: Questions for a potential STS buyer



fps_dean
07-15-09, 09:16 PM
Hey guys,

I've been driving a 1984 Buick Electra Park Avenue for the past couple of years, stiill in pretty good shape overall although age is starting to catch up to it and it does need a few repairs, and I was just rear-ended this past Saturday (by a suburban), so I'm thinking it might be time for a new car.

The STS is one of the caps on the top of my list to check out, given that I fit in it comfortably. I found a 2006, rwd with a v8 with only 26k on it that looks perfect, however I've found out it had several rather expensive repairs done on it, one being for almost $4000, and many covered under warranty, so it looks like it might be an accident wreck, a car made on a Monday or both; I do not think I will go with that one. Also have a 2005 with a v8 around 40k miles for a good price that's still in the mix, at a price of just under $22,000.

This is the biggest car investment I would have made at this point in my life, so before I take a car loan for the next 5 years, the more input you guys can give me, the better.

I've done some basic research. Reliability seems good, they did better than most cars in crash tests, and from what I've seen, the general consensus is if you flush your coolant at least every 2 years and keep up with oil changes the Northstars will go on almost forever.

My primary questions are the following, but feel free to throw in your two cents with whatever, all input is most certainly welcome.

Are do these cars cost a fortune to maintain?

Are parts ungodly expensive for these cars?

Also, what would be a good offer to make if I decide to buy this 2005 STS?

Can I play mp3 dvds? It looks like it does have the nav system equipped from the pictures.

Also, are sunroofs standard? I can't tell if it has one from the pics or not. I meant to ask, but forgot.

Thanks in advance.

next2pool
07-15-09, 09:39 PM
2005 was the first year for this generation and they did have some teething pains, but don't worry about what has already been spent. Also a $4000 repair (even if it was collision damage) is not something to worry about either. These cars are reliable, but due to some of the features, a failure of an electronic item can break the bank--as it would with almost any high end car. If possible, you may want to price and extended warranty. By the way, there is no such thing as a Monday car the way we used to talk about it :) The prices you are talking about are a bit high. A good 2005 regardless of equipment goes for about $18k at most while a good 2006 should not be much above $20K. i realize that once you get the bug, you want to jump, but luckily these cars are a dime a dozen!!

fps_dean
07-15-09, 09:58 PM
The dealership that has the 2006 (actually 2 of them) I happen to know lists everything a whole lot higher than it will actually sell for. They listed at 28k, but I'm fairly sure I'll be able to get them down to at least 22k.

A coworker and very good friend bought his car there, and my boss bought at least one of his cars there and they told me they will definitely drop the price quite a bit.

Thanks a ton for the input. It's incredibly valuable to know what prices I should expect to see for a car in good shape so I do not overpay, or get sketched out if something is quite a bit cheaper than what I thought it should be going for as well.

As for the Monday car, there actually is some justification for that back in the day when they'd hire untrained college students to assemble cars on Mondays -- my dad was one of them and he said he'd never want a car that him or his college buddies who worked there helped build because they literally had no job training.... these days, it's just a saying.

next2pool
07-15-09, 10:15 PM
Now you have me going on the Monday car :) The only thing that happens even remotely on a given day is the final assembly. Very few plants have contiguous stamping facilities so the sheet metal can be weeks if not months old. The same goes for engines and transmissions. Almost all of the interiors, suspension parts, electronics, fascias, etc come form suppliers--and they can be hours, weeks, or months old before they are assembled. So, other than fit and finish, the date of manufacture means nothing--nor did it ever. The worst vehicles by our own internal measures were end of year units when we started to run out of parts. The paint is almost all robotic and panels are what we call net fit--so almost no variation due to the assembly person.

fps_dean
07-15-09, 10:51 PM
You're probably right, but my dad, a former GM employee would disagree...

So you're sure that I shouldn't be concerned with those expensive ROs on that 2006 STS I mentioned? They listed 28k... what can I offer?

Should I look for a 2006, or should I generally be fine with a 2005?

next2pool
07-15-09, 11:22 PM
Not to worry, but I'm also a life time GM employee:) If you feel comfortable closely looking at the choices you have, that will be very important--things like interior wear and cleanliness, the "straightness" of the body sides, etc. I'm not sure what part of the country you are in, but the price variations are big for comparable models across the country. If you plan on keeping the car for a few years, I wouldn't worry whether it is a 2005 , 2006, or 2007. The used STS values are fantastic, so you should be able to get the best in 05 thru 07 for around $20K.

fps_dean
07-15-09, 11:50 PM
I rarely see a 06 or 07 listed for 20k unless it's in Texas and I want to import it, or if it has a lot of miles. Of course, my friend and boss think I could get that 2006 for 22k at least given how the dealership marks everything up.

One of many reasons Caddys is atop my list, is because I'm far from being loaded but they won't break the bank if I get one used -- or at the very least, won't shatter it. If I look at the cheapest new cars I could buy, I'm paying a little more for a slightly used Caddy, which is a no-brainer if you ask me.

The 2005 is silver/tan which is one of my favorite colors, and it's at a reputable dealer, probably the best within miles of me. I found another 2006 that's all black, but every single review said don't buy from that dealer, the don't even change the oil when selling used cars, etc.

I plan on getting a 5 or 6 year loan, and I need the car to last me at least that long. I'm not one to trade cars in every couple of years -- I'd rather buy one I'll like and drive it to the ground, or I paid it off and have gotten bored with it -- whichever happens first.

I'm generally good with inspecting for brake wear and whatnot. I'll check the body the best I can. My basic motto is, if I can't see it, it doesn't exist.

You've been extremely helpful. I'm going to check out both vehicles on Saturday. I am definitely feeling optimistic about the 2005. For some reason though, the 2006 if it was an accident wreck scares me. I've seen too many cars that were accident wrecks that were fixed to the point you wouldn't tell other than the radiator was bad, or wasn't properly hooked up.

EChas3
07-17-09, 01:35 PM
Make sure to get the options you prefer and test drive the actual car (not one that's 'just the same') before buying. If you choose some of the more expensive options consider an extended warranty or a self-funded repair account.

pjbizjak
07-17-09, 09:02 PM
IMO try and find an 07 and get it 'certified'. An 07 has most of the bugs worked out that the 05 & 06 had. About the sun roof, no it's not standard it's an option. Are you in a winter climate area? If so consider the STS4(4 wheel drive). Also search for a STS with the 1SG package, it has almost all the bells and whistles.

EChas3
07-17-09, 11:30 PM
^^^^^ Like he said. 1SG's rock! If it will ever see snow, get AWD. I love the ACC/HUD.

fps_dean
07-18-09, 12:28 AM
IMO try and find an 07 and get it 'certified'. An 07 has most of the bugs worked out that the 05 & 06 had. About the sun roof, no it's not standard it's an option. Are you in a winter climate area? If so consider the STS4(4 wheel drive). Also search for a STS with the 1SG package, it has almost all the bells and whistles.

I live in MA... I've driven RWD cars for years and have been alright in the snow, so I'm not worried.

I am checking local (or semi local) dealerships tomorrow. Both cars seem to have the v8 package, with a sunroof and navigation system, but the only 1SG I can find in my state is a 2008 which is a bit out of my price range ($34k).

Believe me, if I find a 1SG that I can afford, I'll do that. If not, most of the options I'm looking for are in the base v8 package, but I certainly would prefer 1SG but I think it will be out of my price range, as will a 2007.

And aren't 2007s more expensive?

The 2005 I'm looking at is certified...

EChas3
07-18-09, 03:41 PM
Be prepared to purchase snow tires for a RWD. At a minimum, change the OEM Michelins. Even a talented driver can plant a stock STS in a ditch on a snowy road.

fps_dean
07-18-09, 04:00 PM
Okay I test drove 2 STS's today.

First one, 2005, V8 RWD, certified from a Cadillac dealer. It's in very good shape -- not a scratch on it, but the touch screen for the nav system is not fully working... but they will fix that.

The second one was a 2006 with 26,000 miles, AWD, V8 1SG. There were some scratches on the right side, and what looked like white paint all over the white side of the car -- although the salesman tried to say bad wax, I once hit the side of a garage door and got white paint on a car and it looked exactly the same and was just as hard to get off.

I do like the suspension package on the 1SG, and the heads up display is pretty cool too, but overall I'd be happy with the base v8 options... just not as happy.

EChas3
07-18-09, 05:04 PM
The RWD will be quicker and probably rides softer at some cost to the cornering. Depending on the rear-end gear, it may get 3-5 mpg better mileage. It sounds like a clean car. Does this dealer have a good reputation?

Wax residue will easily come off with a light rub. If it's paint, what else is he not telling you? Have they given you a free Carfax? Any warranty at all?

Is there anyone's else's opinion that matters a lot to you? I know of people (Lexus owners?) that are surprised that my 1SG doesn't have what they expect to be a 'Cadillac Ride'. Personally, I want a performance suspension, Magnaride works. Cadillac's competition spends a lot more on their 'active suspensions' with only minor improvements. Beside's, my wife has her 1SE for the ride (but we do swap on her Blizzaks in November).

Have you run Kelly's Blue Book or equivilent on both cars? If you had time, some members of this forum have access to recent auction prices that would enable you to bargain fairly. A dealer is entitled to a profit but I think 10% on a $20k car is plenty. You're the one with the money and times are rough.

For me, it came down to the gadgets. I wanted Adaptive Cruise Control. Others prefer the standard variety.

Good Luck!

fps_dean
07-18-09, 06:04 PM
I have carfax'd the VIN and it shows nothing other than the mileage is legit and a service or two at a dealer. However I checked the VIN's service history where I work, and have seen a lot of expensive services, one for something like $3660, and a couple for $700 or something like that. I know a lot of them was warranty work but I do not specifically remember which ones were or were not, and I can't tell what's body shop and what isn't.

I have checked kbb and have been doing a lot of research on several cars, not just STS's or Caddys. I know that kbb prices are the starting point for negotiation, and I should not expect to pay them... next2pool said about 18k for a 2005, and 20k for a 2006. The 2005 I was looking at has lower miles and is in great shape, so if negotiations bring me a little higher than that, I will still be happy.

Services that large are body shop work more often than not. The guy said it was a lease. I'm pretty sure I'd get that for 20k or less, given the scratches mainly on the right side of the car. Not too terrible, but they still show - and the blue-gray color brings them out even more. The rotors are also old and on their last leg -- the guy tried telling me it's just dirt and one ride around the block will fix that.... honestly, they look worse than the rotors on the 1984 I'm driving now which are the original rotors... I'm not that dumb. The engine was also noisier. But, I got to drive the 1SG package.

The 2005 is silver/cashmere which is one of my favorite colors, carfax shows all routine service being performed, the driver had snows judging how carfax reports "tires replaced" ever november and april, and is a certified vehicle. The top left of the navigation screen was not working, and the first thing they told me was that they were looking into fixing that on Monday. They also have another, but it's white and I have a pet peeve against white cars, but it's even lower mileage.

Other than that, this car looks perfect, but it's not 1SG, but do I really care? The head up display is pretty cool but I can definitely live without it, and I did like the suspension better, but the 1SE rode fine too, and I'll get a few more MPGs -- but the price of snows will offset some of it too.

I also tried out an Audi A6 -- surprisingly I DID fit into it, but the steering wheel made it very hard to get in and out of, and a Volvo S80 too... the STS was definitely the best, and the girlfriend agrees even more. I also ruled out the CTS as I need enough trunk space to fit a Marshall half stack, and there's no way it's fitting in a CTS's trunk.

This should be about 3 hours away from me... I see the button for the HUD and the 18" rims, so it looks 1SG to me.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2005-Cadillac-Sts_W0QQitemZ280373804009QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUS_Car s_Trucks?hash=item414794bbe9&_trksid=p4506.c0.m245&_trkparms=65%3A7|39%3A1

fps_dean
07-18-09, 06:52 PM
There is also this, but I have been told to avoid this dealership at all costs... every single review posted online is negative. Some of them are actually kind of funny in a sadistic way, if you're feeling bored...

I do love the black on black... another one of my favorite color combinations.....

http://www.choosediamondauto.com/VehicleDetails/437397703

They also have this, which looks like it has 18s too...

http://www.choosediamondauto.com/VehicleDetails/377695043

fps_dean
07-18-09, 10:11 PM
Something else that I meant to ask - is the display of the HUD adjustable? As in, I had to crouch down to see it on the dash, so can I adjust it so a taller person can see it?

EChas3
07-18-09, 10:24 PM
I agree they both appear to have 18" wheels. I think they must be 1SF or 1SG. Neither has HUD/ACC (no round black hood emblem). I think beginning 2008 one could have HUD and not ACC. If they will sell it CPO you can take it to any Cadillac dealer.

I don't like that they don't list a price. Even on used cars, my dealer posts a list price and a sale price that approaches internet pricing. It's like a baseball game starting in the 5th inning!

Do you have a mechanic you can trust? Many will evaluate a car for next to nothing. It's reasonable to ask a dealer to let you have it inspected before a purchase.

EChas3
07-18-09, 10:29 PM
HUD adjusts vertically (within limits) and brightness. Most polarized sunglasses make it disappear. When it's all the way off, ACC and the collison warning don't work. The DIC also won't display the speed digitally if you have HUD. (Like no mirror compass when you have Nav.)

fps_dean
07-19-09, 11:19 PM
I agree they both appear to have 18" wheels. I think they must be 1SF or 1SG. Neither has HUD/ACC (no round black hood emblem). I think beginning 2008 one could have HUD and not ACC. If they will sell it CPO you can take it to any Cadillac dealer.

I don't like that they don't list a price. Even on used cars, my dealer posts a list price and a sale price that approaches internet pricing. It's like a baseball game starting in the 5th inning!

Do you have a mechanic you can trust? Many will evaluate a car for next to nothing. It's reasonable to ask a dealer to let you have it inspected before a purchase.

The 2006, 1SG I drove had HUD. It was not listed as 1SG, or as having HUD or 18" wheels, but it did... or do you mean it's a 1SE with 18s? I take it the Cadillac emblem on the grill has a round circle in front if it's 1SG?

I also don't like how they do not post a price. As I said, the sales department at that dealership rated terribly, and some of the horror stores I've heard scared me away. I'll say the salesman at the dealership with the 2005 1SE I'm considering was very nice and the dealership is supposed to be very good, which is some incentive to buy this model.

MReed918
07-20-09, 04:05 PM
You're getting some great advice on this forum from others MUCH more knowledgable than me. But I can offer you this: We bought a 2007 STS (slightly used) from a dealership in Missouri. We live in Oklahoma. It was a certified used car and we are VERY happy. The dealership in Fort Smith, Arkansas (closest to our SE Oklahoma home) has been great with every question/issue we have had.

I fondly remember those days of looking for our dream car, much like you are going through right now.

Listen to all the folks that are giving you great advice, use that advice to find your Cadillac and you will be happy!

fps_dean
07-20-09, 04:42 PM
I am fairly sure I will be buying the 2005. It's from a respectable dealer, the car is in great shape with low miles (could be lower, could be higher), the salesman was friendly and the colors are among my favorite.

It's 1SE, but it definitely rode nice enough, and I thought that it rode nicer than the 1SG when accelerating.

I might not find a 1SG within a reasonable distance from me that is certified and checks out so nicely unless I'm willing to buy on ebay motors and have it shipped to me without seeing it due to where I live -- most people in this area who buy new Caddys keep them for 10+ years.

And yes I'm getting snows with chains on them.

EChas3
07-21-09, 03:29 PM
The round black grille emblem is the RADAR transceiver cover. Some early 1SG's may have been made without this feature but you may not see many. The 1SG trim level was required on 2005 & 2006 models to get AWD and HUD/ACC. The list price increase for the 1SG trim level by itself probably wasn't justified by the options included. However, if a buyer wanted an AWD with HUD/ACC (like me) their choices were limited. I love my fully loaded 1SG.

fps_dean
07-21-09, 08:02 PM
Oh, cool nice to know. You can't get this information anywhere!

I bought the 2005 STS today! $22k (don't think that I'll find one much cheaper than this short of NYC or Boston, which have also been driven a lot in start and stop city traffic), certified, and a brand new NAV system, plus the salesman was awesome. 1SGs seem to be very limited, and I really liked the 1SE model enough as it is.

Can't wait to get it, but due to work that will be saturday most likely...

EChas3
07-21-09, 11:57 PM
There is another POV when it comes to snow tires. They can be a boon.


1. November to April you're not wearing out your Summer tires.
A. Ditch those All-weathers & go aggressive if you want.
B. See Car & Driver - August 2009.
C. You only have to compromise for rain!
2. You will be rotating them so often you may get five years from both sets.

3. On my wife's car, the dealer dismounts & remounts (including roadforce balancing) for $75 a season.

A. Money is tight. If you have a good dealer, they want your business.
B. They won't over-torque your lug nuts and warp your rotors.
C. And they may keep your TPMS working right for free.
D. Remounting cleans the bead of corrosion, a significant source of slow leaks.
4. For $200 a year, you'll have friends at the dealer and the best rubber on the road.

Bring donuts or latte depending on your service writer!


I'd be interested in a debate with someone over the damage done by breaking the bead on a tire 5 times. Will this damage a modern tire?

MacMuse
07-22-09, 08:49 AM
I bought the 2005 STS today! ... certified, and a brand new NAV system, plus the salesman was awesome. 1SGs seem to be very limited, and I really liked the 1SE model enough as it is....

Welcome to the 1SE club. I am very happy with mine, and I can always look forward to a future car to pick up the features like HUD/ACC. I've never had them before so I don't miss not having them now.

K STS
07-22-09, 09:15 AM
I also have a 1SE w/ nav. While I love it, I really would like the 3.42 carrier (which I will be swapping eventually here.)

fps_dean
07-22-09, 04:10 PM
There is another POV when it comes to snow tires. They can be a boon.


1. November to April you're not wearing out your Summer tires.
2. You will be rotating them so often you may get five years from both sets.
3. On my wife's car, the dealer dismounts & remounts (including roadforce balancing) for $75 a season.

This kind of stuff is exactly why I don't mind getting snow tires, although I never really think of it like that.

hyperboimmv
07-23-09, 04:13 AM
Okay so not to thread jack this, but wasn't there a PDF going around that had all of the STS build options and packages broken down by year? Does anyone have that link? I am sure it would help here, and I would like to look at it again. :-D

fps_dean
07-26-09, 11:41 PM
I got the car yesterday. I've been pretty busy showing it off to my friends and family...

After driving it at night, with the moonroof open on a somewhat windy road with a 55mph speed limit, I like this car a whole lot more than when I test drove it -- and it was my favorite of the group of cars I test drove. The car just holds the road amazingly.

This car is one sweet ride!

One question -- is this a 3k or 5k service interval?

fps_dean
07-27-09, 12:49 AM
Also, I just learned it is a 1SF package not 1SE. I'm still learning this...

MacMuse
07-27-09, 12:58 AM
I got the car yesterday. I've been pretty busy showing it off to my friends and family...

...

One question -- is this a 3k or 5k service interval?

Congrats on the new member of the family!

If you haven't seen it yet, check out this current thread (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-sts-forum-2005-through-2010/175586-engine-oil-life-wtf.html) on oil life intervals.

fps_dean
07-27-09, 12:34 PM
So just use the oil life indicator? Sweet!

I am new to this -- the only other car I had an oil life indicator on was a 2000 Lesabre, and after 3000 miles it still showed something like 91%. It's at 87% already on the STS....

MacMuse
07-27-09, 01:08 PM
Also, I did change my oil about a month after I bought the car (used) just in case it had some sub-standard product from the previous owner.

fps_dean
07-27-09, 06:17 PM
Also, I did change my oil about a month after I bought the car (used) just in case it had some sub-standard product from the previous owner.

They just changed it at the dealer, otherwise I'd do the same.

EChas3
07-29-09, 12:05 AM
They just changed it at the dealer, otherwise I'd do the same.

So did mine, for both mine & my wife's. I still changed them soon with Mobile 1. Dealers often cut corners. Oil is the cheapest thing you can do for your car that really works.