Cadillac XTS Air Suspension Problems You Should Be Aware Of

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Cadillac XTS has garnered attention as a luxury sedan that exudes elegance and sophistication from every angle. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a perfect vehicle with zero issues. Specifically, owners having Cadillac XTS featuring air ride adaptive suspension have been perturbed by air suspension issues. 

According to user feedback and forums, the most common Cadillac XTS air suspension problems include failing to raise or low ride height, air compressor failure, vehicle sags too low, and a Service Leveling System warning message.  

Don’t be hopeless too soon. Here, we will explore these issues and provide you with expert insights and advice on how to address them effectively. By familiarizing yourself with these issues beforehand, you’ll be better equipped to navigate your way toward a trouble-free driving experience.

What is Cadillac XTS Air Ride Adaptive Suspension and How Does It Work?

The Cadillac XTS boasts an impressive air suspension setup called the Air Ride adaptive suspension. This nifty feature relies on a combination of a suspension compressor and air springs to keep your ride steady and level on any terrain you encounter. 

When operating at optimal conditions, this system ensures precise handling and a smooth, bump-free driving experience. To activate the air suspension system in the Cadillac XTS, simply turn on the vehicle’s ignition. With the engine running, you can adjust the ride height as desired.

Once you turn off the ignition, it may take approximately ten minutes for the ride height to automatically lower. Ultimately, the air adaptive suspension system in the Cadillac XTS enhances overall ride quality, fuel efficiency, and passenger comfort.

Why Cadillac XTS Air Suspension is Prone to Issues

Air suspensions comprise an intricate interplay between mechanical and electronic constituents that seamlessly collaborate to bestow upon you a smooth and balanced journey. 

Broadly speaking, active suspensions boast numerous benefits over their counterparts. Nevertheless, they too succumb to the passage of time eventually – just like any other car component. 

For your air suspension system to operate flawlessly as intended; it relies upon an ensemble cast consisting of a mechanical compressor; electronic and mechanical ride-height sensors; airbags; pneumatic air tubes; as well as several diminutive computers pulling their weight behind the scenes! 

It might sound like quite an intimidating lineup, but when we say that complexity breeds vulnerability. When every cog in this intricate machinery relies upon the other, a single faulty part can throw the entire system off-kilter.

In turn, other components will strain themselves to compensate for the imbalance, inadvertently hastening the demise of different constituents. That’s why it’s not a matter of whether your air suspension will have issues but rather when you’ll find yourself grappling with air suspension predicaments in your Cadillac XTS.

Symptoms of Air Suspension Issues in Cadillac XTS

There are some typical symptoms that signify something is wrong with your Cadillac’s air suspension system. Yes, these symptoms are more or less familiar to drivers. 

However, sometimes we end up interchanging these symptoms with steering issues or other malfunctioning parts. So, look over the following symptoms carefully to avoid misconceptions and serious damage to the suspension system and the car. 

Illuminated Warning Light

An illuminated warning light on the dashboard specifically related to the suspension system is the most prominent warning sign of air suspension issues in the Cadillac XTS. Modern Cadillacs are equipped with advanced onboard diagnostics which will often alert you to any issues within the vehicle’s systems.

Bouncy Ride

One common symptom of a malfunctioning Air Ride adaptive suspension is a noticeable change in ride quality. If you start experiencing a rough or bumpy ride even on relatively smooth surfaces, it could indicate problems with the electronic dampening control or air springs of the system. 

Abnormal Ride Height

Another symptom to be aware of is an abnormally low or high ride height. The Air Ride adaptive suspension typically maintains a consistent vehicle height, but if you notice your Cadillac sitting noticeably lower or higher than usual, it may signify problems with the air compressor or the ride height sensors.

Common Cadillac XTS Air Suspension Problems and Their Potential Fix

As far as we have seen in NHTSA complaints and forums, Cadillac XTS owners define air suspension issues in this vehicle as the complete suspension failure. It’s normal indeed, as the air suspension system seems completely inactive. 

However, the actual issues or the causes of such occurrences vary. So, before your mind becomes horrified hearing about a complete air suspension replacement, learn what are the common issues behind people’s complaints about the air suspension failure in Cadillac XTS. 

Failing To Raise Or Low Ride Height

As we mentioned earlier, the Cadillac XTS has this fancy adaptive air ride suspension thingy that’s supposed to automatically adjust the ride height depending on how you’re driving. But here’s the thing, some people are saying it doesn’t work at all. No matter how hard they try, they just can’t raise or lower their car using this system. 

There are a bunch of complaints about it on this NHTSA website. Especially from drivers who ride 2013–2017 models of Cadillacs XTSs. Now, Cadillac says maybe it’s because of too much weight in the car that the leveling system can’t raise the vehicle or obstacles underneath the vehicle prevent it from lowering the ride height. 

But honestly? Owners aren’t buying it. They think something else is going on here. And you know what? It might be a problem with the Ride Height Position Sensor that’s attached to some part inside the wheel well.

Possible Solution:

To troubleshoot and resolve this problem, we recommend following a series of steps carefully. 

  • Firstly, ensure that there are no obstructions present underneath the vehicle that could impede the functioning of the ride height adjustment system.
  • Additionally, verify that excessive weight is not being placed on any specific areas of the car, which could potentially affect its ability to adjust ride height smoothly.
  • If these initial checks yield no tangible results, owners should then inspect and test for any faults or malfunctions in the Ride Height Position Sensor itself. This can be achieved by conducting a diagnostic scan using specialized equipment suitable for identifying sensor-related issues.
  • In some cases, thorough cleaning of the sensor may also be required, as dust, dirt, or debris accumulation can impede its proper functioning. 
  • Next, reset the electronic systems by disconnecting and reconnecting the vehicle’s battery. This can often rectify minor glitches within the system. After reconnection, attempt to adjust the ride height once again to see if any improvement has been made.
  • If these initial troubleshooting steps do not solve the issue, it might be necessary to bring your Cadillac to an authorized service center or mechanic specializing in Cadillac vehicles for a more comprehensive diagnosis. 

Air Compressor Failure

Numerous Cadillac XTS owners have raised alarm about a potentially life-threatening issue, which stems from the failure of the air suspension system. These concerned vehicle owners have reported vehemently that their cars experience an excessive amount of bouncing, significantly hampering control and endangering lives. 

After extensive investigation, it has become evident that air compressor failure is the primary culprit behind this distressing situation. Owners of the affected vehicles have vociferously voiced their grievances, expressing deep dissatisfaction with dealerships for failing to acknowledge and address this critical safety concern. 

Primarily, experts speculate that these compressor failures may be attributed to two factors: a faulty relay and moisture intrusion. The relay, responsible for controlling power flow to the compressor, can experience malfunctions over time or may even be defective from the start. 

Moisture intrusion, on the other hand, could result from inadequate sealing or environmental conditions that allow water or moisture to enter into vital components of the compressor.

Possible Solution:

To effectively resolve this problem and ensure the smooth functioning of the air suspension system, we recommend following the troubleshooting steps outlined below.

  • Ensure that the vehicle is on level ground before proceeding with any troubleshooting.
  • Start by inspecting the air compressor relay for any signs of damage or malfunction. Replace if necessary.
  • Check for moisture intrusion in the compressor system by examining all connections and seals for leaks or condensation build-up.
  • If moisture intrusion is detected, thoroughly dry all affected components and repair any damaged seals or connections.
  • Verify proper power supply to the air compressor by testing its electrical connections and circuits.
  •  In case of an electrical issue, consult a certified technician to ensure accurate repairs are performed.
  • Test the functionality of the air compressor by activating it manually or through diagnostic procedures.
  • If the compressor fails to engage, consider replacing it with a genuine OEM part from an authorized dealership or qualified supplier.
  • Once installed, perform a comprehensive test drive to confirm that the air suspension system functions properly without any abnormalities.

Vehicle Sags Too Low

It’s quite common for a vehicle to lean to one side when there are issues with its air suspension system. But what if your vehicle sags so low that it practically scrapes against the ground and collides with everything that comes underneath in its path?

Yes, numerous Cadillac XTS owners have shared their frustration regarding this irritating problem on various discussion forums and even on the official NHTSA website. Now, with open eyes, it seems as if the air springs are completely deflated. So, one thing here is confirmed air is escaping from the system. 

The question now remains: where exactly is this leakage occurring? It could either be due to a defective air spring or a damaged airline, either possibility can be considered the main culprit here.

Moreover, malfunctioning level sensors should also not be ruled out as they can contribute to this issue as well. And let’s not forget that if your entire air spring setup has been busted, you’re bound to experience such a problem.

Possible Solution:

In response to these grievances, Cadillac has released a technical journal outlining specific troubleshooting steps to address and resolve this issue. This is as follows:

  • Thoroughly examine the air springs and airlines for any signs of leakage or damage. Even a small puncture can lead to a significant loss of pressure and cause the vehicle to sag excessively.
  • If any leakage or damage is detected during inspection, promptly replace the affected air springs or airlines with new ones specifically designed for your Cadillac model.
  • The level sensors in your vehicle play a crucial role in maintaining proper suspension height. Ensure that these sensors are functioning correctly and communicate accurate information to the suspension control module.
  • In some cases, recalibrating or resetting the suspension control module may be necessary after replacing any malfunctioning components. This step ensures that all systems are synchronized properly.

Service Leveling System Warning Message

There have been numerous complaints from a significant number of Cadillac XTS owners regarding the occurrence of a Service Leveling System Warning Message accompanied by a blinking warning light. 

According to Cadillac, this message is displayed when there is a problem with the air spring setup, such as a leakage or breakage. However, some owners have found that their spring setup remains intact. 

In these cases, it is likely that the issue lies with the height sensor malfunctioning. The height sensor can become damaged or dirty over time, leading to corrosion and subsequent system malfunctions.

Possible Solution:

To resolve the issue and restore proper functionality, it is advisable to follow the troubleshooting steps outlined below:

  • Start by inspecting the height sensors located in the vehicle’s suspension system. These sensors are responsible for measuring the distance between the vehicle and the ground.
  • Check for any signs of damage or corrosion on the height sensors. Even minor issues can affect their accuracy.
  • Clean the sensors carefully using appropriate cleansers and materials, removing any debris or dirt that may interfere with their operation.
  • Ensure that all sensor connections are secure and free from corrosion or loose wiring. Tighten any loose connections if necessary.
  • Resetting the system may be required to clear any detected errors. Consult your owner’s manual for instructions on how to perform a system reset specific to your Cadillac XTS model.

Final Words

While the Cadillac XTS boasts a luxurious ride and advanced features, it is important to be aware of the potential air suspension problems that have been reported by owners. From leaks and failed compressors to costly repairs, these issues can significantly impact the overall satisfaction of owning a Cadillac XTS. 

It is crucial for potential buyers to thoroughly research and consider these problems before making a purchase decision. Consulting with a trusted mechanic or seeking expert advice can provide valuable insights into the long-term reliability and maintenance costs associated with this vehicle. 

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