: Planning on buying a "CATERA"......

03-10-05, 01:18 AM
Hello everyone... After three years of non stop problems with me and my wife's 1993 Taurus SHO, we have finally decided to throw in the towel. Simply put... We cannot afford to be paying for ridiculous repairs on a car that isn't even worth 1/8 of what we've had to spend to keep it on the road. Everything that could malfunction has, and some things have failed repeatedly. We just spotted three Catera's that are close to us for sale in an auto magazine tonight, and I am here to ask your complete honest opinions of YOUR cars reliability. The one we are interested in is a gorgeous "Silver" 1998 model. The asking price is $4,999 which immediately caught our eye.

Also... We are going to check the cars this weekend for sure. What are some things we really need to "watch for/check out" while looking over the car in person? I want to be prepared THIS time. Thanks in advance guys.......

03-10-05, 08:25 AM
:welcome: Besides the obvious CarFax reports, be sure to ask for ALL of the service records. Verify that all recalls were done (a Cadillac dealer can tell you this from the VIN number), especially the timing belt - tensioner recall. If the mileage is approaching 100K, you WILL need to do the timing belt again (many recommend doing it at 60K miles, which is my intention). Also see if the oil cooler has been replaced, the valve cover gaskets replaced and the front control arm bushings replaced. Those are the major items that seem to hit everyone. The heater control valve also seems to be an issue. Verify that the correct (orange-colored) antifreeze is installed. If not, then don't buy the car as there WILL be cooling system problems.

After that, verify that the headlights are not broken internally - verify that they are aimed right and that the internal reflectors are not loose. (They cost $265 a piece plus your time to install them). That's one I got bit by when I made my purchase. :banghead: It's hard to see. If in doubt, remove the back cover where the bulbs are installed and stick your fingers inside and see if it flops around (or if there is any foam rubber or something like that jammed in to keep them from flopping around - that's the popular el-cheapo fix).

Scan this forum. There are a lot of things that you'll see that can be easily checked.

On the positive side, you will enjoy the Catera - I do. Just remember that it is essentially a German car with a Cadillac label and thus costs more to repair than a generic North American car such as a Taurus. And as you would expect from a German car (and a sporty Cadillac), it's a LOT MORE FUN to drive than a Taurus. :lildevil:

Hope this helps.

Steve Hogan

03-10-05, 11:29 AM
Honestly if you're going to buy a Catera, buy something no earlier than 2000. The 97-99's have a lot more problems, and most of those problems were resolved in the 2000+ models.


03-19-05, 12:44 PM
I just bought my first Catera, haven't even gotten yet. I called the local Caddy dealer gave them the VIN # for the car and they gave me a print out with the Vehicle Build and Service History of the car. The service history is only of course for work done at a dealership. But it gave me a lot of information. And of course also run VIN in CarFax.