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8 Common Problems Of A Cadillac XT5

8 Common Problems Of A Cadillac XT5

The Cadillac XT5, a fusion of luxury and performance, is undeniably an eye-catching SUV. Yet, like all machines, it hasn’t been without its share of issues.

This blog has outlined all the most important things you should watch for when you’re in the market for an Cadillac XT5. However, let’s first start with a quick answer.

What kind of problems does a Cadillac XT5 have?

2017-2018 Cadillac XT5 had problems with the AF50-8 transmission shifting roughly, not shifting into a specific gear or complete transmission failure. Electrical problems, failing AC, premature tire wear and brake fluid leaks were also found, and the liftgate failed to open. The 2020 model had problems with shattering sunroofs, faulty RRAB modules and engine stalling.

However, that certainly doesn’t tell you the complete story about the problems several model years of the XT5 have experienced. In the article below, we’ll thoroughly discuss all model years of the XT5 have had. We’ll also discuss what caused these problems and if any recalls were issued. Read on!

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We Use Real World Vehicle Data To Create This List Of Problems

Before we dive into the most common problems, let’s quickly explain how we created this list.

This data comes from vehicle owners like you. It’s based on real data from real drivers. No guesswork or hypotheticals here.

We use resources like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and many others, to review the most common complaints issues by owners along with the full history of recalls and active investigations.

From there, our team of automotive experts takes a closer look into each problem and breaks down why it happens, what you can do to prevent it, and how to fix it.

We review the data and interpret the results to make your life easier. Now that you understand how we came up with this list, let’s get into it!

1. Problematic Shifting

The Cadillac XT5 was first released in 2017. With it came an all-new GM transmission referred to as the AF50-8. This all-new 8-speed automatic turned out to provide a very rough ride to owners, and it racked up around 15 complaints on the website of the NTHSA for the 2017 model.

Owners even complained about the transmission failing prematurely, as described in the complaint below:

Totally new electronic transmission felt strange when upshifting and downshifting immediately after purchasing the vehicle. It was reported to Cadillac in their sustomer satisfaction survey within a month of purchase. After five months and 1,800 miles, the transmission failed completely.


Furthermore, owners have reported that the cars’ stop-and-go system is not working correctly. The car will roll to a complete stop and turn off the engine to prevent unnecessary idling, after which it’s too slow in its restart and lurks forward when the accelerator pedal is pressed.

Problems became so bad that Cadillac eventually issued a recall (N182163380) for almost 1,700 XT5 sold in 2017 – 2018. Cadillac stated that the affected vehicles had faulty transmission control module software, which needed to be reprogrammed.

Newer model years of the XT5 seem to have been problem-free with the same transmission, which means it’s safe to say Cadillac did fix the problem efficiently.

2. Electrical Problems

A typical problem for the 2017 model year of the XT5, and other Cadillac models like the AST among others, was that it was riddled with random electrical issues.

It’s also not the only luxury brand to have these issues and you can see similar issues in the Mercedes SLK200 or ML320. When it comes to XT5, owners have complained about a complete power failure while driving, the doors locking or unlocking by themselves, and the infotainment system completely malfunctioning.

Luckily, these problems didn’t extend to the next model years of the XT5. However, complaints weren’t bad enough for Cadillac to issue a recall or a service bulletin for the 2017 model year. Therefore, XT5 owners with problems have been left figuring it out for themselves.

A one-size-fits-all solution hasn’t been found. However, given that the car does lose power completely in some units, it’s very likely there’s a problem with a prematurely failing battery. If battery power is not the problem, it’s worth checking the alternator or the fuses to see if all of them are clean, have power, and show no signs of premature wear.

3. Airconditioning Fails To Work

Some 2017 model years of the Cadillac XT5 seemed to have a known issue with the HVAC system. Owners complained about the HVAC system by stating:

The system on my car works sometimes, but is generally weak. The only way to get the fans to blow high on Auto is to set the temp at 60 and hope for the best. Fan speeds are barely noticeable at 70-71 degree settings even though it should be working hard to achieve that temp range.


Luckily, Cadillac was relatively quick to respond to the ordeal and issued a service bulletin for the 2017 model year of the XT5 (N172088670). They stated that 108 units of the XT5 (and GMC Acadia) had been built with a faulty HVAC control module which may disable the HVAC system entirely from time to time.

They also stated that this issue caused the display to still function (having the driver believe the system was being changed) while the actuators wouldn’t change position or function. The HVAC remote control module was replaced free of charge.

4. Engine Stalling

2020 model owners complained about engine stalling in their new models. This problem was caused by insufficient fuel supply to the engine. Cadillac dug deeper into the problem, and they found out that this problem was caused by one of the fuel pump jet nozzles that still had leftover plastic blocking the amount of fuel that could get out of the nozzle.

This led to insufficient fuel being transported to the engine, causing engine stalling. Cadillac did issue a recall for this under number 20V639000. Furthermore, they replaced the fuel pump module in the affected 2020 cars, getting rid of the problem.

4. Brake Fluid Leak

The 2017 model year of the XT5 had one recall which involved the front brake calipers. These calipers had a torn or misaligned caliper piston seal which allowed brake fluid to leak. Leaking brake fluid means the owners are at risk of losing braking power unexpectedly.

Cadillac issued a recall for this under number 16V802000 at the end of 2016 (2017 model years were already sold at that point) to replace the brake caliper assemblies. These were replaced free of charge, and problems have stopped since then for all model years.

5. Roof Rail Airbag Failure

A small number of 2020 model years of the XT5 were recalled under number 20V446000 because of potential partial deployment of the roof rail airbag. The issue was described as follows in the recall:

The diffuser component of the Roof-Rail Air Bag (RRAB) inflator may not have been properly crimped to the inflator and could separate from the inflator during airbag deployment.


The potential faulty RRAB modules could be placed on either the right or left side of the vehicle. During the recall, affected RRAB modules were replaced, which seemed to have solved the issue.

6. Premature Tire Wear

Owners of several different model years of the XT5 have complained about their tires wearing out at the 20,000 – 30,000 miles mark even though the tires should last 40,000 – 50,000 miles. In the case of the 2017 – 2018 model year, it seems the Michelin Premier LTX received mixed reviews from owners.

However, in the 2020 model year, problems led to two separate recalls. These weren’t for the Michelins, however. It turned out the Continental tires used for this model year were cured for too long during production.

This could lead to the frame of the tire braking suddenly and the tread of the tire wearing out prematurely, resulting in loss of control and flat tires. These recalls were issued under numbers 21V115000 and 20V684000. The recall involved replacing the tires free of charge.

If you’re not sure if your tires are worn out this video is a great guide on knowing when to replace them:

7. Liftgate Not Working

Owners of 2017 – 2020 XT5 have complained about a liftgate that fails to open after some time. The liftgate randomly seems to fail, meaning it won’t open or close anymore. Doing this manually is also a hassle because these cars weren’t designed for that.

We know for sure that Cadillac never issued a recall or service bulletin for this, which meant that owners had to figure it out by themselves. Eventually, it turned out to be a flooded liftgate control module. You can find this module by lifting the spare tire in the trunk and looking back at the inside of the bumper.

Cadillac never designed any draining holes in the area where the liftgate control module is located. Therefore, if any water seeps in, it stays and causes electrical failure. Replacing the liftgate control module isn’t that hard, but these modules cost around $250. Since Cadillac are already expensive to maintain, you don’t want to add up these kinds of costs.

Also, be sure to drill your own draining holes or, as some owners did, resort to alternative measures such as these:

I keep a roll of paper towels in my spare tire well in the hopes of soaking up any water that gets in again.


8. Sunroof Explodes

One final problem with the XT5s from 2017 – 2018 was that the sunroof seemed to explode randomly in some vehicles. As can be seen in the picture below, this can result in dangerous situations for the driver and its occupants.

The problem with this defect was that Cadillac never admitted to the problem and that owners had a difficult time proofing that the sunroof wasn’t hit by something else. Also, there seemed to be no correlation between weather and driving.

Owners also report that nothing hit the sunroof when shattering; in some cases, the car was even sitting in the garage.

Since a panoramic sunroof on the Cadillac XT5 can set you back more than $1,100 without installation, owners have had to pay this out of pocket or figure it out with their insurance.

Closing Thoughts

The Cadillac XT5 stands tall as an epitome of luxury. However, technical challenges, most notably with the AF50-8 transmission and sunroof incidents, underline the necessity for consistent evaluations. Every car has unique concerns, and understanding these is paramount for any car enthusiast or potential owner.

For those committed to deepening their knowledge of Cadillac’s lineup, an exploration into the Problems Of A Cadillac Escalade is worthwhile.

Perhaps you’re looking for a different Cadillac model and want to know about specific challenges that can offer further insights. Our analysis on the Problems Of A Cadillac CTS may also help contextualize Cadillac’s overall approach to manufacturing and quality control.

In the dynamic world of automobiles, staying informed and proactive ensures both performance and peace of mind. It’s not just about owning a vehicle; it’s about understanding and cherishing it. Happy driving!


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