2011 Cadillac transaxle issue

I have a 2011 Cadillac CTS4 with about 75000 miles on it. Took it in today to have a fluid change done on the transfer case. The Cadillac dealership did the 100000 mile check up also. The let me know that there is some leakage of greese around something called the transaxle.
I had the transmission fluid replaced about ago at the other Cadillac dealership in town and they didn’t see anything then so my guess is this just started. The dealership priced full transaxle replacement at $780.
My questions are exactly what is this part, what does it do and is it something a regular mechanic could handle fixing or is it something the Cadillac dealership must do?

Are you sure they said trans axle and not a drive axle?

The trans axle is the transmission itself. And I doubt the dealer can replace the transmission for $780.

But grease can leak from a drive axle.


It’s the transmission and they aren’t going to replace that for $780. Most likely they were just talking about replacing the seals. I guess I would just keep an eye on it and if it started to leak (like you see spots on the ground or need to top off the transmission) then have it taken care of. I don’t think I’d let someone other than the dealer or a “good” trans shop deal with it though. It wouldn’t be the first time the dealer has found a massive oil leak that seems to cure itself magically. My massive leaks seemed to have disappeared the minute I got a second opinion.

The information they gave me with pictures says Axle/driveline/power train: RT rear axle and updated axle nut.

Simple , get a second opinion . Determine just how bad the leak is and where it is so you can monitor it.
Dealers inspections are usually more involved because they seem to catch more abuse if someone notices spots of anything on ground after a service visit.

Based on the new description, it sounds like you have a bad boot on the CV joint and they are going to replace the axle. That’s different.

This is the third inspection done on the car over the past 4 months. In February when I bought it and had a full check on it the results were extremely positive. Last month when I had the transmission fluid replaced by the dealership (sister location) again positive inspection. Now as I was getting the transfer case fluid changed out is when this dealership found the small greese leak. There are no spots on my driveway as I monitor that extremely closely.

He did say something about a boot, can you clarify what that is.

The boot is what protects CV-joint and holds the grease.


Ok, am I safe to drive the car as it will take me a couple months to raise the needed cash to fix? What does this part do?

It connects the rear wheel hub to the rear differential, which drives the rear wheel.


I contacted the dealership for a explanation of what the issue is and this was there response:

“Drew, the part in question is the right rear axle boot. It comes as part of the axle shaft and unlike the fronts, is not replaceable without installing an entire axle shaft. It is located in the rear of the vehicle, on the right hand side, from the rear differential to the wheel. The boot covers the cv joint and keeps it lubricated.”

So is this something that has to be fixed by the dealership or something that my normal garage can handle?

Your normal garage can replace drive axle assembly. No problem.

There’s no reason to bring your vehicle to the dealer for service since it’s out of warranty.

The only time you bring your vehicle to dealer when it’s this old is for a manufacturer recall.


I see the new part from Cadillac is about $600 retail so the $780 price is not out of line but… There are rebuilt right rear axles for this car for $142 retail at AutoZone. Install labor maybe $150.

Any decent mechanic should be able to do this.

Just spoke to my local shop, total cost is $393 and takes about 2 hours to do so in it goes on Saturday to get fixed. Thanks to all here for the knowledge…

With this issue it was caught due to me having other work done, had I not had that done how does something like this show up that will let you know there is a problem?

In every owners manual there will be a maintenance schedule listed for varying mileages. There is something that may be called “check suspension” or “check undercarriage”:, etc.

What that means is going over the entire underneath to look for problems such as this and alert the car owner to any potential problems.

Busted CV boots are quite common with any make of car and in most cases it’s adviseable to replace the shaft rather than simply reboot the existing shaft.

I’m getting the whole thing replaced this Saturday. So outside of an under body look there are no signs to look for when something like this happens?

For a long time a torn CV boot will leak black grease, which is thrown around from the spinning axle. If that is not discovered, it can be many months and miles before the CV joint wears, due to lack of grease and contamination by water and debris, to the point it makes noise.

We usually hear about a crackling noise from a bad front CV joint when the car is accelerating while turning. A bad rear CV joint would maybe be less obvious.

I’m guessing this torn boot happened over the past few weeks as I had a full inspection done on the car done in February when I bought it and again by the dealership when I had transmission fluid was changed out in April. So I’m thinking I should be ok till Saturday when I get it replaced.