2018 Cadillac Escalade Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Visibility, brake and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

When it comes to luxury SUV models, everyone knows about the 2018 Cadillac Escalade. After all, the newest lineup is said to be “made for your comfort,” but owners have something to say about this statement. The faulty powertrain, defective service brakes and shoddy windshield construction set this SUV on the same level as many of the lower quality options.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Cadillac Escalade

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Service Brakes
Electrical System
Electronic Stability Control
Exterior Lighting
Unknown Or Other

Problems with the Transmission

The powertrain is what produces the energy that keeps the SUV moving. If one component of this system malfunctions, the entire vehicle suffers. That’s exactly what’s found with the transmission on the 2018 Cadillac Escalade.

One Edmunds review states, “This is our fourth and last Cadillac or GM vehicle. The Escalade is a horrible vehicle. The transmission does not shift properly. In fact, the dealer replaced the original transmission at 3000 miles. The mounts have also had to be replaced as well as other parts. The controls are difficult to maneuver. Cadillac customer service in Detroit is the worst anywhere. They never acknowledge any problem, do not attempt to repair anything, and then ask you if you are satisfied. We are in the process of having our arbitration hearing as part of the lemon law process. The Escalade has been at the service shop for almost 60 days over six visits in just 11 months. Do yourself a favor and listen to the reviews.  Do not buy or lease an Escalade or any GM product.”

GM isn’t looking to hide any of the powertrain issues from customers. In fact, the automaker has more than 40 powertrain-related communications to technicians. Service Bulletin #16NA019 is one of the prominent communications as it states that the transmission might suffer from low mileage harsh shifts, flares or slips. If this vehicle was designed for comfort, as Cadillac wants people to believe, then it surely wouldn’t have a bucking bronco as a transmission.

Problems with the Brakes

The braking system is part of any vehicle that drivers rely on when it comes time to stop. If this system malfunctions, everyone is suddenly in danger.

That’s exactly what is shown through this NHTSA complaint. “Luckily no one was in front of me, and I wasn’t going fast or it could have been extremely bad especially having my son with me. My brakes literally quit working. I have a 2018 Platinum Escalade. Always been serviced to date. I called OnStar and now waiting on a roll back to take to the dealership. I was pulling into a gas station with my son and felt like I couldn’t stop but thought maybe something was slick, I dropped him off to his grandma, pulled into McDonald’s drive thru when it did it again. I backed out of the drive then and called my finance. There’s a fast change and lube a mile from where I was, so I slowly pulled into the highway to make it there. Once there even going slow it was hard to stop the vehicle. I pushed the brake as far as it would go to the point it was on the floor, it made a grinding noise. I have never been so scared in my life. Knowing I have had my baby in the car with me.”

GM has done a good job of covering up significant braking issues with the Escalade and has averted any major recalls to this point, but it shouldn’t have. Even the communications within the company suggest that there are concerns over the braking system. Service Bulletin #19NA116 discuss customer concerns about uneven brake pad wear, scraping noises, grinding and pulsing. None of these are normal situations and they certainly don’t provide “comfort.”

Problems with the Windshield

One of the most important aspects for any driver is the ability to see out of the windshield. Without this function, it becomes impossible to drive.

Yet, many drivers are complaining about spontaneous cracks appearing in the windshield. Just read this one review from the NHTSA website. “An 8-inch crack mysteriously appeared from the bottom middle of the front windshield. There are no external marks on the surface of the glass. Just noticed as we were turning into our garage.”

If this had been one complaint, it might not have been a big deal, but a quick search of the internet shows that this is a common problem. Again, GM doesn’t want to talk about cracks forming in the windshield but has discussed another issue. Service Bulletin #PIC6086F states that an oily substance can appear on the windshield surface that leaks out of the rearview mirror. To repair it, technicians much remove the moisture sensor, clean the glass and possibly replace the sensor. This doesn’t sound like a solidly-built structure and causes many to believe that the spontaneous cracks are a result of improper manufacturing. This Escalade might be “made for” something, but it wasn’t comfort.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Cadillac pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Herschel f

    My 2018 escalade has a shift problem as well . Ben in at least 5 times. From 2 to 5 days still not fixed , and now they don’t have loaners . It’s my only. Car and I am stranded . Yesterday they told me they drove it and did not see a problem . The problem started around 15000 miles now has 33000 . I have owned 18 new Cadillacs in my life but this will be my last . Randy Marion in Mooresville nc is the worse service dept.I have ever used . Once they took 3 days to change the battery and once the lost my car . Can’t reach the service dept by phone and they have a I don’t care attitude .picking my car up today and heading to Lexus .

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