Cadillac Headlight Fogging Up

Q My husband brought his 2014 Cadillac CTS in for service due to condensation in the headlight casing. It has 74,000 miles on it. The bill to fix it was over $1400. I fixed my Honda headlight for about $25. I’ve seen some class action suits on the internet due to this ongoing problem with Cadillacs. Any comment? By the way, he had the same headlight, same problem at 50,000 miles but it was covered under warranty.  

PA wife

A This is a common complaint, particularly with the SRX model, which has quite a bit of legal wrangling occuring. There are varying degrees of headlight condensation and conditions that cause it, and relieve it. Most composite headlamps and many other lamp housings are vented to allow accumulated moisture to be driven out as the lamp is used, vehicle is driven, or is parked in the sun. Depending on environmental conditions and vehicle use its possible to lose ground even with a perfect headlamp housing. Slight to moderate condensation may be expected under certain conditions due to moist air within the housing reaching its dew point, while heavier buildup or actual liquid is likely due to a seal leak or restricted vent. GM service bulletin 01-08-42-001K is helpful to review in order to best understand the situation, although it doesn’t address a repair solution other than component replacement.

I agree the cost to replace your headlight was obscene! Renewal or service of a headlamp housing on your CTS seems daunting as the front bumper cover and a few additional parts must be removed to access the headlamp housing, but it’s a straightforward procedure for someone who has done it a few times. Book time for housing replacement is about two hours. Replacement aftermarket headlight housings are available for halogen bulb Caddies in the neighborhood of $200-350, as well as OEM remanufactured and new units. HID and adaptive headlight housings will be double to triple this. I’d exercise caution if considering a replacement unit that it’s truly DOT compliant and from a reputable/leading manufacturer. Don’t even think about the cheapo versions seen online! Optics issues, glare, lens degradation, and leakage are just a few of the issues with inexpensive knockoffs.

Were it my car, and interior housing wetness was excessive/not clearing, and it was out of warranty, I’d consider filing a complaint with the NHTSA, and look for legal remedies. If stuck with your own resolution, I’d consider having an independent shop remove and reseal the housing, and inspect the vent(s) for restriction. There’s a spattering of folks who like to disassemble and customize their Caddy headlights. Among them a commonly preferred sealant is “Morimoto RetroRubber OEM Grade Butyl Headlight Sealant, Black”. This would be used either to reseal the housing parts after disassembly and clean-up, or could perhaps be added externally as a surround patch for the seams. If one went to the trouble to disassemble the housing, a “Bolt on Breather Vent”  from seems to provide better venting than the original vent.

—-Check your car technical knowledge:

1. Typical fuel pressure of a direct fuel injected engine is: a. 35#   b. 60-90# c. 900-2900# d. None of these

2.  An orange color cable means the circuit is: a. ABS brakes   b. SRS (air bag) c. High voltage d. 48V

3. A relay is a:  a. Type of circuit protection   b. Semiconductor c. Amplifier  d. Remote controlled switch

4. The “60” of a 235/60R/17 tire indicates: a. Strength rating   b. Tread width in cm c. Speed rating

d.  Aspect ratio

Answers: 1-C, 2-C, 3-D, 4-D

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