: General STS Pre-Buy Questions



TUPilot
06-07-09, 03:22 AM
I知 looking at getting an STS (most likely an 05 or 06), and had some general questions about what I should be looking for, things to avoid, etc. Right now, I知 not considering an STS-V as it is simply too expensive to buy and own.

Having test driven an V6, I noticed the ride was exceptional but acceleration was a bit jerky and lacked the smooth shifting of a Mercedes I drove. Is this to be expected, or a quirk of this particular car (which looked like it had been beaten up a bit over the years).

How do you find the cabin for rear passenger comfort or bulky items? Obviously its not an SUV, but it would be nice to be able to squeeze some cargo in the back in addition to the Trunk.

Is the premium version premium recommended or premium required? If recommended, has anyone had any issues running on regular?

As I discussed in another thread, I知 particularly interested in a HUD. Anyone disagree that this is a nice feature? Are there any problems related to this system? Is the GPS linked to the HUD on all models that have both NAV and HUD?

I知 also interested in ventilated seats. Anyone with them think they are worth it, or another gizmo that isn稚 really needed.

Magnetic ride control? Worth it? How can you tell if its installed without a spec sheet? Are there any reliability problems relative to the normal suspension?

Any other suggestions for important features, things to double check on a pre-owned car, or things to avoid? For reference, I'm leaning towards an STS but still looking at a Mercedes E320 CDI and Audi A6, so if you are familiar with either of those and how they compare with the STS, please chime in! Your expertise is much appreciated.

Dadollac1
06-07-09, 02:53 PM
I have driven Legends and RL's for the past 15 years and my now STS is a far cut above those mentioned.:highfive:

EChas3
06-07-09, 03:20 PM
I would not consider a V6 unless it was the 2008 & later, i.e. Direct Injection. There's not much price difference in used cars and it gets about the same mileage (except in my AWD). You also get access to the best options which may not be available on V6 models.

These are complicated cars with lots of toys. You had better be very strong technically, have a very good mechanic or buy warranty coverage. Even though though the Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) plan has been cut back, it is still the best assurance of a good car. It is only available from Cadillac dealers and in December cost me $1,400. At that time, some people dickered the price down to $1,000. It is still as good or better than a $2,500 aftermarket warranty and extends coverage to 6 years/100K miles from the inservice date/odometer reading.

Some transmissions benefit from a software upgrade. I like the stock shifting program on my 2006 AWD V8 1SG (loaded). Others report issues and/or prefer a more traditional shift pattern. Expect this to vary a lot from car to car.

The STS is a mid-size car. My last two cars have been full-size and I miss the space. It's adequate for four people for a weekend or two people for a driving vacation. The rear seats aren't bad, certainly better than the CTS and IMHO as good or better than the Merc E-class or BMW 5-series.

My wife and I both use 87 Octane gas with no issues. However, I have read reports of performance/mileage improvements by some posters using 89 or higher. Here in SE Wisconsin we are forced to use a custom reformulated gas, so your experience may differ. The point is you are better off using the lowest octane 'first tier' gasoline that works in your car without pinging. Higher octane is wasted and the extra additives that boost octane can cause deposits to form.

HUD and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) are great and are a linked option until later model years. Nav guidance is displayed in the HUD, as are HVAC & Audio changes. Putting the trans in Sport mode also puts the tach in HUD. When I was car shopping, I considered ACC a requirement along with AWD (because I will drive this car on snowy roads). Because of the power & weight distribution without AWD, snow tires should be considered a requirment.

The Voice Recognition is widely considered the weakest feature of the STS. With practice, mine works pretty good. I consider a Lockpick a required aftermarket addition because it permits my passenger to enter Nav instructions, dial the Bluetooth or view DVD's/Aux Input video while I'm driving. There is a Nav upgrade available that improves VR & Bluetooth. See my post in http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-sts-forum-2005-through-2010/170159-nav-turn-instructions-dont-show-hud.html for details.

The ventilated seats are nice but they are not refigerated like in some other cars. Magnetic Ride Control (MRC), even when in Touring mode is a performance setup. If you want a Lexus ride, buy a Lexus. Before buying any STS drive it extensively. The different models can be very different.

MRC can be identified by code on the Build Sheet or Spare Tire Cover Label (FE3 - MAGNETIC RIDE CONTROL). The Performance/Touring choice is in the Configuration and the shock towers have a wire coming out of them. There are few reported reliability problems with any suspension options.

I looked at the Audi and Infiniti's as well as those mentioned above. Taking my my wife's 2007 on vacation convinced me on the STS. It's more fun!

EChas3
06-07-09, 06:17 PM
I forgot to suggest...

If you start to get serious about any Cadillac, spend the small bucks to join the forum and post the car's VIN on the CTS-V VIN check thread. It's cheap and will give you:

Full Build Sheet
Warranty Info
Dealer Service History


In fact, join anyway. Isn't it worth the price of an adult beverage?
(No, I don't get a commission.)

TUPilot
06-07-09, 09:51 PM
I forgot to suggest...

If you start to get serious about any Cadillac, spend the small bucks to join the forum and post the car's VIN on the CTS-V VIN check thread. It's cheap and will give you:

Full Build Sheet
Warranty Info
Dealer Service History


In fact, join anyway. Isn't it worth the price of an adult beverage?
(No, I don't get a commission.)

So basically a low cost carfax report for an STS?

EChas3
06-07-09, 10:50 PM
Better than Carfax. Carfax only says clean title, owners of record & collision insurance claims.

Dealer service history shows what has been wrong with the car. Almost all leased cars are serviced by a dealer because of the mistaken belief that the dealer needs to do everything, oil changes, etc.

next2pool
06-08-09, 12:18 AM
The V-8's were definitely packaged as the premium versions, but I have to say that the V-6's in many respects deserve serious consideration. They have better fuel economy and are much better balanced vehicles when it comes to handling. i don't want to start an engine war, but very few of the GM engineers who created the STS opt to drive or buy the northstars. Don't get me wrong--i was involved with the Northstar even when we looked at using the Isuzu V8 (a much more advanced engine at the time). Gm has decided to not upgrade it nor to keep it in the product portfolio. She's a gonner.

bbshriver
06-08-09, 11:25 AM
I got a 2005 'base" v8... I bought to a price (wanted CPO, V8, and pay less than $20k), so I didn't get some features... if I'd had a bit bigger budget (say $25k) I would look for adaptive cruise control (driven cars with this, and it's really nice), and a 2006+ since the computer programmer things don't seem to be available for 2005.
I wouldn't get a non-CPO one. It's nice to be able to take it into the dealer, and expect it to be perfect, and also be free. Probably depends on your dealer but mine has been very accomodating.

mapmaker
06-08-09, 11:36 AM
I have an '06 with the 255hp V6 and like it in every way. It has the luxury/performance package so it has everything except HUD and ACC, so I can't comment on those. I rarely accelerate hard, but when I need to, it has plenty of power. The test vehicle that did not shift well was probably a poor example, my transmission is always silky smooth. Also, I have to work really hard to get the voice recognition to understand me, but maybe it's my southern accent.

My biggest problem arises from the combination of the polished wheels and the performance brakes. I love the polished wheels, they really look great, much better than the standard ones, and the performance package includes the 9 spoke wheels which also look better than the standard 7 spoke. The "catch-22" is that the performance brakes produce an excessive amount of brake dust, the worst of any car that I have ever owned, so I end up washing my wheels once or twice a week and then use a quick detailer mist to freshen the rest of the car between full washings. I will probably look for a low dust brake pad when they need to be changed, there are several theads in the STS forum that discuss this.

Everything else on the STS gets an absolute A+. If you purchase one, enjoy your ride.

DTS_BOI
06-08-09, 03:44 PM
Number 1 - There simply is NO COMPARISON between the V-6 and V-8 engines in these cars. Drive the two back to back, and you will see they are totally different cars. The V-6 is adequate, but the V-8 is a purebred BEAST on the street. Besides, in todays automotive climate, V-6 and V-8 engine cars cost the same on the lot used..

Number 2 - STS cars do generate tons of brake dust, but so do Mercedes. My previous ML Benz generated rediculous amounts of brake dust. STS cars have the same problem but it is nothing a $60 set of ceramic pads cant fix...

These cars a very reliable. Take care of them and they will reward you with years of enjoyment. Generally speaking, more options equate to larger repair bills later. The adaptive suspension of some models are worth their weight in gold, but keep in mind the replacement shocks cost about $1,000 a piece. This is why I purchased an STS with the simpler air ride suspension. It still rides nice and sporty and stiff.

1 last sugestion, before buying a Audi A6, please check reviews on reliability on the vehicle. While it surely is a beautiful automobile, they are NOTORIOUS for having horriffic reliability problems. So are used Mercedes Benzes. I hear the 09 and newer benzes are much better, but other models are riddled with extremely expensive electronic gremlins. Seach the net for reliability reviews on these cars. You will be surprised...

Good luck!

TUPilot
06-08-09, 10:34 PM
I drove a nice V-8 STS today. The only real negative I noticed was some vibration, particuarly at idle and low speed. It was most pronounced through the accelerator itself, and very distracting. I could also feel it with my feet on the floor. I expect some vibrations out of a car, but the accelerator itself? It was significantly worse than any car I drive, including an 11 year old accord.

I'm trying to figure out if this is something common, something that just needs to be adjusted or if I should be looking at a different STS...

dhemrick
06-08-09, 10:47 PM
I drove a nice V-8 STS today. The only real negative I noticed was some vibration, particuarly at idle and low speed. It was most pronounced through the accelerator itself, and very distracting. I could also feel it with my feet on the floor. I expect some vibrations out of a car, but the accelerator itself? It was significantly worse than any car I drive, including an 11 year old accord.

I'm trying to figure out if this is something common, something that just needs to be adjusted or if I should be looking at a different STS...

We have two STSs (an STS-V and STS4) and neither of them ever exhibit the slightest hint of vibration.

If I had to guess based on past cars I've owned that exhibited such symptoms, it could be a broken motor mount.

bbshriver
06-09-09, 08:26 AM
I drove a nice V-8 STS today. The only real negative I noticed was some vibration, particuarly at idle and low speed. It was most pronounced through the accelerator itself, and very distracting. I could also feel it with my feet on the floor. I expect some vibrations out of a car, but the accelerator itself? It was significantly worse than any car I drive, including an 11 year old accord.

I'm trying to figure out if this is something common, something that just needs to be adjusted or if I should be looking at a different STS...

Definitely not normal.. is it at a dealer? Warranty?
If they don't know what it is/can't fix it I'd keep looking

EChas3
06-09-09, 09:20 PM
There is no direct connection between the accelerator & the motor (drive by wire). If you feel something there there is a problem that the dealer should fix before you consider the car.

TUPilot
06-10-09, 12:42 AM
I thought it was drive by wire, which is why I found the vibration so odd. I told the dealer I can't seriously consider the car until the problem is resolved, and despite the fact my sales rep certainly wants to fix the issue, I got the impression from his manager he'd rather wait and find someone who will buy the car as is... we will see. I'm still looking at this point.

Generally, what is the service life of an STS? I see several around I like in the 50k to 65k mile range, but I'm hesitant to go for one of that mileage. Can you keep driving indefenitely, or does maintenance hit the roof at some point

dhemrick
06-10-09, 05:50 PM
I thought it was drive by wire, which is why I found the vibration so odd. I told the dealer I can't seriously consider the car until the problem is resolved, and despite the fact my sales rep certainly wants to fix the issue, I got the impression from his manager he'd rather wait and find someone who will buy the car as is... we will see. I'm still looking at this point.

Generally, what is the service life of an STS? I see several around I like in the 50k to 65k mile range, but I'm hesitant to go for one of that mileage. Can you keep driving indefenitely, or does maintenance hit the roof at some point

Our '06 STS4 has about 82K on it and it is still pretty much like new. No major issues except for the catalytic converters going bad (covered under warranty). My STS-V only has 38K so it's still too young to determine longevity.

The car that it replaced was a '99 STS. We sold that car 2 years ago to a friend who was still driving it at 200K miles. The car still ran perfectly and only had a few squeaks and rattles but nothing major. I drove it one day and I was amazed that it was still so solid and ran so smooth with that number of miles on it. The only thing that went wrong with that car after we sold it was that the magnetic ride shocks were shot and it wasn't worth it to him to put a new suspension on a 10 year old 200K car. He sold it to some guy who put a passive suspension kit on it and the other guy is still driving it.

My experiences with STSs are that they are very reliable considering the complexity of the cars.

TUPilot
06-10-09, 10:15 PM
Thank you so much for the information. Here is one more for you all...

I drive a fair amount to the office (40 miles each way) and recognize that the STS isn't going to hit the MPG of a small sedan. You get a nice car, you pay for it at the pump to some extent. Nonetheless, one thing that concerns me is the range. If a V8 is only making 23mpg on the highway, and you figure on a 2 gallon reserve in the tank, that is barely 350 miles of range. It means more frequent fill-ups.

Is there any way to improve the mpg and thus stretch the range at all? The V6 sounds better in this regard, but finding one with a HUD is not easy!

EChas3
06-10-09, 11:23 PM
The range is both a common and valid criticism. I can't get 400 miles in my N* AWD. My wife's N* RWD gets about 425 on a trip. We both tend to drive the limit + 9mph. When the Fuel Low light comes on, don't mess around; stop for gas. 1) There's not much margin. 2) Fuel pumps easily overheat.

dhemrick - I'm surprised your Cats didn't go 100K. You actually got a good deal since they were replaced under the emissions warranty. How would you say the car was treated (1=babied <---> 10=rodded)?

If reports here are right, 120K is normal. It's sure not like my '93 Roadmaster that still had a good OEM Cat & stainless steel exhaust at 220K. (I drove it a 5 - towed a trailer - sometimes heavy, drove it hard & fast some, but took care of it and had the towing package.) From GM's Point of view, why should they over build to that extent?

While some have reported V6 STS mileage approaching 30mpg, I wouldn't be happy driving that way and consider the V6 power merely adequate. I test drove both the older 6 and DI V6 (2009 demo) and it wasn't satisfying to me. They seem to be working to move this 5,000 lb. car. I'll probably keep my N* running a long time or trade for another before I ever buy an Obama-box. There is no replacement for displacement. Torque is what you feel.

dhemrick
06-12-09, 05:31 PM
dhemrick - I'm surprised your Cats didn't go 100K. You actually got a good deal since they were replaced under the emissions warranty. How would you say the car was treated (1=babied <---> 10=rodded)?


We bought the STS4 used with 60K on the odometer in mid 2008. I do count myself lucky that they were replaced under the emissions warranty as the car was otherwise out of warranty at the time.

The car appeared to have been well cared for when we got it, but I don't know the driving style of the previous owner. Around that time, my partner put a bunch of injector cleaner through it because he thought it was running like the injectors were fouled, but I am not sure if what he felt as lack of power and engine misfire was really the back pressure from the bad cats or if the engine cleaner actually contributed to the cats going bad. Eventually, the check engine light came on and we took it into the dealer. In any event, it runs perfectly now that the cats have been replaced.

Since we have had it, I would say it has been driven as a 5 or 6 on your scale.

TUPilot
06-14-09, 10:01 PM
What years was the HUD and/or ACC available on the V6? The higher end of reported fuel economy for the RWD V8 might work for me, but I'm curious to see if a V6 might do better--assuming it has at least a HUD.