Mazda Owners Are Suffering From a Truly Bizarre Tech Glitch

If you drive a Mazda built between 2014 and 2017 around Seattle area, and you’re experiencing a radio systems glitch, here’s why.
Written by Chanice Boyd
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
A woman looking frustrated while behind the wheel of her car.
Mazda owners in the Seattle area have been reporting bizarre interruptions. After tuning into 94.9 FM HD, the station gets stuck on the radio, and their infotainment systems start to glitch. 
KUOW 94.9 is a public radio station and is now the face of a recent puzzle that
Mazda
owners are trying to have resolved. If you own a Mazda built between 2014 and 2017 and live in Seattle, you would likely have encountered this bizarre technical issue. 
People are reporting disabled critical features like GPS, Bluetooth,
backup camera
, and the inability to change radio stations. There’s nothing like a good puzzle, and this is one Mazda intends to resolve.

How Seattlites got Mazda’s attention

In early February 2022, reports began to pop up on social websites and forums like
Reddit
. The public complained about their Mazda Connect systems being "corrupted" with many entertainment features unable to come back online. 
 This discussion established that things seemed to go downhill after tuning into KUOW 94.9. People then began showing up at Mazda dealerships across the Emerald City with the same complaints. 
 At first, the dealership's service department believed the glitch had something to do with the new 5G networks—a soon dismissed theory. According to the
Seattle Times
, another dealership blamed the glitch on the Connectivity Master Unity (CMU). 
 That problem came with a $1,500 replacement price tag and was luckily found not guilty in the case of the mysterious glitch. 
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What caused that Mazda tech glitch 

Not long ago, Mazda finally came forward to address the issue. They announced that the glitch seems to be software-related. Explaining that HD radio requires certain digital information to be attached so that the car owner can see the artist's name, song name, and sometimes album art. A feature we now see every time we use a modern car. 
Mazda believes that a radio station may have accidentally included album art without an image extension. This could have triggered the system crashes in some 2014-2017 Mazda's with older software. Mazda has since distributed service alerts to inform dealerships of this glitch. 
 KUOW also weighed in on what the problem may have been from their side. Their Director of Operations, Dane Johnson, concluded that they are currently investigating the issue and released a statement saying: 
 "We have been in contact with Xperi, the company who owns the technology behind HD Radio, and have given them complete access to our transmitters to investigate what is causing this issue. Our operations team is doing everything they can to support them in finding a quick resolution."

What should Mazda owner expect

Currently, there's no way to pinpoint the actual cause. Still, Mazda can now see some areas that need to be improved upon regarding how HD radio signals are regulated. 
The Drive
tells us a Mazda spokesperson has reaffirmed that in the meantime, "MNAO will support impacted customers with replacement parts." 
 Mazda also encourages their "customers [to] contact their local Mazda dealer who can submit a goodwill request to the Mazda Warranty department on their behalf, order the parts, and schedule a free repair when the parts arrive."
 It's still unclear what parts will require swapping or why there isn't a more straightforward solution to this problem. Still, we know that Mazda is doing what they can to get to the bottom of this mixup.

How to insure your Mazda

When you own a car, it's fair to anticipate unforeseen events that may affect your vehicle's function. Whether technical, accidental, or one of life's mysteries, let the
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