2020 Mazda CX-5 Problems and Issues Summary

Our analysis shows that electrical system, engine, and brake issues are the most common issues with the 2020 CX-5

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

Crossover SUVs have become a very popular vehicle segment in America. The 2020 Mazda CX-5 is praised as being “poised under pressure,” but not all owners agree. Problems they are facing include faulty electrical systems, malfunctioning service brakes, and oil leaks that affect the engine, all of which can put people in danger.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019   2021   2022


The most common complaints about the 2020 CX-5 lodged with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) relate to the electrical system. These relate mainly to parasitic battery drain and “ghost touch” problems with the touchscreen. There are also a substantial number of complaints about faulty engines leaking oil, and brakes failing.

Other complaints highlight problems with airbags, backover prevention, exterior lighting, forward collision avoidance, the fuel/propulsion system, land departure, powertrain, structure, vehicle speed control, and wheels. Visibility/wiper complaints highlight windshield glass that cracks spontaneously, while sunroofs that spontaneously explode are highlighted as unknown or other problems.

2020 Mazda CX-5 Complaint Summary

Complaint Category Number of Complaints
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Exterior Lighting
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Air Bags
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Fuel/propulsion System

Problems with the Electrical System

With more than 100 manufacturer communications on file with the NHTSA about the electrical system, it’s clear that Mazda is fully aware of many of the electrical problems owners of the 2020 CX-5 are experiencing. Complaints highlight two main issues, parasitic battery drain and “ghost touch” problems with the SUV’s touchscreen.

Battery Drain Problems

Service Bulletin #SA-049-20, issued on July 31, 2020 talks about how the engine might not start because of a parasitic drain and low battery voltage. However, at that stage, the automaker could only say, “Mazda is aware of the issue and is working on a solution.”.

According to an updated service bulletin and a service alert issued on November 8, 2020, the “engine no start due to low battery voltage” issue was due to faulty power liftgates (PLGs). The issue was that the PLG control unit might not switch to the power saving mode even after pressing the push button start and setting the ignition to the off position, “due to improper control logic of the PLG Control Unit. In this condition, if the vehicle is left unused for a certain amount of time, the battery may discharge and run out.” However, there have been numerous service bulletins since this time that address dead batteries and faulty PLG components. For instance, in May 2021, Mazda told dealers there were problems with some CX-5 PLGs not closing, probably due to PLG switch corrosion.

It is not clear when, if, or how these issues were resolved. The most recent complaints were in late 2020.

Complaints About Battery Drain Problems

One owner stated in November 2020 that his two-day-old 2020 CX-5 had to be towed to the dealer because the battery was completely drained. “I picked it up and they did nothing to the battery. They told me nothing was wrong and they replaced the key fob battery. Two more days after that, I parked it in my garage and pushed the button to turn it off. Apparently, it did not turn off and come morning. I had significant carbon monoxide poisoning and was hospitalized for 4 nights. My car would not start again and the odd thing was that the battery was drained again and there was still gas in it. My local Mazda dealer refuses to help me.”

An owneer from New York experienced the problem twice. “There is a known issue without a solution from Mazda. (The) 2020 X-5 has intermittent battery drain, causing the vehicle to power off or not start. It happened to me 2x while (the) vehicle was parked and running.

An owner from New Jersey had defective CX-5 batteries replaced three times between July 2020 and October 2020.

Touchscreen Ghost Touch Problems

Regarded as electrical or unknown or other issues, ghost touch problems have only been highlighted in complaints since 2021. It’s possible that this might simply be due to the shorter lifespan of these modern devices. Complaints report common issues.

An owner from Tennessee states that the ghost touch issues with the touchscreen “causes calls to go on hold, navigation to stop in unknown areas, sometimes in areas without service, and other distracting issues such as skipping songs. I’m fixing it, but it appears to be a common problem and it costs over $600 to fix.”

An owner from Virginia states, ”The car’s screen/touch screen has a “ghost touch” issue. It automatically changes car settings while I am in the middle of driving which is causing driving safety issues. It will change radio stations, mess with navigation, screen brightness, clock, etc.”

The owner of a 2020 CX-5 Mazda Touring was quoted $300-$400 to fix the problem, which had recurred for five days. “While backing the vehicle the rear camera sometimes goes off because the screen in the car keeps switching itself to night mode, radio channel, Bluetooth, clock setting and sometimes the screen freezes which is very dangerous while reversing,” the complaint states.

An owner from Florida with the screen ghost touch problem states that “buttons on (the) screen are automatically being pressed constantly, super laggy, buttons not functioning properly, making random phone calls, etc.” There are also incidents where the screen becomes totally black.

A Mazda employee confirmed to an owner in LA “that ‘ghosting’ is an issue they are seeing quite a bit. On a new vehicle, this is an unfortunate extra $200.00 out of pocket as warranty deductible that seems more of a recallable factory defect.”

Engine Problems

According to NHTSA complaints, there are multiple engine problems, the most common being related to oil consumption and oil leaks.

In a complaint dated February 25, 2021, an owner from California reported a “massive oil leak near the engine.” As a result, “the cylinder head needs to be replaced because it is defective. This is a 2020 vehicle. The gasket kit and the engine are on backorder so my car is at the shop for an undetermined amount of time on the order of potentially several months!”

Another owner reported that “The engine of this vehicle has been leaking from different areas consistently. The first leak was the timing cover gasket not properly sealing from manufacture. The dealership covered this under warranty without pushback. I then identified a weep from the oil pan gasket during a normal oil change interval. This gasket leak was again from manufacture. I had watched this leak and it seemed to be getting worse over changes and evolved beyond a weep. I also found oil leaking onto one of the spark plugs when changed around 56K miles.” The dealership eventually “repaired” the leak, but 8K later, “a new leak has presented, enough to cause the low oil light to illuminate and pooling of oil on the access cover.”

This owner’s primary concern was for his wife and toddler’s safety — having to stop on the side of the road in cold weather because of the problem.

An owner from Texas states that the “Low oil level indicator came on at roughly 55,000 miles only about 3000 miles after (the) last oil change.” The SUV was towed to the nearest Mazda dealer who confirmed the oil level was low, indicating excessive oil consumption.

Brake Problems

Apart from being able to start the vehicle, it’s also imperative that the SUV stops. For this to happen, the brakes must be in optimal working condition, but some owners state they are not, describing how brake malfunctions but some owners state they are not, describing malfunctions that have led to crashes and injuries.

For example, an owner from Colorado needed urgent care including an MRI after a neck injury caused by a malfunction of the sudden braking safety feature.

An owner from Virginia was injured when the car spontaneously “started backing up and the door ran over me.” The driver’s side door had been open at the time, and the driver had “reached in to turn the car off using the start/stop button.” The complaint states, “The car was definitely in Park and the Brake was on. There was no reason for the parking brake to disengage.”

Another owner, whose CX-5 had only 32,000 miles, was told the vehicle needed new brakes and calipers after it started making “grinding and creaking noises.” According to the complaint, the brakes were taking longer to stop the car.

An owner from California was injured after the brakes failed and the vehicle crashed. The owner discovered three damaged rotors caused by heavy grinding of the calipers.

An owner from Texas experienced sudden acceleration at a fast food restaurant that caused the vehicle to crash.”I got out of my car to pay and got back in. After about a minute or two my car accelerated forward, going over a sloped curb and down a short low-grade hill, hitting a pole. I was confused (about) how the car would go forward because I was in Park the whole time.”

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

If your 2020 Mazda CX-5 has problems that make you think it could be a lemon, contact the Lemberg Law Helpline or fill out a contact form. We will assess your problems free of charge.

Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace, or pay cash settlements to thousands of lemon owners. Furthermore, the law states that Mazda must foot the bill for lemon law cases. 

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Sophia

    My 2020 Mazda CX-5 started experiencing transmission issues. The car was slipping, and “chirping” when hitting 30MPH. A service bulletin had been released and Mazda replaced the torque converter which fixed the problem for about 300 miles. The chirping and slipping has returned. A new transmission is looking likely.

  • Joe B

    Mazda 2019 cx5 was the first brand new car I ever bought. I am an engineer that has always done all the work on my 20 plus cars in the past. I have never had more unnecessary problems with a car in my life. The brake system is total garbage. Had to replace calipers brakes and rotors at 25000 miles…..out of pocket. Had the hood repainted cuz was flaking off. Tires were absolute garage. Had no control in the snow and even wet roads….eventually crash…..different tires worked great!

  • PH

    Bought mazda 2020 cx5 grand touring in Feb 2021. It is still under warranty. In August the following occured. All USB ports stopped charging including cigarette charger, auto windshield wipers stopped working, auto lights stopped working, seems like distance set between drivers is decreasing on its own. I have at max distance setting. I do see some spotting on hood which i need to investigate further.(based on painting complaint I read about) Dealership has my vehicle now. I am concerned because they told me they do not do diagnostic tests just go by my list (that threw up a big red flag. I know that costs them extra money). I called back for progress update. I told them another dealer does diagnostic. I was then told they did a diagnostic test. Ill ask for report later. I had called another dealership and they said they absolutely do diagnostics. I am going to follow up with other dealer as I am not confident in this dealer.

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