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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This will be a pretty long post, so I'll go ahead and put this:

TL ; DR - Would installing LED headlights or headlight load resistors possibly help with flicker issue.

I know there's a TSB for the headlight flicker issue, but since my 2012 has 122k miles and is well out of warranty, I'm not sure I would want to pay for the reprogram myself (though I don't know what the exact cost would be). I've pretty much become used to the flicker now but a recent post had me thinking about it again and had a couple of ideas come to mind. These may just be completely ridiculous and if so, just say so.

1.) Since LED's use less power, would LED bulbs help prevent the flicker? To my understanding, the flicker is caused by the PCM not properly distributing power from the alternator under multiple loads, so I thought maybe the lower power requirement of LED wouldn't be affected (or maybe just less affected) by this.

2.) While looking at LED bulbs, I also came across headlight load resistors which were something new to me. The description of the resistors that I read specifically stated they help prevent headlight flicker with LED bulbs, but could also still be used on regular bulbs. So could you maybe just install the resistors with the halogen bulbs and possibly see a fix to the issue?

Again, I'm no expert so if these ideas are complete bogus, just let me know.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
 

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Where I live around Nashville TN a software flash on a ECU runs from $100 to $150 range depending on where it is done. Reputable independent shops have flash capabilities and may be cheaper than the dealership. I would check around. It may be the easiest and not much more expensive route to fix a problem permanently. Just my two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Where I live around Nashville TN a software flash on a ECU runs from $100 to $150 range depending on where it is done. Reputable independent shops have flash capabilities and may be cheaper than the dealership. I would check around. It may be the easiest and not much more expensive route to fix a problem permanently. Just my two cents.
I'll have to look into it more for sure. I just used to work at a Nissan dealership and they would charge$200+ for ECU flash, so I was going under the assumption Mazda would be about the same. I'm also hesitant to pay for the flash because they said the flash they did for the VVT recall should fix it but it didn't change at all.
 

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I would suggest calling your local dealer for an estimate. mine said $75, but then ended up doing it for free on the 2012 that I just purchased with 82k miles.
 

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Load resistors are used where LED lamps are fitted in place of incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs use more current than their LED replacements . As such car PCMs can detect this and treat it as if the bulb is blown. This can often be displayed as a bulb out indicator on the dash or in the case of indicator lights, cause them to flash faster. All done for the purpose of letting you know you have a bulb out. In the case of indicators or tail / brake lights, if you fit an LED bulb and have such fault indication, adding a load resistor with the LED lamp will increase the current draw. The idea being that the current will be similar to having a working incandescent bulb. Thus no fault will be detected. I must add this can be a bit hit and miss though. I fitted LED turn lamps and had the fast flash rate. I then added load resistors but the fast flash persisted.

Now with LED headlamps and stopping flickering when adding load resistors. The load resistor increases current draw. Your description for the reason why the Mazda LED headlamps flicker may not be helped by adding more current draw.

Reprogramming the PCM may be the best solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Load resistors are used where LED lamps are fitted in place of incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs use more current than their LED replacements . As such car PCMs can detect this and treat it as if the bulb is blown. This can often be displayed as a bulb out indicator on the dash or in the case of indicator lights, cause them to flash faster. All done for the purpose of letting you know you have a bulb out. In the case of indicators or tail / brake lights, if you fit an LED bulb and have such fault indication, adding a load resistor with the LED lamp will increase the current draw. The idea being that the current will be similar to having a working incandescent bulb. Thus no fault will be detected. I must add this can be a bit hit and miss though. I fitted LED turn lamps and had the fast flash rate. I then added load resistors but the fast flash persisted.

Now with LED headlamps and stopping flickering when adding load resistors. The load resistor increases current draw. Your description for the reason why the Mazda LED headlamps flicker may not be helped by adding more current draw.

Reprogramming the PCM may be the best solution.
Thank you for the input. I was hoping maybe someone who had used the resistors would give feedback on this, so that's perfect. Guess I'll be giving the dealership a call.
 

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I'm curious to know if Mazda knows about this headlight problem, and if so why don't they flash (fix) the problem for free, seeing as it is clearly a common problem with these cars after reading many of the forum topics. I also have the same problem with my car and I called the dealer and she had no idea what I was talking about.... Go figure. If it's clear on a public forum why does the dealer deny knowing about the problem?
Any chance that more people with this same problem would like to join a class action forum topic? If so I will dig deeper and find out of one exists or create one myself because this is a simple problem that should be fixed my Mazda.
 

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I'm curious to know if Mazda knows about this headlight problem, and if so why don't they flash (fix) the problem for free, seeing as it is clearly a common problem with these cars
Mazda has published a TSB on this, so I think it would be pretty accurate to say they know about it. Its not a free fix as there was no mandated recall.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, the fact that there's a TSB means Mazda is aware it's a common issue, but apparently neither Mazda nor the NHTSA (if you're in U.S.) see it as a "significant safety risk". Hence, no recall.

But again, my concern is that the fix is supposed to be a PCM update, but when they did my PCM update for the VVT recall it had no affect.
 

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I have used load resistors when I installed aftermarket LED rear lamps and front blinkers on my 99 pathfinder. Without the load resistors I would have the flash rate so I had to install a resistor for every turn signal bulb. Problem solved....not sure if it will give other problems on newer cars...
 

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I just got my Mazda 3 hatch a couple of months ago, and the headlight flicker was driving me crazy. I went to my local dealer about a separate issue and asked them about it, and they were going to charge me to diagnose it, even though I told them there was a bulletin out for it. I said never mind and got some LED lights, haven't seen them flicker once. I think I paid around 48 dollars or something like that. I'm glad I went that route, bright white lights and cost me about a quarter of the price of the diagnostics.
 
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