The Most Common Cadillac Problems

Each Cadillac model has different trends of common mechanical issues. Some problems across models include airbag recalls and infotainment system problems.
Written by David Ghanizadeh-Khoob
A/C condenser leaks, airbag recalls, infotainment system problems, engine problems, and steering wheel sensor malfunctions are some of the most common issues across Cadillac models. 
  • Common Cadillac problems and reliability ratings vary depending on the vehicle model and model year.
  • Knowing what problems are common with certain Cadillacs can help you during the car-buying process or allow you to catch and fix problems early at the repair shop with a Cadillac you already own.
  • The SRX is considered the least reliable model, and the replacement TX5 is the most reliable.

What are the most common Cadillac problems?

The classic luxury brand from
General Motors
, Cadillac has a long, storied history. In recent years, though, Cadillac’s reputation for reliability has declined. This is something they are trying to change with their newer line-ups. 
Historically, some of the most common problems across Cadillac models have been: 
  • Air conditioning condenser leaks
  • Takata airbags
  • CUE infotainment system malfunction and screen issues
For a breakdown of the common issues of the Cadillac vehicles featured in this article check out the table below:
Model
Starting price
J.D. Power reliability rating
Most common problems
Years to avoid
SRX
$38,600
82/100
Headlight troubles, leaky sunroof, loose toe link
2010-2014
CTS
$47,990
74/100
Timing chain, steering wheel sensor
2006-2009, 2014
Escalade
$78,000
78/100
Weak door handles, HVAC issues, clunky transmission and suspension
2007, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2019
XTS
$47,890
82/100
Electrical system issues
2013, 2014, 2016, 2018
DeVille
$51,600
N/A
Engine leaks and overheating
1994, 1999, 2000-2002

Most common Cadillac SRX problems

Average annual repair cost: $703 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 547
The biggest headache for
Cadillac SRX owners
has been headlight issues. Complaints of dim lights and water getting into the headlight assembly are some of the most common. If your headlight is not working, it creates a dangerous situation for you and other drivers.
In fact, this problem has led to persistent issues seeing at night—to the point that a number of class-action lawsuits have been filed, and owners of 2010 to 2015 SRXs have been issued reimbursements for expenses for headlight repairs.
Other common problems with the SRX are leaky sunroofs, rough engine idling, steering wheel sensor failure, and loose toe links. Model years 2010-2016 have had a recall on their toe links.

Most common Cadillac CTS problems 

Average annual repair cost: $663 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 302
The
Cadillac CTS
sedan had a run from 2003 to 2009 where there were a lot of complaints with the coolant system and a faulty steering wheel position sensor. Timing chain breakage problems, which usually first show signs with a check engine light, were commonly reported as well. All of these have the potential to be costly and dangerous issues.
More recent models seem to be more reliable with many of the complaints found online being with the interior, infotainment system, and the rear bezel cover—which are largely cosmetic but still expensive.

Most common Cadillac Escalade problems 

Average annual repair cost: $1,007 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 92
The Escalade
has long been known as the “biggest and best” luxury SUV. With an average annual repair cost of over $1000, though, that luxury comes at fairly hefty costs throughout the vehicle’s lifespan. 
Historically, complaints with older models of Escalades have been about door handles breaking and issues with the HVAC system. You'll pay about $115 just for the heating/AC inspection.
More serious, though, is the history of jerky, clunky transmissions, especially in the 2016 models. Then there’s the faulty suspension that leads to uncomfortable driving conditions, which is especially problematic in the 2014 models. Get a brake, steering, and suspension inspection if your Cadillac Escalade is bumpy.

Most common Cadillac XTS problems 

Average annual repair cost: $875 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 56
The
stylish XTS
seems to have fewer problems than the other models featured here, with the model receiving far fewer complaints on CarComplaints.com and receiving a higher reliability rating on RepairPal.com.
That said, it still has its issues. Most notable are electrical issues that cause the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) to malfunction and the battery to drain excessively quickly. These problems seem especially prevalent in the 2013 and 2014 models. 

Most common Cadillac DeVille problems

Average annual repair cost: $476 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 218
The iconic
Cadillac DeVille
is perhaps one of the most famous Cadillacs in history. The classic designs seem to hold up well, but problems get worse with the newer generations. 
The most common complaints tend to be with the engines of the eighth generation DeVilles (2000-2005), which have a habit of developing oil leaks and overheating. 

Are Cadillac cars reliable?

Reports contain largely mixed reviews about Cadillac’s reliability as a brand. Companies like J.D. Power tend to give Cadillacs a decent reliability rating, while others like Consumer Reports and Repair Pal tend to rank Cadillac near the bottom of car manufacturers for reliability. 
Part of this is likely due to Cadillac being a luxury brand—it’s going to be more expensive to repair than other makes no matter what the issue is. 
That said, Cadillacs rarely make the list of most reliable luxury vehicles and are usually bested by companies like
Lexus
, Mercedes, and
BMW

The most reliable Cadillac model: 2018 Cadillac XT5

Most common problem: Jerky transmission
NHTSA complaints: 0
The XT5 was released to replace the SRX in Cadillac’s lineup. The new luxury crossover maintains the relatively affordable price point that had set the SRX apart from its competitors, but with fewer problems. 
The 2018 XT5 is one of Cadillac’s most reliable models, but it still only received an “average” reliability rating from J.D. Power.

The least reliable Cadillac model: 2010 Cadillac SRX

Most common problem: Headlight troubles
NHTSA complaints: 439 
The SRX was in production until 2016, offering a more affordable luxury crossover to the market. The
Cadillac SRX V6
was especially coveted. Unfortunately, the SRX is also the Cadillac model with the most consumer complaints.
The 2010 model was the worst year for the SRX. Six recalls were made for various 2010 SRX models, including a recall for a faulty toe link, issues with pre-igniting if using the wrong fuel type, and power steering issues, among others. 
Couple these recalls with frequent headlight issues, leaking sunroofs, and steering wheel sensor problems, and you have headaches for thousands of car owners.
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FAQs

If you properly maintain your Cadillac and it doesn’t fall victim to any of the engine problems on this list, you can expect it to last over 200,000 miles.
Cadillacs are luxury vehicles, so maintenance costs tend to be higher than average. Annual repair costs for Cadillac owners are around $700-$800.
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