: Purchased 97 Catera auto auction

11-15-05, 02:39 PM
This Catera is in excellent shape. Everything currently works though sliding roof is a little flaky at times. If I had know more about the Catera, I do not think I would have purchased it. However I am now the proud owner and really like the comfort and design as well as the gas mileage. I got 25 mpg on first tank using 89% octane. After fist tank I changed the air filter and got a tank of 93% octane and will know if mileage improved shortly.
My biggest concern is the auto transmission and brakes. I took it to a fire stone dealer and explained it was a German engineered car and asked them to do their "full system check" . They were suppose to check all fluid levels and the brakes. After arguing with them over whether it was front wheel drive or had a rear wheel differential and if there was a way to check the fluid level of the automatic transmission, I was very concerned. They did manage to check the rear wheel differential however they were not sure where to check the automatic transmission fluid. My Catera has 104K miles. Should I have the transmission serviced and the filter changed or just be happy everything is currently working so well and leave well enough alone. (Pandora’s box) Who makes the best maintenance manual for this car? Does anyone have any used ones for sale at a reasonable price?

11-15-05, 07:07 PM
RUN as far as you can from this firestone and either take it to a dealer (which may not be much better) or a place that specializes in German/European cars.


11-18-05, 10:01 PM
With a 104,000 miles the first thing you better check is the timing belt. If this little sucker breaks (Recommended change at 60,000 miles) you can expect a new/used engine replacement or at the very least intake valve (12) replacement along with the associated parts. Just a clue from a owner with 55000 miles and a recent engine rebuild. Fortunately I have a master mechanic son who did the rebuild. Purchased, with exception of the head gaskets, all the parts from Rockauto.com. Very happy with this parts company. Just a word to the wise friend. A.J. Alaska

11-21-05, 11:39 AM
Thanks for the replies but can anyone here tell me which screw I need to remove from automatic transmission to check the fluid level. Any advice appreciated, but pictures are worth a thousand words