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Acura MDX Transmission Problems



  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    We have a 2003 MDX and got stung with the transmission issue. Recently, we shopped for a used car and discovered that the Lexus RX 350 is a much better vehicle then the MDX. However, we wanted a more comfortable sedan and settled on a Lexus ES 350. The Acura equivilants were not as comprable.

    Acura is going downhill.
  • We have a 2004 MDX with the transmission issues. It made noises at around 1300 rpms. Acura told us it would cost about 5K to fix. I actually found a great workaround by always driving in D4 instead of D5. We are also going be looking at a used RX 350.

    Any advice?
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    The best deals are buying a car 3 years old that was turned in after a lease. They are like new, still have a warranty, and thousands less then new. Use the Edmunds website to read reviews. We drove 600 miles one-way to Miami, Florida to buy our car and saved 5 to 6 grand over buying local. Use the internet to do your searching. It wa workth paying a thousand or two more for a "Certified" car from a dealer. Our Lexus came with an extended factory warranty, was completely gone through and detailed from the dealer in Palm Beach, FL , including a full tank of gas. All I had to do was add a little air in the tires.
  • dougc3dougc3 Posts: 2
    I purchased a used 2003 MDX with 87,000 miles 5 months ago; driving on a busy highway I noticed a bad smell. I pulled the car off the road and had it towed to the Acura Dealership I had purchased the car from. After almost 3 hours they came in and gave me the bad news... my transmission and radiator needed to be replaced... OUCH! No extended warranty and a cost of over $6,000. I'm waiting to hear if the dealership will help with the price, any suggestions on how to handle this discussion?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,016
    Ouch indeed.

    There's some tips here:

    The Secret Warranty

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • qaliqali Toronto CanadaPosts: 58
    Not knowing what exactly happened, I cant say for certain if you have experienced the issue that a number of MDX owners have had. See my post
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    Make the dealership call the Acura home office in CA. Tell them about this blog and you are aware of the defective transmissions. That's what we did and got Acura to pay 90% of the cost. I would think the dealership would take some responsibilty since it was only 5 months since you bought the car.

    Last resort is to file a complain with your local Better Business Bureau, but don't expect them to do much. It will just be a recorded complaint on the dealership's record. I'm assuming that the failure wasn't due to negligence on your part.

    If all this fails, an independant transmission shop can rebuild it for $2500.
  • dougc3dougc3 Posts: 2
    After a brief discussion with the dealership and mentioning theses blogs, they and Honda stepped to the plate and paid 100% of the cost for the new radiator and transmission.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    Fantastic. Kudos to Honda/Acura for standing behind their product when they had no legal obligation to do so. My 2010 Advance with around 38,000 miles has been perfect so far. Couldn't be happier with it.
  • Fantastic design and build quality. However, there is a very severe problem when trying to merge and having to accelerate quickly. The car stalls and acts like you are using the brakes for a few critical and sometimes fearful seconds before it "kicks in" and starts to accelerate as it should. I brought it back to the dealer who checked it out and said that it was working fine and that they couldn't find any problems. Well, there is a problem and I think that Acura knows about it, but won't admit to it in fear that it might affect sales. I'll have to tolerate it for now, but no more Acuras for me ever again. I am warning others through this post -- you won't be happy with a MDX! $50,000.00 isn't enough money to get a really good car; the price is now $65-$75K for an Infiniti or a Lexus.
  • Piratejoe: Did you ever get any satisfaction from Acura? While slowing down, my 2009 holds 3rd gear until I am pretty much stopped. So, when slowing for corner, for example, it is in 3rd gear when I try to accelerate out of the corner. Since it is going too slow for 3rd, it shifts down to 2nd, but only after quite a pause. According to the owner's manual, it should shift into 2nd while slowing down, so it is in the right gear to accelerate. I've taken it into the dealer twice and spoken to Acura Canada. I'm told that the manual is simply wrong and that the transmission is shifting as it is supposed to.
    I'm told, too, that the shift pattern can be changed, but Acura won't authorize the dealer to do it.
    It's very maddening to find this in a vehicle that is supposed to be high end. Between this, and the fact that many of the electronic stuff doesn't work in our Canadian winters, it's time to go back to Subaru, I think.
  • dave_nhdave_nh Posts: 6

    referring to my post in Sept 2010. (transmission replaced at 112K miles)

    We finally traded in the MDX for a Ford F-350 - an MDX cannot tote a truck camper. :-)

    At turn in time, at had 186K miles and the replacement transmission was starting to make the same noises the original one did at around 100K. The good news, I guess, is that I got about 75K miles out of the rebuilt transmission. The bad news is that if the transmission had not been showing signs of giving up, again, I would have kept the MDX and traded in the 2001 MBenz.

    I suppose it is telling that instead of designing their own transmission, Acura bought one from Garbage Motors.

    At any rate, the whole experience of owning a 2005 MDX has been a positive one with kudos to Sunnyside Acura Customer Service.


  • @ckpc said: 82,402 miles on our 03 MDX and transmission is shot. Car is my wife's and only driven in town and to take kids to school. We have owned it since new and followed dealer recommended service using the same dealer for all service. Dealer said $4500 but agreed to call Acura Corp and called back with a $2400 price. The Cat Converter also went out another $900!!!

    I am done with Acura I have spent all kinds of money on a vehicle I mistakenly thought was a quality product.

    I have the 2003 Acura MDX and the transmission has gone bad at 150,000 miles. This is a car that I've always serviced at the Acura of Tempe dealership. They are quoting me $5200 for the repair. Other smaller Honda mechanics in town are around $4200. I've made my plea with the dealer to help me out since we've been so loyal there. I didn't know there were so many problems with 2003 transmissions until I came here! Wonder if the Corporate Acura route may help me.

  • 1cincykid1cincykid Posts: 1

    Well, I am victim # 4080 to the faulty 03 MDX transmission issue. I have never had my car serviced anywhere except the dealer and now, without ANY warning, my transmission is out. Completely gone and need a new one. Yes I have 160K, but check this out. My car started leaking oil so i took it in to get the leak fixed. I was told it would be close to 1k to fix, since it was leaking from the rear main. They woud have to take the transmission out and move the engine to get to the part to fix. I said go ahead and fix it, since I felt pretty good about my car (I've given it to my son) They fix the rear main ($800+) and two weeks later i now have bad motor mounts. Tehy never told me the mounts were bad when they removed them (since they had to remove the engne) nor did they tell me when they put them back on. ($400 to fix) So now that i have new motor mounts and a newly repaird rear main, a month later the transmission gives out. My son was driving it and it just stopped accelerating. No slipping of the trany, no pulling, no lights, no nothing -as a warning. The car would not drive in D5, D4 or D3. I had to drive it to the dealership in D1 and it would go in reverse. They looked at it and said $5200 for a new tranny. I got on here and read all the post, I called Acura in CA ( they claim to know nothing about 02/03 tranny issues in MDX's) and offered NO help. The dealer (since I'm on my 3rd Acura with them) offered some help (about 1/2) but I dissappointed in Acura overall. They have an issue with 02/03 Tranny and are turning a blind eye. If you own an MDX 02/03 and have not had this issue.. GET RID OF IT NOW!!!!!!! you will be posting on here at some point.

  • My 2003 MDX has been great other than numerous transmission problems. Had my transmission initially rebuilt at 116,000 miles. Cost me $3,500. Drove it for about 10,000 miles and it started having serious issues where it wouldn't drive (slipping- step on gas pedal and engine just revs without car moving while in drive) and my D5 light was flashing. Took it back in and the shop "fixed" it under the warranty from the transmission. Less than a month later, had the same or similar issues. They rebuilt it again and said one of the transmission solenoids needed replacing. Had that repaired under warranty. Still didn't fix the issue. Long story short, I had my mdx in the shop 5 different times with 3 rebuilt transmissions before the shop finally completely replaced the transmission with a brand new one. I spent weeks without a vehicle and this all took place over the course of 8 months. 8 months without a reliable vehicle and in and out of the shop! What a pain!! That was 35,000 miles ago but I still fear I'm going to have problems again!! My transmission still sometimes does this weird rev thing after I let off the accelerator where the rpms drop way down and flick back up before evening out around 2,000rpms. I baby the heck out of it out of fear. Ready to get a new vehicle which is unfortunate because I haven't had my car in the shop for any other repairs since I've owned it at 100,000 miles.
  • chaos666chaos666 Posts: 1

    Just read 7 years of posts, lol, WEEW! Unbelievable!! After being a lifelong HONDA driver, I decided I'm almost 40 now, time for a nice "Luxury" car, ACURA! the "High End" HONDA, LOL! Boy was I surprised, this seems to be the most poorly designed car by Honda ever. Purchased a 2003 MDX, drained and Filled the Trans 4X, did the Transfer Case, Rear Diff, Oil and Filter, Air Filter and Cabin Filter etc... Seems Amazing; then 1,000 Miles later, CEL comes on and guess who "P0741". Car has been driving and shifting amazing ? I am so angry at everything I'm reading about this vehicle, the radiator fiasco, Torque Converter BS etc... I mean c'mon my 2002 CR-V had a timing chain, for shame... I thought I was moving UP, lol. I have already begun sending full page letters in email and snail mail to ACURA Client Relations, in case I need to get this fixed, I will not give up, even if it has 140k and I'm the second owner, this is bull.

    Quick Question, can I really drive like this and ignore the CEL, or will it eventually fail ? Should I drive around town in D4 ?

    Here's some info if anyone cares:

    Acura Client Relations

    1919 Torrance Blvd.

    M/S 500-2N7E

    Torrance, CA 90501-2746

    Phone: (800) 382-2238

    Fax: (310) 783-3535

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