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The Cadillac Escalade has always embraced its position and status as the premier luxury SUV. Others have stepped up, but none have really attempted the notion of the ‘biggest and best’ quite like it.

Sales may have dropped in years past, in part due to the buying public moving away from size and toward fuel economy. But, the trends are pivoting again and the days of larger than life lifestyles are coming back.

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade promises a massive presence, and consumers can’t wait. If you have an Escalade in mind, whether it be new or used, it may be helpful to see the past ownership experiences of others. We wanted to learn what problems Cadillac Escalade owners complain about the most. And, maybe it’ll help guide you through your buying decision.

A few problematic model years for the Cadillac Escalade

Usually, when you want to find opinions of actual vehicle owners, in terms of complaints, problem areas, and associated costs, is a great place to start.

However, when diving in for ownership experiences of those with Cadillac Escalade models, there aren’t many at all. It seems 2007 was a problem year because of a few broken door handles, and 2014 was rough riding for a couple of owners who spent around $1,700 to remedy the problem.

Considering other vehicles and model years have 10, 20, and over 100 complaints throughout the production timeline, the handful for the Escalade seems isolated and sporadic.

The door handles breaking is a real problem

According to the stats, Cadillac Escalades from 1999 through 2015 have issues with inside and outside door handles. According to those broken door handles reported, the average timeline appears to be around 96,000 miles.

The experiences cited indicate both driver and passenger side doors are being affected. Based on the number of reports among the various repair collective websites, the poor door handle quality may be the most prominent complaint from all owners.

Heating & air conditioning problems

With over 160 reports of malfunction on alone, it’s safe to say some Escalade models experienced air delivery problems. Based on model years from 1999 through 2010, Cadillac Escalade owners reported failure of one or more temperature mode actuators.

A fault code is typically stored in the HVAC control module for an efficient diagnosis. So, while it’s not a necessarily hazardous concern, it can be an uncomfortable inconvenience with which to contend. Diagnosing the problem might cost an average of $88-$100, and most experienced the failure after 120,000 miles.

Malfunctioning instrument panels

For another 160 Cadillac Escalade owners, as reported by, erratically working gauges and instrument panels were a problem. For owners of the luxury SUV models from 2000 through 2016, this instrument panel nuisance was worth a trip to the service department for repairs. Costs were low, as the warranty had been extended for some, within a seven-year or 70,000-mile parameter.

What the public threads say about the Cadillac Escalade

Sometimes, the best advice and most honest vehicle experiences can be found on Reddit threads. We found when it comes to Cadillac Escalade ownership, most of the feedback was positive. There were a few isolated tales of lofty repair lists, though.

One commenter shared her mother’s story about a laundry list of problems with a 2007 Escalade. Repairs topped out at $7,000 for replacement of everything from shocks and belts, to gaskets and leveler. Another shared his costs of door handle replacements, $27, and a small radiator leak that cost him $140.

Aside from these more prevalent reported issues, most of the comments and sentiments share the hearty and value-retaining benefits of owning a Cadillac Escalade. While some components, over time, require maintenance and replacement, the overall experiences with various model years are positive. It may reassure you as you hunt for your next luxury SUV purchase to know.

Or, maybe you’re just going to sit tight and wait for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade to come on stage and see what its ‘biggest and the best’ effort is going to look like this year.


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