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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.