deserves a swift kick in the nuts. This seems to me to be the worst kind of problem that can exist -- one that's electronic and intermittent. Good luck demonstrating that one to the service writer.

"No, really, I swear..."

And then Chris Walton posted, "No matter how many times I pressed the "Nav" or "Dest" buttons, the map and all navigation functions were AWOL. When I got home, I shut the car off for about 10 seconds, started it back up (essentially rebooting the hard drive), but still there was no nav. It didn't return until I started the car this morning."

And then Chris Walton had it happen to him again, so far the only person to experience the issue twice.

The dealer could not replicate the issue (surprise!) and all of our software is up to date. Short of driving it directly to the nearest dealer next time this happens-- not out of the question-- we're going to have to live with this one until GM can figure it out on some other cars and issue a TSB.

Total Cost: 95.15

Days out of Service: 2

Issues fixed: 3/4

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 27,268 miles

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