Post-Window Tinting Issues…

…Car won’t start / Windows don’t work

Apparently, window tint technicians spray A LOT of soapy water on the inside surfaces of the glass when applying the film to the windows (to aid in removing the air bubbles with their squeegee), and no rain shields are designed into the MX-5 and 124 Spider vehicles for water entering from the inside, especially when they are pulled away from the window to work on the unexposed bottom edge of the film.   Electronic modules and water do not mix well, and until they are dried out (hopefully leaving no corrosion behind)…

  • one or both of the window and door lock switch modules and/or the door lock actuators may act up after the door windows have been tinted¹.
  • the receiver module for Advanced Keyless Entry (AKE) if you have that option, may not function after the rear glass window has been tinted and your vehicle will not start by pushing the Start/Stop button as it normally does; another clue – the red key warning light is illuminated.  Before addressing that issue though, make sure the key wasn’t simply “function-suspended” simply by the technician leaving the key in the vehicle (details below).
  • some have successfully used the Air Conditioner to speed up the removal of excess moisture without removing the trim panels: Max A/C, recirculating, all windows and doors closed, highest fan speed.

Underneath the trim which is behind the driver’s cubby (located behind the driver’s seat) is the receiver module for AKE, and as described in the service manual page (shown below) regarding that module, it is quite involved getting to that module.  It is hard for me to believe that water is getting to that module. The only way to start the vehicle while that module in out of commission, is to press the Start/Stop button – with the logo end of the key fob in very close proximity to that button so that the RFID chip inside the fob can be detected.

MY 2017 vehicles didn’t get a water shield for the I/P harness connectors, like they’ve started installing on MY 2018+ vehicles, and corrosion may exist if water or condensation has flowed down from the windshield’s interior surface.  Details can be found in these Mazda Service Bulletins.

R088/17 12/28/2017 Engine will not start LHD – Engine can start if touching Push Button Start using Backside of Key

Engine will not start RHD – Engine can start if touching Push Button Start using Backside of Key


AKE receiver.png

click diagram to enlarge


Key-Suspend Function

A few vehicle owners (and service technicians) tend to leave the keys within the vehicle, and after a certain amount of time, your vehicle may not start simply because the communication functions of the key have been temporarily suspended to “prevent theft of the vehicle”.  To correct that situation, you (or a thief?) only need to sit in the vehicle and then press the unlock button of that “functions-suspended” key fob – which will re-enable the functions, allowing you to start the car.  Leaving the key fob in the vehicle while it is not in use is not a good habit to get into, as the key fob’s battery life may be significantly shortened, as well.


¹   Regarding the windows not working:

  • the rubber that seals against the window interior surface is pulled back allowing soapy water used during the tint installation to run down inside the door and into the door latch and lock actuator connector.  Mazda advises “cleaning and drying the connector and if problems still persist, the door latch and lock actuator will need to be replaced.”
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  • here is one other item to investigate, especially if you haven’t just had your windows tinted – make sure your windows lock switch hasn’t been engaged (details here).

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