: Possible purchase 2000 Catera

02-01-06, 01:51 PM
I'm looking at a 2000 Catera with under 54,000 on it. Looking through the forum it appears that earlier models had some major deficiencies, did any of these carry over to the 2000 model? I'm currently a college student so the purchase would clean me out, money wise, leaving me in a bad situation if severe problems arose. Are there certain components that I should pay particular attention as they are prone to failure?

02-02-06, 02:28 AM
You need to tell us how much the car is ($$) and also the build date of the car.

Unless you have fallen desperately in love with the Catera, it's probably not the best car to "go for broke" on. Cateras in general have a high incidence of repairs. It's sort of the opposite of a Toyota in this regard. And the repairs can be expensive , unless you have the ability to perform them yourself. Even then, the parts can sometimes be quite expensive.

If you are in love with the car, call the VIN into the Caddy help line (free call). If you are lucky maybe there's an outstanding recall for the car. This would get you free fixes for at least some items.

Good luck!

02-02-06, 02:34 AM
Oh, sorry, I forgot:

Never, ever, buy a Catera without a "six sided look". You MUST look beneath the car, at the bottom, prior to purchase. Cateras are VERY leak prone. Examine the underside, or be ready with a "cat diaper" for when you get the car home!

02-02-06, 03:53 PM
I wouldn't recommend a Catera for a college student. I had a money pit car (1992 Subaru SVX) in college and it killed me although I loved the car more than life itself. I ended up using my student loans to pay for repairs on the car. Get something more reliable for now (Civic...Corolla...zzzzz) and when you are more financially able, you can probably start looking at European cars again. I wish someone would have told me to do that!


02-03-06, 04:46 PM
Im in college and love my catera. So far I don't have much into repairs, maybee $1000 including tires in the past year, but nothing that will kill me. I work full time, that might make a difference.

02-05-06, 02:35 AM
Mia, thanks. Your experience is of interest to me, and I'm sure to possumdog, too.

Without question, _any_ working Catera is a joy to behold, fun to drive; just a superb ride. May your car continue to provide great service!

Also you know more about this than myself. You actually OWN a Catera . . . . I do not . . . . YET.

So there is an ample measure of humility in this writing.

Having said that:

After much research, and many hours spent looking into Catera purchase, spent reading the experiences of others, I would buy only a 2001 Catera . . . . and then only with utmost care and selectivity.

By no means am I saying all owners of earlier models are unhappy. Many are happy, and I am happy for them. But probability does not appear to be working in favor of 1997-2000 Catera owners. And when and/or if things go sour, the $$$$ add up really quickly.

A couple of related observations:

For owners with the ability to diagnose and repair problems personally, Catera ownership is less trying and much more practical. Also,

I believe there are mechanics at Cadillac dealerships, working on Cateras, who should not be. Depending on the repair particulars, these individuals can be as likely to cause problems for Catera owners as solve them. Here is why:

Circa late 1995-1997, during the introductory period of the Catera automobile, GM/Cadillac required of Cadillac dealers wishing to participate in Catera sales a (roughly) $50,000 "buy-in". Many, but NOT ALL, dealers paid the money and bought into the Catera marketing push. Only the dealers who bought in sent techs to "Catera school", where they were trained on this somewhat unusual and different, German-made automobile.

In a survey of four Cadillac dealers local to where I live, only one dealer sent techs to Catera school back in 1996-1997. And those techs still work for that dealer today. The other three dealers chose not to participate, as was their right back in 1996-1997. I learned this by interviewing the service managers of the various dealerships.

Was I surprised? Well, suffice it to say I was clueless going in. I figured early on that ANY Cadillac dealer could service properly my hoped-for Catera. This was my mistake and, yes, I was surprised.

But at the same time, I know at least one of the non-qualifying dealers worked on Cateras anyway. They would not turn down the business. They simply did the best they could, regardless their techs did/do not have Catera-specific training. Truth is, the importance of having a Catera school trained tech work on your Catera varies, depending on the particulars , on the complexity, of the repair.

And how many Catera owners would think to actually ASK if a given Cadillac dealer's techs had been to Catera school. Cadillac car . . . Cadillac dealer . . . . should be a no-brainer . . . am I right?

Well see above for the truth.

So be careful out there when you take your German-made Cadillac Catera to a Cadillac dealer for service. Ask questions. Probe a little.

And when I wish you good luck . . . AS I DO! . . . bear in mind it may not all be luck.