2023 Cadillac Escalade Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brakes and a malfunctioning backup camera are the main cause of complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

The Escalade, launched in 1999, is Cadillac’s signature SUV. It’s sold well and doesn’t typically have the volumes of consumer complaints that many other SUVs have. Announcing the launch of the 2023 model, General Motors states that its iconic design “beckons family, friends, and followers to join you on the journey.” But for owners with unfixable brake controllers, malfunctioning backup cameras, or exterior light safety features that don’t work, there may not be a journey — certainly not a safe one.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2020   2021

Most Common Problems

There are currently only 2 complaints to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) about the 2023 Cadillac Escalade. Both are filed under Unknown or Other, presumably due to owner confusion about exactly what the problems are. One involves the trailer brakes, and the other, the backup camera. Dealers have indicated that neither problem has a fix.

Additionally, the 2023 Escalade, along with dozens of other Cadillacs, Buicks, Chevrolets, and GMC vehicles, have an active recall in place.

2023 Cadillac Escalade Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Power Train
Back Over Prevention: Rearview System Braking
Exterior Lighting
Air Bags
Back Over Prevention: Automatic System Braking
Fuel/propulsion System
Lane Departure: Assist

Recall Problems

So, why is there an exterior lighting-related recall? The problem is that their daytime running lights (DRLs) don’t deactivate as they should. This can result in a glare that reduces visibility and may increase the risk of a crash. This is, of course, a safety issue since the vehicles don’t comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.

There are potentially as many as 740,108 vehicles affected by the recall that was announced on December 8. 2022. Notification letters were to have been mailed on January 23, 2023. But a day after the recall was announced, GMC notified dealerships that there was a problem with warranties being rejected. This issue was resolved within days. But on January 17, 2023, the recall was suspended. Then the next day, January 18, GMC announced an additional temporary suspension for certain models. Dealers were also warned that affected vehicles (meaning those where the remedy wasn’t available), could not be delivered to customers. On January 20, dealers were told they could resume repairs, but warranties would remain on hold until January 21.

There is currently no available data showing how many remedies have been completed in accordance with the recall. At this stage, there aren’t any complaints registered with the NHTSA to say their attempts have been unsuccessful.

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Trailer Brake Problems

Even though there is only one NHTSA complaint about trailer brake problems, it seems that dealers are aware of the problem and admit that there is no fix.

When a 2023 Escalade owner from North Carolina hooked up to a new 2023 20-foot car hauler trailer with trailer brakes, he got a message on the dash stating he must “service trailer brakes.” This was followed by a second message stating that the “trailer brakes have been disabled.” His response was to take the trailer to a trailer shop where they checked the wiring, connections, and brakes on the trailer. When they hooked up their electrical device to the trailer, “they said everything was working perfectly.” Their diagnosis was that “the problem was with the 2023 Cadillac Escalade’s internal brake controller.”

The obvious next step was to take the Escalade to the dealership. “They confirmed that there is a problem with the controller and there is no fix. This is consistent with what I have read about the 2021-2022 GM vehicles that have this controller. This is a safety hazard should anyone try to trailer assuming their brakes are working on their trailer and they do not.”

Problems with the Backup Camera

While the first complaint to the NHTSA about the 2023 Escalade’s backup camera was in November 2022, a look at Cadillac Forums reveals that the problem was reported in September 2022, maybe sooner. Many comments state that they see a blue hourglass but no gridlines while reversing.

NHTSA Complaints

An owner from New York complained to the NHTSA on November 4, 2022, about the backup camera not having guidelines. It draws attention to the fact that GM has a technical service bulletin but no fix and hasn’t issued a recall. “My dealer has told me they cannot do anything. This is a brand-new car!”

The TSB, issued on September 14, 2022, indicates that 2021-2023 Escalades, as well as 2022 Cadillac CT5 models, are affected by this issue. Customers are complaining that when they try and reverse, “the rear-view camera on the radio display will have a blue hourglass in the upper left-hand corner.” They cannot pinpoint a cause, stating that it may be caused by “a software anomaly.”

More than four months later there is still no remedy for this problem. All GM can suggest is that “we apologize for this inconvenience.”

Forum Threads

A forum thread started on September 7, 2022, states that after taking delivery of a 2023 premium luxury Escalade, the owner noticed that there were “no grid lines on the backup camera when the camera was put in reverse.” The dealer wasn’t aware of a fix but undertook to contact General Motors. The owner’s take was that it was “a serious safety and security issue on a car of this size. The height and width of this vehicle make it challenging to rely on (the) rearview mirror and the backup camera itself provides an augmented view, which distorts the space/dimensions behind the vehicle.”

On September 27, another member responded that his dealer had confirmed “that GM knows about this issue but has no timeline for a fix. We are not going crazy. There is no way to turn on the grid lines on brand-new Escalades! We need to raise the priority on this. It’s too expensive a car to not have a fix for this.”

Other owners say that sometimes the gridlines work and sometimes they don’t. Many complain of a lack of resolution after months of waiting.

The most recent forum complaint was on January 21, 2023. It also states that the disappearance of the grid lines “has been intermittent and seemingly random, with no corrective action able to clear the fault.” This owner has found that it seems to occur more often at night. Environmental factors like cold, hot, and wet don’t seem to be a factor. “However, it always eventually resolves on its own, and the grid lines function normally for ~85% of the time. The randomness of the failures is most frustrating, especially when pulling into a confined parking lot only to put the car in reverse and see that the grid lines decided to disappear.”

What to do if your 2023 Cadillac Escalade is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

If problems recur or result in you not being able to use your 2023 Escalade for 30 days or more, you may want to consider contacting a lemon lawyer for help. The fact is that each year automakers like Cadillac and its parent company GM  buy back, replace, or pay cash settlements to thousands of people who find they have bought cars that are lemons. The law makes GM pay the legal fees for lemon-related legal fees, so it’s not going to cost you anything to pursue a settlement through a lemon lawyer.

Lemberg Law has helped a large number of vehicle owners get settlements from various manufacturers. If you’d like us to assess your 2023 Cadillac Escalade problems free of charge, please call our Helpline or fill out a contact form now. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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

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