: Keep or Sell 2000 Catera? Need Advice.



RADman2000
09-18-06, 10:36 PM
I have just inherited a 2000 Catera (non-sport), 30K miles, no major problems (yet), garaged, perfect inside and out, driven "lightly". I've been driving a 1995 Mercedes C280 for the past 9 years, 140K miles, about two $500 repairs/year, no engine problems, garaged, excellent condition inside and out.

I only need/can afford to keep one car. I drive about 7000 mi/yr, mostly to and from work. Debating what to do. Choices are a) keep Catera and sell Mercedes, b) keep Mercedes and sell Catera, or c) sell/trade both and get something else. Blue book on Catera is about $7500; $4000 on Mercedes. I'm tempted to keep the Catera because it has 110K fewer miles than the Benz, I know its history, and where can you find that kind of luxury for $7500? Obviously, I'm worried about the reliability horror stories. If I had the bucks, I would sell both to make an 11K or 12K down payment on a low-mileage Benz or BMW. But I would be looking at >$25K for something with 30K miles, and I just can't swing that now.

What would you do? Advice appreciated.

passionaterage
09-18-06, 10:44 PM
As much as I love mine when it's running well with no problems (which is very rare), I'd say sell the Catera while it's running well with no problems so you can get a good price for it. They really are nothing but trouble waiting to happen (and it WILL happen). There will be a few people on here that say their's runs perfectly, all you have to do is keep them up. Well if you decide to keep yours,and you have the big bucks to take it to the Caddy dealer all the time to have them repaired, then good luck, you'll need it. This is certainly not a car that you rely on as your primary source of transportation.

guardian
09-19-06, 06:20 AM
I can't tell you what to do. But I can tell you what I would do:

I would instantly telephone Cadillac, or check with a dealer, to learn if the car has had the recall service and if so, WHEN. If the car has not had the recall service, I would take it in for this free service and pay whatever extra is asked (if anything) to have the dealer replace the timing belt.

I would ask the dealer at the same time to examine the car for leaks of all sorts. You would need a dealer familiar with Catera service. NOT all Caddy dealers are up to speed on Catera. Some never sold the Catera back in its day. Ask. And if the dealer is not Catera-capable, for God's sake go to another dealer who is. Some Caddy dealers actually hate to work on Cateras, though they won't say this to you. You for sure do not want to do business with such a dealer. Ask if they employ techs who attended Cat school. You need techs who work on Catera all the time.

While it's true Cats can have reliability issues, many run forever without any problems whatsoever. This is more likely to happen if you are fortunate enough to own a 2000 or 2001 Cat with low miles. If I had inherited the car you got, I'd still be pinching myserf unable to believe my good fortune! It's a slick, rare, and very cool car.:thumbsup:

RADman2000
09-19-06, 12:39 PM
.... Well if you decide to keep yours,and you have the big bucks to take it to the Caddy dealer all the time to have them repaired, then good luck, you'll need it. This is certainly not a car that you rely on as your primary source of transportation.

Is this a car that will leave me stranded? With an 11-year-old Mercedes, I'm not averse to shelling out $500 to $700 for occasional repairs (sure beats $500 EVERY MONTH for new car payments). But I can always count on the car to start in the morning and get me from point A to point B, even if it's in the next state. Problems tend to develop over time--suspension components, leaks, etc.

RADman2000
09-19-06, 12:53 PM
I can't tell you what to do. But I can tell you what I would do:

I would instantly telephone Cadillac, or check with a dealer, to learn if the car has had the recall service and if so, WHEN. If the car has not had the recall service, I would take it in for this free service and pay whatever extra is asked (if anything) to have the dealer replace the timing belt.

I would ask the dealer at the same time to examine the car for leaks of all sorts. You would need a dealer familiar with Catera service. NOT all Caddy dealers are up to speed on Catera. Some never sold the Catera back in its day. Ask. And if the dealer is not Catera-capable, for God's sake go to another dealer who is. Some Caddy dealers actually hate to work on Cateras, though they won't say this to you. You for sure do not want to do business with such a dealer. Ask if they employ techs who attended Cat school. You need techs who work on Catera all the time.

Sounds like good advice. Do "voluntary" recall repairs apply to second owners? The local Caddy dealer (only 2 miles away!) did sell Cateras. I'll ask the questions that you suggest.


While it's true Cats can have reliability issues, many run forever without any problems whatsoever. This is more likely to happen if you are fortunate enough to own a 2000 or 2001 Cat with low miles. If I had inherited the car you got, I'd still be pinching myserf unable to believe my good fortune! It's a slick, rare, and very cool car.:thumbsup:

Well, I have my mother to thank--she put it in her will. So I am reluctant to just run out and sell/trade it without giving it a chance. It is a car that fits my lifestyle. Wife has an 02 Passat Wagon with 55K miles that we can use for longer trips. Only 1 kid left at home, so I don't need a people hauler anymore. If it were a pickup or a Suburban, I would ditch it in a heartbeat. My dad's driving it here--should arrive tonight. One big question is how it will perform at 5200ft elevation. I've driven it many times at sea level and the power is more than adequate for me. Guess I'll be able to answer that question after the first week.

guardian
09-19-06, 01:04 PM
Not just yourself, but ALL visitors here should understand this:

Free recall service is a property which attaches to the car, NOT to the owner.

You could be the tenth owner of your car, it would make no difference insofar as recall service is concerned.

However

Once the car has undergone recall service, regardless who owned it at the time, that's it. It is a one time opportunity for the car. Period.

guardian
09-19-06, 01:32 PM
. . . . One big question is how it will perform at 5200ft elevation. . . . . . .

Sorry you lost your mom. Tough.

Cateras are happier when they don't get really cold at night. It's cold at night at 5200 ft. You have two choices:

Garage the car. Cats really like heated garages. But an unheated garage is OK. Being parked outdoors overnight in very cold temperatures is what Cats do NOT like.

or

Change your timing belt more frequently. Cat timing belts lose flexibility in the extreme cold. The first few minutes of running, until things warm up, is tough on the belt. Over time, with repetition, this breaks down the belt and reduces its life.

You spoke of catastrophic failures vs. gradual failures. Perhaps the most prominent potential catastrophic failure with Catera is loss of a timing belt. You simply must learn about this and be mindful - but not fearful - of what can happen. The vast majority of timing belt failures happen to owners who think they can ignore this issue with impunity, or are unaware the issue exists.

They can't and it does.

Enjoy your beautiful new car!:thumbsup:

CadillacSTS42005
09-19-06, 02:24 PM
dude good luck gettin 7500 for a Cat
just aint gonna happen

RADman2000
09-19-06, 03:24 PM
Sorry you lost your mom. Tough.

Cateras are happier when they don't get really cold at night. It's cold at night at 5200 ft. You have two choices:

Garage the car. Cats really like heated garages. But an unheated garage is OK. Being parked outdoors overnight in very cold temperatures is what Cats do NOT like.

or

Change your timing belt more frequently. Cat timing belts lose flexibility in the extreme cold. The first few minutes of running, until things warm up, is tough on the belt. Over time, with repetition, this breaks down the belt and reduces its life.

You spoke of catastrophic failures vs. gradual failures. Perhaps the most prominent potential catastrophic failure with Catera is loss of a timing belt. You simply must learn about this and be mindful - but not fearful - of what can happen. The vast majority of timing belt failures happen to owners who think they can ignore this issue with impunity, or are unaware the issue exists.

They can't and it does.

Enjoy your beautiful new car!:thumbsup:

Thanks for the condolences and your excellent advice.

Catera will be in an unheated garage, but south-facing and seldom below 50 degrees, despite sub-freezing lows. Sounds like I should get the timing belt done the moment I decide to keep the car. Is this an interference engine (serious damage if belt breaks/skips a notch)?

My dad just called... He's here!!! I'll get to check out the car this evening.

RADman2000
09-19-06, 03:28 PM
dude good luck gettin 7500 for a Cat
just aint gonna happen

You may very well be right, especially in a small southwest metro area. Another factor in my decision: the car may be worth so little that I can't afford to sell it!

guardian
09-19-06, 05:15 PM
Catera will be in an unheated garage, but south-facing and seldom below 50 degrees, despite sub-freezing lows. Sounds like I should get the timing belt done the moment I decide to keep the car. Is this an interference engine (serious damage if belt breaks/skips a notch)?

Your garage situation is fine - more than fine.

Yes the Cat engine is an interference engine. Just the fact you know what this is is indication to me you should keep and enjoy the car. Some folks would not know an interference engine if it bit 'em. These people might not make the best Cat owners.

You do NOT necessarily need to change the belt now. The change interval, per Caddy, is 60K to 80K. I personally prefer 50K. Unless the car saw very rough service in a cold climate you should be fine for a while on your belt. If your mom lived in a warm climate, or if the car was garaged, so much the better for your belt prospects.

Age, regardless of miles, is also a factor in belt life. Your car was built late in 1999 or in 2000, which is not bad.

Also, if the car already has had the recall service the belt might have been renewed at that time. You need to at least try to find this out. If the recall service already was done you want to know at how many miles the work was performed.

If the recall service has not yet been perforned you have just inherited a super-Catera, with free service coming worth a lot of money. This is the kind of Cat we all wish we could locate. They are scarce and tough to identify without a VIN check.

Good luck!:)

guardian
09-19-06, 06:06 PM
. . . . . Another factor in my decision: the car may be worth so little that I can't afford to sell it!

I STRONGLY disagree with your thinking on this.

Bear in mind first that the 2000 and 2001 Cats are very nearly the same car. There are differences, but they are minimal.

The key to the value of your car in the extraordinarily low mileage. Some of the lowest Cat prices are found on eBay. It is BID prices, and only bid prices, that matter. Asking prices are 100% meaningless as regards value determination. Also what I'm about to write here assumes your car is in nice shape. If it's a rebuilt wreck or if the interior is all tattered, well, ignore this.

I am personally aware of a 2001 sport, with about 40K, that sold on eBay earlier this year for circa $8K. Your car, again provided it's in good shape, is worth more. The $8K car had significant body and finish "issues". along with the extra miles.

I looked on eBay to find a car to show you. It was a problem. There are not a great many 2000-2001 Cats out there with only 30K miles. However, I did find one car that's close:

eBay Motors: Cadillac : Catera (item 150028060914 end time Sep-06-06 07:03:14 PDT) (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2001-Cadillac-Catera-LOW-MILES-VERY-NICE-MINT-CONDITION_W0QQitemZ150028060914QQihZ005QQcategoryZ 6145QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)

As you can see the high bid for this 2001 non-sport was circa $8500. Your car is easily a $7500 car for a low estimate, and probably an $8500 to $9000 car on a good day with a strong tail wind, just washed and shimmering in the sunshine. If your car has Bose sound and/or a sunroof it is worth more. If the tires are weak it's worth a bit less.

Regardless, you have inherited a rare, valuable, 140 mph Autobahn cruiser. Enjoy it and try not to kill yourself. If you can keep the speed below 120 mph you'll be fine - and your Cat will just be loafing.:)

RADman2000
09-20-06, 09:40 AM
...
I looked on eBay to find a car to show you. It was a problem. There are not a great many 2000-2001 Cats out there with only 30K miles
...
As you can see the high bid for this 2001 non-sport was circa $8500. Your car is easily a $7500 car for a low estimate, and probably an $8500 to $9000 car on a good day with a strong tail wind, just washed and shimmering in the sunshine. If your car has Bose sound and/or a sunroof it is worth more. If the tires are weak it's worth a bit less...


Thanks again for your advice and research! Did a quick look-over of the car last night. Carpets/floor mats need a little cleaning, but otherwise, this car is like new. Silver exterior/gray leather interior. Yes, it has the Bose sound (actually, the best stock sound system I've ever heard) and sunroof. Also has the chrome wheels. I think the poster who suggested the value would be much lower than $7K is right if I tried to sell it locally. Would need to pursue a broader audience on this one.

I'm probably not going to get to drive the car much during the next week while my dad's in town. I may revive this thread if I have questions after that, especially after I find out about the recall services.

Thanks again for your input!

drb5392
09-21-06, 08:59 AM
I also own a 2000 Cat non-sport. I purchased it from my father in 2004 when it had 29K miles. I love the car, that said however, I have had multiple problems the main one is the charging system. I have replaced the battery twice which makes the seventh battery in the car since it was built. I am in the process of replacing the alternator and all the cabling in the charging system to try to fix this problem. I have replaced the heater control valve, the 3rd time it has been replaced. Last time I was at the dealer, the tech told me I had a coolant leak in my oil cooler which will cost about $1000 to fix. My radio cuts in and out and at times my cruise control has cut in and out. These last problems were relatively easy fixes. I contacted Cadillac and they have offered some assistance. Also when you replace certain parts like the alternator, it has a lifetime warranty if you get the work done at the dealer. The battery also has a 30 month warranty as well.

If I kept the Cat, I would do a few things. 1st, I agree make sure all the recall work has been performed. 2nd, I would ask for a complete service record on the car. The dealer has access to this information and can provide it for you. With this you can see where the car has had problems. From my service list, I discovered the battery and charging system problems and used it as justification to get Cadillac to help pay for the out of warranty work. 3rd, if I could afford it I would get an extended warranty on the car up to 100,000 miles, for sure you will have problems with the car. I wish I had done this. Now it is far too expensive for me to afford.

I love my car, but it does frustrate me sometimes as to how many problems I have with it. I've been tempted to try to put together a class action suite against GM for surely they knew this car had this many problems and if the truth be known they know what the real fixes are for many of these problems. I've discovered the fixes for most of my problems from is board, not from the dealer. They seem to be guessing when it comes to trying to figure out what is causing the major problems. Good luck in your decision.

RADman2000
09-21-06, 02:03 PM
Thanks for the info!


I also own a 2000 Cat non-sport. I purchased it from my father in 2004 when it had 29K miles.

Coincidence: I'm getting the car from my dad at it also has 29K miles.


I love the car, that said however, I have had multiple problems the main one is the charging system. I have replaced the battery twice which makes the seventh battery in the car since it was built. I am in the process of replacing the alternator and all the cabling in the charging system to try to fix this problem.

My dad replaced the battery last week before he drove here. It was the original. Since my mother lost her mobility in about 2003, the Catera would sit in the garage for a month or more at a time without being started. So it sounds like I might be OK for now on the charging/electrical stuff.


I have replaced the heater control valve, the 3rd time it has been replaced. Last time I was at the dealer, the tech told me I had a coolant leak in my oil cooler which will cost about $1000 to fix. My radio cuts in and out and at times my cruise control has cut in and out. These last problems were relatively easy fixes. I contacted Cadillac and they have offered some assistance. Also when you replace certain parts like the alternator, it has a lifetime warranty if you get the work done at the dealer. The battery also has a 30 month warranty as well.

This is the kind of stuff that worries me. $500 here and $1000 there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.


If I kept the Cat, I would do a few things. 1st, I agree make sure all the recall work has been performed. 2nd, I would ask for a complete service record on the car. The dealer has access to this information and can provide it for you. With this you can see where the car has had problems. From my service list, I discovered the battery and charging system problems and used it as justification to get Cadillac to help pay for the out of warranty work. 3rd, if I could afford it I would get an extended warranty on the car up to 100,000 miles, for sure you will have problems with the car. I wish I had done this. Now it is far too expensive for me to afford.

My dad gave me a folder last night with all receipts. There's hardly been anything done to the car. One recall notice was there, but I'm not sure what it was for. I need to get the recall number and look at the receipts to see. I'll check on the extended warranty, but probably too expensive for me also.


I love my car, but it does frustrate me sometimes as to how many problems I have with it. I've been tempted to try to put together a class action suite against GM for surely they knew this car had this many problems and if the truth be known they know what the real fixes are for many of these problems. I've discovered the fixes for most of my problems from is board, not from the dealer. They seem to be guessing when it comes to trying to figure out what is causing the major problems. Good luck in your decision.

I did a little browsing on the Opel/Vauxhall Omega and didn't notice that there were nearly as many issues as with the Catera. Something must have happened when it crossed the Atlantic.

I drove the car last night and everything seems fine. It got 28mpg on the trip from Seattle, which included a lot of high mountain passes. I did notice a faint squeaking (like soft plastic on soft plastic) when I turn the steering wheel. I noticed it in my driving the car during my visits to Seattle as well. There is a Technical Service Bulletin on it. Maybe I'll introduce myself to the dealer by starting with that problem.

Looking at the situation now, I figure I'll keep both the Catera and Mercedes for a couple of months, driving the Catera almost exclusively, see how it goes, then decide.

Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

passionaterage
09-21-06, 02:33 PM
Please please please, if you decide to keep the Catera, don't get rid of your other car. You'll be needing it, trust me. Just a word of advise, as I wish I had done a little more research into this car before I bought it. Now I love it, and it's hard to let go, even though I know I should. The next major repair will push me over the edge...lol.

OpelOmegaB
09-21-06, 09:18 PM
I've bought my 2000 Sport, silver with charcoal leather, Bose, Xenons, sunroof and coldweather package last year with 33000 miles for 6.500.--
as a one owner car. I am in the car business and the car was a trade in
with a local MBZ dealer.
I buy about 30 cars every month, mainly high-line cars, and drive most of
them for a little while myself. I very much like Saabs and Audis.
My Opel, I mean Catterac, has been one of THE best cars for the money
I've had in a long time.
It has now 57.000 miles and I had three oil changes done (off course
Mobil 1 0-40), front brake pads and a set of tires, because it still had the
original tires when I bought the car. NO problems whatsoever.
All the ugly Cadillac badges have been removed and an Opel grill installed to
make the car look original again and not "americanized".:thumbsup:
I am planing to keep it for at least another 2 or 3 years. Even if I have to
throw it away after that, it's still a great deal.:bouncy:
IMHO you should keep your Catera, just don't put any 24 inch pling pling
wheels or performance chips on it. It was not made to handle that. For
things like this, there is always Hondas, Nissans or ............
Good luck.

figgie
10-02-06, 04:21 PM
i dunno

i am an owner of a 98

150,000 miles (yes original motor still ;) )

asking 3200 and people are just not intrested in these hunk of junks. And I should know as I have had to replace just about everything save for the motor.

RADman2000
10-06-06, 05:50 PM
Here's the deal. Been driving the car fulltime since last Saturday. After cleanup, this thing runs, looks, feels, and even smells like a new car. Not a single door ding, tight suspension, smooth engine, no rattles or squeaks, leather perfect, paint perfect (was always garaged), everything operational.

I have all receipts. Aside from oil changes, here's the service history:

Date--Mileage--Service
Jan 02--07200--V0744 Campaign 01045 Install & Reconfigured VIU (anybody, what is this?)
Jul 03--10600--Recall 02041 (Campaign 02041A V0904) cam drive tensioner (replaced water pump, timing belt, and tensioner)
Aug 05--15500--15,000 mi service (no problems noted)
Feb 06--20200--Replace differential seal, repair low oil level sensor

And that's all. I'll probably take it to the dealer for the 30,000 mile service (mileage is 30,600).

After looking at a used BMW 3-series for $28K ("pre-certified", 40,000 miles), I'm thinking I could do a lot worse than to keep this car and set aside a few thousand for repairs down the line.

I did call Continental Warranty about an extended warranty. I refuse to buy from them because of their high-pressure tactics. Does anybody know about warranty direct? I got a quote of $1,800 for 3 year/37K miles. What about buying thru the dealer, or do they sell them for used cars?

Thanks to you folks for all your advice.

guardian
10-06-06, 08:55 PM
:lildevil:Congratulations on your gorgeous Catera. You HAVE to be the most fortunate member of this group. I know I envy you, that's for sure.

You have correctly identified the successful approach to Catera ownership: extended warranty purchase. Of course it works better for you than for many of us because your car has so few miles. Sellers of extended warranties love cars with low miles.

Sorry I do not know enough to point you toward a particular warranty seller. Others here will know. However, I can tell you a key thing to look for is financial stability and solidity. Or else pay for the warranty in installments. But if you lay down big bucks today for warranty coverage you may not draw upon for three years, for example, you want to be DAMN good and certain the company will BE HERE and be in business three years from now.

Good luck with your new Catera which, in your particular case, actually IS nearly new.

1998catera
10-08-06, 02:01 PM
with all the potential problems that go with the catera...i would definately buy another one...i know i know call me crazy! when i told the caddy dealer that he asked me if ive been dropped on my head...

guardian
10-08-06, 04:07 PM
with all the potential problems that go with the catera...i would definately buy another one...i know i know call me crazy! when i told the caddy dealer that he asked me if ive been dropped on my head...

LOLROFLMAO!

Yeah, they are seductive cars.

But your story is more than just funny. I think at LOT of Caddy dealers have respect neither for Catera automobiles nor for Catera owners. Remember, many Caddy dealers opted out and NEVER sold the Catera. Those dealers have no investment whatsoever in the success of the marque. When there are Catera problems or service headaches, it merely confirms for those dealers how smart and how prescient they were to have steered clear in the first place.

1998catera
10-08-06, 08:09 PM
pretty sure this dealer backed the cat all the way... Ive had trouble with mine but still love it. I mean, if a 16 year old can afford to maintain it on a summer job (ive had the valve covers, the alignment, and the cooling all done) at an insurance agency, its probably a decent (at the very least) vehicle...YAY! lol