: Cheapest to maintain

04-07-05, 12:10 PM
I've been wanting a Caddy since my buddy bought a late 80's Deville 5 years ago. I've been jealous of the smoothness of the ride, the spacious interior, beautiful styling, and advanced features ever since. I bought a new Neon before he bought his car and finally am done paying the car loan. He paid $2,000 and I paid $14,000. He has had a few problems with it, but when it's running it's inspiring. Now I'm ready to sell my car and get a real one, and I think I've decided that it will be a Cadillac.

I've heard that the Northstar engines are usually more expensive to repair than the whole cars they are in. I don't have $6000 to put into an engine after having the car for a year. I saw on a remanufacturing site that most other Caddy engines are around $1500 which I wouldn't mind putting into a car if it will last another few years. I apparently don't like to take big risks,

Specifically I am looking for something around the $5000 range from the 90's or newer. I drool over the sporty/classy look of the mid to late 90's STS's but I don't think they were ever made without the Northstar. Actually I checked out a '94 for sale. Does anyone know if there were certain years the STS was made with a cheaper to replace engine? Or could anyone give me suggestions on what other models/years are relatively cheap to maintain and replace parts? Not just the engine, but tranny, suspension, and anything major.

Thanks for any help or suggestions.

04-07-05, 01:24 PM
You can get a STS with the bodystyle you like and a 4.9 L pushrod if you by a 92 model. In 93 the STS gets the Northstar but the SLS keeps the 4.9.

From what I heard, the 4.9L is a pretty good engine. It would be hard to find one with low miles since they are pretty old now.

The engines look to be considerably cheaper from the salvage yards than a N*.

04-08-05, 12:59 AM
Thanks for the suggestion. The mileage range that I can afford in this area has been around 70k-130k and up. That's particularly why I'm so worried about possible repair expenses. Maybe the SLS is the way to go then, or else I could suffer with my Neon for a year or two more until I can afford to buy a much newer STS, 98-02 60k or newer. I don't want to gamble more than I have to and I want to keep the car as long as financially feasible.

04-08-05, 04:31 AM
When you buy any old luxury car, EXPECT to spend as much or more than the purchase price within the first year. The last owner often sells it because a failure is expected, or because what they consider a reliable life cycle has ended.

Luxury cars generally require more maintenance than econoboxes because of features, more complex engineering, and more power. Expect parts to be more expensive too. To achieve that smooth, quiet ride, steady handling, and awesome passing power all in one vehicle, a tremendous amount of engineering and complexity is required. Expect to pay to maintain those qualities.

Not trying to scare you, just a warning. A $40k car is still a $40k car a decade later, even if you paid $3k for it.

04-08-05, 05:36 PM
I don't think I agree with your formula, Jesda. If I got a '92 for $3000 there's a good chance I'd pay more for repairs than if I bought a '98 for $8,000. I think it would be rare to spend the price of the car in repairs in the first year if the car is over $3000 or so. I'm not including tires, brake pads, oil changes, or any other frequent maintenance items. Although I do completely agree about the reason why some owners sell, which is very important to keep in mind. Living in Iowa, with a larger elderly population, hopefully I can score a one owner car that was well maintained and spent a lot of time in the garage. That would be a best case scenerio.

Today I took some time to look over pictures of other brand cars being sold on ebay to get an idea of what my other options are. Other acceptable possibilities would be from Acura, Lincoln, Oldsmobile, Nissan, Pontiac, Mercury, etc. After considering these other makes, I thought to myself that the main difference is the more classy body style of the Caddy and possibly engine performance, since many of the cars had features and interior of the same caliber. I already have a giant preference for all Cad's based on previous experience as a passenger.

Realistically what is a usual cost for repairs on a mid-late 90's used Cadillac in the first year, and three years? I realize that a car as simple as a Neon has an advantage of having less devices to break and easier repairs. How much variance could the repairs have in comparison to other make's nicer premium used cars. I'd like some ballpark figures from anyone who could take a second to reply. Or anyone that can compare experience with average Cadillac repair prices with others.

91 Eldo TC
04-08-05, 06:52 PM
My car cost as much and sometimes more to repair than most cadillacs. The parts have been discontinued or just not available.

04-08-05, 09:57 PM
You can easily spend the cost of purchase on the vehicle in the first year. But its worth it. You end up with $40k of luxury for MUCH less.

04-09-05, 11:32 AM
The last owner often sells it because a failure is expected, or because what they consider a reliable life cycle has ended.

Whether or not you agree with the cost in repairs opinion, there's a lot of truth to this.


04-09-05, 07:33 PM
How much has everyone else spent on repairs in the first year, and then the next couple? What model/year?

(NOT including tires, battery, alignment, oil change, etc.)

91 Eldo TC
04-10-05, 10:47 AM
91 Eldorado= $3000 in the first year $1800 in the last three years (mechanical)In the last 6 months..just for fun I spent about $600 in body and stereo parts.In the next year I plan on a new pheaton roof,pearl paint job,rims and exhuast $$$$. I did get someone else's problems when I bought the car but to me it was worth fixing. The first year was the hardest becuase I paid $5000 for the car but had to keep dumping more money into it. Besides the car has more features and a better ride than most new cars that start at $20,000 so I can't complain.

04-11-05, 11:28 PM
86 Deville

$1500 over 7 years. $1000 was new tranny. Now has 205k. Engine was replaced by previous owner at 124k i bought it at 142k, uh.. he showed me invoice of $4950 for new engine in 1996. This was a dealer replacment and probrably could have been done for half of that or even less.