2019 CX-5: Always chilly, "draft" around legs when trying to use heater. Why!?

Well, after all this time, AVC's post came in closest to what answer the dealer finally provided. With the covid problem along with our being 85 miles or so from dealer, it was a month ago I got to the dealer and questioned them more. One of their fellows came out to our CX-5, said he had exactly the same car, and demonstrated that when he turned temp control all the way up, just past the 81 degree display, (I think it was 81), the next thing displayed was, "Hi." THEN, with the vent icon showing down only the system actually blew out really warm air at floor level. After that, he added to continue floor heat, leave the temp at Hi and use the fan speed to find cabin temp I liked. Well, ..... OK, I guess, but it makes no sense at all to me anything would be designed this way. Even at low fan speed, an 81 degree warm air flow from the floor will quickly provide high temp all through the cabin which we would never want. Perhaps using his advice initially we can get warm feet and then begin manipulating all the heater controls to find another balance. We've not tried this yet.
This is my only real complaint on this car so far.
This is my update.......
 
It's cold today here in the great white north and on the highway today I again felt a cold draft on the driver's side near my feet. This has happened many times in the past couple of years so today I decided to do something about it. Found two holes in the driver's side firewall above and slightly to the left of the brake pedal. Probed both holes and was able to put a length of coat hanger through the firewall in the hole nearest the brake pedal. I plugged both just to be safe and road tested the vehicle. Problem solved. Attached is a picture of the two holes. Looking at the picture the one on the right was the culprit. Hope this helps some folks.
 

Attachments

  • 2019 CX5 Hole in Firewall.JPG
    2019 CX5 Hole in Firewall.JPG
    83.1 KB · Views: 116
Good Grief!!! A real answer! Thank you. My wife and I had chilly feet just yesterday as this condition persists.
Question: did you find those holes by looking under the dash or from the engine compartment?
Then, could you see the coat hanger on the, "other side???"
Thank you, Dennis in E WA state
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
I experience the same thing in cold weather, but it's no different than my current Toyota, a previous Toyota and a previous Honda, which is as far back as I can recall.

I'm old and my circulation in hands and feet was never the best to begin with. The point being, the overriding factor may be the user, not the vehicle. My wife has never had this issue in any of these vehicles, whether driving or as a passenger.

My partial solution is to set vents to lower only, increase fan speed and raise the temp to something like 78. That helps though I can't say my feet have ever gotten toasty in any of those vehicles. My wife de-syncs to a lower temp.
 
Last edited:
Thank you for the comments. I'm 78 and also have a tendency for cold hands and feet. However, unlike your experiences, our '99 and 2000 Jeep Cherokees have never given me any lower heat trouble. Neither does my old GMC pickup, etc. We have tried what our Mazda service writer suggested, (almost exactly what you do), and set temp for 81+ which then displays, "hi." In no time at all my feet were nice and toasty but from the waist up I was cooking/sweating.
I think Mazda clearly has a design problem.
 
Question: did you find those holes by looking under the dash or from the engine compartment?
Then, could you see the coat hanger on the, "other side???"

Couldn't see any thing from under the hood because it's too busy with equipment in the way. I found the holes by looking under the dash on the driver's side. I couldn't see the coat hanger on the other side of the firewall because of all the equipment attachments to and at the firewall. I knew it penetrated the firewall because I could feel it penetrate the firewall and hit something in the engine compartment. The brake booster and other equipment blocked my view from the top. May have been able to get a look at it by removing the lower engine cover and looking from the bottom but I was not that interested in going any further because I could easily tell that the problem was the hole closest to the brake pedal. The coat hanger bottomed out when I put it in the hole to the left but definitely went further and penetrated the firewall in the right hole. I'm just happy that I don't have that annoying cold air draft hitting my feet any more.
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
Question: did you find those holes by looking under the dash or from the engine compartment?
Then, could you see the coat hanger on the, "other side???"

Couldn't see any thing from under the hood because it's too busy with equipment in the way. I found the holes by looking under the dash on the driver's side. I couldn't see the coat hanger on the other side of the firewall because of all the equipment attachments to and at the firewall. I knew it penetrated the firewall because I could feel it penetrate the firewall and hit something in the engine compartment. The brake booster and other equipment blocked my view from the top. May have been able to get a look at it by removing the lower engine cover and looking from the bottom but I was not that interested in going any further because I could easily tell that the problem was the hole closest to the brake pedal. The coat hanger bottomed out when I put it in the hole to the left but definitely went further and penetrated the firewall in the right hole. I'm just happy that I don't have that annoying cold air draft hitting my feet any more.
The holes are there for a reason, don't you think? Wouldn't it be easier to manufacture the part without the additional step of drilling holes and adding grommets? Perhaps this is to provide a constant source of some outside air even in recirculation mode. Why? Perhaps it is to avoid some oxygen deprivation when the vehicle is loaded with people driven over a long distance? Some other reason? I think I'd want to know the reason behind a design before hacking it.
 
Perhaps it is to avoid some oxygen deprivation when the vehicle is loaded with people driven over a long distance? Some other reason? I think I'd want to know the reason behind a design before hacking it.

Perhaps not. I believe the holes in the firewall are for allowing the plastic grommets to attach the silencer/padding to the firewall and the one grommet has a hole through it which is not by design because the other does not have a hole through it. I believe you are reading too much into this. I don't regard plugging a hole that is not suppose to be present as a hack. Additionally the Mazda CX-5 does provide for outside air and there are instances where the manufacturer instructs us to use recirculation air. From the owner's manual "
  • The recirculate mode should be used when driving through tunnels or while in a traffic jam, or when you would like to shut off outside air for quick cooling of the interior.
  • Use the outside air position for ventilation or windscreen defrosting."
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
An additional note:

Even with the climate control set to feet-only some heat is directed to the dash vents. I noticed today some of those vents were wide open from A/C season. After closing them all the heat to the feet was quite toasty in fact.
 
:
Pueblo county CO
:
CX-5 Sport 16.5 6M
I remember seeing ads for cars back in the '60s mentioning 'flow through ventilation' which I think was a gov't mandate to install these little louvers in the rear.

Cars like the Ford Maverick and Austin American, retailing for $1995 + delivery and taxes, would have features like
AM radio, Heater, Vinyl Seats and Floor mats, AND 'Flow Through Ventilation"😅

I don't think they would draw air from under the hood. Too much danger of exhaust fumes.
 
Well I've exhausted all suggestions and avenues for a cure. No success with the, "hole," under brake pedal. No real success with closing all the dash vents. SO..... I decided to take the question beyond the local dealer direct to whatever Mazda Support that Mazda Corporate has. Ha. Yes, there is a nicely presented website for corporate Mazda, but contacting them is another matter. They offer immediate, "chat." But all chat openings are busy.....always. They offer email contacts, but they have a written statement that due to heavy volume, that method is not available. Lastly, there is the telephone number.... - which I called repeatedly, mid morning, week days, from our Pacific time zone. After punching option 6 to speak to someone, I only got, "I'm sorry, our office is closed at this time." So how the devil does one ever get in touch with Mazda??????? At this point, I don't want to buy another Mazda. Oh, one last comment: someone suggested that, as I am an older person, perhaps I'm more vulnerable to being chilly. Well, I run at least 4 other vehicles here on our old farmstead, some over 20 years old with over 250K on the clock, and they have NEVER left me with cold legs, and still don't.
 

yrwei52

2016 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD w/Tech Pkg
Contributor
:
Plano, Texas, USA
Well I've exhausted all suggestions and avenues for a cure. No success with the, "hole," under brake pedal. No real success with closing all the dash vents. SO..... I decided to take the question beyond the local dealer direct to whatever Mazda Support that Mazda Corporate has. Ha. Yes, there is a nicely presented website for corporate Mazda, but contacting them is another matter. They offer immediate, "chat." But all chat openings are busy.....always. They offer email contacts, but they have a written statement that due to heavy volume, that method is not available. Lastly, there is the telephone number.... - which I called repeatedly, mid morning, week days, from our Pacific time zone. After punching option 6 to speak to someone, I only got, "I'm sorry, our office is closed at this time." So how the devil does one ever get in touch with Mazda??????? At this point, I don't want to buy another Mazda. Oh, one last comment: someone suggested that, as I am an older person, perhaps I'm more vulnerable to being chilly. Well, I run at least 4 other vehicles here on our old farmstead, some over 20 years old with over 250K on the clock, and they have NEVER left me with cold legs, and still don't.
I had been contacting Customer Experience Center, Mazda North American Operations several years ago and I had no trouble to talk to a live person. Something must be going on within the corporation, and it isn’t a good sign IMO.
 
Thank you again. Well, sometimes I've been amused when I hit a roadblock, turn and go another direction, (forum), then I look back and the roadblock cleared. Just happened. After >numerous< calls to Mazda Support, I finally got through to a, "request a call back," recording. I did. They actually called me after abut 90 minutes. I now have a service request # and I made an appointment with the dealer for next week to check our heater behavior. Support also requested I notify them of that appointment day and time so they could check on them. I'll report back after next week's appointment.
 
Well, Mazda (corporate I guess) opened a case or inquiry number for this. I took the car in to dealer two days ago. They kept it most of the day. When I picked it up they pulled up a short video of the mechanic, "showing," how he heat gun tested under the dash, both driver's side and passenger side, and it showed about 100-degrees. They then pronounced all was good. Suggested I run the temp higher in the car.
Drove home with chilly ankles. Nice and cozy waist up. Next I'll look again under brake pedal for the mysterious hole one poster found and plugged. Otherwise I think I've hit a dead end. If Mazda can't manufacture a heater that works well, I can't see ever buying another Mazda.
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
:
Canada
:
'18 CX-9 Signature
Well, Mazda (corporate I guess) opened a case or inquiry number for this. I took the car in to dealer two days ago. They kept it most of the day. When I picked it up they pulled up a short video of the mechanic, "showing," how he heat gun tested under the dash, both driver's side and passenger side, and it showed about 100-degrees. They then pronounced all was good. Suggested I run the temp higher in the car.
Drove home with chilly ankles. Nice and cozy waist up. Next I'll look again under brake pedal for the mysterious hole one poster found and plugged. Otherwise I think I've hit a dead end. If Mazda can't manufacture a heater that works well, I can't see ever buying another Mazda.

Do your feet just generally feel cold regardless of whether the car is in motion or not? Or is the cold more pronounced when you're driving at speed?


edit: Looks like bsaman also asked this question in 2020:

Do you feel the draft only when driving, or when stationary as well?

Personally, I would pick up an cheap infrared thermometer ($25 to $30) and start pointing it at the different areas to see if I could detect where it's coming from. Then, take that data to the dealer.

Alternatively, pick up an infrared camera for your smartphone and see if there's anything obvious.($125 to $200, but you can use it to help find drafts in your home as well)

If the cold is more pronounced while driving, it's very likely that the draft is coming from the holes that OB1 mentioned above.
 
Last edited:
Now thinking about it, I only remember noticing this when driving. So I think you are right referring to OB!'s comment. I'm going after the, "hole theory," as soon as I can get my aging body jammed up under that dash.............