2020 Cadillac Escalade Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

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

In terms of luxury SUVs, few can compete with the 2020 Cadillac Escalade. This model has long been known as the pinnacle of making a name. Even the automaker claims it is the “original icon of arrival.” However, some owners are having trouble arriving anywhere, thanks in part to the defective service brakes and malfunctioning powertrain.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2020 Cadillac Escalade

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Air Bags
Fuel/propulsion System
Exterior Lighting
Service Brakes
Power Train

Problems with the Transmission and Fuel Pump

The powertrain must be fully operational to provide a smooth, reliable ride. Yet, this is a system that seems to disappoint customers driving an Escalade.

Here is one NHTSA complaint worth reading. “Car starts but will not go into Drive or Reverse. Upon restarting the car, it may or may not go. When it does work the car will not shift into a higher gear.”

What could be worse than having an expensive SUV that won’t drive? How about issues that could lead to a car fire? According to NHTSA Campaign Number 19V837000, some models might have a missing pressure regulator in the fuel pump. This defect allows for over-pressurization of the system. If the system suffers from over-pressurization, the fuel pump could crack and leak. Where leaking fuel is a problem, there is also the threat of a vehicle fire. With this in mind, it might be better if the Escalade doesn’t move at all. It’s much safer sitting in the driveway than actually operating on the road.

Problems with the Brakes

When the time comes to stop a vehicle, the service brakes must be in proper working order. Otherwise, an accident is imminent, which could lead to serious injuries or even death. Still, some vehicles take the braking too far and become overly sensitive.

Here’s one example from a KBB customer review. “So many problems and service department says not throwing any codes so can’t find any problems. Brakes for no reason throwing everyone forward and engine just dies for no reason.”

These are serious concerns that must be addressed, but there’s no information in the communications about the situation. Instead, Service Bulletin #19NA137 simply talks about how customers are hearing a squeaking noise coming from under the vehicle while driving at slower speeds. It turns out that the parking brake cables might be rubbing together, creating this noise. One would think that a luxury automaker, such as Cadillac, would create a sophisticated repair to address this issue. However, the automaker simply instructs technicians to apply some PET tape to the cables to alleviate the rubbing. This goes back to the thought that duct tape will fix anything – apparently even a vehicle.

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.

Complaint Data

DateJun 23, 2022
The contact owns a 2020 cadillac escalade esv. The contact stated that while he was approaching the vehicle, the side step was extended. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis and the actuator was replaced. The failure continued and the contact took the vehicle back to the dealer and the actuator was replaced again however, the failure continued. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 5,000.
CategoryExterior Lighting
DateDec 31, 2021
Cadillac escalade was struck in a rear end collision in georgia. Driver of trailing car stated that the escalade "suddenly stopped". After reviewing dash cam footage from the trailing car it can be seen that the escalade was very slowly decelerating for ~4 seconds before suddenly stopping, the trailing driver did not react to the initial deceleration, only the sudden stop. Closer inspection of the footage suggests the non-standard brake lights of the escalade contributed to the crash. The vertical stripes do not register as brake lights easily, especially as they blend into the structure of the vehicle. Screenshots of dashcam footage showing this are attached.
CategoryService Brakes
DateDec 23, 2021
March of this year while on vacation in south carolina this vehicle had a partial brake failure at 2145 miles. It was repaired in charlestown s. C. At a cadillac dealership and shipped back to rick hendrick cadillac norfolk virginia. On 12/21/21 the same issues resurfaced one day prior to heading to south carolina for christmas. The vehicle was towed to rick hendrick cadillac in norfolk virginia where it will stay. I have loss all confidence in the brake system on that vehicle. It will not come back to my home.
CategoryAir Bags, Fuel/propulsion System, Wheels
DateJul 20, 2021
Er to case number: case#9-6698447273v 3136671128 vera cadillac case escalated and I am not getting through. Just want to make sure that I made the effort to each our to dealerships and headquarters to no avail. And if this is really is what is happening, this is what really need to be done properly: per lemon vehicle with extended warranty program, with defective equipment (manufacturer's defects)failure to service right rear tire request per fotainment alert. Plus steering wheel airbag failure to inflate and deploy upon collision, resulting internal injuries, including, but not limited to loss of smell and loss of taste due to this defective automobile. Also note: diagnostics mentioned vehicle was up for a possible recall with its fuel system.
CategoryAir Bags, Fuel/propulsion System, Wheels
DateDec 24, 2020
Loss of taste and smell except for brain matter followed by nasal drip in back of throat. Steering wheel air bag did not deploy. Right rear tire pop in freeway 94 westbound on 13 friday november 2020. Usaa sent diagnostics of vehicle's recall information. Called manufacturer of vehicle to report recall and denied off recall and info on insurance diagnostics sent. See uploads:
CategoryAir Bags, Steering, Wheels
DateDec 20, 2020
Driving 94 west bound jumped off my seat and remembered I didn't just hit anything on the road. Tire passed me and seatbelt strangled me when it pulled. Grabbed ahold of steering wheel and made sure not to hit any objects or anyone. Something hit my face and got discombobulated from the seatbelt. Had to remember that I needed to unbuckle seatbelt. All airbags deployed except steering wheel airbag vehicle was flipped. Crawled out of the vehicle picked up by ambulance to hospital. Not on my right temple we'r went down, discharged and loss of the taste and smell except smell of brain matter from within followed by fluid drip in nasal cavity.
CategoryPower Train
DateApr 13, 2020
Car starts but will not go into drive or reverse. Upon restarting the car, it may or may not go work. When it does work the car will not shift into a higher gear.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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.

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