The Correct Bolt Pattern for the Cadillac CTS

The Correct Bolt Pattern for the Cadillac CTS

The CTS (Catera Touring Sedan) was an “executive car” built by General Motors under the Cadillac brand from 2003 to 2019.

Being an executive car basically meant that it was also part of the full-size segment when it came to the US domestic market (USDM).

Despite only being manufactured for three generations, the CTS has still undergone considerable change throughout the years. One such change is regarding its bolt pattern.

Thus, we’ll be talking about the CTS’ bolt pattern and its accompanying specifications, and how they compare to the ones on other car models that we’ve already discussed.

What is the bolt pattern of a Cadillac CTS?

2003 to 2007 Cadillac CTS models were fitted with a bolt pattern of 5×4.53 inches (5x115mm).

Newer CTS models manufactured between 2008 to 2019 had bolt patterns that measured 5×4.72 inches (5x120mm).

As you can notice, the Cadillac CTS only ever used two different bolt patterns despite having three generations.

Only the 1st-generation models from 2003 to 2007 had the smaller 5×4.53-inch bolt patterns, while both the 2nd and 3rd-generations used the bigger 5x.472-inch bolt pattern.

Still, we’re not going to stop with just their bolt patterns. When it comes to fitting wheels on your CTS, you need to be aware of a few other things too.

This is where its wheel and bolt specifications come in, which we’ll be laying out for you according to each CTS generation below.

Wheel and Bolt Specifications of the Cadillac CTS

Aside from its bolt pattern, we’ve also listed other bolt specifications for the CTS. These are the center bore diameter, type of wheel fastener, thread size, and torque tightening specification.

As for its wheel specifications, these will simply be the different tire and rim sizes that were offered for the CTS from the factory.

Take note that each CTS generation will have different trim levels, which are commonly denoted by the engine size.

Such trim levels will determine what set of tire and rim sizes each CTS generation will have, and these will all be paired together inside a table for that generation.

As a rule of thumb, all of the trim levels within a certain generation will have the exact same set of bolt specifications, unless otherwise specified.

3rd-Generation Cadillac CTS (2014 to 2019)

The 3rd-generation Cadillac CTS (GM Alpha) that was unveiled in 2014 was the last generation of the CTS nameplate, as it was replaced later by the CT5 midsize sedan in 2019.

Unlike previous generations that offered coupe and estate body styles, the 3rd-generation CTS was only offered in a saloon/sedan.

For the entirety of its 6-year production run, it has kept the same set of bolt specifications that you see below for all of its trim levels.

Center Bore Diameter: 2.63 inches (66.9mm)

Wheel Fastener: Lug Nut (5)
Thread Size: M14x1.5
Torque Spec: 110lb-ft (150Nm)

Its wheel specifications, on the other hand, offered a wide variety of tire sizes and rim sizes depending on the trim level.

The 2.0Ti trim that was only offered until 2016 had a 245mm tire size that was pairable with either an 8Jx17 ET42 or 8.5Jx17 ET32 rim size.

It was eventually replaced by the 2.0T, which was interestingly fitted with an OEM run-flat version of the same tire size used in the 2.0Ti.

It had another 245mm tire option that was paired with a bigger 18-inch rim size.

The 3.6T trim only had one set of tire sizes, but the front and rear tires had different widths at 245mm and 275mm, respectively.

The 3.6i trim initially had only two sets of wheel specifications until a third 255mm tire option paired with a 19-inch rim size was added to the lineup in 2016.

Trim LevelTire SizeRim Size
2.0Ti (2014 to 2016)245/45R178Jx17 ET42
8.5Jx17 ET32
2.0T (2016 to 2019)245/45R17 (OEM Run-Flat Tires)8.5Jx17 ET32
245/40R188.5Jx18 ET34
3.6T245/40ZR18 (Front)

275/35ZR18 (Rear)

8.5Jx18 ET32
9.5Jx18 ET46
3.6i245/45R178.5Jx17 ET32
245/40R188.5Jx18 ET32
255/35R19 (2016 to 2019)8.5Jx19 ET34 (2016 to 2019)

2nd-Generation Cadillac CTS (GM Sigma II) (2008 to 2014)

The 2nd-generation CTS, also dubbed as the “GM Sigma II”, was slightly boxier in its exterior styling compared to the 3rd-generation “GM Alpha” CTS.

Despite having a slightly larger bolt pattern, the 2nd-generation CTS actually had the same set of bolt specifications that we’ve discussed for the 3rd generation.

Center Bore Diameter: 2.63 inches (66.9mm)

Wheel Fastener: Lug Nut (5)
Thread Size: M14x1.5
Torque Spec: 110lb-ft (150Nm)

Its wheel specifications were slightly less than the ones available for the 3rd generation, but there was still a decent amount of tire sizes and rim sizes.

The 3.0i V6 was the base trim, and it was the only one that was equipped with 17-inch rims wrapped with 235mm tires.

The 3.6i V6 also had 235mm tires, but it had a slightly bigger rim diameter at 18 inches. Both the 3.0i V6 and 3.6i V6 had positive rim offsets that measured 48mm.

A coupe version for the 3.6i V6 was later added in 2011, which boasted different front and rear tire sizes, just like the 3rd-generation 3.6i above.

It had 235mm front tires and 265mm rear tires, which were pairable with two 18-inch rim sizes with different widths and offsets.

Trim LevelTire SizeRim Size
3.0i V6235/55R178Jx17 ET48
3.6i V6235/50R188Jx18 ET48
3.6i V6 Coupe (2011 to 2014)235/50ZR18 (Front)

265/45ZR18 (Rear)

8.5Jx18 ET48
9.5Jx18 ET32

1st-Generation Cadillac CTS (GM Sigma I) (2003 to 2007)

The 1st-generation CTS, denoted as the “GM Sigma I”, was a big turning point for Cadillac after years and years of struggling to compete with other major luxury car manufacturers.

While the model years for the 1st-generation CTS officially started in 2003, the unveiling and production for the model actually started the year before.

This generation had a bigger center bore diameter than the newer generations, but it had a slightly smaller thread size and a torque tightening specification that was 10lb-ft less.

Other than that, it still used 5 lug nuts (or bolts) to keep its wheels in place, just like the newer generations did.

Center Bore Diameter: 2.78 inches (70.3mm)

Wheel Fastener: Lug Nut (5)
Thread Size: M12x1.5
Torque Spec: 100lb-ft (140Nm)

To keep things simple, we will be focusing on the trim levels that were specifically released for the US domestic market (USDM).

As with the 2nd generation, all of the 1st-generation CTS trim levels were fitted with V6 engines of varying displacements.

However, each trim level was introduced one by one for the first three years, the first one being the 3.2i V6 in 2003.

By the time it was discontinued in 2004, a 3.6i V6 trim was simultaneously added into the mix as the top-of-the-line variant.

A year after that, a 2.8i V6 trim was again added to take the discontinued 3.2i V6 trim’s place.

Despite this rather constant change in its trim level lineup, the 1st-generation CTS only came with two tire sizes and two rim sizes, as seen below.

Trim LevelTire SizeRim Size
3.2i V6 (2003 to 2004)

2.8i V6 (2005 to 2007)

3.6i V6 (2004 to 2007)

225/55R167Jx16 ET51
225/50R177.5Jx17 ET51

How to Tighten the Bolts on the Cadillac CTS

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the bolt pattern and other relevant specifications of the Cadillac CTS, it’s now a good time to talk about its bolts as well.

To make sure that your bolts keep your wheels snug and in place, you need to keep two general things in mind.

The first thing is that you need to make sure that your bolts are torqued to their proper specifications that are recommended by the manufacturer.

As discussed above, these specifications will be 110lb-ft (150Nm) for both the 2nd and 3rd-generation CTS, and 100lb-ft (140Nm) for the 1st-generation CTS.

The second thing is that you need to tighten them in the correct order based on how many bolts (or lug nuts) your wheels use.

Simply tightening them in clockwise or counterclockwise order will cause an uneven distribution of tightening force across the wheel’s face, which may cause one of the bolts to loosen again.

Since all of the Cadillac CTS generations use a total of 5 lug nuts as their wheel fasteners, we can refer to them as having a “5-lug pattern”.

5-lug Patterns

Thus, for cars with a 5-lug pattern, the correct tightening order would be the star-shaped pattern demonstrated in the diagram above.

Other cars to which this tightening pattern can be applied include the Chevy Malibu, Chevy Impala, Ford Escape, Ford Fusion, Dodge Journey, and many more.

Another thing to note when tightening the bolts is to only hand-tighten them halfway or just snug enough if you’ve currently got the car jacked up.

You can then continue tightening them to the torque values mentioned above with a torque wrench after lowering the car back down.

After tightening the bolts, it’s generally recommended to drive the car for about 50 miles (80km) then recheck them again if they’ve managed to retain their torque values.

If they lose a bit of their torque value, you can consider cleaning them along with the wheel’s mating surface or recalibrating the torque wrench before tightening them again.

When to Change Tires on the Cadillac CTS

The tires are an important component of your Cadillac CTS’ wheels, as they essentially maintain your traction as you’re driving along different road surfaces.

Unless you’ve been constantly doing burnouts, you can expect the tires on the CTS to have an average lifespan that most tires fitted on most cars on the road would have.

This lifespan (or mileage) would be around 60,000 to 75,000 miles (97,000 to 121,000km), which is a considerably lengthy one for just about any tire.

But do take note that it’s still generally recommended by a lot of tire manufacturers to replace them every 5 years, regardless of the miles driven or the tread depth.

This is because the rubber compound on tires naturally degrades and hardens through time even if the tires are just left lying around.

To check how much life you still have left on your tires, we recommend checking their tread depth using either of the two ways we’ve provided below.

Tread Wear Indicator Bars
Penny Trick

The left photo shows a tire’s “tread wear indicator bars”, which essentially help you gauge how thick are your tire treads in relation to the deep-set bars.

If your tire treads are already at the same height as the bars, then that’s a good indication that your tires are already too worn out and need to be changed.

Not all tires have these bars, which is where the penny trick on the right photo comes in handy.

Simply insert a penny upside down between the tire treads and check how much of Abraham Lincoln’s head remains hidden. About half of it will be tucked away on new tires.

If you can see his entire head clearly, then that means your treads are already too thin (less than 1/16 of an inch) and it’s definitely time to change your tires.

How and When to Rotate Tires on the Cadillac CTS

Unlike tire changes, tire rotations on the Cadillac CTS or just about any vehicle will come a lot sooner than you think.

This is because tire rotations are one of the forms of automotive maintenance that should be routinely performed.

Keeping that in mind, the tire rotation pattern and frequency for the CTS will generally depend on the drivetrain and the type of tires fitted.

When rotating directional (unidirectional) tires, the front ones are simply switched towards the rear and vice versa, as you can see in the diagram below.

Directional Tires

When it comes to rotating non-directional tires, which actually make up most of the tires used on most cars, we can turn to the Cadillac CTS’ drivetrains as the deciding factor instead.

The CTS was offered in rear-wheel drive (RWD) as standard, with the option to upgrade to an all-wheel drive (AWD) system.

With that said, both RWD and AWD cars should have their tires rotated using the “rearward-cross” pattern demonstrated below.

Rearward Cross

The frequency or interval of these tire rotations will also be dependent on the Cadillac CTS’ drivetrain.

RWD Cadillac CTS models are due for a tire rotation every 5,000 to 7,500 miles (8,000 to 12,000km).

AWD Cadillac CTS models, on the other hand, need their tires rotated a bit sooner at 3,000 to 5,000 miles due to the extra wear on all four tires by the AWD system.