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Buying a Used V Checklist

35775 Views 27 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  BigDumbRedneck
Hey guys. Been browsing the boards for a while now. Interested in picking up a used V, preferably an 07. I checked through the FAQ's and stuff and didn't see too much related to this, but I was curious if any sort of list of specific things to check out and look for when buying one?
Thanks in advance!
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I asked the same question when I was going to look at a specific V. ;-)

I had studied the forum thoroughly at that point, and have a good understanding of the mechanical aspects of an automobile, so may have a head start.

A lot of it has to do with the mileage of the vehicle. Stuff wears out over time and mileage, so you need to be checking to make sure it was maintained properly and that items were replaced as needed.

Check for how hard it was driven. These cars beg to be driven hard, and that wears them out. Listen for a whine from the diff, for clunks in the transmission, for clunks in the suspension, for a firm break pedal, the way the doors shut, and for rattles in the interior. How is the steering wheel side to side... is it tight?

If you have any of these, those would indicate that the integrity of the parts is beginning to diminish.

Look at the door jams, the trunk, the engine bay, all the seams in the body panels, and make sure everything is square. That will tell you that the body integrity is good. Listen for wind noise when you drive it, that helps you understand how straight it is, and if the rubber seals are OK and doing their job.

Check the fluids... are the clear and show that they are fresh?

Again... all of this is a factor of mileage. Only you can tell if it seems normal to the car.

Get a carfax and get a dealer to run the service history on the car! There is a wealth of information there, and it helps you understand and evaluate what you are seeing in person first hand.

If you are not comfortable with all of this, grab someone to go with you. It is hard to be objective, when the emotional thrill of buying the car is affecting you (it was for me).

I'll bet there are guys here that will help you, if you asked.

Maybe look up my old thread... there was specific items suggested in it, that you could use as a checklist.
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EXCELLENT question!

With an '07, I don't think you'd have to ask about the diff ... should be good.

If it "clunks" while depressing the clutch pedal at parking lot speed, the rear diff bushing is shot. Easy fix, though.

The earlier Vs had peeling NAV buttons in some cases, an occasional bad battery, a couple had radiator issues, the battery cover can look like acid was poured over it, and 1st gear would be hard to engage from a stop. Haven't heard much about '07s having these problems, though.

All the rest is the usual stuff you'd ask about any ol' car. Hope I helped a little.
Thanks for the input guys. Specifically, I'm looking for an 07 with very low miles (less than 25k), so I'm guessing the list of trouble items to check should be fairly low.
Thanks for the input guys. Specifically, I'm looking for an 07 with very low miles (less than 25k), so I'm guessing the list of trouble items to check should be fairly low.
Yeah that.

FWIW, I drove an '04 for a guy the other day, he being in the Northeast and me and the prospect car being here in SE Mich. Car had 73k on it, and it drove absolutely great! Smooth, quiet, no diff whine, no bad nuthin' mechanically speaking (if you don't count motor mounts). So, I'd think an '07 with 25k on the clock would be in outstanding condition. A dealership around here has an '07 with ~31.8k for high $20s. Not sure how much you're willing to fork out, though.

In any case, good luck!
check for vibrations during shutoff... motor mounts could be bad. The stock mounts are complete junk and it seems people don't get much life out of them. My 07 with 30k already has shot mounts and I'm still waiting to get them replaced by dealer because of nationwide backorder. Lots of others don't even get 30k out of the stock mounts. Sometimes you can visually see when they are shot because of the green fluid that will oooze out. In my case, my mounts looked brand new and they were still shot according to the dealer.

Also, my 07 didn't have the diff vent tube update installed. I noticed fluid on the diff itself and a few drops on my garage floor. Brought it in and they said it wasn't a seal but just needed the vent tube update. Fixed!

When you find the V you want, have the dealer or a local cadillac dealership run a GM VIS report for you so that you can see the service history of everything done to the car. That is great info to have and can tell you a lot about the car. In my case, I found out the diff was replaced at 14k (whining was what I was told) and again at 28k. So even the 06-07s get diffs replaced due to noise (haven't heard a case of them exploding). In early 08 they came out with the latest revision diff. I have yet to hear of someone with the latest revision complain about noise or exploding a diff. :) Mine is quiet as can be.
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Yeah, right now there aren't many at all to be found where I'm at. Tempe AZ. So I'm currently trying to figure out the logistics of buying out of state, as there's better deals to be had elsewhere at the moment.
The Troy Mi, car hasn't been in a dealer since 6/08 16479 miles Rear diff seal
Well since I just got my 07 this past January I can give you a few things I learned. I actually purchased the car from Elder Ford in MI and drove it back to CT. They did not clean the car up very well but they were ok to deal with. My car has some issues but I hope to have them all fixed under warranty around here. The car I got was serviced at Lindsey (8-10 pages of maintenance) and appeared to have everything for common problems fixed. I had hoped since it was taken care at the highly regarded dealer that it would be good. But now that I am driving it regularly problems are making themselves more visible. I have some clunking from the transmission I think I noticed some wine from the diff and it appears the engine is leaking oil and nav buttons are warn. This car only has 43K on it. I still love the car and hope when I get it to the dealer things will be made right under warranty. I really should have done some more research but still don't regret getting it it was a decent price for an 07 and is still under warranty. I just hope it doesn't take long to fix everything.
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Bringing this guy back from the dead. Actually going to look at a car this weekend. 07 V with 26k miles. Can anybody think of any other "must check's"?? Thanks!
Dealer or Private checkout for accidents. Carfax doesn't always show off the record accident damage. The easiest tell on these V's is the four holes on front and back for frame machine on underside. If the front holes have marks on back edge it was on frame machine. If on front edge of front holes, it's normally from tow truck. Either way marks in those holes show it either had an accident or tow truck rides(CAR BREAKING DOWN ISSUES). Also take Vin to local dealer and pull service record, finding parts replaced.
I just bought an '05 with 33K miles a few weeks ago. I test drove 2 cars. One was an '06 with 44K miles that was completely beat. Faded paint, whined like crazy, just plain felt "loose", nav buttons peeling and someone keyed the nav screen!

The one I bought looks absolutely flawless inside and out, made no funny noise and drives like a champ. On the test drive when I wound out 2nd and grabbed 3rd with a hard chirp this thing just felt right.

Bottom line, you'll be able to tell a good one. Also check the carfax, etc. like others suggest.
Re: What to "watch for" when buying a used CTS-V

I am actively looking for a CTS V and asked this question, as have others. I created a list of items of advice that appear helpful. It is in first person, since it was copied directly out of the posts, but it is anonymous. I've done a bit of editing on the list to reduce redundancy and extraneous comments:

• My advice is do all the normal used car checks, but specifically for the V: check the shocks for oil residue which indicates they are going. When you shut it off check for big vibration/weird noise (some is normal with the stock fw but not excessive) which would indicate motor mounts are shot (you can also check them for leaking fluid). While driving listen for diff whine during light accel/decel, you'll know it if it's there, it whines and typically goes away when you press the clutch. Listen/feel for parade clunk (clunking when shifting/working the clutch/reverse and 1st gear starts, etc.) or overly vibrating shifter.

Remember that the V does not have a caddy feel. It has engine vibrations, it has a clunky drivetrain, it's a hot rod not a bmw, it isn't very smooth in general and it isn't very easy to drive smoothly. You get used to all of this as an owner but it is different from other cars I've owned, it's not for everyone.

• I'd support listening to the diff while in 6th gear under a very mild acceleration at between 45-50 MPH. A little whine isn't bad, IMHO, but a screeching whine would be a red flag.

If the engine shimmies/shakes at shutdown, that would mean motor mounts are shot.

Most of everything else is what you'd check on any other car made: clutch wear (get going 50-ish MPH in 6th gear, push clutch in, let motor rev slightly, then let clutch out to see if you get any slip), brakes, shocks, tire wear, dents, chips, cracked lenses/windshield, cigarette burns on the seats, etc.

• Check the clutch fluid before you drive it. I just had mine bled during standard service and it made a huge difference in operation, pedal feel and overall smoothness. And that is at 27,000 miles.

• Don't let some people scare you off with talk about replacing all the bushings, motor mounts and broken differentials. Remember this is an open forum and my 12 year old could register and post his thoughts. If you're just going to drive it like a normal human being, you'll be fine with just going over the normal used car items (leaks, etc.). When you buy it, just don't launch it so hard that the wheels spin and start hopping and don't bang second gear and your diff should be fine.

1. Drive the car at 45 mph in 4th gear and listen for a loud whine coming from under the back seat/trunk. Some noise is OK, just not excessively loud.
2. Feel for any engine vibration around 2000 rpm, its a sign of a bad clutch/flywheel.
3. Listen to the motor while idling. Listen through the wheel wells to see if there is any knocking coming from the bottom end of the motor, most do it a little but a loud knock is bad and usually a sign of a well 'used' motor.
4. Look for signs of leaks. Most can be fixed easliy by replacing seals that are all mostly less than $25 each. I'd be wary if I saw a leak coming from inside the bell housing as it's a sign of a leaking rear main seal or trans input seal, both are not quick fixes and require dropping the trans to fix

• Also slip the clutch in 1st and reverse a few times and see if there is chatter or clunkiness, it should be minimal. Look for build up of rubber on the rear wheel well/bumper area. Work the sunrooof, seat heaters, change the cd, and if the g-meter reads over 1.00 ask him what he was doing.

• Rev the motor to about 1200 rpm and start letting the clutch out really slow and hold it half way engaged. There should be no chatter or jerking of the car.

• The 'g' meter is accessed with the steering wheel controls. Find the button on the wheel that changes the information on the left hand information center. Go to until it says 'g' in the middle. I would say anything over .80 in either direction is more than normal driving. But this doesn't mean the car has been beat on or is in bad shape, it most likely means the owner used the car for what it was meant for.

• If we assumed your budget was $25k and lower, a nice '06/'07 would insure that you had the best differential. In addition to a mostly-stock V, you might want to improve the shifter.

• The thing about the OEM shifter is that it's rather rubbery and lacks a certain crispness that I, for one, prefer. I have a B&M shifter, but they're pretty rare right now, and you probably won't find one very easily. Lots and lots of guys have the UUC shifter which, though pricier than the B&M, is quiet and works great. A few guys have the Katech shifter, and they swear it's also very good. Within the last six months of so, one of the members here (PISNUOFF aka Brian) as begun offering to rework the stock shifter. I'm told that the result is truly magnificent, and you can't go wrong with the price he charges, either.

• A lot (though not all by any means) of the '04/'05 cars have received the improved differentials via warranty work ... I have for one. I believe the '06s came with an improved diff right out of the factory, so you'd have no worries there. Seems right now the '06/'07 models are staying a bit above $20k, and the '04/'05 models are a bit below or right at $20k though for sure they vary all over, but those are rough guidelines.

• The question is, do you plan on racing this car regularly? If no, you have virtually no worries with the original diff. Check the "who here is on their original diff" thread and you will see tons of '04/'05 owners with excess of 100k on their original diff with just occasional whine.

I hope this list proves helpful to others who are looking for a CTS V and look forward to additions to the list.

Happy Holidays!

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Re: What to "watch for" when buying a used CTS-V

Excellent post

My V is still running strong but I don't drop the clutch
"g" readings are not indicative of abusing the V - it's a great road sedan and values over 0.9 just says that it is being driven like it should
The problem is that the early drivetrain was not design for rapid application of the low end torque from a stand still. And those of us with s/c made that even worse.

It's really like a woman - a little whine is acceptable. Too much and you have to get it taken care of.
Re: What to "watch for" when buying a used CTS-V

Thanks for this compilation. I am shopping and really appreciate it.
Re: What to "watch for" when buying a used CTS-V

I am shopping too... hopefully buying like tomorrow!
Re: What to "watch for" when buying a used CTS-V

Thanks for the info, I just joined the forum and have been shopping for a CTS-V - thinking 2006 - 2007 due to what I have heard about the differential. Also, being 2011 would just like a little bit newer than 04 or 05. I live in Canada but just 5 min from the US border so am shopping both sides of the line. Hope to have something soon, looking for one in a dark color.
Re: What to "watch for" when buying a used CTS-V

Thanks for the info. My STS is getting old and at some point I will need a newer one! The new CTS/STS models don't increase my heart beat rate, but a 400+ HP engine will compensate it. That is why I have an eye on CTS-Vs and STS-Vs. I have a question: How much is the cost of replacing clutch in a CTS-V? and how much hard it is?
Re: What to "watch for" when buying a used CTS-V

Thanks for all of the insight and advice of what to look for. I just bought an '05 and ran through this checklist to make sure it hasn't been beaten, looks all good!
Re: What to "watch for" when buying a used CTS-V

bought a 2005 cts-v in october. Ran into one little issue. the starter one day just died on me the car has 49xxx miles on it. battery was good the whole 9 yards. i bump started teh car because i was in a parking lot with a friend and after that it was fine. confused about that. also the clutch is getting low the driver before me guess had fun with the car. but im not sure what this is, when "getting on the car" and switching gears at a high rpm the clutch sometimes sticks to the floor? is that a bad slave cylinder or something to do with the clutch?
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