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.
As always, we recommend you seek a qualified mechanic's advice before attempting any reapirs yourself.
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.