: Buying a 2003 Cadillac STS



Mike0214
01-08-11, 11:30 PM
Hello, I am looking in to possibly buying a 2003 Cadillac STS. It is a used 'as is' car. It has 226,000km (roughly 140,000 miles) already on it. The check engine light is on and it displays a message relating to suspension maintenance. It seems to drive fine as far as I was concerned, haven't tried it at high speeds yet. I have heard stories of vibration at high speeds with the original tires, it appears this car has a new set of tires (Kelly Navigator). I am wondering if I might be wasting my time with a car of such high mileage. Does anyone know if Cadillac's normally still hold up well at this point? is there any serious issues that may be imminent? I appreciate any advice.

ted tcb
01-08-11, 11:42 PM
Money pit with alarm bells sounding all around it.

Check engine light could be anything ... do a search on pulling your own codes.
The magnaride could cost up to $1000 cdn per corner, and the car will be limited to 145klm/hr
top speed with the suspension code displayed.
Also, it defaults into the soft mode, fine for hwy cruising, but it will bounce all over the place on a
bumpy road. Trust me on this, I dumped my 03 STS when I got tired of the ride in the default mode.

Someone put on budget tires ... I suspect the car has had a neglected life, and could be a financially
crippling experience for you ... and that's assuming the headgaskets are still good.

I'd peg the car at $2500 to $3k tops ... good luck in your search.

orconn
01-08-11, 11:50 PM
While a 2003 Seville STS in good shape really delivers a lot of high tech wizardry for a used car song! But remember at 140,000 miles a lot of the useful life of a lot expensive components has been used up and will need to be replaced to keep this car performing to spec. If you have reserves on tap to easily afford the cost of keeping an old $55,000 car in good running condition and you appreciate the abilities that the this vintage Seville STS brings to the table then it could be fine transportation for you .... but if you are strapped for cash and have been seduced into considering this car because of its' low "used" purchase price then the car could prove to be not only unreliable, but a financial disaster for you!

Mike0214
01-09-11, 12:01 AM
Are these components critical to normal transportation for city driving? If anything I'd plan to maybe just drive it for another 2 years. I'm currently in school (low income) my old car was a write off in a collison. I plan to finance a new car when I am done school. I imagine it's hard to tell just from reading my post but is this possibly asking too much out of it?

Jesda
01-09-11, 12:02 AM
This particular car will need thousands of dollars in work and little of it will be easy to do yourself. Pass on it.

Sevilles are great cars to drive and own if you're willing to put in the time and money or have the protection of a good extended warranty. And even if you're willing, this one sounds pretty beat, even if it looks and feels okay. These cars present themselves well even after years of abuse, but your wife will leave you when you've mortgaged the house to pay for repairs. :)

Jesda
01-09-11, 12:04 AM
Are these components critical to normal transportation for city driving? If anything I'd plan to maybe just drive it for another 2 years. I'm currently in school (low income) my old car was a write off in a collison. I plan to finance a new car when I am done school. I imagine it's hard to tell just from reading my post but is this possibly asking too much out of it?

Walk away.

ted tcb
01-09-11, 12:08 AM
Mike, things like the suspension light won't stop you from getting from point A to B.
But, the idiot lights, budget tires, and high mileage indicate that this car likely wasn't maintained
to a very high standard.
If the coolant wasn't changed regularly, you could be in for a $3000 plus headgasket repair in the
near future. The temp will randomly spike, and eventually the car would become undriveable.

You'd be better off purchasing a much newer, simpler Sunfire, Focus, Cavalier, Sentra, Protege, etc.
for your student commute.

Mike0214
01-09-11, 12:09 AM
Thanks everyone, you've been a huge help. It looks as though I will walk away with a unanimous result like this, as much as it saddens me I was really hoping to own a STS.

Cheers

Mike0214
01-09-11, 12:12 AM
yea it was a bit of a pipe dream, but I've just grown up around Cadillacs and was a little blinded by the opportunity.

Playdrv4me
01-09-11, 01:25 AM
Your resistance to the temptation of an STS at this juncture in your life will only serve to sweeten the experience later in life when you can afford the upkeep. They are fantastic cars, but unfortunately we see countless numbers of stories just like yours here... Guy in school falls in love with the car, but can't afford either a pristine well maintained unit, OR can't afford to keep up with the maintenance needs of an older cheaper car. Once things begin to go south it can add up fast and really get away from you.

No one says you won't own one, just that right now it will probably drive you to suicide.

ga_etc
01-09-11, 02:33 AM
Like everyone is saying, walking into one with SERVICE STABILITY SYSTEM already on the dash is NOT a good thing. It could be a very minor thing like a plug as come loose, or it could be bad shocks and all 2003 STSs were equipped with MagnaRide. Those seem to have caught up to the older CVRSS shocks in price to replace. If you really want to get into a Cadillac as a replacement car at this point, my suggestion would be a '93-'96 Fleetwood. $4-6k will buy a nice example. And with the Fleetwood you have the piece of mind of having a Chevy running gear that can and will last 200-300k with routine maintenance.

Jesda
01-09-11, 03:47 AM
Also, consider the Geo Prizm. Same car as the Corolla but because of the brand, resale value is lower. Get the 4-speed auto or 5-speed manual and avoid the 3-speed.

Rolex
01-09-11, 09:08 AM
Thanks everyone, you've been a huge help. It looks as though I will walk away with a unanimous result like this, as much as it saddens me I was really hoping to own a STS.

Cheers

I'm so glad you checked here BEFORE buying. Jesda said it best, that these cars still look perfect after several years and they hide their neglect very well. You can search around and find the same car that's in much better condition for a fair price if you look. Best of luck finding your car. :wave:

Submariner409
01-09-11, 12:51 PM
Bottom line: If you can't afford to maintain a $55,000 car to $55,000 specifications, no matter what company made it, don't even get close.

ThumperPup
01-10-11, 12:01 AM
how much was that person trying to sell it for ?
if it was like 500 or less id say take it but anyting over 500 dont walk run run oh did i meantion run away
your problby looked at atleast 2k for the susepsnion work
you would problay be dumpign about 5k into that car in the first year of ownership

Aron9000
01-11-11, 01:48 AM
Yeah, stay away from anything with a Northstar in it. If you are still hung up on having a cheap Cadillac, stick with the older RWD cars. They are much more durable, and when they do break they are really cheap to fix.

I'd get anything that is fuel injected, stay away from HT4100, 1981 v-4-6-8, or a 307 olds V8 car. The 307 olds v8 is a decent motor, but horribly underpowered and has a lot of 20 year old vacume lines that are rotting away and asking for trouble.

ga_etc
01-11-11, 01:52 AM
Eliminating anything with the 4100, '81 368, 307, and Northstar rules out 95% of Cadillacs built in the past 30 years...

Aron9000
01-11-11, 02:14 AM
Eliminating anything with the 4100, '81 368, 307, and Northstar rules out 95% of Cadillacs built in the past 30 years...

Very sad, but true!!! Really other than the RWD cars, Cadillac hasn't had much that appeals to me in the past 30 years. I do like the design of the 92-04 Seville though, just too much $$$ to keep one on the road

ga_etc
01-11-11, 02:25 AM
It's luck of the draw I think. Mine has been great. I would buy another N* car, but I know what to look for now for the most part. I still want to see your Brougham. I love the styling and color combo on yours.

jayoldschool
01-13-11, 07:46 PM
Buy a 90-96 RWD Cadillac with a Chevy motor. Dirt cheap parts, ultra reliable, practically indestructible. If you shop well, you will drive the car for free for two years (sell for more than you buy). Come over to the RWD section if you want more details/advice...

Destroyer
01-15-11, 11:46 PM
And with the Fleetwood you have the piece of mind of having a Chevy running gear that can and will last 200-300k with routine maintenance.Very well said and I hope others will observe. Best Cadillac's have either BB Caddy motors or SBC powerplants. All else is junk!!!:tisk::thumbsup: