2013-2016 Mazda CX-5 Problems

April 14, 2021
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Common 2013-2016 Mazda CX-5 Problems and Issues (And How To Fix Them)

2013-2016 Mazda CX-5s' problems include weak paint, easily cracked windshields and bad mass airflow sensors. The electronics also have a habit of staying on when the car is off due to bad parking sensors. The 2016 models can have finicky transmissions and LED headlights that burn out early. Despite those issues the CX-5 is a great car.

We found these issues by scouring the internet so you don't have to. Here are the common problems and issues for the 2013-2016 Mazda CX-5. 

Frankly, doing the research for the CX-5 was tough. Most buyers and long-term reviews report satisfied owners and few issues, but like every vehicle, some corners were cut and common repairs surface. 

Thin Paint

The first of which is more of a Mazda staple than an issue plaguing the CX-5 - weak paint. 

The paint Mazda uses is not as chip resistant as other manufacturers. Even careful drivers giving extra space between cars on the road report abnormally high amounts of paint chips for the miles on the road. 

While not noticeable at a glance, those paint chips can become ugly to doting owners. We 

recommend buying a paint pen in your CX-5's color, or if you're willing to spend the money, purchasing a clear bra for somewhere north of $500.

Weak Windshields

A much uglier potential problem CX-5s face are their weak windshields prone to cracking. Owners report their windshields breaking from rocks and even baking in the sun for too long. A common fix to the problem is replacing the windshields with a stronger aftermarket version. If you do decide to go with the dealership's OEM replacement, expect another crack to happen in the future.

The CX-5 Transmission Problem

For those of you who think the CX-5 is only limited to cosmetic problems, I have some bad news for you. There are reports of CX-5s suddenly losing power, going into "limp" mode and showing a check-engine light. 

Owners say that once the car stalls it will not turn on again, or if it does, has jerky driving characteristics. Most report that replacing the mass airflow sensor (MAF) fixes these problems. Forums or posts about this issue were sparse, but due to the high number of Amazon purchases for CX-5 MAFs and YouTube views for how to replace them, the problem can't be too rare.

Samarins mentioned it being a problem for the CX-5 as well. 

Slipping Transmissions for 2016 Model

Although if your CX-5 is lurching, it might not be the MAF but could be a faulty transmission. A handful of 2016 owners report their transmission slipping or jerking when driving at low speeds. There is not much information out there about transmission problems, so it should be a minor issue, but the vast majority of the complaints seem limited to 2016 models. 

According to Carcomplaints.com, this forum post, this website and this Reddit thread, the 2016s seem to have most of the problems. I would love to tell you why a fraction of the 2016s in particular have this problem and other years are relatively free from this issue, but there is no mention of an update or change to the transmission online.

Burning out LEDs for 2016s

The 2016s also come with a sharp updated appearance that include efficient and bright LEDs. However, these LEDs like to burn out and are by far the most reported failure on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website for the 2016 Mazda CX-5. 

Get This Recall

This is an expensive replacement that can go over $1,000 including parts and labor. Luckily Mazda recalled 2016 CX-5s with LEDs in February 2020 to have their gasket seals replaced as the gasket material releases sulfur which causes the lights to burn out. The recall comes with some fresh bulbs as well for some owners. 

So if you are looking to own a 2016, make sure to have the dealer take care of the problem instead of tackling it yourself. I know I would simply order and replace the part myself and miss out on a free fix if I was unaware of the recall. 

An Expensive Problem With An Easy Fix

In more of the nuisance category, the CX-5 is notorious for the electronics staying on when turning the car off. This can lead to dead batteries and annoyed owners. The problem is that the parking sensor will fail and the car will not realize it is in park and thus will not shut off all the way. Forcefully putting the car in park seems to work temporarily, but is hardly a long-term solution. 

Unfortunately Mazda did not offer any recall to fix this common problem and is in consumers' hands to fix. Dealers will charge between $300-$500 to replace the sensor, but buying a $50 part off Amazon and spending 30 minutes replacing the part yourself fixes the problem. 

I hope aspiring CX-5 owners find this information useful and not too scary. As I mentioned there were very few overall problems to find on 2013-2016 CX-5s and it should serve faithfully and reliably if you decide to own one. To ensure a CX-5 is right for you look at our car buying guide and our used-car checklist to avoid a lemon.

taymtaym, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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