Problems With a Cadillac DeVille

by Dennis Hartman

The Cadillac DeVille has been among the luxury car offerings from American automaker General Motors through its Cadillac line since 1949. Re-branded the Cadillac DTS in 2006, the DeVille had been redesigned nine times over its lifespan and was Cadillac's sole full-size car from 2000 to 2006. Despite a reputation for superior reliability and safety, the DeVille has become known for several common problems.

Engine Problems

Some of the most common problems with the Cadillac DeVille have been engine-related. Many owners have been forced to repair engines that were prone to burning oil. Owners were forced to routinely add oil in an attempt to keep the engine running in the short term. Some DeVille owners have had to replace the car's intake and/or exhaust manifolds before the car reached 50,000 miles. While many of the needed engine repairs are covered under GM's standard powertrain warranty, problems with older DeVilles no longer under warranty can be costly.

Electrical Accessory Problems

Another frequently cited source of problem with the DeVille is the array of electrical accessories. Power automatic windows, door locks, and trunk releases are all subject to malfunction due to faulty wiring or a burned-out motor. Power window regulators are an especially common source of windows that cannot be opened or closed. In some cases the auxiliary outlets and cigarette lighter port may not supply electrical power. Problems with dashboard instruments and the ignition have also bee documented, although with a somewhat lesser frequency.

Mechanical Recalls

Late-model Cadillac DeVilles have been the subject of several recalls from General Motors. In 2003 more than 100,000 2002 models were recalled because of faulty fuel tank pressure sensors that could lead to a fuel leak. A 1997 recall involving the DeVille was enacted to replace malfunctioning anti-lock brake control modules. Another DeVille recall occurred in 1994 when more than 400,000 GM vehicles were found to have a potential problem with loose hoses running to the transaxle oil cooling system.

Safety Recalls

The DeVille has also been recalled on several occasions due to specific problems with safety equipment. In 2003 more than 130,000 vehicles were recalled to fix a problem with front air bags that would not deploy properly. This came after a 2000 recall of more than 200,000 vehicles that included faulty sensors that could lead to unnecessary airbag deployment. Some 269,000 vehicles were recalled in 2002 due to faulty seat belt retractors, while an unrelated recall of 100,000 DeVilles in 2000 addressed another seat belt problem.

General Problems

Another group of problems with the Cadillac DeVille involve general shortcomings as perceived by drivers and automotive critics. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the DeVille was often cited as using substandard interior materials that made it seem less luxurious that its European and Asian competitors. Also during this time, many drivers complained about the DeVille's front-wheel drive configuration which caused the car to handle and perform differently from other, more traditional luxury models.

About the Author

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Photo Credits

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