Mazda 3 Xenon headlights failures - Mazda Forum - Mazda Enthusiast Forums

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Old 08-08-2011, 06:50 PM
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Thumbs down Mazda 3 Xenon headlights failures

I have a 2007 M3 Grand Touring edition that came standard with XENON HID headlights. While my daughter had it at school last year, the driver’s side headlight would go out intermittently. She took it to a dealer in Tallahassee, but at that time it was working so they did nothing (and questioned if they were original equipment). Then it went out for good and I took it a dealer in Jacksonville. They replace the bulb and control unit under the 3 year warranty. The DS2 bulb was $256.00, but the control unit was not listed in the warranty invoice.
Two weeks ago the passenger side went out. She was home so we took it back to the dealer since I have an extended service contract (3 year warranty expired in 2010). The service advisor call and said that the bulb and control unit needed to be replace; good news was that the service contract covered the control unit for the $100 deductible, otherwise it would have been closer to $1000 with the bulb (at $256.00). WTF?
Anyone else had problems with the factory XENON’s? Do I have any recourse with Mazda? IMO I don’t think that Xenon’s are 15 times better than halogens. I would expect that these should have lasted 6 years or more…
I looked for the bulbs on-line, but it appears that the best bet is to get the OEMs from the dealer otherwise you don’t know what you’re getting.
Sorry, just had to vent...thanks for reading…and comments/advice appreciated…
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:11 PM
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It's possible that both times around the lamp itself was fine and it was just the ballast (read: control unit) that was having issues. Generally when one side flickers or works intermittently that's what is causing it. If it does happen again try swapping the lamp from one headlight to the other and see if the problem follows the lamp or stays in one place. That will determine what's actually not working properly.

HID lamps and ballasts do cost more when compared to the price of halogens, but remember that dealer prices are always ridiculous compared to what you could spend elsewhere. Generally speaking HIDs have much longer lifetimes than halogen lamps... generally. There are of course exceptions to every rule. I've certainly gone through 4-5 halogen replacements in my car in a single year (and no I didn't touch the lamps :P). I've had my HIDs in for two years without issue. Something to keep in mind is that HIDs don't like being turned on and off quickly frequently. Similar to fluorescent lights they have a warm up period, and flipping them on and off will shorten the life of the components. So certainly something to let your daughter know if she turns them on and off a whole lot. If she does it's better to let them warm up (about five seconds or so) before turning them back off again.

As to how much better HIDs are than halogens...... it doesn't seem like a lot when you're just looking at them, however it's a huge difference when put side by side with halogens, as they do put out 3x as much light. In a similar situation I borrowed a friend's car that had dynamic HIDs..... basically they turned as you turned to light around corners. It didn't really seem like a helpful feature until I stopped driving it and drove my car again and realized I couldn't see around corners anymore!

There are things you can do to improve the lighting, and especially get away from crazy dealer prices. First I'd recommend going with a pair of Phillips 85122+ lamps... they're arguably the best D2S lamps on the market. You can get them from places like thetretofitsource for $95/pair, and those are unused straight from the factory in Germany, not an ebay knock off. You can also buy any number of ballasts to drive a D2S lamp..... TRS sells a number of those as well, but off the top of my head I couldn't recommend one over the other. If you want more details on that I'd recommend spending a little time on HiDplanet to learn more than you ever wished to know about HID components. Granted at this point your extended warranty is covering things via your deductible so I'm not suggesting you go out and spend a bunch of money right now, just suggesting things for the future. If you did end up replacing the ballasts you could swap over to 55w ballasts vs. the stock 35w ones..... way more light output. Lastly you could swap in clear lenses to replace the stock fresnel ones in the OEM HID housings. You wouldn't think it would make much difference, but it really really does.
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