Mazda CX-5 Buyers’ Guide (Problems & Recalls)

The Mazda CX-5 can be a great car if you pick the right one. But, as with most cars, if you end up with a problematic one, the new car feeling can quickly turn into a headache. While the CX-5 can come with a few problems, most of them are not serious issues.

The most common CX-5 problems include an easily cracking windshield, faulty daytime running lights, premature brake wear, and problems with the Infotainment touch display. You could also run into a problem where the car only turns off partially when shutting off the engine. In some models, you may run into issues with the throttle body or sunroof.

While you may run into some strange issues with your CX-5, the good news is that most of them are not severe safety issues. For those that do, knowing about them can help you eliminate the risk. This article will give you everything you may need to know about the Mazda CX-5.

What is Wrong With Your Mazda CX-5

If you’re having problems with CX-5, there’s a good chance it falls under one of these common problems many CX-5 owners run into.

Some of these problems are very unique, so you may be puzzled as to what could be going on with your car.

Most Common Issues With the Mazda CX-5 Explained

Windshield Issues

The Mazda CX-5 has two main problems with the windshield. The first and most common is that they crack easily. Some CX-5 owners have even said their windshields cracked without a cause or developed a “stress crack.” This is primarily reported in the 2014-2017 CX-5s.

To make matters worse, these cracks easily spread on their own. In addition, the repairs cost more because of lane-centering sensors that are on the glass of the windshield. Models that have rain-sensitive windshield wipers may run into additional costs when having their windshields replaced.

The other problem with these windshields is that they often fail to defrost correctly. This issue is most commonly reported in CX-5 models ranging from 2016 to 2021. Many owners say that their windshield only defrosts in the center, leaving the area directly in front of the driver blurred.

This can make driving unsafe during cold or humid times when your windshield is likely to fog or frost. Luckily, this issue isn’t as common as the windshield cracking.


When considering purchasing a CX-5, you may want to ask about these issues to ensure they’ll be covered under a warranty if you run into them. It’s also a good idea to inspect for these problems as well as you can when looking at the car.

If your car is still under warranty, you should first check with your dealer to see if it could be covered under your warranty. Unfortunately, some CX-5 owners have voiced frustrations about having their dealer inspect their cars only to tell them that everything was working as it should.

At the time of writing, there still isn’t a very clear reason as to what causes the problem with the defrost or what can be done to fix it.

If your windshield cracks and is not under warranty, you can check with your auto insurance provider to see if the damage is covered. This will depend on the exact coverage in your policy. Furthermore, your cost may be about the same, depending on your deductible.

On average, replacing the windshield in your CX-5 will cost between $300 and $500. However, some owners have mentioned getting extremely high quotes from the dealer and recommend Safelite as a cheaper alternative.

Running Lights

Although not as serious as the windshield, the Mazda CX-5 also has a common problem with the daytime running lights failing to come on. Many owners have made it known that this can happen at very low mileage.

Mazda admitted that the issue was caused by the materials used to seal the gaskets. When the material gets wet, it releases sulfur which causes corrosion that ultimately causes the running lights to fail. In turn, they issued a recall but only included certain 2016 CX-5s.

Considering this problem is common for many models, including the 2013-2015 models, this recall leaves many owners responsible for an expensive repair.


If your daytime running lights are still working correctly on your CX-5, you may be able to prolong them by cleaning the corrosion from the circuit board inside the assembly.

Because of the design of the daytime running lights on these vehicles, the entire assembly has to be replaced to fix the issue. These assemblies can cost up to $1000 for only one running light assembly.

If you have a 2016 Mazda CX-5, you should contact your dealer to make sure that your core is included in the recall. From there, you can make a plan to have the problem fixed.

Engine Problems

On a more positive note, the Mazda CX-5 is not known to have many engine problems. However, some owners have reported hearing a ticking sound from the engine. Luckily, this issue is not a major one.


In most cases, this ticking sound is only a result of low oil levels, an exhaust leak, or an ignition system problem.

Your first step should be to make sure you’re not low on oil if you hear this sound. In addition, if your check engine light is on, you can have the code checked to see exactly what’s going on with your motor.

Break Wear

Another issue you may run into with the Mazda CX-5 is your brakes wearing down sooner than they should. This happens because of a problem with the brackets on the calipers that prevent them from moving correctly.

Because of this, your brakes will wear unevenly And need to be replaced sooner than they normally would. Unfortunately, many owners have reported that they usually don’t notice this issue until the brakes are no longer in warranty.


You may be able to fix this issue by removing your calipers and removing the brackets to see if moisture has caused any rust buildup.

If so, try cleaning them off and applying Molly grease or something similar to prevent this from happening again.

Sunroof Problems

While there are not as many accounts of this problem, it seems worth mentioning that several CX-5 owners have reported their sunroof “exploding .”Most of the reports consist of the driver going down the road and hearing what sounds like a gunshot and then a sound that sounds like rocks hitting the roof. If the cover is open when this happens, it could cause injuries to anyone inside the car.

Surprisingly, this happened in several other types of vehicles as well. Most manufacturers blame it on something outside the car hitting the sunroof. However, it’s actually believed to be caused by the thinner design of the glass used in these sunroofs.

A few other theories suggest that it happens because the components that hold them in place could cause cracks or chips that weaken the glass. These cracks or chips could also occur during the installation of the glass when it’s originally installed.


Since the actual cause of this problem has yet to be determined, it’s hard to say what the solutions could be. However, there are some things you can do to keep yourself safe and give you peace of mind.

For example, it’s recommended that you keep the interior cover closed while you’re driving your car. Doing so will keep you from being injured if the roof happens to shatter.

The average cost to replace the sunroof in a Mazda CX-5 falls between $650 and $750, including labor costs.

Throttle Body Failure

For the most part, you’re much likelier to run into a problem with the throttle body on your CX-5 than you are to experience your sunroof exploding.

Throttle body failure is a very common problem, especially in the 2019 CX-5. When the throttle fails, it can cause the engine to stall, hesitate to accelerate, idle surges, and can sometimes prevent your vehicle from starting.

It can also appear that your throttle body is failing if it is dirty. When coming to a stop, you may notice erratic or rough idling for a few moments if this is the case.

These things happen because the throttle body controls your fuel-air ratio, and when it fails, it interferes with many aspects of how the vehicle runs.


If you suspect your throttle body is dirty or failing, it’s best to start by checking the check engine light. You can do this by scanning the codes with an OBD-II scanner. Running these codes will usually tell you exactly what is causing the problem.

This will save you from replacing the throttle body when the problem is actually something else, such as sensors, that can create the same problems as the throttle body.

In addition, try cleaning your throttle body with throttle body cleaner before you replace it. When they get coated with dirt and grime, they may seem like they’ve gone bad when they haven’t.

If you determine that your throttle body is bad, the replacement part will cost between $385 and $490. So with labor costs included, you’ll be looking at up to $600.

Infotainment Issues

Even more common are the infotainment issues with CX-5. May owners of 2014-2022 have experienced many glitches with the display screen in their CX-5. Many of them refer to this issue as the “ghost touch.”

Some say their screen randomly jumps between screens, resets their favorites, and other strange things. However, the most common issue with this system is that it will periodically reboot at short intervals, making it impossible to use.

It’s also important to note that some only had this issue once they updated their display to get the Apple Airplay feature.

In addition, some owners have pointed out the potential safety concerns with the system rebooting. Their valid reasoning is that the display turning on and off while driving at night can be very distracting.


There are several ways you can go about fixing this issue. If your car is still under warranty, Mazda will replace the Infotainment system free of charge. Unfortunately, they are currently offering anything for vehicles past their warranty timeframe.

The most straightforward is to get a replacement from the manufacturer. However, these replacements cost $1200, and many owners have been reluctant to spend so much on replacements that could be just as faulty.

Alternatively, there are some aftermarket options for replacing the display. These options are much lower in price than the replacement from the dealer. But as always, you should research the aftermarket product and its reviews to ensure it will work with your CX-5.

Lastly, some CX-5 owners have opted to spend nothing and disable the touch screen. The only downside is that you’ll only be able to control your display with the knob, so you won’t be able to input addresses. The only difference this makes is that it seems like the safety mode that’s usually on when you’re driving is on all the time.

If you decide to disable your touchscreen, the video below will show you exactly how you can do it.

Your Mazda Won’t Turn Off

The 2013 and 2015 Mazda CX-5s also have another frustrating issue that keeps the car from turning off completely when you kill the engine. Instead, the engine will shut off, but the electrical parts powered by the battery stay on. This issue is also common in the 2014 Mazda 6.

This has been very inconvenient for many owners, as it can drain the battery if you don’t notice that it has happened. Several owners have reported being stranded while being out and about because of a dead battery because of this issue.


Luckily, there’s a pretty simple fix for this issue. Compared to other repairs you could run into, the cost is also on the lower end.

When your car doesn’t shut all the way off, try wiggling the gear shift while it’s in the park position. If this fixes the issue, it means that your switch shifter is bad.

If wiggling the gearshift doesn’t work until you can replace the sensor, try turning your car back on, shifting through the years before putting it back in park, and then try again.

The shifter switch sensor can be priced anywhere from $30-$75. On average, the total price with labor included will be around $165.

What Years Did the Mazda CX-5 Have Problems

If you’re looking into buying a Mazda CX-5, there are several years that you’ll probably want to avoid. These models come with the potential to have the most problems. So, if you end up with one of these, you’ll likely end up spending a good bit of money and time working out the kinks.

Based on problems reported to by CX-5 owners.

2014 Mazda CX-5

Of all the CX-5 models, 2014 owners have reported the most problems to The most commonly reported problems were problems with the electrical system. The majority of the complaints were because of the engine failing to turn off completely when they turned the car off.

In addition, there were many complaints regarding the wipers, windshields, and other windows. Most of these were in regards to faulty design of the windshields that allowed them to come loose. Others were because of randomly occurring cracks in the windshield. One even mentions that their back window shattered while the car was in park.

2016 Mazda CX-5

There were also many complaints about the 2016 CX-5. The majority of these were related to the daytime running lights flickering or going out. One owner even mentions that the problem returned about a year after their vehicle was repaired when they were recalled.

2013 Mazda CX-5

Much like the 2016, 2013 models have numerous complaints about the electrical system and not being able to turn the car completely off. Others included not being able to start the car and engine stalls.

Best Years to Buy Used With Little Complaints

The good news is, you don’t have to avoid all of the CX-5s. There were several models with very few significant complaints, including the:

  • 2015 Mazda CX-5
  • 2017 Mazda CX-5
  • 2018 Mazda CX-5
  • 2019 Mazda CX-5
  • 2020 Mazda CX-5
  • 2021 Mazda CX-5
  • 2022 Mazda CX-5

The 2022 is the best of these, having only a handful of complaints. Most of these are related to the brake and gas pedal being too close together, which has caused issues with accelerating when they thought they were braking.

What is a Recall Number?

A recall number is a number that is assigned to recall when it is issued. This number is used to identify the specific recall. It makes it much easier to look up information on the recall if you need to find it at a later date.

Recent Recall #s

For your convenience, we’ve looked into the most recent recalls and made you a list of the numbers and which issues they’re related to.

Some of the most recent recall for the Mazda CX-5 include:

Recall NumberYears IncludedReason
21V8750002018The impeller in the fuel pump could cause the fuel pump to fail.
20V0630002016Daytime running lights failure
19V4970002018-2019Engine stalls while driving
18V4260002018Airbags may not deploy in the event of a crash
17V7440002017Contact between the muffler and wiring harness could cause trailer lights not to work
16V6440002012-2015Lift gate fails

If you need information on other recalls or want to get a list for your vehicle, you can find it on the NHTSA website.

Check to See Whether Your Vehicle Has an Open Recall

1. First, you’ll go to

2. Then, you can search for your CX-5 model by entering the VIN. You can also click the “vehicle” option to enter the make, model, and year if you don’t have the VIN right off.

3. When you click search, you’ll see a list of recalls that are relevant to your car.

How Reliable is the Mazda CX-5?

Despite their recalls, Mazda CX-5 are very reliable car. In terms of your liability, Repair Pal rated the CX-5 at 4.5 out of 5. In addition, their reliability report for the car indicates that when repairs are needed, they usually aren’t severe. Repair Pal comes to their conclusions by looking at repair invoices over the years.

In JD Power’s ratings throughout the years, the only models that have been rated below 80 were the 2013 and 2016. With their ratings, anything between 81 and 90 means “great.” These ratings are based on the opinions of those who purchased these vehicles.

Alternatively, owners of the CX-5s have had many good things to say about reliability overall. Several have mentioned how well the fuel economy holds up over time.

Each car, however, will be different based on how well you maintain it. The way the owners before you maintained the car will also be a factor if you’re buying a used car.

How is it Compared to Similar Cars?

In terms of reliability, repair costs are one of the most important factors to most. When comparing the Mazda CX-5 to one of its top competitors, the Kia Sportage, repair costs for the CX-5 are slightly lower.

In addition, the Sportage has 45 known recalls, while the CX-5 only has 11. These factors are what place the CX-5 0.5 points higher on Repair Pal’s reliability scale.

Aside from standing out when comparing other cars in its class, the CX-5 also ranks well when comparing all cars. It ranks at number 5 on the overall reliability scale, where it competes with sedans, trucks, etc. Honda and Acura were rated the most reliable on this list.

While it’s important to consider how a car compares to others, another critical factor to consider when determining how reliable a car will be is how long you can expect it to last.

What is the Life Expectancy?

For the CX-5, you generally expect it to last around 200,000 miles if it has been properly taken care of. This includes any previous owners, as well as the time you own it.

It also includes the way the car has been driven. Vehicles that are driven aggressively usually do not survive their expected lifespans. In addition, it increases your risk of running into more severe problems that will likely require expensive repairs.

This is why it’s a good idea to do research on the car before you buy a used one. Places like CARFAX can give you detailed information on previous maintenance and possible accidents.

It’s important to note that some CX-5s that have been very well cared for have been known last as long as 250,000 miles. However, if you want yours to last this long, it’s important that you stay on track with the proper maintenance.

Proper Car Maintenance

Proper maintenance for your CX-5 includes making sure you service the required things according to the mileage. The most common is the 15,000 miles servicing. This includes having the oil and filter changed, having the tires rotated, and changing the air and cabin filters if needed.

Every 30,000 miles, you should replace your air filter, fuel filter, and spark plugs. This servicing may also need to include a brake pad change, depending on the wear. In addition, you may need to replace your tires, but this is only if it’s needed.

The next most common servicing comes at 60,000 miles. This servicing should include a thorough inspection of your vehicle, as well as replacing or refilling any fluid that needs it.

At 90,000 miles, you may need to add in a timing belt or spark plug replacement. Keep in mind that these are accumulative, so the basic servicing will occur every time.

What is Good and Bad About the Car?

When weighing the good and bad things about the CX-5 can be a little overwhelming. When researching a car, there’s plenty of extensive information thrown at you at once.

To make it easier, we’ve broken down some important pros and cons to help you easily weigh the risk versus the reward.

Pros of the Mazda CX-5:

  • Not loud inside the car while driving.
  • Many safety features include collision warning and lane-keep assist (newer models).
  • Newer models get up to 31 MPG.
  • Low average annual repair costs.

Cons of the Mazda CX-5:

  • Many audio issues.
  • Likely the display system will malfunction.
  • Some issues are yet to be resolved, such as the potentially shattering sunroof.

What do Owners Say About the Car?

“Best Bang for your buck, in my opinon. Great looking inside and out. Decent ride and performance for a 4 cyl, compact SUV. Definitely stands out from the others in its class.” (2022 owner)

“Car now needs almost 2000.00 worth of repairs and I barely drive it. I bought it with 32,000 miles and it now has 52,000 after three years.” (2013 Owner)

“Previously owned 2012 Honda accord would say Mazda wins on Styling and equals on reliability. I do prefer Mazda transmissions over CVT used on my past Nissan/Hondas.” (2019 Owner)

“Windshield is faulty. Extremely loud popping sounds while driving on highway. This happened about a dozen times and NO there were ZERO cracks until months later when I got into my car and there were 2 aggressive cracks at each side. They were 2″ long overnight. Panels keep falling off at feet, center console latch broke. Drives nice but isn’t the highest quality interior.” (2016 Owner)

“This is our third Mazda CX-5. When this lease ends we will purchase it. The vehicle has every safety feature we could ask for. We are getting between 28 and 29 mpg in town driving. This is an outstanding vehicle.” (2020 Owner)


By now, you should have a good idea of what problems you could run into with the CX-5 and if they’re something you’re willing to assume the risk of.

There’s no reason you should have to rule out a Mazda CX-5 if it’s the car you have your eye on. As long as you’re aware of which models to avoid, you can easily end up with a good and reliable vehicle, given that most common problems for this car are minor and easy to handle.