Corrosion Causes the CX-5 Daytime Running Lights to Flicker and Fail

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The LED daytime running lights (DRL) in the 2016 CX-5 are known to flicker and fail. Mazda admitted that the sealing gaskets attached to the light's wiring connectors release sulfur, corroding the circuit.

At first the damage causes the lights to flicker on and off. Eventually the corrosion expands and the lights shut off for good.

A Ridiculously Expensive Repair

Here's a fun fact about the 2016 CX-5 – you can't just replace the DRL if it burns out. That's because Mazda designed the DRL to be integrated into the headlight assembly.

Replacing the entire headlight assembly can cost an owner over $1,500. PER SIDE.

Any hopes of leaning on the warranty to help with the cost is usually dashed because the DRL often fails outside of the standard 36,000 mile warranty. And most owners aren't aware of the flickering that indicates corrosion because there aren't any warning lights or other indication that a problem exists.

A DRL class-action lawsuit sought reimbursement

Mazda was sued for their DRL system in late 2019. The main argument being that the automaker knows that the DRL problem exists but ignores it until owners are outside their warranty period.

Mazda issued a recall for nearly 44,000 SUVs

A couple months after the lawsuit, Mazda announced they were recalling 44,000 CX-5 SUVs to replace the sealing gaskets and add anti-corrosion materials inside the headlights and possibly replace the headlight units.

The recall only affects the 2016 model year, with 36,700 SUVs in the USA and 7,000 in Canada.

At the time of the recall, there was no mention of potential reimbursements for customers who previously paid for repairs.

Why Daytime Running Light Failure Matters

Some might argue that DRLs are nice-to-have but it's not a big deal if they fail. Sort of like how an escalator that fails just becomes a set of stairs. Sure, they still work but you paid for the damn escalator.

State laws and inspections

And then there's this problem with enforcement.

Some states require all lights be working in order to pass inspection. That includes the daytime running lights, which as we just learned, are incredibly expensive to replace.

Another consideration is that some states have a law that lights needs to be visible when it's raining and the car's wipers are on. Features like automatic headlights and daytime running lights are a nice safety net against these laws and local rules, which are admittedly a bit of a moving target.

The safety boost

And then, most importantly DRLs simply make you more visible on the road. That's why they're required in Canada and many northern European countries where it gets dark in the winter months.

Lawsuits Regarding This Problem

Lawsuits about this problem have already been filed in court. Many times these are class-action suits that look to cover a group of owners in a particular area. Click on the lawsuit for more information and to see if you're eligible to receive any potential settlements.

  • Recall

    Kidd, et al., v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc.

    1. Recall

      A 2016 Mazda CX-5 daytime running lights recall for nearly 44,000 SUVs is issued because the running lights may flicker or fail.

    2. Case Filed

      A 2016 Mazda CX-5 daytime running lights lawsuit alleges the lights fail prematurely and can cost an owner $1,500 to replace on just one side of the CX-5.

    Class Vehicles
    • 2016 CX-5
    Location
    California

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Mazda generations.

Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.

  1. 1st Generation CX-5

    Years
    2013–2016
    Reliability
    36th of 36
    PainRank
    24.84
    Complaints
    321
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a CX-5

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA