Losing Control: 5 SUVs with Problematic Electrics And Electronics

Losing Control: 5 SUVs with Problematic Electrics And Electronics

Electrics in modern vehicles are in charge of almost everything. Unfortunately, not all used cars can boast trouble-free operation of electrical parts. Based on their database of reports, experts from Clement Preowned, Missouri,  have compiled a rating of models which often suffer from electric and electronic issues. Read also about the most reliable  used cars ander 15 000 USD in their blog on

Nissan Pathfinder

The Pathfinder’s interior does not show exemplary tightness. The cause of moisture ingress can be, for example, a clogged hatch drain. If you ignore the problem, the oxidation of the contacts will lead to failures of the electric windows and mirrors, as well as adjustments and heated seats. Among other typical electrical issues are breakdowns of damper servos in the air conditioner and failures of the pre-styling multimedia system.

Like many 4WD SUVs, without proper care, the Pathfinder suffers from underbody rust. Moreover, corrosion can also affect the wiring under the body, provoking malfunctions in the all-wheel drive transmission and ABS.

There is an unpleasant sore in the diesel engine, an upgraded version of the YD25DDTi with 190 hp equipped with a turbine with an electrical control system. It can fail, which is fraught with a sudden loss of traction. The problem was fixed in 2012, so the experts recommend choosing the Pathfinder not older than the 2013 year of manufacture. 

Cadillac SRX

The Cadillac SRX often annoys owners with power window problems, especially on driver and front passenger doors. The electrical part of the door locks fails, leading to troubles when opening or closing. Due to wiring defects and relay malfunctions, headlights, taillights, and turn signals fail. Among other common sores are failures of navigation and multimedia systems, as well as seat heating.

There are also complaints about the engines. The weakest point is the mass air flow sensor, which suffers from leaky connections, for example, between the throttle block and the intake manifold. There are failures in the ignition system. With any motor, the SRX is prone to overheating, and often the reason is not only a weak cooling system but also electronics problems. 

Audi Q7

The Audi Q7 headlights are not reliable. The DRL and the LEDs in the headlights go out, and the wiring fails.

With a keyless entry system, the antennas in the door handle have regular issues. The electric trunk is also in the risk zone. Even more often, there are malfunctions in the operation of parking sensors, which have rather weak sensors.

In the cabin, you often have to deal with the vagaries of the multimedia system, which is usually treated by flashing. The problems with the lock and the electric steering column are much worse. There are failures in the automatic transmission selector, power windows, and heated seats. A lot of trouble delivers climate control, regardless of the mileage. One of the typical breakdowns is the failure of the interior temperature sensor.

Part of the problems with the interior electrics of the Q7 happens due to the human factor – Audi does not tolerate unskilled intervention, which, in addition to incorrect firmware, can damage connectors and insulation.

Cases of failure of the engine compartment electrics, numerous chassis, or engine sensors can be attributed to age-related breakdowns. For example, crossovers with 4.2 FSI and 3.0 TFSI engines may have problems with wiring under the hood, insulation destruction, and slow corrosion of connectors.


The X5’s electrical problems start from the outside. Over time, the head optics crack, and, in a neglected case, dampness can damage the xenon ignition unit. The rear lights do not lag, where moisture that has penetrated oxidizes the board. Due to wiring problems, owners often encounter parking sensor failures, where if one element breaks down, the entire system turns off. If there are TopView cameras in the side mirrors, there is a risk of their shutdown due to oxidation of the matrix contacts.

It is worth periodically cleaning the gutters under the hood. Otherwise, there is a risk that it will flood the engine ECU, installed in the engine compartment. In addition to it, suspension, steering, and brake sensors are afraid of moisture. This applies to versions with electronically controlled EDC dampers and an active steering rack with a variable gear ratio. The electric parking brake also fails, often due to rotten wiring or (with rare use) the drive cables wedged in the shells.

Mercedes-Benz ML and GL

ML and GL can easily not let the owner behind the wheel – the keyless entry system has an antenna failure. There are also bugs in the electric lock of the trunk. But the main problem of the Mercedes W164 and X164 is the SAM (Signal Acquisition Module) rear unit, which is responsible for processing signals from various vehicle sensors. It is located in the side niche of the trunk and is very afraid of power surges and moisture. Water usually enters through dried tail light seals. So, the additional protection in the form of a coating with an anti-corrosion compound and improved sealing is a must-have.

It is also required to protect the front SAM unit, which is located under the passenger seat, from water ingress. All this will help avoid many problems such as incorrect operation of the generator, as well as failures of the audio system, heating, and power windows.

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