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Radio station snafu in Seattle bricks some Mazda infotainment systems


Radio station snafu in Seattle bricks some Mazda infotainment systems

Aurich Lawson | Getty Images

Some Mazda owners in the Seattle area are stuck with bricked infotainment systems after listening to a particular radio station.

According to the Seattle Times, the problem began on January 30 and afflicted Mazdas from model years 2014 to 2017 when the cars were tuned to the local NPR station, KUOW 94.9. At some point during the day’s broadcast, a signal from KUOW caused the Mazdas’ infotainment systems to crash—the screens died and the radios were stuck on 94.9 FM.

From there, the infotainment systems became trapped in a rebooting loop, never successfully completing the task. When afflicted owners took their cars to be checked at local Mazda dealers, they were told that the “connectivity master unit” was dead and needed to be replaced.

The snag? A new CMU costs $1,500—if you can find one, which you can’t, because of supply chain problems.

The problem, according to Mazda, was that the radio station sent out image files in its HD radio stream that did not have extensions, and it seems that Mazda’s infotainment system of that generation needs an extension (and not a header) to tell what a file is. No extension, no idea, and the system gets corrupted.

The Seattle Times contacted KUOW and Xperi, a technology company responsible for the HD radio technology, which told the paper that the company is aware of the issue. Mazda told Ars that it has distributed service alerts to dealers advising them about the problem, and although replacement MCUs are currently delayed, they should be replaced free of charge. “These customers should 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,” Mazda said.



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