Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





Pre-2007 Acuras All Flunk Rear-End Crash Tests

gordongordogordongordo Posts: 28
edited March 16 in Acura
Alas, all the Acuras produced before 2007 --- including my MDX 2006 --- either flunked outright the recent IIHS rear-collision tests or came close to it.

That prompts a question: does anyone know whether the 2006 seats and head restraints can be replaced by the post 2007 MDX ones that passed the tests with flying colors?

Michael

Here's the link to the IIHS results for Acura: http://www.iihs.org/ratings/head_restraints/headrestraints.aspx?acura
«1

Comments

  • My physics are a little rusty, I believe this test was just for low-impact, rear-ended whiplash protection...... and for tall men?
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    After looking at the link you provided....I think your "flunked" statement over simplifies the results. It looks like the results change depending on your phyical size and the year of your vehicle. My 2001 scores a "M" (marginal) but the 03 - 05 model scores a "P" (poor).

    These IIHS tests have become more-and-more sophisticated and the vehicle designs change more frequently....its not valid to extrapolate results from one model year to next model year. IIHS doesn't do it but many magazines try and do it. It is the main reason I recently did not renew my membership in Consumers Union (Consumer Reports).
  • Thank you both for your replies, though I still am hoping somebody can tell me --- probably someone from the Acura company itself --- whether the pre-2007 MDX seats can be swapped for the much safer seats and headrestraints in the MDX produced after June 2007.

    Here's a link to a fairly full description of the IIHS rear-end collision test: http://www.iihs.org/ratings/head_restraints/head_restraint_info.html

    Please note two things that you queried about: 1) the dummy is the size of an average size man (first paragraph); 2) the speed used simulates a vehicle of equal size (MDX mid-size SUV, for instance) that slams into the test-sled simulating a 20 mph crash.

    The results for those of us with Acuras made before 2007 aren't encouraging, just the opposite. And a mediocre score is, as I indicated, "close" to flunking. Note, finally please, that in 50 years of driving, I've been in six accidents --- and 5 were rear-end collisions, one (estimated by the police when I myself was in my very large Mercedes sedan) caused by a vehice going around 40 mph. The whole trunk area was pushed way forward, but nobody in the vehicle was hurt. And we didn't have airbags in those days to cushion the sudden jerk forward after the initial brusque jerk backward against the headrest. (The 6th accident was caused by somebody backing out of his driveway as I made a slow right turn into his street.)

    What are the likely deficiencies in the pre-2007 MDX (to stay with it)?. Most likely, 1) the design and material of the seat, 2) the support material of the head-rest itself (the geometric design gets a "Good" rating), and 3) the seat-belt --- especially how quickly it restrains an occupant when a collision occurs from behind.

    I do hope that someone knowledgeable about swapping the seats in the 2006 MDX reads this thread and can help me (and no doubt others) see about an exchange to safer seats and head-restraints (and maybe seat belts). Otherwise, my 2006 Acura MDX --- just purchased, certified, 3 weeks ago --- is a marvelous vehicle.

    Michael
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    Michael -

    Obviously Acura changed something in the MDX design in May of 2007. If you can implement a similar change to you 2006 model...you have it. Since seats of all years passed the "geometry" test with a "G", it may be more than the seat component that needs to be swapped.

    [You see how Acura made a design change in the middle of the model year in this instance?...lots of the auto magazine and others that quote the IIHS data fail to recognize this and will report that "ALL" MDX's fail this or that test, etc.,etc......lazy journalism] :D
  • Yes, Mecheng: I agree, Acura was probably embarrassed by the results --- which were shared by Lexus, by the way, and some Mercedes and BMW vehicles --- and a change in production in the middle of the year, as you note, is a clear indicator . . . or so it seems.

    I will try to find a way to talk to a Acura engineer back at the factory hdq --- wherever that is --- and see what I can find out. It's no use dealing with the technical service of a dealership. The issue is way beyond their expertise.

    Michael
  • I wonder if this info would warrant a recall?
  • Yes, Mecheng: I agree, Acura was probably embarrassed by the results --- which were shared by Lexus, by the way, and some Mercedes and BMW vehicles --- and a change in production in the middle of the year, as you note, is a clear indicator . . . or so it seems.

    I will try to find a way to talk to a Acura engineer back at the factory hdq --- wherever that is --- and see what I can find out. It's no use dealing with the technical service of a dealership. The issue is way beyond their expertise.

    Michael
  • Yes, it would be nice if it did, but I wouldn't count on it unless there were tens of thousands of disgruntled Acura buyers besieging Acura hdqs. with protests.

    Michael
  • So am I to surmise that my '04 MDX failed this test because the head rest height is too low? It's adjustable so that mine is hitting the back of my head much higher than what's shown as poor in the diagram. :confuse: Anyone else w/ a pre '07 MDX confused by this?
  • UpstateDoc:

    1) I share your concern, though now my confusion is somewhat less --- especially after doing a little more research. First, here is the problem in non-technical terms described at Autospies.Com, itself reviewing the IIHS tests. I'm quoting the first four paragraphs only:

    "In stop and go commuter traffic, you're more likely to get in a rear-end collision than any other crash type," says David Zuby, senior vice president of the Institute's Vehicle Research Center. "It's not a major feat of engineering to design seats and head restraints that afford good protection in these common crashes."

    "Rear-end collisions are frequent, and neck injuries are the most common injuries reported in auto crashes. They account for 2 million insurance claims each year, costing at least $8.5 billion. Such injuries aren't life-threatening, but they can be painful and debilitating.

    "Good seat/head restraint designs keep people's heads and torsos moving together: When a vehicle is struck in the rear and driven forward, its seats accelerate occupants' torsos forward. Unsupported, an occupant's head will lag behind this forward torso movement, and the differential motion causes the neck to bend and stretch. The higher the torso acceleration, the more sudden the motion, the higher the forces on the neck, and the more likely a neck injury is to occur.

    "The key to reducing whiplash injury risk is to keep the head and torso moving together. To accomplish this, the geometry of a head restraint has to be adequate - high enough to be near the back of the head. Then the seat structure and stiffness characteristics must be designed to work in concert with the head restraint to support an occupant's neck and head, accelerating them with the torso as the vehicle is pushed forward.""In stop and go commuter traffic, you're more likely to get in a rear-end collision than any other crash type," says David Zuby, senior vice president of the Institute's Vehicle Research Center. "It's not a major feat of engineering to design seats and head restraints that afford good protection in these common crashes."

    http://www.autospies.com/news/IIHS-Finds-Most-Vehicles-Have-Poor-Head-Restraints- -17151/

    2) The last paragraph is the key: the head-rest has to actively support and presumably keep the forward momentum caused by the crash of the head and neck moving in tandem with the rest of the body. That does seem to suggest a tip: keep the head-rest very close to your neck and head --- maybe even grazing the back of them --- and hence adjust the head-rest (restraint) and seat so that's the case. The head-rest should, simultaneously, be at least half-way up the head and maybe higher if possible.

    3) The wisdom of this tip gains some support if you then go back and read the IIHS link, describing the dummy test. It shows that the seat angle of the dummy --- which is the length of an average man --- is set back at 20 degrees . . . described at the IIHS site as representing what most drivers do with their seats' backs. Hence it seems, without being fully certain, that keeping the seat as perpendicular as possible, with the back of your head grazing the head-rest, will help you and your passengers in an accident. You should, of course, tell the passengers to adjust their seats similarly.

    4) As for a recall, or any help from Acura at all, I talked to the Acura customer service dept. and was stonewalled. The fellow wouldn't pass me on to an Acura engineer at the mfg. plant, said that Acura is convinced that the pre-2007 Acuras are safe, said further that there is no intent by Acura to warrant any recall or switch.

    5) Finally, I talked to the parts dept. at an Acura dealerhship in north-western L.A. (there's none here in Santa Barbara). The fellow there was helpful. He checked and found that the seat design and head-restraints produced after June 2007 are incompatible with the seats in the pre-2007 Acura MDX. That's a shame, but nothing else can be done, it seems, other than selling your MDX for the post-2007 MDX or for another SUV that did pass the rear-end collision test too --- selling it, in short, or keeping it and hoping that the seat adjustment will help protect you and your passengers if your car is hit from behind.

    Michael

    There are, I add, in the newer vehicles, what are called "active" head restraints. There's a mechanism in the seats that, once the vehicle senses a rear-end collision, thrusts the head-restraint forward against the head and neck of the occupants, so that their heads and necks move in tandem with the rest of their bodies. Conceivably, that's what the MDX produced after 2007 (June) now does. Hard to tell.
  • In the previous post, read for "20 degrees" backward slant of the seat, "25 degrees"

    And, to keep the head and neck moving in tandem with the torso as they both hurl forward from a rear-end collision, it isn't just the head-restraint that counts, but also the seat design and structure.

    Michael

    PS Too bad we can't get a class-action suit against Acura, forcing it to replace the dangerous seats and head-restraints. When I talked to the customer service rep, he assured me that Acura considered the pre-2007 MDX and other Acura vehicles fully safe. They obviously aren't. There seems to be a liability issue involved here. I add that, as a professor, I'm not the one who has the time or money to start such a suit, but possibly there are others in these forums who do.
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    What would be the basis of the law suit against Acura? Was there some fraud or gross negligence on their part? What do the hundreds of other seats in the 100s of the other vehicle designs do? Is the MDX seat the only one that is "dangerous?" Do I need an active head restraint in a $10,000 Toyota Yaris to accomplish the same "safety?" If it is as simple as "thrusting the head restraint towards the head during a rear-end collision" perhaps we should ride around with some sort of firm pillow attached to the front of the restraint to close down the distance? :)
  • Mecheng: I'm beginning to wonder if you're employed, one way or another, by Acura. If not, please forgive the suspicious comment just made, but you seem indignant at the very thought of such a suit.

    To answer your questions, I called the Acura customer service dept. yesterday. My question was whether the pre-June 2007 Acura seats and head-restraints could be changed, at my expense, for the safer seats and head-restraints. The customer rep didn't know. I then asked if there were any planned safety adjustments for those pre-June 2007 vehicles. He said, explicitly --- I had him repeat it --- that Acura regards those vehicles as fully safe.

    That strikes me as opening Acura to a law-suit in the event of a rear-end collision that causes major injuries to the occupants in a pre-June 2007 vehicle. Had the rep simply said that Acura regrets these problems, that might have been different, but that is not what he claimed. (I add that when I suggested to him that Acura was opening itself to a law suit if that represented the company's position, he excused himself and obviously talked for a good minute or two to a higher-up in the company I add that he would not give me the telephone number of the plant where the MXD is produced. I simply wanted to talk to an engineer there who knew more about the issue, but the rep refused to give it to me . . . as though it were some major state-secret. Chrysler, I can tell you from personal experience, had no hesitation when, years go, I called customer service and asked if he could transfer me to a qualified engineer. Why is Acura so secretive here? If you're connected with it, kindly let me know.)

    I hope this puts the issue in perspective.

    Michael

    PS: No, a pillow wouldn't likely support the head-neck bend in a rear-end collision. You're underestimating the tremendous forceful thrust of the occupants forward, with the neck-and-head lagging. The best protection is to keep the seat as perpendicular as possible, with the back of your head squarely against the head-restraint. Whether that's as good as the seat and active head-restraint fix that Acura made after June 2007 is another matter. The mfg. company obviously realized it had a problem with safety.
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    Michael -

    Perspective is exactly what I am trying to acheive on this issue. IMHO your perspective is too narrow. If I had an answer to my question about how many vehicles have seat designs that fail the IIHS criteria ....then I would have some perspective about how egregious this negligence is on the part of Acura.

    Or maybe we are just exaggerating the danger - using the results of a highly specific test on a situation (seating) the involves many many variables (too many to meaningfully extrapolate the results to every pre-mid-2007 MDX). Good Luck. :D
  • dms9dms9 Posts: 137
    This annoys me because when I bought mine (built in March 2007), one of the features touted and which sold me on it was the rear crash results - five stars! I put my kids in the "way back" and it was important to me. Having said that, I doubt a suit would do anything. Its always possible to build it safer. Too bad Acura doesn't seem willing to do a retrofit for the preApril 2007 new MDXs.
  • Mecheng:

    Many thanks again for your continued replies, but I note that you didn't answer my two queries, and so I'd like to ask them again:

    1) Are you employed, directly or indirectly, by Acura . . . indirectly meaning that you are paid or compensated to post in this forum?
    2) If so, why was the Acura customer rep so reluctant to give me the location and telephone number of the factory where the Acura is produced, so that --- as Chrysler willingly did in the past --- talk to a relevant engineer?

    Michael
  • Finally, some good news, people, for those of you concerned about the flunk grade given by the IIHS to the pre-2007 MDX for rear-end collisions. According to the service department at GoldCoast Acura in Ventura, Ca., where I purchased last month a certified 2006 MDX, it will help in a rear-end collision to replace the "donut" spare tire under the back bumper with a full-size Michelin Cross-Terrain.

    He added that he was told that by the Acura service rep directly. Too bad the Acura customer-service knows nothing about this.

    Michael
  • Addendum to the previous post. Keep in mind that if you decide to replace the donut spare tire with the Michelin Cross-Terrain, you will also need to purchase a rim from Acura. I ordered one earlier today from GoldCoast and they will send it up to the Honda dealer here in Santa Barbara. It costs about $220. As for the Cross-Terrain tires, they're expensive, but Costco's price is by far the lowest: roughly $180 each, which also includes dynamic balancing and mounting the Michelin under the bumper.

    Seems expensive, yes . . . but if the bigger, fully inflated tire does help cushion a rear-end collision, $400 might then appear well worth it.

    Michael
  • Will a full size fit in that space? So it seems someone at Acura is at least acknowledging the problem, however, that's their fix?
  • Upstate:

    Yes, according to the Acura service person I talked to --- and for that matter, the Costco tire specialist who looked at the donut and the prospect of a change --- a full-size will fit there, but you need, remember, to get the right size rim from Acura. Be sure to let them know whether you have a towing package or not. My rim will be delivered to the local Honda dealership in Santa Barbara later this week, and I'll take it and ride a few minutes to Costco for the tire and its hook up to the underneath part of the MDX at the rear.

    As for your wider question, I can't even tell you if that is an official Acura position --- in the sense that there is a TSB. All I know is that the GoldCost Acura rep said he was told about the tire-change by the company's service rep, but how effective it will be isn't clear. Acura's customer service, recall from an earlier post in this thread, didn't say anything about any sort of fix; said Acura claimed the vehicle was safe; repeated it after I mentioned then the possibility of legal liability in the event of injury in a rear-collision; refused even to give me the telephone number of a qualified engineer to talk to at the Acura plant; and said, finally, that Acura planned no other fix, seeing no need for one.

    I think the person you should ask your general query to is MeChing1, who posts volumes of messages on this Acura forum --- in the present case, with touchy indignation --- and has refused to answer my query whether he or she is paid by Acura to post here and elsewhere.

    Michael

    PS: Don't forget. The IIHS test of the dummy-sled in a rear-collision put the dummy's seat at a 25 degree backward slant. The more you can get into a perpendicular seat-position and keep your head as close to the head-restraint as you can, the better it seems you and I and others can withstand the 20 mile an hour collision.
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    1. No, I have never been employed by Acura, Honda, or any company in the automobile business.
    2. Since 2000, I believe the MDX and Pilot have been assembled at a plant in a remote part of Canada. Why would a design engineer be located at that plant? Most of Honda's design engineers are at facilities in Japan, California, and I think Ohio(?). So your request to speak with someone at the factory probably did not make sense to the customer rep.

    Now can you answer my question. How many vehicles can have their seats adjusted to where the driver feels comfortable - yet it is "unsafe" per the IIHS geometry criteria? And should I retain an attorney to sue Volkswagen because the seat in my 1967 Beetle cannot pass the IIHS test?
  • Upstate:

    I trust that you and others who have read this thread and have a pre-June 2007 MDX find some consolation in the only two tips for reducing any injury if you should be hit from behind while in your vehicle:

    1) Try keeping your seat as perpendicular as you can, with the back of your head centered, as much as possible, grazing the head-restraint.

    2) Try, despite the cost, replacing your donut spare-tire with a full-size Michelin Cross-Terrain, which requires that you also buy a rim for it from an Acura dealership.

    Right now, there seems nothing else to be done.

    Michael
  • dms9dms9 Posts: 137
    Do the post April 2007 MDXs come with the full spare, is that the difference? Does anyone know what the change was in the vehicle?
  • No, that definitely was not the fix. Acura redesigned the seat and heat-restraint, making the restraint, I believe, an active one: when a rear-end collision is about to occur, sensors push the restraint forward so that there isn't a lag between the tremendous jolting force foreward of the head-and-neck compared to the torso. With that lag in the head-and-neck, a whiplash effect will result.

    The best fix, then --- the ideal that I first inquired about --- was whether we could swap our pre-June MDX seats (at my expense anyway) for the newer ones. The answer: no, they won't fit, the newer MDX's are redesigned and re-engineered, and those produced in the new 2007 model before June's production still weren't perfect.

    The two fixes I suggest are, then, surrogates:
    1) Keep your seat perpendicular so that you can feel the back of your head brush lightly against the head-restraint (ask your passengers to do the same): more specifically, the center of your head's back should be more or less at or slightly above the center of the head-restraint (see the picture in the link at the start of this thread to the IIHS tests).

    2) The other fix was, remember, told to me by the service guy at Acura Gold|Coast in Ventura, though he said it was Acura's service-rep who told him: get rid of the donut spare --- which is dangerous to use anyway --- and add a full-size Michelin Cross-Terrain. It will help absorb some of the crash energy. Be sure that you obtain the right rim from an Acura dealership for that new spare.

    Maybe others can think of some added make-shift fixes, but I can't. And don't expect any help from Acura itself.

    Michael
  • dms9dms9 Posts: 137
    Thanks. It is very annoying because I specifically asked about the rear crash results when I bought this. I was pleased that it was five stars rather than the 4 stars the other car I was looking at had. I bought mine in June, if I had known, I wouldn't have bought one made in March!
  • Just dawned on me: those of you who bought the pre-June 2007 MDX have an option I don't for my 2006 MDX: you could ask the dealer to swap the seats for the post-June seats and head-restraints. It's doubtful, of course --- to put it mildly --- whether the dealer or Acura will pay for the swap, but maybe if you press them, you can get the seats at wholesale price and, if it seems worth while, go ahead and have the new seats and restraints installed.
    Michael
  • dms9dms9 Posts: 137
    Does anyone remember if Acura was advertising the MDX as having a 5 Star rear crash rating earlier in the year. If so, we may have an opportunity to press Acura to replace the seats. Your thoughts would be welcome. I am pretty sure it did, because that was one of my deciding factors compared to other vehicles.
  • This topic has begun to concern me now that I realize I own two of the vehicles that did poorly in this test. Acura obviously realized there was something wrong w/ the head restraints on the early '07's because vehicles made after june '07 passed the test w/ flying colors. I decided to file an official complaint with the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration. Just go to their website and do an online complaint. Maybe if enough people complain, Acura will do something.
  • dms9dms9 Posts: 137
    Do you remember if they advertised it as having a five star rating pre-June?
  • If they did, I wasn't paying attention. I bought my '07 in Nov. of '06 (one of the first ones). I don't think they even had safety data then for the models just coming out.
«1
This discussion has been closed.