: Potential New Owner "Need all of your help"



seabass
10-24-07, 09:56 PM
Hi everyone, my name is Jason and I am brand new to this forum. I am considering a purchase of a 2000 Catera. I have heard some very mixed things about this car so I wanted to ask some folks who have them to give your two cents. Here are the stats of the car:

Catera 2000
48k
Condition looks very good

The car was owned by a realestate agent that passed away early this year. The family says that the car really has not been driven at all in the last year. From what I understand it has just been sitting. I have the vin number and spoke to a Service Manager locally and he said the car has had some basic work done that is pretty specific to that model year but nothing stuck out to him that looked bad. From what I know the car has never been in an accident.

The family is looking for $6,500 for this car and that looks reasonable to me but the service people I have talked to think this car should not go for over $5,000. What do you all think is a fair price for this car?
And here is the big stuff, if I do get closer to purchasing what should I be looking for and what goes wrong the most? IN SHORT SHOULD I CONSIDER THIS CAR? This will be a daily driver for my wife and young son.

Please help as I am confused. Thanks for any input.

By the way I think the car looks great for 8 years old!!!

Seabass:confused::confused::confused:

PEETYZ
10-24-07, 10:10 PM
The 2000-01 are better cats than 97-99 less problems and stuff as for price sounds ok but did you check www.kbb.com it will tell you what the car is worth one thing to check is timing belt i just checked kellys blue book and it says Ex condition 6495 Good condition 6010 and fair 5410 the car is most likey in good condition which is good The excellent condition is like showroom condtion which less than 5% of used cars for sale are so id say 6 would be a good price

Here are the specs



Excellent
$6,495

"Excellent" condition means that the vehicle looks new, is in excellent mechanical condition and needs no reconditioning. This vehicle has never had any paint or body work and is free of rust. The vehicle has a clean title history and will pass a smog and safety inspection. The engine compartment is clean, with no fluid leaks and is free of any wear or visible defects. The vehicle also has complete and verifiable service records. Less than 5% of all used vehicles fall into this category.
Good
$6,010

"Good" condition means that the vehicle is free of any major defects. This vehicle has a clean title history, the paint, body and interior have only minor (if any) blemishes, and there are no major mechanical problems. There should be little or no rust on this vehicle. The tires match and have substantial tread wear left. A "good" vehicle will need some reconditioning to be sold at retail. Most consumer owned vehicles fall into this category.
Fair
$5,410

"Fair" condition means that the vehicle has some mechanical or cosmetic defects and needs servicing but is still in reasonable running condition. This vehicle has a clean title history, the paint, body and/or interior need work performed by a professional. The tires may need to be replaced. There may be some repairable rust damage.

CateraMV6
10-24-07, 10:13 PM
I paid 8K for mine but it was 01 Sport with all the goodies and 60K on the clock... today she has over 86K about a year later and no problems yet just a ton of fun and multiple compliments...

I'd say see if you can get it for 6K and then go for it... if you buy your parts from the dealer or outside parts supplier and then try to do the work yourself it should be no more expensive then any other car...

Some people here report brake jobs in the range of 1600$... now I upgraded mine with GTO Calipers and it cost me 100$ for the front end so its a judgement call... at this point but if you like to learn there is plenty of info and honestly not that much stuff goes wrong wtih these cars especially the Face Lift models...

rinverso
10-24-07, 10:13 PM
i've had my 01 cat since feb. 07. unless you are great mechanic, i highly recommend you get an extended warranty. it cost $1700 which you can just pay $100 a month. my cat had 55,000 miles and was locally owned in florida and well maintained. i paid $5600 for it, now the breakdown.
it now has 66,000 miles and the total bill for two major breakdowns was a grand total of....
$8300.
$1600 of which was routine maintiance items, the rest was paid by the warranty company. les $200 in total deductibles.\
serpentine belt
tires that wear quickly
power steering pump
and hydraulic hoses
tie rod
control arm bushing
pulley
timing belt
tensioner
16 bent valves
machined head
and all gaskets
i lost the car for 6 weeks total but they did pick up some of the rental car. yes for the money the car is great for the money. and i know i'll have it for at least another 26,000 miles which is the warranty period, if i didn't have the warranty. i'm sure i would feel much different.
robert:thehand:
best of luck!!! i do still love the car

PEETYZ
10-24-07, 10:15 PM
Best of luck I hope the car works out for you and we are all here for help check out this thread i started to avoid any costly repairs and to keep the car running great so cats have less problems than others as well so have the vin and all checked like u did u should be ok check this thread http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-catera-cimarron-forum/89081-preventative-maintenance-add-your-tips.html

-Pete

seabass
10-24-07, 11:07 PM
i've had my 01 cat since feb. 07. unless you are great mechanic, i highly recommend you get an extended warranty. it cost $1700 which you can just pay $100 a month. my cat had 55,000 miles and was locally owned in florida and well maintained. i paid $5600 for it, now the breakdown.
it now has 66,000 miles and the total bill for two major breakdowns was a grand total of....
$8300.
$1600 of which was routine maintiance items, the rest was paid by the warranty company. les $200 in total deductibles.\
serpentine belt
tires that wear quickly
power steering pump
and hydraulic hoses
tie rod
control arm bushing
pulley
timing belt
tensioner
16 bent valves
machined head
and all gaskets
i lost the car for 6 weeks total but they did pick up some of the rental car. yes for the money the car is great for the money. and i know i'll have it for at least another 26,000 miles which is the warranty period, if i didn't have the warranty. i'm sure i would feel much different.
robert:thehand:
best of luck!!! i do still love the car

Thanks for the input. This is the kind of story that is scaring me about this car. You gave me a link to this aftermarket warrany website. Do you know if you can purchase a warranty for a 8 year old car? Thanks again for all the info...:thumbsup:

seabass
10-24-07, 11:12 PM
Robert, I can't find the link to the warranty website now. Could you re-post it? Thanks...

Seabass

elvin315
10-25-07, 12:29 AM
I bought my 2001 Catera Sport before finding this site. If I had I wouldn't have bought it, though if I hadn't bought it I would have missed out on a great sport sedan. A budget BMW. No Cadillac before the Catera ever handled like this. No floating battleship feel to this car. The ride is closer to Corvette than Cadillac. I absolutely love this car.

It's had a few issues that I've had to address like weeping cam covers and a leaking heater valve but I expected to repair things with a used car. I just didn't know the Catera had such potentially catastrophic weaknesses. So far the oil cooler is OK but my cam belt tensioner is due for replacement. I wish there was a way to convert the cam belt to a chain but regardless, I accept this and her other quirks as part of owning the best handling car I've ever owned.

Crisp handling is more important to me than top speed bragging rights. As big as this country is there are no autobahns on which to explore the upper reaches of the speedometer. This baby turns like a go-kart. Sometimes I turn off the TCS to use the throttle and induce some oversteer. After so many years in FWD cars I'd almost forgotten how to do it. When the money appears I'll add lowering springs, premium sport dampers, and strut braces front and rear. I'll probably add upgraded control arm bushings (if I ever find any) and eccentric bolts on the struts to fine tune the wheel alignment.

I added dimpled & slotted discs with performance pads and installed bigger 2004 GTO front brake calipers that replaced the stock ones. Nothing wrong with the Cat Sport's handling or brakes but I don't know many enthusiasts that can leave well enough alone. I briefly ran autocross years ago, before being a responsible father took precedence, and would like to maybe start again now that they're grown.

Don't let my rose colored enthusiasm sway you. If you're looking for a dependable daily driver, the kind you can ignore maintenance and subject to abuse, the Catera isn't for you. If you want a driver's car that, like a thoroughbred horse, requires attention..............welcome aboard.

Elvin

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rinverso
10-25-07, 08:55 AM
Robert, I can't find the link to the warranty website now. Could you re-post it? Thanks...

Seabass

smartautowarranty.com
good luck again, no doubt the car has some possible issues. the biggest you need to check is if the tensioner and timing belt have been replaced. also wheather you are getting any cross contamination from the oil cooler.
i bought the car knowing these two issues, thats why i bought the car and the warranty. they will certainly warrant your car, it goes by the milelage and less than 10 years old. if you have less than 60,000 miles they will even cover all seals and gaskets.
let me reinterate, i love this car!!! its curb appeal and performance.
robert;)

yellowxhoodie
10-25-07, 11:19 AM
Don't let my rose colored enthusiasm sway you. If you're looking for a dependable daily driver, the kind you can ignore maintenance and subject to abuse, the Catera isn't for you. If you want a driver's car that, like a thoroughbred horse, requires attention..............welcome aboard.

Elvin


couldnt have been said any better. You should send this to Cadillac. It shouldve been their slogan for the Catera in the first place. :histeric:

seabass
10-25-07, 11:48 AM
smartautowarranty.com
good luck again, no doubt the car has some possible issues. the biggest you need to check is if the tensioner and timing belt have been replaced. also wheather you are getting any cross contamination from the oil cooler.
i bought the car knowing these two issues, thats why i bought the car and the warranty. they will certainly warrant your car, it goes by the milelage and less than 10 years old. if you have less than 60,000 miles they will even cover all seals and gaskets.
let me reinterate, i love this car!!! its curb appeal and performance.
robert;)

Ok I called smartautowarranty.com and got some info from them on the different products that they offer. The rep said that for $3,100 they could do a bumper to bumper warrenty for the car. This would also include a $100.00 deductable every time the car goes in for service. This would cover the car to 100k. Then after the car could be covered up to 200k for about $1,500.00. This feels expensive to me because of the up front price of the car. If I were able to get the car for 6k then I would have about 9k into it. However, with the history of this car I think this might be a good investment. Tough to make this call considering other cars would have better service records.

Is this sounding like a good investment to you guys? Any feedback on this would be great.

By the way I was trying to attach some pictures of the car for everyone to comment on but for some reason I am not able to. Any ideas on this?:banghead:

rinverso
10-25-07, 08:08 PM
i don't understand the price difference. maybe they wised up to the cost to keep a catera working. the only difference i see is mine is an 01... i did get quotes from other companies. do a google search under car extended warranty. maybe something more reasonable will turn up. just make sure it covers the timing belt and tensioner and oil cooler and electric controls.
good luck, robert:thumbsup:

lakesidepark
10-25-07, 08:43 PM
There is one more, and to me the most important reason to like this car. Yeah, the maintenance can be a bear especially if you have to pay others to do the work (big con fro some)...and oh yeah the car is a joy to drive (a pro for many). But there is another consideration that is a biggie especially for those that have to drive a lot and that is the safety factor. I believe this is about the safest used car for the size that you can get (that is if you don't get too wild with it).
There is one post on here that shows a pic of a Cat that was crushed on both ends in an accident that would kill the occupants of most other cars this size and the occupants of that Cat walked away.
The Catera has a lot of metal hidden inside the roof and frame, even though the front and back may crumple like a tin can, the cabin will stay intact. The later models with the side air bags even more so. And don't minimize the value of those seats and lumbar supports.
And the traction control, and the maneuverability of the car, and the quick acceleration at highway speeds, have bailed me out of many situations already that would have been a disaster with any other vehicle I drive. You actually have the choice to slam the brakes OR the throttle to get out of bad spots. I've done both and with great pleasure to escape certain disaster.
Two recent events in my life convinced me even more that this car keeps me safe.
I did have an accident in mine six weeks ago, rear-ended by a Ford Exploder. I have very little disk left in my lower back. The accident pushed in my rear bumper (collapsed the hydraulic shock absorbers that hold the foot of foam bumper on the rear), and bent my trunk lid. Collapsed the lumbar supports in the driver's seat. I couldn't even tell I was hit and had absolutely NO pain, and this from someone that hurts picking up anything over 20 lbs. I was shocked at the damage, but also quite surprised that I was not even sore. The car is still driveable and I am gonna fix her and keep her. I don't want to drive anything else.
Two weeks later my sister-in-law was rear-ended in a 97 Cutlass. Absolutely NO damage to the rear of the car...but the shock went to her body instead...she is still on life support. Twisted her neck and collapsed the arteries to her brain. Permanent damage and we hope we can bring her back but she will NEVER be the same again. A cheap built car, even if it is easy to fix, is not worth it to me anymore.
You can repair a car but you can't fix a brain or a back. The car is still driveable and I am gonna fix her and keep her. I don't want to drive anything else.
If you keep her up and drive her right, that Cat will take care of you.

seabass
10-26-07, 09:02 AM
To Lakesidepark,
I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me about your experiences with the Cat. I am so sorry to hear about your sister in law. She will be in our thoughts as she recovers. As far as the Catera is concerned the safety factor is a MAJOR consideration for me. I have a brand new son and he will be in this car much of the time. It is very tough to find a used car that has it all: performance, value, safety, reliability.

I am going to take a look at the CAT this weekend and see how it looks. I will keep you all in the loop as to how this potential purchase is going. I will take some additional photos and post them on Sat night as well.

Once again thanks again for taking the time to post.

Seabass:cool2::cool2::cool2:

lakesidepark
10-26-07, 09:32 AM
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-catera-cimarron-forum/112152-catera-gave-its-all-crash.html

I may have misspoke about the injuries in the accident referred to in the earlier post. They didn't walk away.... but reading the details of the story it is surprising that anyone lived thru it. That car was crushed between a large vehicle moving hi speed and a larger vehicle at a stop. Doesn't change MY view of the car, just didn't want to confuse matters.

mrplease
10-26-07, 11:11 AM
if you want a good entry level luxury car similar to the year and price of the catera, i would recommend a lincoln LS. i have a 2002 LS i use as a business car and drive 500 + miles a week and i have had no problems with it. it has over 100,000 miles on it now. i am also a member of the lincoln forums and the LS has FAR fewer problems than the catera.

i am a cadillac/lincoln man. i currently own a 2005 CTS (my favorite), a 2002 towncar, a 2005 aviator (the wifes), and the LS is my business daily driver. and virually all are trouble free.

before i bought the LS i was on this catera board frequently, asking questions and reading the pros and cons for the car. i was torn between the two cars... LS or Catera... after reading all the horror stories here, i decided for all the miles i will be putting on the car i'd go with the more reliable LS.

but still everytime i see a catera i like them. but i also like the beefy look of the LS. you should be able to get a 2000 LS with similar miles for $6500. also, the LS doesn't look as old. they were made with the same body style up to 2006, as the catera was only made up to 2001. so driving a catera, it will look dated. if you drive a 2000 LS who can tell your not driving a 2006?

thats just my 2 cents...

mrplease
10-26-07, 11:15 AM
well if safety is important to you, read this...

WIKIPEDIA: "The Lincoln LS has received very high marks in occupant protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has rated the LS as a "Best Pick" with a perfect score in their frontal offset crash test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the LS almost perfect scores in its side impact and rollover tests. In fact, CNBC rated the LS as “one of the five safest cars of all time.”"

you can look up any of this for accuracy and it checks out fine...

rinverso
10-26-07, 09:32 PM
as much as i hate to agree with mr. please. he's probably right. the ls has some issues but is generally a much more dependable car. alittle more reasonable to repair as well. overall is pretty nice looking. my brother had one for three years. which he just traded in because little problems started to add up. it was an 03.
btw mr. please, what lincoln forum do you use. i have a towncar.
robert:o

mrplease
10-27-07, 02:25 AM
i use lincoln-vs-cadillac.com (minus the - this site won't let you say it) its much better and has more members than lincolnforums.com

morourke
10-27-07, 09:17 AM
I have owned a 97 catera since 99. Started with 24K mi, now have 110K mi. The car definitely has pros and cons. Pros: comfortable solid car with some nice options, both safety and convenence. e.g. side impact bars in doors, traction control, antilock brakes, seatbelt pretentioners, auto up/down all windows. Cons, expensive to maintain. its a german built car so replacement parts are usually expensive, alignment, front end suspension components need more than normal maintenance to keep even tire wear and good driving although I think improvments were made by 2000. Check to make sure all warranty/recall work was done, My maintenance between 50K and 100K: water pump (recall), oil cooler, front end: lower control arms, tie rod extentions, transmission common at 90K mi, distributor modual (not really a distributor but similar function), front brakes / rotors, catalytic converter, instrument cluster lights (can be done by yourself per good instructions in this forum). As for price, depending on options and condition I would stay under 5K if private party sale, check out Edmunds.com

rinverso
10-27-07, 10:15 AM
i use lincoln-vs-cadillac.com (minus the - this site won't let you say it) its much better and has more members than lincolnforums.com

thanks, i'll see you there.
robert

seabass
10-27-07, 10:53 PM
I have owned a 97 Catera since 99. Started with 24K mi, now have 110K mi. The car definitely has pros and cons. Pros: comfortable solid car with some nice options, both safety and convenence. e.g. side impact bars in doors, traction control, antilock brakes, seatbelt pretentioners, auto up/down all windows. Cons, expensive to maintain. its a german built car so replacement parts are usually expensive, alignment, front end suspension components need more than normal maintenance to keep even tire wear and good driving although I think improvments were made by 2000. Check to make sure all warranty/recall work was done, My maintenance between 50K and 100K: water pump (recall), oil cooler, front end: lower control arms, tie rod extentions, transmission common at 90K mi, distributor modual (not really a distributor but similar function), front brakes / rotors, catalytic converter, instrument cluster lights (can be done by yourself per good instructions in this forum). As for price, depending on options and condition I would stay under 5K if private party sale, check out Edmunds.com

Thanks guys I really appreciate all of the feedback. Here is where I stand on the Caddy as of right now. I took the car for a drive today. As far as I can tell the everything looks to be in great shape except for a shimmy in the steering at around 45-mph and under braking. I could also feel the vibration when holding onto the gear selector. I am betting the front rotors are shot. I do have a copy of service records from when the last owner had the car and the rotors have been machined once already. The car currently has 47k on it. The owner agreed to let me take the car to a local Caddy dealership so they could give it a very good once over. There is some minor body damage and a small scratch on the hood that has started to rust. The passenger side rim is also scratched pretty badly as well. I am betting the previous owner curbed the car.

I will post what the dealership says to get input from you guys before I make an offer. Things are looking good right now though.

Oh yah as per the advice of on of the other members on this forum I did some pretty extensive research on after-market warranties. I have found on that looks pretty good that covers the car for and additional 4 years unlimited miles. The policy is through Great Lakes, it is their Platiaun Plan. The cost is $2,300. What do you guys think. I can post the contract if anyone is interested. I would really like to know if you guys think this is a good idea. Thanks for all the help.

Seabass

mrplease
10-28-07, 12:37 AM
get a lincoln LS!! when a catera fanatic agrees that an LS is a better safer bet, you know something is wrong!

also, on the warranty, check with the mechanic where you plan on bringing it (i'd use the dealership with the warranty), and check if they've dealt with that particular extended warranty company, and make sure they don't have any problems with them. as in slow to pay claims, or if they've had trouble collecting on the claims, or if they are just plain hard to deal with. there are some extended warranty companies who are notorious for that. check with the service department and ask them which is the best extended warranty company they've dealt with.

www.smartautowarranty.com is a VERY reasonable & very reliable extended warranty company. they are rated the highest in consumer reports and they are a Carfax company.

BUUUUUUT, with an LS you don't have to worry about any of this stuff...

(and this is from a cadillac man)

rinverso
10-28-07, 10:41 AM
ok, heres my 2 cents worth,
first, make sure your local dealer works with the warranty company you want
most dealers are happy to deal with warranty companies because at the completion of work they give them a credit card authorization.

second, i woould always bring your car to the caddy dealer when you have a warranty issue, since the warranty company trusts the dealer. you may not have to deal with an adjustor also.

third, make sure the contract covers the oil cooler, timing belt and tensioner, ebtcm, seals and gaskets.

fourth my company also permits $50 a day allowance for rental car and also towing allowances.

imho i think the vibration is more to do with the tierod or control bushing. thats what i experienced with the vibration. if it did hit a curb you could also have lost a wheel balance weight. i doubt it the brakes unless it only occurs when braking.

the price for what your getting with the warranty sounds great, especially if it does all the above.

best of luck, keep us posted:welcome: robert

rinverso
11-01-07, 11:20 PM
Robert, I can't find the link to the warranty website now. Could you re-post it? Thanks...

Seabass

ok whats the story, need an update. did you purchase the cat??:sneaky:

yellowxhoodie
11-02-07, 11:42 AM
im confused. you said the previous owner had the rotors serviced once already. Cateras rotors are non servicable, they have to be replaced entirely.

seabass
11-02-07, 12:05 PM
ok whats the story, need an update. did you purchase the cat??:sneaky:

Well I am purchasing the Cat on Monday. Price worked out great and the car checked out from the dealership. Thanks for all the help guys. I will post some pics next week. :thumbsup:

seabass
11-02-07, 01:20 PM
im confused. you said the previous owner had the rotors serviced once already. Cateras rotors are non servicable, they have to be replaced entirely.

That is strange because I have heard the same thing as well. But the repair invoice clearly states roters machiened. I have no idea at this point, other than to say that the car was checked out by a Cat dealer here in Cincinnati and the brakes looked good. :hmm:

seabass
11-02-07, 01:33 PM
get a lincoln LS!! when a catera fanatic agrees that an LS is a better safer bet, you know something is wrong!

also, on the warranty, check with the mechanic where you plan on bringing it (i'd use the dealership with the warranty), and check if they've dealt with that particular extended warranty company, and make sure they don't have any problems with them. as in slow to pay claims, or if they've had trouble collecting on the claims, or if they are just plain hard to deal with. there are some extended warranty companies who are notorious for that. check with the service department and ask them which is the best extended warranty company they've dealt with.

www.smartautowarranty.com is a VERY reasonable & very reliable extended warranty company. they are rated the highest in consumer reports and they are a Carfax company.

BUUUUUUT, with an LS you don't have to worry about any of this stuff...

(and this is from a cadillac man)

Well it looks like you were not able to talk me out of purchasing the Cat. But I AM going to get the warranty as well. Smartautowarranty is at the top of my list mostly because it sounds like they work with the most dealerships. In fact they had my information from the last time I purchased a used car already on file. I guess the dealership used them to quote me a policy at the time.

Anyway I looked on Consumer Reports and could not find any ratings on Aftermarket Warranty Companies. Where did you find them on CR? Thanks for any info you can provide.:banghead:

yellowxhoodie
11-02-07, 01:56 PM
are those the original rotors? or were they replaced and then serviced? I just replaced all my rotors and pads. I was going to get the rotors cut until i took them off and discovered that it said unservicable on them...

rinverso
11-02-07, 07:02 PM
Well I am purchasing the Cat on Monday. Price worked out great and the car checked out from the dealership. Thanks for all the help guys. I will post some pics next week. :thumbsup:
glad to hear it worked out, i know you hate to spend the money, for the warranty. i know i did. but believe me it will pay for itself. and save you the worry. its almost like buying a new car. and btw personally i like the lines and feel of the cat compared to the lincoln LS. but thats just an opionion.
best of luck, and godspeed.:thumbsup:
robert

seabass
11-03-07, 10:08 PM
glad to hear it worked out, i know you hate to spend the money, for the warranty. i know i did. but believe me it will pay for itself. and save you the worry. its almost like buying a new car. and btw personally i like the lines and feel of the cat compared to the lincoln LS. but thats just an opionion.
best of luck, and godspeed.:thumbsup:
robert

I really do hate to spend the money on the warranty. However, I have always loved the Cat name and this being my first experience I would like it to be a positive one. We all know this car has potential challenges and I think the warranty will be money well spent. I have to tell you guys that I do belong to a few other forums and everyone on this site is by far the most helpfull. Most other sites people just seem like post #$%#'s. That has not been the case here. Thanks a millon and I will post pictures next week when I bring her home.
:cool2::cool2::cool2::cool2::cool2::cool2::cool2:: cool2::cool2::cool2::cool2:

rinverso
01-04-08, 07:00 PM
svb, here another thread to read. robert