2008 Cadillac CTS Long Term Road Test - Maintenance

2008 Cadillac CTS Long Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (2)
  • Comparison (1)
  • Long-Term

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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2008 Cadillac CTS: Detroit to Los Angeles Part VI

January 30, 2009


Back in L.A. after 2,493.1 miles. Besides surgery to remove the severe cramping from my right leg and lower back there was really just one thing left to do...

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2008 Cadillac CTS: Installing Aftermarket Oil

January 16, 2009


Today our 2008 Cadillac CTS drank the majority of that quart of Mobil 1 5W-30. The installation of the fluid took just a few minutes and we poured it ourselves. That is all for now.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 23,411 miles

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2008 Cadillac CTS V6 DI: Short Fuses

January 07, 2009

caddy fuse sized.jpg

Gather 'round kids. Let me tell y'all the legend of the mini mini fuse. You see, it all started this gray morn when I pushed the windshield washer button for my (largely) trusty steed. But did I receive a quenching squirt to clear my view of accumulated road-salt residue and your garden-variety dirt? I did not. Uh oh.

Out comes the owner's manual to look for the location of the fuse that I am now praying will be blown so that I can replace it and be on my way. Under some black plastic engine-compartment trim and beneath the fuse box cover with its three locks, is my culprit. Yep, the tiny little red blade-style fuse is blown. Great. Easy fix.

So I truck myself up to a major chain automotive parts store (visibility through the windshield is not yet bad enough to justify wiping it by hand). But I can't find as tiny a fuse as I need. They have regular and they have mini but not this one. "Hmmm," says the store clerk when I show him the fuse. "I think someone came in here before with one of those. I've heard of them. But we don't have them."

He directs me to a parts store across town that caters to guys who actually fix cars instead of to customers who only mount their own Yosemite Sam mud flaps and air fresheners. When I show the guy behind that counter he says, "Oh wow, can I show this to another of our guys?" I hear him say, "This is what I was talking about. I wasn't making it up." He tells me he's trying to get a supplier for this new mini-mini fuse. "I want to be the only one with them."

"You're going to have to go to the dealer. Bring your own lube," he adds, helpfully.

Fine. The increasingly opaque windshield is beginning to give me pause but I mosey on down to Massey Cadillac, an old-school Caddy dealer if ever there was one. "I need one of these," I say to the man at the parts counter, pulling the microscopic fuse out of that tiny pocket within the right front pocket of my jeans. "Hmmm, lemme check [tap, tap, tap, tap, tap...] yeah, we've got one. Seven dollars." Oh, come on...er, fine. I pass on the 22-inch Vogue chrome wheel and tire package they're selling for $2,700 and the varsity jacket with the Cadillac logo for $215. I wonder momentarily if I could manage to expense an Escalade chrome gas door ($145) and if I can fit it to the CTS before giving the car to Oldham next week.

The fuse is replaced and the washer pump kicks out the juice something fierce now. An increasing number of new cars will be using this new teeny, tiny fuse, I'm told. I'm now considering getting in to the fuse business.

Daniel Pund, Senior Editor, Detroit at 20,772 miles

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2008 Cadillac CTS V6 DI: Cheaper than the G8...

November 07, 2008


Smart > G8 > Cadillac CTS. At least insofar as the first service cost goes.

Recently the CTS went over to Martin Cadillac for routine service; oil change, chassis lube, tire pressure, and fluids. The job took about two hours and the final cost was $0.00. Nice. Too bad the dealer's valet took 45-min to find and get the CTS back in my hands. You get what you pay for, right?

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 14,888 miles

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2008 Cadillac CTS DI: Low oil

July 16, 2008

Cadillac CTS 007B.jpg

The oil level on the CTS was low at only 9075 miles, (it was within the lowest OK mark on the fussy dipstick shown above), so I added 1/2 quart of Mobil 1 5W-30. It calls for that oil right on the filler cap. The Inside Line Executive Editor just drove back from an Aston intro in San Francisco, and it's taking me to the MotoGP U.S round at Laguna Seca this weekend. Stay tuned for more.

Albert Austria, Senior Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 9075 mi

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2008 Cadillac CTS: Burning oil and rubber

June 08, 2008

This weekend our long term 2008 Cadillac CTS took a little oil and left a little rubber.

Official numbers are:

1) 1.3 quarts of Mobil 1 5W-30

2) 38 feet

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 6,647 miles

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2008 Cadillac CTS: Bum Turn Signal

April 21, 2008

Cadillac CTS

I thought I noticed this before, but I wasn't sure because it wasn't happening all the time. But now, it seems that every time you use the right turn signal to change lanes, it doesn't work. Nothing happens. Not great when you are driving on the freeway...

If you push the right turn signal all the way until it clicks, like when you are making a right turn around a corner, it works fine. But when you just want to hold it for a few seconds: nothing. The left one works just fine.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 4,889 miles

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Past Long-Term Road Tests