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 ∞
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.