Why Won’t My Cadillac CTS Start?

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The Cadillac CTS is a luxury car that was first introduced in 2003. It was on the market for almost 20 years, a feat of its own.

This is largely due to its success as an executive sedan and its reputation for being reliable and well-designed.

Despite being a solid sedan, the Cadillac CTS was plagued by some issues. One resulted in people asking themselves and many mechanics, why won’t my Cadillac CTS start?

These starting problems have been present for a long time, and fortunately for you, I have the answer in this article.

The following reasons can cause starting issues:

  1. Weak Battery
  2. Poor Battery Connection
  3. Failing Spark Plugs
  4. Issues With The Alternator
  5. Failing Fuel Pump

Calm down. I know you might be worried that you may be unable to figure out which one of these problems is causing the issue.

Well, I suggest you read through this article, as it explains everything you need to know.

What Would Cause A Cadillac CTS To Not Start?

What are the most common starting issues with a Cadillac CTS? Learn from my blog

The introduction gave you a brief idea of what will be covered in today’s article.

As starting issues are no joke, I urge you to not skip over the contents of this article.

You may then have a much lower chance of misdiagnosing the issue.

1: Weak Battery

The battery is the heart of your car’s electrical system.

It’s what starts the engine, keeps the lights and other electrical components working, and allow your Cadillac CTS experience to be comfortable.

If you’re having trouble starting your Cadillac CTS, it may be due to a weak or dead battery. You can test your battery using a voltmeter to see whether it has enough juice to start your car.

If not, then there are two possibilities. Either the battery is drained, or it is dead.

Before you throw it away or order a new one, I recommend trying to charge or jump-start your existing battery first. This will help confirm if a replacement is needed or not.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If you need to replace your battery, you’ll want to choose one that uses the same size and type as the old one so that you can easily connect it without buying extra parts or tools.
  • You should also consider buying an AGM battery, which can be beneficial. First of all, it is more reliable than traditional lead-acid batteries.
  • Second of all, this battery does not require any maintenance. You don’t need to top it off with water every few months.
  • Finally, it is more vibration resistant than its counterpart. So, you can be certain it will provide you with a great experience.
  • Go for brands like Optima, as they make solid batteries.

2: Poor Battery Connection

There are a few reasons why your Cadillac CTS is having starting issues. The most common one is poor battery connection.

It could be due to corrosion on the terminals or frayed battery cables. Inspect the battery connections and the area around them to test for both of these issues.

Look for corrosion on the terminals or frayed cable ends that could be causing resistance. If you find either, this means that they are preventing current from flowing to the starter motor.

Corrosion happens over time when the battery’s released chemicals solidify on the posts.

Fraying also happens over time and occurs due to wear and tear. Both can be fixed, and you will read below how to do it.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If corrosion is causing your battery terminals not to make proper contact with each other, you can use vinegar-baking soda solution to remove them and ensure that they are clean and dry before trying again.
  • Make sure to use a wire brush to clean off the hardened corrosion, so the terminals can make proper contact.
  • If your battery cables are frayed, you will need to replace them before you can get your car running again.
  • You can find battery cables at any hardware store, which are cheap. So, you don’t have to worry about spending a fortune to fix this issue.

3: Failing Spark Plugs

If your Cadillac CTS doesn’t start, it could be due to several different issues. One of them is failing spark plugs.

When you try to start the engine, the car may be making a cranking sound or other sounds that don’t sound like normal engine noises. This means that your spark plugs are failing.

Spark plugs are not designed to last forever. They can work for a long time but that depends on their quality.

Failing spark plugs can cause more serious issues, such as your Cadillac CTS stopping in the middle of the road while driving.

Now, that is incredibly dangerous. Read below to see how you can fix this issue and start your engine.

What Should You Do About It?

  • The best thing to do when replacing your spark plugs is to replace them all simultaneously.
  • Replacing all spark plugs is recommended because if one fails, others may die on you soon too.
  • They are exposed to an equal amount of wear and tear, so they might need to be replaced too. This will ensure that your car has no issues later down the road.
  • You should also only use platinum or iridium spark plugs in your Cadillac CTS, as these will provide longer life and better performance than copper or silver ones, thanks to their durability and the fact that they use higher quality materials.

4: Issues With The Alternator

If you’re having trouble with your Cadillac CTS not starting, it may be because of something as simple as a bad alternator.

If your battery is frequently dying, and the lights in your car are dim or unusually bright, this could be a sign that there’s something wrong with the alternator.

The alternator has been designed to charge the battery whenever the car is started. This cycle ensures the battery always has enough juice to power the starter motor and the accessories.

You can expect almost anything electric to not work if it dies on you. The solution to this alternator problem is discussed below. Let’s take a look at what can be done.

What Should You Do About It?

  • It’s not uncommon for this problem to occur. Although you may think that changing out the battery will fix things, in this case, it will not.
  • A new battery may start up the engine, but because it is not being charged, it will be fully drained in no time.
  • You can confirm that the alternator is faulty by charging the battery using an external charger. It will charge within a few hours.
  • You can expect to pay from $200 to $500 for the replacement, including the cost of the new alternator.
  • This is something that most people cannot do, so it is best to leave it to the professionals.

5: Failing Fuel Pump

The fuel pump is a mechanical device that provides the fuel pressure necessary to start the engine.

If you have an older Cadillac CTS, you may notice that your car dies when trying to accelerate.

A failing fuel pump usually causes this. This can be dangerous, so it’s important to fix it immediately. Newer models can see this problem, but it is extremely rare.

The issue can be misdiagnosed, and it can be blamed on the fuel filter, which has a higher chance of being the source of the issue.

So, if you are unsure about which part is causing the issue, it is recommended that you get your Cadillac CTS professionally checked.

You may have to get it towed to a mechanic, as driving it is risky.

What Should You Do About It?

  • A new fuel pump will cost you about $300-$400 for parts alone (not including labor).
  • If you’re handy with tools, this may not be too bad for you—but if you aren’t comfortable working on cars yourself, I recommend bringing it to a mechanic who specializes in this kind of work and can get it done quickly and correctly.
  • Fuel is flammable, and you don’t want something wrong happening just because you could not find the right fuel pump for your Cadillac CTS.
  • Make sure to use an OEM fuel pump. Don’t buy for older or newer models as the size or fitting may differ.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why Won’t My Cadillac CTS Start With New Battery?

What you need to check is whether the new battery is drained.

If it’s been sitting idle for a while, which is pretty common, it could be that the battery just needs to be charged to get it to function again.

Try using jumper cables if you don’t have a charger handy.

Q2. Why Won’t My Cadillac CTS Start Even With A Jump?

If jumper cables are not working, the problem is bigger than a drained battery. It could be dead, which can happen when the battery reaches the end of its lifespan.

Or it could be that the battery is not the issue’s source. It could be the starter motor, which may not be able to turn over if faulty.

Q3. Why Won’t My Cadillac CTS Start But Lights Work?

You might think the lights working may mean the battery is fine. But that may not be the case. A drained or a close to the dead battery can power up the lights too.

So, you can start by attaching a millimeter to it to test its voltage. If everything is fine, it could be the ignition system or the starter motor of the Cadillac CTS.

Q4. Why Won’t My Cadillac CTS Start But Cranks?

When fuel cannot be burned, cranking sounds are produced. This is serious, and you must figure out which part is causing the problem.

Burning the fuel is aided by three main components: the fuel pump, the spark plugs, and the air filter. The first two are more likely to fail, so get them checked.

Q5. Why Won’t My Cadillac CTS Start Just Clicks?

Clicking issues on the Cadillac CTS can be narrowed down to the battery or the electrical system itself. A dead or drained battery will produce a similar sound.

But it can also result from a failing alternator, not charging your battery or a malfunctioning starter motor. All of these can result in a clicking sound being produced.

Q6. Why Won’t My Cadillac CTS Start In the Cold Weather?

There is a 100% chance that the cold cranking amperes of your battery are not up to par. This number determines how reliably a battery can start an engine when the temperature gets low.

So, the higher it is, the better the starting capability. You need a minimum of 800 CCA to ensure that your Cadillac CTS start in freezing temperatures.

Q7. Why Won’t My Cadillac CTS Start After I Get Gas?

If engine is not starting specifically after you have gotten gas, then you should only focus on the fuel pump and the fuel filter.

The filter could be clogged, which can happen if the fuel is too dirty. The pump, on the other hand, could have failed. There is a low chance of it happening, but it is possible.

Q8. Why Won’t My Cadillac CTS Start But Radio Works?

The answer to this question will be similar to the lights one. It may not be the battery, but you cannot rule it out as a source of the problem.

You need to make sure that it is not low on charge or is not closing in at the end of its lifespan. If not, you need to check if the alternator can charge the battery.

Related: What Are The Worst Years For The Cadillac CTS?


If you’re having trouble with your Cadillac CTS, the problem could be as simple as a loose wire or a bad battery.

However, it’s also possible that there’s something wrong with your starter motor or the fuel pump—in which case, you’ll need to call a professional to have it diagnosed.

All in all, there could be plenty of reasons that may result in you asking, “Why won’t my Cadillac CTS start?”.

I hope this article has all the information you need to get the issue narrowed down and fixed, so you can return on the road as soon as possible.