2017~2021 Undocumented and Squirrelly Door Lock Features - 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
I purchased a dealer service loaner, Mazda certified, 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD with zero options last week with 4k miles. This model has the advanced keyless fob and manual liftgate. The door locks have been driving me crazy until this morning when I discovered a feature not described in the manual at 3.12 or in the customization features at 9-11.

In testing the door locking system, no matter which method I use (driver door button, passenger door button, inside driver door switch, inside passenger door switch, key fob or the rear hatch button), the four driver and passenger doors lock but not the liftgate when I walk around the back staying in range with fob, contrary to anything stated in the manual.

After walking out of range with the fob, thinking some hidden walk-away function might lock it (this vehilcle does not have the theft deterrent system with walk-away), then waiting a bit, then returning with the fob, the hatch is still unlocked. At that point I was wondering how the heck I will ever lock the liftgate!

Then I discovered if I walk away with the four side doors locked and the liftgate unlocked, wait a bit, then return without the key fob, the liftgate is locked! So, I've come to the conclusion that the liftgate locks and unlocks automatically, never by any of the buttons and switches, and only by proximity of the fob, with no beeps or warning flashes to indicate what it is doing. That's a nice feature, but undocumented. There is a footnote on 3-17 saying other settings are available at the dealer. Maybe this is one of them. Some expert clarity would be welcome.

Now for something squirrelly. All of the doors in this vehicle require a little more effort in snapping them closed than I've been accustomed to in a string of Toyotas and and a Honda. This is my first Mazda. I'm getting used to this after leaving doors ajar a couple of times. With the next oil change I'll ask for a door hinge lube to see if that makes a difference. Anyway, with the door locking systems functioning as described above I discovered this oddity:

Whether the four side doors are locked or unlocked, whether the key fob is near or far, if the liftgate is closed slightly ajar then it locks! There's no warning beep or flash, while the dash door ajar indicator is lit up and the interior light on the liftgate stays on. I suppose any door ajar can run down a battery with interior lights staying on if you wait long enough, but it seems bizarre that it locks under this circumstance.
 
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HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
Did you try resetting the vehicle options to factory default?
As noted, I like the way it works except for the squirrely aspect noted at the end of my post so I have no intension of trying to change it. What peeves me is that none of this is documented in the manual and it took numerous tries to figure it out. I was nearly at the point of giving up, thinking it was a system logic problem that prevented the tailgate from ever locking. Now I know, after numerous trials and pretty much by accident.

The point of that original post was 1) to share an experience that others might encounter and save them the headache of figuring this out, 2) to find out if this is normal and just mis-described in the manual or whether this is some secret dealer tech setting and 3) if somebody reads how my vehicle is working and would prefer theirs to work the same, they might be able to get the dealer to set it that way if that's how this came to be.

As for point 2), I'd like to confirm whether or not various user settings can be changed by the dealer that perform in ways nowhere described in the manual. It would be helpful in working with other settings if they happen to behave in undocumented ways, not jumping to any conclusions about faulty system logic. Thus the request for expert commentary. If there are secret dealer tech settings, what good are they if the user has no way of knowing what they are?!
 
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2014 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD w/Tech
The rear hatch on my 2014 works as you describe. You'll get used to it. Never had any partial closure issues on the hatch, so can't confirm your experience there.
 
I purchased a dealer service loaner, Mazda certified, 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD with zero options last week with 4k miles. This model has the advanced keyless fob and manual liftgate. The door locks have been driving me crazy until this morning when I discovered a feature not described in the manual at 3.12 or in the customization features at 9-11.

In testing the door locking system, no matter which method I use (driver door button, passenger door button, inside driver door switch, inside passenger door switch, key fob or the rear hatch button), the four driver and passenger doors lock but not the liftgate when I walk around the back staying in range with fob, contrary to anything stated in the manual.

After walking out of range with the fob, thinking some hidden walk-away function might lock it (this vehilcle does not have the theft deterrent system with walk-away), then waiting a bit, then returning with the fob, the hatch is still unlocked. At that point I was wondering how the heck I will ever lock the liftgate!

Then I discovered if I walk away with the four side doors locked and the liftgate unlocked, wait a bit, then return without the key fob, the liftgate is locked! So, I've come to the conclusion that the liftgate locks and unlocks automatically, never by any of the buttons and switches, and only by proximity of the fob, with no beeps or warning flashes to indicate what it is doing. That's a nice feature, but undocumented. There is a footnote on 3-17 saying other settings are available at the dealer. Maybe this is one of them. Some expert clarity would be welcome.

Now for something squirrelly. All of the doors in this vehicle require a little more effort in snapping them closed than I've been accustomed to in a string of Toyotas and and a Honda. This is my first Mazda. I'm getting used to this after leaving doors ajar a couple of times. With the next oil change I'll ask for a door hinge lube to see if that makes a difference. Anyway, with the door locking systems functioning as described above I discovered this oddity:

Whether the four side doors are locked or unlocked, whether the key fob is near or far, if the liftgate is closed slightly ajar then it locks! There's no warning beep or flash, while the dash door ajar indicator is lit up and the interior light on the liftgate stays on. I suppose any door ajar can run down a battery with interior lights staying on if you wait long enough, but it seems bizarre that it locks under this circumstance.

Your post reminded me of the parasitic power draw on the liftgate - check out the service advisory here - if your VIN is in this range you may want to see if the dealer had fixed it.
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
Your post reminded me of the parasitic power draw on the liftgate - check out the service advisory here - if your VIN is in this range you may want to see if the dealer had fixed it.
Thanks for the heads up. I don't have the power liftgate (Touring without the Preferred package) so it appears I'm unscathed.
 
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That's not a hidden feature. That is how the last 2 cars I have owned with keyless entry works. The rear hatch doesn't have an unlock button, so every time you press the button to open it, it checks if the key fob is in range and open the hatch if it is. That prevents you from having to take the key out of your pocket or to walk to the front of the car to press the unlock button on the door handle.

You would have to check with your CX-5 but on my other cars this action also doesn't unlock the car doors. For example, if my doors are locked, I go to the rear hatch with the fob in my pockets, press the button on the rear hatch, it unlocks and open but all the other 4 doors stay locked. I close the rear hatch and it goes back to its locked state, and the car remains fully locked.

Its pretty much the following scenarios:
1- Car is in locked states, you have the key fob in your pocket. Hatch unlock and open when hatch open is pressed. 4 doors remain locked. If you don't have the key fob within range, it stays locked an doesn't open.
2- Car is in unlocked state. 4 doors are unlocked. Hatch is unlocked and anyone can open it without the key fob (family members, etc)
 
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2017 Mazda CX-5 GT, 2016 Mazda6 iGT, 2014 Mazda3 sGT hatchback
youri is 100% correct. My Mazda6's trunk works the same way.
The only ways to open the trunk/hatch:
1. click button on the fob
2. push button inside the cabin
3. push the button on the trunk/hatch w/ fob nearby
 
To the OP...check for a button to the right of the open button on the hatch. If you hit that button, it will lock the doors.
 
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'16.5 Mazda CX-5
That's how my 2015 and 2016.5 work. Nothing squirrelly. The rear hatch always opens if you stand close with the fob when the doors are locked and stays locked if you don't have a fob.
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
That is how the last 2 cars I have owned with keyless entry works.
Be that as it may, the 2020 manual, beginning on page 3-4, covers Advanced Keyless Entry and then Door Locks. Nowhere does it describe the vehicle functioning in this way. That makes it an undocumented function. I didn't say it was squirrelly. What I said is if you don't close the liftgate all the way, leaving it slightly ajar, it locks even if you're standing right there with the fob. That's squirrelly.

There's an old addage that goes, "Manuals are for people who don't know what they are doing." Precisely. If you already know what you are doing then you won't read the manual. Of course if that's the case you wouldn't know what is and is not documented.

By the way, this is the most poorly written manual I've seen among the several for cars I've owned over the years. So far, I don't think I've seen an instance of numbered steps to accomplish anything in the whole book. Great vehicle, bad manual.
 
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It is a bit of a semantic-perspective situation. You say the hatch is never locked when the car is locked and you have the fob in range. I see it as it is always locked unless i ask it to open with the fob in range. Different perspective. If i would have the fob with me and it wouldn’t open when i ask it to, i would be very annoyed.

i also think the fob has to be near the back for it to unlock and open. i.e if doors are locked and you have the fob by the drivers door and someone else tries to open the hatch without the fob it won’t work.

The manual isn’t always very clear though.No arguments there
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
It is a bit of a semantic-perspective situation. You say the hatch is never locked when the car is locked and you have the fob in range. I see it as it is always locked unless i ask it to open with the fob in range.
Different perspective, same function. You understand mine, I understand yours, not much to talk about there.

When something doesn't work the way it "should" that is defintely annoying...maybe. According to the manual mine doesn't work the way it should but I'm quite happy with it the way it is. What was annoying was experimenting to figure out such a simple operation when I shouldn't have to.
i also think the fob has to be near the back for it to unlock and open. i.e if doors are locked and you have the fob by the drivers door and someone else tries to open the hatch without the fob it won’t work.

The manual isn’t always very clear though.No arguments there
There's a diagram in the manual showing the three range "bubbles", one each next to the front doors and one at the liftgate. It shows them being half circles with a radius extending out 31".

The diagram is not accurate, at least with my 2020 Touring AWD. The diagram shows dead zones from around the back of the rear doors out to the rear bumper. I held the fob over the rear tire close to the vehicle and reached around with the other arm to the liftgate handle. It opened, no dead zone while the manual showed one there. I then held the fob out as far as I could, maybe two feet our from the top of the rear tire, the liftgate still opened, no dead zone. I laid the fob on top of the ajacent Sienna van, up and away 3-4 feet from the top of the CX-5 rear tire. That was a dead zone. I laid the fob around the middle of the hood. That's a dead zone too.

The odd one was when I laid the fob on top of a windshield wiper. That should be a dead zone but the rear hatch unlocked and the vehicle started beeping for about 10 seconds. I don't know what that's about and I'll probably never try to figure it out.

The point being, if somebody has one of these vehicles and wants to know the range with some preceision, they should get somebody out with them for a few minutes, one person moving around the vehicle with the fob while the other keeps trying the doors and liftgate.

I've already come to expect the manual to be unreliable. Once you get to that point, you have two choices--keep wondering or do the tests.
 
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That's the wonder of radio waves. You approximate a certain range bubble, and then a lot of other factors influences it. The key fob is really just a very limited range radio receiver and antenna. Even though it works at the range you described, with the fob in my pocket standing one foot from the hatch, sometime it fails to detect the fob and won't open. Must be some items in my pocket interfering. So yeah as you found out, the bubbles are really just a suggestion :)

The car beeping for 10 seconds usually happens to me when I lock the door with a key fob inside the car. For example when my wife leaves her purse in the car with the key in it. We walk out and and I have my own key. I lock the doors and the car does rapid beeps for about 10 second to indicate I left a key inside. It is possible that with the key on the windshield the car thought the key was in the car.
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
The car beeping for 10 seconds usually happens to me when I lock the door with a key fob inside the car. For example when my wife leaves her purse in the car with the key in it. We walk out and and I have my own key. I lock the doors and the car does rapid beeps for about 10 second to indicate I left a key inside. It is possible that with the key on the windshield the car thought the key was in the car.
I initially suspected the windshield test had something to do with it thinking the key was in the car but that doesn't pan out. I did another series of tests where I locked the vehicle with the driver's window open and placed the fob in all kinds of locations inside...driver's seat, top of the driver seat back, dashboard, console. The liftgate stayed locked like the fob was out of range whereas in the windshield test it was in range which seems to debunk key-in-car behavior when the fob is on the windshield. Maybe some day I'll stuble on an answer but I'll not be looking for one.

I had not thought about your two-fob scenario. My wife does the same thing sometimes. I just verified your results on my vehicle. Good to know if I happen to remember this conversation when it happens.

I did another test where I put my wife's fob in the vehicle, stepped well outside of the 3' bubble range and locked the car with the button on the side of the fob. No squawking, if that's helpful in any way. A prelimininay conclusion would be that the side buttons on the fob are like having an extra old school fob (different tech and waves) built in that is not integrated with the advanced keyless functions.