The temp gauge on my Cadillac STS indicated overheating (car had 124,512 miles). There were no alarms or warning messages, just the temp gauge reading higher than normal (no visible signs of overheating - i.e. steam, etc.).
I took the car to Alderman Cadillac who has done all work on the car since I bought it from them. The exact same problem occurred 4 times over the course of the next several months (4,336 miles). At various times they replaced the water pump, flow tank, pressure tested and flushed the system. After the 4th repair attempt, I drove the car for about 60 miles, it overheated, the "overheating - stop engine" alarm came on, and the car was towed back to Alderman for repair. The new service manager, Jim Ghezzi, said the head gaskets were bad so they rebuilt the top end of the engine.
I drove the car for only 3,615 miles and the engine started to knock. The new service manager, Todd Griven, told me that the bottom end of the engine was bad and that now I needed a new engine.
Alderman installed a new engine. I drove the car 839 miles and the serpentine belt fell off. I drove the car another 857 miles and the car overheated again (same as initial problem). Alderman replaced the radiator and said the problem was gone. I drove the car another 1,905 miles and the cabin heating stopped working. They replaced the blower and said the car was OK.
I drove the car another 422 miles and the car overheated again, the "overheated - stop engine" alarm came on, and the car was towed back to Alderman. The service manager, Todd Griven, told me that the original thermostat had never been changed out. They changed it, changed the oil, added coolant, and said the overheating problem was now finally fixed.
I drove the car another 1,131 miles and the electrical system died and car was towed to Alderman. The new service manager, Steve Spada, said I needed a new alternator and that my serpentine belt was bad (3rd one in 5,154 miles). I drove the car another 46 miles, and the "service electrical system" alarm came on. A few minutes later, the car overheated, and the "overheated - stop engine " alarm came on. The car was towed back to Alderman and after a few days they told me that I now needed yet another new engine which would cost me another $9,000.
I have spoken several times with the new service manager Steve Spada and owner Scott about this problem. Since the overheating problem first occurred, this car has been at Alderman's shop for over 80 days and I have incurred over $15,000 in costs for repairs and car rentals. The car is un-drivable, and un-sellable.
Alderman never fixed the original overheating problem. They charged me a lot of money for parts and work that were not necessary. The car was in their shop 19 times during this period (about every 680 miles). Their inability to diagnose and repair the ongoing overheating problem was directly responsible for the failure of two engines and rendering my car worthless. Interestingly, Alderman has had 11 new service managers since I bought this car from them.
I last met with the owner, Scott, on 3/8/07. He agreed that they owed me something for all of the problems I have experienced. Their offer was the following choice:
1. I could pay $2,500 to have the engine fixed.
2. $2,500 for the car in trade if I bought another car from them.
What would you choose to do?