Moisture Collecting Inside Headlights Until The Lights Burn Out

Key Points

  • Excess moisture builds up in the 2010-2015 SRX headlight assemblies
  • Both clogged headlight drains and busted seals have been blamed for the problem.
  • Multiple lawsuits led to a settlement from Cadillac, but only for a small number of owners.
Close up of SRX lens with tons of condensation on the inside
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#lawsuit #settlement #lights

There's enough water accumulating inside 2nd generation SRX headlight assemblies to fry the bulb. While the fix is generally covered under warranty, GM continues to use the same leaky gaskets for replacement parts. Eventually, the gasket fails, the problem comes back, and the owner – who is probably out of warranty at this point – is forced to pay the hefty repair bill.

Defective Seals or Clogged Drains?

Some GM technicians have suggested that the problem is a clogged headlight drain. I don't buy it because there shouldn't be enough moisture accumulating inside your assembly to require a drain before drowning the bulb in water.

Whether it's a defect with the assembly or with the gaskets meant to keep moisture out, there is clearly something wrong with the manufacturing process.

“Passenger light shorted out. Went to the dealer to have the bulb replaced and found out there was water in there and they wanted to charge me $1,300 for a new headlight assembly!”

An Expensive Repair

Because the SRX uses HID headlight bulbs, replacing an assembly can cost $1300 and 2 hours or lablor costs. Some owners have paid $2400 to replace both assemblies at once which is a ... bargain?

Some out-of-warranty owners have taken to the repairs themselves by conducting seal leak tests and using clear silicone to fix any air gaps.

Here Come the Lawsuits

Cadillac has been sued numerous times for the SRX headlight moisture problem. The lawsuits all share a common allegation that a series of Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) to mechanics show that Cadillac knew about the problem but continued to sell the vehicles anyway.

Some of the lawsuits point to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act in an attempt to say Cadillac violated their warranty coverage.

One lawsuit failed to achieve nationwide class-action status, but did result in reimbursements for some California and Florida customers.

Through the settlement, GM offered to reimburse owners in those states for any headlight repair expenses directly related to moisture problems, up to $1,600 per replacement. Additionally, the automaker will pay for an analysis to be done by Cadillac dealers as they try to prevent any future moisture problems.

That's great and all, but it doesn't just rain in California in Florida so other lawsuits followed suit looking for the same offer in different locations.

According to the plaintiffs, GM refuses to extend the warranties and shifts the burden of paying for repairs onto SRX owners. The automaker did issue a customer satisfaction campaign (10043330-5822), but it applied to 2010 Cadillac SRX owners only.

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.

  • LaTorre, et al., v. General Motors LLC.

    Case Filed
    1. Case Filed

      According to the plaintiffs, GM refuses to extend the warranties and shifts the burden of paying for repairs onto SRX owners. The automaker did issue a customer satisfaction campaign (10043330-5822), but it applied to 2010 Cadillac SRX owners only.

    Class Vehicles
    • 2010-2015 Cadillac SRX
    Location
    Michigan
  • Truesdell, et al., v. General Motors LLC

    Case Filed
    1. Case Filed

      According to the plaintiffs, GM refuses to extend the warranties and shifts the burden of paying for repairs onto SRX owners. The automaker did issue a customer satisfaction campaign (10043330-5822), but it applied to 2010 Cadillac SRX owners only.

    Class Vehicles
    • 2010-2015 Cadillac SRX
    Location
    Missouri
  • Chester Steele v. General Motors, LLC.

    Case Filed
    1. Case Filed

      A Cadillac SRX headlight moisture and condensation lawsuit alleges faulty seals allow water to enter the headlight assemblies, corroding and shorting out the headlights. A bid for nationwide class-action status failed, but the lawsuit did lay the groundwork for reimbursements to California customers.

    Class Vehicles
    • 2010-2015 Cadillac SRX
    Class Members
    California Residents
    Location
    California

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Cadillac 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. 2nd Generation SRX

    Years
    2010–2017
    Reliability
    35th of 35
    PainRank
    14.81
    Complaints
    327
    Continue

Further Reading

A timeline of stories related to this problem. We try to boil these stories down to the most important bits so you can quickly see where things stand. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts for your vehicle over at CarComplaints.com.

  1. Stop me if you've heard this one before.

    2010-2015 SRX owners are tired of moisture leaking in through faulty seals and burning out their overly expensive bulbs. Following in the footsteps of a Missouri lawsuit earlier this month, a new lawsuit has been filed in Michigan asking for the same reimbursements offered to owners in Florida and California.

    keep reading
  2. A new lawsuit has popped up as SRX owners across the country continue to have mositure problems with their headlights.

    Earlier this year Cadillac offered to reimburse expenses related to the problem for owners in Florida and California, but attempts to nationalize the lawsuit were shot down. This latest lawsuit, filed in Missouri, is another sign of how widespread this problem is.

    keep reading
  3. A headlight lawsuit has been settled for owners of the 2010-2015 SRX that live in Florida or California.

    Residents of those states will be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses related to moisture getting into the headlight assembly, including bulb replacements, up to $1,600 per replacement. GM will also reimburse owners for a new moisture analysis performed by certified Cadillac technicians.

    keep reading
  4. Attempts to file a nationwide class-action for headlight moisture problems in the SRX have failed

    , but the case will move forward for California residents. The lawsuit alleges that GM knew about the faulty seals before selling the cars to consumers. The nationwide case was shot down by the judge who said the Manguson-Moss claim is specific to goods sold in California.

    keep reading
  5. Water collecting in your SRX headlight? You're not alone.

    A proposed class-action lawsuit in California says moisture can accumulate through defective headlight seals in the 2010-2015 SRX. The problem reduces visibility and makes nighttime driving more dangerous. The problem can end up costing owners thousands of dollars as the water will cause the epxensive bulbs to repeatedly fail.

    It'd be nice to see Cadillac do the right thing here ... you know, without the threat of legal action.

    keep reading

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