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Acura MDX Transmission Problems



  • Your case is proof positive that Acura might still be selling defective transmission! I would recommend you visit NTSA website below and see what recall or Safety Bulletins have been issued for your specific model.

    Armed with that information, you might be able to get Acura to service your car which should still be under warranty.

    But if I were, I would sell it and get a Lexus before it's too late since this transmission will eventually fail you!
  • It seems something is def not right. RPM shouldn't be bouncing like that. Could be number of little things like timing belt, vaccuum hose leaks, valves, tachometer, etc...I don't believe that seems like a transmission related but Im not a mechanic unfortunately. In your case, maybe take it to another acura dealer for diagnosis?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Might simply be moving in and out of 6th gear lockup depending on varying road conditions.
  • I would love info on the lawsuit information for the Acura Torque Converter/Transmission Issues not being handled by Acura. I am experiencing the same problems with my local dealer on my 2002 MDX. Please help!!
  • Could be, but the 6th gear case I'm crusing at a highway up a small hill with a pretty stable grade, low enough to be handled in 6th gear. It has only started doing this recently.

    Anyhow, our local Acura dealer will now take the car in and have a look at it for a couple of days. Let's see what happens.

  • dfk4dfk4 Posts: 2
    Had a similar problem with my '08 MDX- did the same thing as yours plus it made a rattling noise in the tranny at low speeds (when in 4/5 gear), along with a "whinning" noise. Started doing this around 23K miles (now has 26K).

    Just got it back from the Dealer- bad torque converter (no hassles from the Dealer). Seems to be fine now.

    Stick to your guns as a bad TC will eventually ruin the Transmission!!
  • Acura definitely has a problem. My 2010 MDX has 25k miles and the EXACT issue you are describing (pulsating rpms, choppy shifting, searching for the "right gear") is happening to me. And it's especially noticeable when there is a slight load on the engine as you go up a small hill at a moderate speed (~40mph) and are in a low gear (5th or 6th). This transmission does everything it can to stay in 6th gear--even at ~35-40mph when it should go to a higher gear to get the rpms up & have more torque available. No doubt this transmission was programed to try to obtain better gas mileage-at the expense of proper/good performance. Taking my MDX in to be checked out by dealer on Monday 19th. Very concerned that this is a problem being "hushed" by Honda and can't be fixed. Does anyone think this could be a bad torque converter? I will bring this up to the dealer.

    ga2010mdx, let your dealer know the exact same problem is occurring to me, and at the same mileage. I will post what I find out. Please post your findings too. Any input from someone knowledgeable would be greatly appreciated.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited September 2011
    "..(pulsating rpms, choppy shifting, searching for the "right gear")..."

    SOP. Throughout the industry.

    Several years ago the whole industry started trying to match the FE of a CVT with these new 6(10) speed automatics. That resulted in too much "shiftiness" and so now these automatics try to "hold" a given gear ratio even at times it is inappropriate to do so.

    Mixed bag.
  • The exact same thing happened to me with my 2010 MDX. I had about 26K when I noticed the same problem as yours. They updated the software and it did not resolve the issue. I took it back and I am now waiting on a new torque converter. I would take yours into the service department right away. There was another 2010 MDX in for the same issue.
  • We bought a certified 2009 MDX with tech package with 20K miles. We noticed that there is a delay in pickup and acceleration. In our typical DC commute, we want to change lanes quickly and takeoff. I noticed that there is a drag/delay with MDX that is quite frustrating when you try to accelerate from a signal, stop sign or change lanes. I took it to the dealership twice and they blamed it on the quality of fuel. I am using premium (93) and have been changing gas stations, so that is not an issue. They showed me the printout of tests they performed indicating that there is nothing wrong with the car. But I am still not convinced that a "luxury" SUV with 300+ HP cannot get good pickup. They said that these are "Drive by wire" technology to get maximum fuel efficiency! With all this technology, I am still averaging < 16 mpg!. I am very disappointed with our decision to buy MDX since this pickup issue is not getting resolved. Has any one else has this issue? What are my options?
  • Take it back to the service department and ask them to look at the torque converter. My 2010 had the same issues as I stated above in my previous email. I have a 2010 loaner and I can't believe the pick up it has so it is obvious to me that my MDX had problems since I bought it. It is very disappointing but the Acura service department has been outstanding trying to find the issues and give me a loaner until the torque converter arrives next week. I have had the loaner for over two weeks at no charge. This is customer service.

    Good Luck.
  • Thanks acuraowner5. I am going to do that, but in my case the dealership was absolutely certain that there is no issue! I actually requested another MDX owner to drive mine and he agreed that there is a drag. I do not know how to convince the dealership since they refuse to admit that it is a transmission issue. I may have to try another dealership.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Acelerating from a stop you might have unintentionally engaged "hill-hold". Accelerating (re-accelerating) to change lanes might be the built-in 1-2 second upshift/downshift delay/hesitation enforced via DBW.
  • Thanks DBW. Acura customer support is arranging for some one to test drive our MDX. I will post what they got to say.
  • Thank god I found this post. We own a 2004 MDX with 150,000 miles highway miles. No stop and go or rush hour driving- my wife's commute is an easy 45 minute highway shot with no traffic. About 3 months ago we began experiencing many of the same issues detailed on this post: delay in engaging, sudden rpm loss, etc. We use a reliable local mechanic who is awesome and has serviced all our vehicles. We over service our cars like others here have detailed. In other words we buy "quality" vehicles, service them and historically have had few if any major problems.
    This is our first and last Acura. For years, actually decades I owned Hondas and routinely put 200,000 miles plus on them. All were 4 cylinders. One of our mid 1980's Acccord we sold with 450,000 miles on it, still running strong.
    My wife took her MDX to the dealership right around the corner that we have used for some service- but we all know why most of us use reliable repair shops instead of dealerships. Who wants to spend $650 on basic service that a reliable independent will do for $350 or $400??? And when all is said and done, many here who have paid dealership rates to maintain their Acura's have been abandoned by the same people they've been feeding, who go on to act as if their transmission failure is a one time, unexpected, bad luck issue.
    Our local dealership is right in the line with the others chronicled here: "gee that's too bad". "we can replace it for $6,000". All spoken as if they've never seen this issue before and they're doing you a favor.
    Interesting side note: my wife's business partner drives the same exact vehicle with 100,000 miles and guess what- he started having transmission slippage and engagement issues about a month ago. Any one want to guess what he's going to be told by the dealership??
    Clearly the drivetrain/transmissions in these vehicles are flawed. I'm shocked that we haven't heard more "disgruntled" reviews of Acura products. We intend to document our dismay and outrage at a $45,000 vehicle having this type of failure. Unacceptable and to the fellow who made it sound like any car is toast after 100,000 miles- obviously you haven't driven many cars. We're mid 50 year olds and have had owned Toyota & Hondas that have ALL gone hundreds of thousands with minor and normal wear and tear repair.
    What to do about it? First my wife is going to tell the dealer that she has no intention of paying them for a major replacement/repair that is clearly something they are well aware of and doing nothing about. Second, we'll dump our car and make a point of letting Honda and Accura know that it will be our last with their brand name on it. Third, we'll do our very best to make other consumers we know aware of our experience- and we both deal with hundreds of upscale clients in our line of work.
    Reliability is the cornerstone of Honda's success. Their vehicles are overpriced as we all know. The tradeoff is most knowledgeable consumers will pay a little more upfront to avoid being gouged by repairs over the life of the vehicle. This is a bad sign for Honda. Having owned Toyota products that were promoted as "bullet proof" and then watching them mishandle PR surrounding recalls, it won't be long before something similar befalls Honda. Reputations are hard earned and easily tarnished when companies resolve to put their heads in the sand and pretend all is well in the face of a major issue like this. Hard to believe that any dealership wouldn't be well versed in this transmission issue if they're selling and servicing Accura's. Too many complaints and failures to simply be a case of bad luck.
  • Before you dunp the vehicle, go back to the dealership, tell them about this blog and you know for a fact that Acura will pay 90% replacement cost if they call the CA office. If they refuse, find another dealer or file a complaint with the BBB.

    At this stage, you may have to replace the tranny before you can sell it. Whatever the outcome of who is paying for it, buy a Ford next time. We will when we are ready for another vehicle, no more Acuras for us, even though our dealer paid 90%. Acura showed us their "bad side" on this deal.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    150,000 miles, you should consider yourself lucky. The VTM-4 system used in the early models was undoubtedly a bit too "robust" for the otherwise light duty transaxle. It appears that switching to the SH-AWD system in the later models alleviated the problem.....or maybe it was just re-programming of the firmware to make less use of the rear drive aspects.
  • Brian,

    If you realllllly want to shove it to Acura, you should start by starting a class action lawsuit which all of us will participate in.

    Acura will only listen to attorneys(theirs or ours) doesn't matter. Your letter won't make it past the mail room where the clerk will piss on it and throw it in the trash bin.
  • Thanks for weighing in. I agree with all of the comments passed on.
    JSlivon- thanks for the suggestion. I appreciate the advice and will follow up and update you on their reaction ( which while I hate being cynical, believing that a car dealership will do the right thing is like expecting politicians to tell the truth.)
    WWest- yeah given the experience of others one has to wonder how we made it this far. I am however appalled at the number of people on this site who have experienced the same failure with a fraction of the miles???!! How does a $45,000 luxury vehicle sell with that track record? Further, I'd be EXCEPTIONALLY skeptical of buying a "used" one. You'd think that if more people were aware of the MDX's transmission track record that their resale value would be severely discounted. Specifically I'd have to believe a private party sale would be a lot tougher to make since there is no recourse if the vehicle fails once it exchanges hands. And it's highly likely that even a good mechanic or dealership that was paid to assess it's condition wouldn't detect pending transmission failure.
    I know a lot of car buyers who save a fair bit of $$$ being the 2nd owner of reliable higher end
    vehicles, but obviously experience would eliminate the MDX from that category.
    DC1225- I'm actually surprised that Accura has been able to avoid litigation on this issue given how many complaints I've read. Is it because they just lie their way out of it by denying culpability on their part and footing the bill for only the most egregious cases to try and prevent more bad PR???
  • washingtongcwashingtongc Posts: 1
    edited September 2011
    I have a 2008 MDX Tech with 32,000 miles and occasionally encountered the dreaded shudder at 35mph around town as early as a year ago or so. This behavior began to surface with more regularity recently and (tired of punching the gas pedal to arrest the shudder), took it to the dealer last Thursday to let them have a look-see. Naturally, they needed me to demonstrate the shudder with a tech and wouldnchaknowit I was unable to demonstrate it. Dejected and headed back to the dealer, the tech mentioned that this wasn't an uncommon complaint among MDX owners and that he'd look at it but suggested I leave it for the day.

    Well, 2 hours later the dealer calls and--whoopeee!--confirms the shudder and faults the torque converter (all covered under the factory 6yr powertrain warranty) and that I am to keep my loaner (a 2011 MDX, btw) until they can source the part and intall it. I got it back yesterday and I absolutely love my MDX more than before it that's even possible. The dealership here in the DC, Rosenthal Acura, couldn't have been more professional. I've got no complaints here. The service advisor called with daily updates and even offered to take me back to the service bay as work was progressing; an offer I took him up on (I'm lame, I know) and let me tell you, this type of first-person open-heart surgery is not for the faint of, ahem, heart. It kinda takes your breath away. I walked away never to return again to the sausage factory.

    It's crazy, too, because I was expecting an ordeal judging by the numerous posts this longstanding topic. I'm happy to report here happy times! I wish this karma on everyone else here and your beloved MDXs. True Story.
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