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.

The first lawsuit, Chester Steele v. General Motors, LLC., was filed in 2017 in the Central District of California. The lawsuit wanted nationwide class-action status, but the judge shot that down by saying any Manguson-Moss claims were specific to goods sold in California.

A settlement for some

Steele v GM laid the groundwork for a settlement offer to SRX owners in California and, interestingly enough, Florida.

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.

But what about everyone else?

That's great and all, but it doesn't just rain in California in Florida so what about everyone else?

That's the question two lawsuits filed in September 2019 are asking. The first, Truesdell, et al., v. General Motors LLC was filed in Missouri with a second, LaTorre, et al., v. General Motors LLC was filed in Michigan just a few weeks later.

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.

Both lawsuits seek the same reimbursements offered in the first settlement.

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

    35th out of 35

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 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