More First Generation SRX Problems

Can't fix your car problem on your own? Ask a live mechanic!

2009 Cadillac SRX crossoverI own a first-generation Cadillac SRX. In fact, it’s a 2009 model. This is the last year of the old body style. Being in the automotive business for the last 30 years, I’ve found that vehicle manufacturers often make their best cars at the end of the run. This is why I decided to buy the 09 instead of a 2010, which began the next generation.

Although my plan had merit, I wouldn’t call my experience with this SRX trouble-free. I have written extensively about individual problems with the car on this website and wanted to craft a post that brought some of the common problems together so that these articles are easily found. When I started putting it together I realized one wouldn’t be enough. Last month I wrote about common Cadillac SRX issues, but decided to break it into two posts, as I still have four items to cover.

Cadillac SRX Poor Fuel Economy

my average fuel economy

One problem that is not going away is the poor fuel economy from the 3.6L V-6. On average, this car gets anywhere from 12 to 15 miles to the gallon. I’ve taken highway trips and gotten as much as 17, but in my regular loop of driving, I often find the obtainable mpg number to be at the bottom of this range. The EPA sticker on new Cadillac’s with the 3.6 L shows 17 city and 21 Highway. In fine print at the bottom of the sticker, it indicates an average number that is much lower.

I enjoy driving the car and the 3.6 L V-6 provides plenty of power at 308 hp. It’s throttle position that winds up being the most damaging to my average fuel economy. There is no question that driving habits have the most far-reaching effect on the kind of gas mileage you can expect from an automobile. Despite this fact, even when I crawled around like a grandma the highest number I ever achieved was 17 miles to the gallon on a 1500 mile road trip. People in the market to purchase one of these cars shouldn’t expect anything different.

Tire Problems on First-generation SRX

The tires on a Cadillac SRX first-generation are not cheap. Most of these vehicles are factory equipped with a Goodyear RS-A performance radial that has 130 mph speed rating. I’m a strong believer in sticking with the factory equipment tire whenever possible. If I have to change brands I stick to the original size and speed rating and will not compromise on this because deviation can change the way the car feels on the road.

One of the best ways to extend tire life is rotating the tires on a regular basis. I would prefer to do this about every 6000 miles, but stretching it out one year to 10,000 miles can still extend the life of the tires when rotated from front to back. On the first-generation Cadillac SRX crossover you cannot rotate the tires because the tire sizes are different from front to back. I enjoy the way the car feels on the road, but I think they could have designed the front and rear with the same tire size without sacrificing the sporty handling.

Strange Size and Expensive Tires

Goodyear RS-A radial tireSince the tires can’t be rotated people have to figure on replacing them about every 25 to 30,000 miles. These tires are not cheap, but if you shop around, they can be had for about $150 each If you stick with the Goodyear RS-A performance radials. I have spoke with other owners that have gone with cheaper tires in a lower speed rating and are dissatisfied with the handling these bargain-basement tires bring. For this reason, I will stick with the factory, (H) speed rated tire. This article answers a few questions about tires and their construction.

On the front the factory size is a 235/65/17. The middle number of 65 is the sidewall height of the tire and is one of the least popular built. This makes the tire more expensive now, but it’s the future I’m worried about. When exploring tire options and price checks, I found this size readily available for about $130. One year later when I was ready to pull the trigger and purchase them, it had already crept up to about $150 a tire.

Engine Noise on Cold Start Up

cadillac timing chainAs a mechanic, this one really bothers me. The problem is after sitting overnight on the first start up the next morning there is an extreme amount of timing chain noise until the oil pressure builds and applies tension to the timing chain. Although it only lasts a few seconds, it’s a brutal annoying sound. I can feel the steel chain rubbing against the aluminum timing cover and it probably hurts me more than it hurts the cover.

This is a known problem with the V-6 version of the first-generation Cadillac SRX. General Motors has done the right thing and increased the warranty coverage on the timing chain for 10 years, 100,000 miles. The problem is they’re unwilling to perform the timing chain replacement unless there’s a specific check engine light code set, caused by excessive slack in the chain. The other downside to the special policy is it doesn’t appear that improved design parts are installed.

To finish up, I wanted to make it clear, my family and I absolutely love this automobile, despite its problems. My wife enjoys owning our first luxury car and feels good pulling up to fancy places. The kids love it because it’s quick with a sporty feel. We got this car used and $6K under book value, thanks to a jaded history as a rental car purchased from auction. It wasn’t the vehicle’s history that had anything to do with the issues experienced while owning it so far. Return to homepage and review some more articles on CertifiedMasterTech.com.


Can't fix your car problem on your own? Ask a live mechanic!

6 Replies to “More First Generation SRX Problems”

  1. Linda Best

    I have a 2015 Cadillac SRX and note that people behind me frequently honk horn at me, seemingly irritated that they cannot see the turn signal light at the bottom of the rear brake lights. Have you heard of this problem?

  2. Lisa

    My dash lights are off for the first 15 seconds or so. Didn’t used to be this way, they used to come on as soon as the car was started. Just the white light gauges, not the needles themselves, those stay lit up. Is this a precursor to my instrument cluster failing or is there a module or switch I will be able to replace? This is a used 2012 Cadillac SRX, but new to me.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Lisa : I checked for technical bulletins and didn’t see any for this issue. I’ve also not heard of the problem before. Most of the circuitry is self contained inside the dash cluster. So I’m leaning toward your first guess of possible cluster problems. If you find out what’s wrong let us know so we can tell other Cadillac owners about it.

  3. Adam Phipps

    I have a 2010 cadillac srx and car started I backed it out from under carport into the yard…I went to move it back later in the day and it wouldn’t start back. I had it towed to Courtesy Chevrolet in kingsport tn and I’m told the motor lost compression and need a new engine but no one can tell me why the motor lost compression. What’s no 1 cause of no compression did something break in motor timing chain break head gasket blow or head cracked…I need a answer but was just told it’ll cost 7600.00 dollars to replace the motor. Only 65000 miles on car needing answers.

    • Mark Gittelman

      Adam: The only way to get answers to the root cause of the failure is to take the engine apart and see what went wrong. However, before I did anything I would call Cadillac customer service and ask for Advice first and assistance second. They might help with a percentage of the repairs if they feel they can retain you as a customer. Since your SRX is a 2010, first year of of the second generation, it’s hard to say it must be the timing chain. This issue was supposed to be corrected by 2010. However, my late model 2009 Cadillac 3.6L had the timing chain problem.

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