Acura MDX Maintenance and Repair

will4271will4271 Member Posts: 187
I haven't heard much of mechanical mishaps of the MDX.

Anyone have anything to share and/or ways to fix it?


  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    The most common problem in the first year was "the thud" (front suspension noise) and "weeping mirrors" (water dripping from the mirrors). TSB's were issued during the first year with fixes, and 2002's seem okay.

    Some people claim to hear some suspension noise but it's hard to verify how bad it is -- most vehicles have some kind of suspension noise.

    I have seen a number of folks with oil leaks or transmission leaks, probably the result of bad seals during the assembly process. Doesn't seem to be too widespread but I've seen more than three of them. I keep an eye for anything on the garage floor.

    Consumer Reports assessment of the MDX, based on initial surveys, is "above average." Not as high as the mature RX300 but pretty good. The newer models should be even better though not perfect (more complex vehicle than the average Civic or Accord, Ontario plant that hasn't yet achieved super-high quality-control levels, etc.).
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I thought I heard it last night? I was expecting it, so maybe I imagined it? I hit the brakes and make a quick right turn into a parking lot. I was thinking maybe it was the "thud", the spare moving? or my imagination. Time will tell.
  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    One problem with the "thud" is that it's pretty easy to hear any kind of noise and interpret it as the problem. I'm not questioning that you may have heard something, but I've seen some people imagining the strangest things from the power of suggestion!

    Remember that the MDX has the infamous problem inherited from the Odyssey -- the sloshing gas tank noise. I don't believe the 2002's correct this either.

    There are some relatively smaller nits with the MDX. "Nicked door pillars" is one. The material on the inside of the B-pillar is some textured plastic, and if you let your seatbelt fly off the buckle can make a little nick in it. Adds up over time. Shame on Acura for not putting some better soft material on the inside of the B-pillar. Dealers have been known to replace the material under warranty. Owners who know about it tend not to let the buckle fly when they take off the belt.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    The 2002 does not have the mirror problem. I got a car wash today without any dripping.
  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    Exactly, the 2002's do not have the problem. At least not weeping mirrors. Some folks have reported a very small amount of drip but not more than a lot of other mirrors on the market.

    The "weeping mirrors" was a LOT more pronounced, and very irritating. You'd wash the car or it would rain, and day later it'd be slowly dripping water down the side of the vehicle. Depending on the hardness of the water and your paint color, sometimes it'd even leave a stain.

    FWIW, I've had my MDX since early October 2000 and have never noticed a weeping mirror problem. And we live in the Seattle area, which is no stranger to rain! Guess I was lucky.
  • dlabeaudlabeau Member Posts: 2
    I am having a problem with my 2002 MDX where the front windows are getting wet on the inside. If the outside of the car gets wet (rain, car wash) and I use the windows, I have noticed that as soon as I roll up the window the inside is completely wet! Yes, that is correct, the inside of the windows! I don't even need to roll the window down completely. In fact I have shown the dealership that if you roll the window down even 1 inch, then roll it back up again, the bottom inside 1 inch of the window will be wet!

    I have had the dealership look at this problem. They sent my MDX through the car wash and replicated the problem. They then sent 2 brand new MDXs through the wash and the same problem occurred. After consulting with their Technical Center they were told that the problem had been reported before, by other dealerships, and there was currently no known fix. The local service center manager then contacted his friend, who owns an MDX, and was told that he also has this problem. That's fairly significant to have 4 out of 4 cars tested show this problem. Acura technicians have even told me they are not sure Acura is going to fix this problem and they have no way of finding out!

    Do you have the same problem? Drop me an email at [email protected]
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    Interesting. How wet? Do you think wet enough to cause long term problems with the motors? I got a car wash last weekend. Rolled the window down to tip the towel guy and noticed the outside was wet, but not the inside? I wasn't really looking though. I will have to check this weekend? Maybe the window weatherstripping doesn't seal tight enough or needs 2 layers (like the edge of a wiper blade)? If the weatherstripping needs to be replaced, that seems like an easy fix. Much better than major drivetrain problem.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I went out in the rain tonight and did not have this problem? I will check the car wash this weekend for good measure. Maybe your dealer has a high pressure wash that aggravates this issue?

    I do notice that the rear window doesn't stay clear, maybe I will have to add the rear spoiler down the line to see if that can keep the rain/dirt from getting on the window while driving.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    Well, I got a car wash first thing this morning. I dropped the window an inch and....nothing. However, I kept at it, when I dropped it all the way, and then raised it, I got some water, enough to leave a residue on the front foot, so just enough dirt/grime that when looking at the side mirror that it was annoying after a car wash. I think it was just from the outside weatherstripping coming in contact with the inside part? The window was not wet. If I was overly thorough, and checked the upper front of the window, after lowering it an inch, the same thing would be present. Not alarming though, the outside weatherstripping is wet after a car wash, if when lowered both sides touch, they spread water?

    Anyway this is what I found...don't lower the window when raining or after a car wash.
  • rwwdjwrwwdjw Member Posts: 8
    i typically get a prettyloud sound from front of vehicle in the a.m. when going out of driveway; sounds like something is loose. don't udually hear it later in day. anyone else have it? i called acura service and they said they haven't heard about it.
  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    Sounds like you may have the infamous "thud". It is apparently fixed on late 2001's and on 2002's. Either that or there's something loose, in which case the dealer should be able to find it by looking underneath.

    Best to take the vehicle into your dealer and have them look at it.

    Here is the TSB:

  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I was watching motorweek on speedvision. They did their one year update on the MDX. One of the few repairs they had done was tightening up a couple of suspension bolts? I wonder if there was some issues with improper torque settings from the factory?
  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    I'm a bit suspicious of the Honda/Acura Ontario plant in general. Doesn't seem to have problems with Canadian-market EL's, but the Odyssey had teething problems, and there seem to have been some assembly glitches in the first-year MDX's. Granted the vehicles they're building (except the EL) are more complicated than the Civics and Accords being built at Honda's U.S. plants. But I've seen occasional (not very frequent) reports of bad seals.

    I saw that Motor Trend report too. They were very positive, and even showed the MDX on a light off-road course.
  • KingbergKingberg Member Posts: 2
    I have a brand new MDX. I notice only at cold start, that if I (forwrad) roll out of my driveway in Neutral and shift into D5 during the slow roll, the transmission yields a 'thud' going into gear. This does not recur once the vehicle is warmed-up. Anyone else experience this symptom??
  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    What I don't know is how loud or deep your thud is. Sort of like describing symptoms to a doctor.

    Some transmission noise upon shifting to drive is to be expected, but I don't know if it's abnormal in your case. Best to demonstrate it to a dealer's service tech and let them judge.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    seems logical. I would think the engine fluids are warming up. If you are rolling and the transmission fluid hasn't warmed up yet, it might bne slowing gear movement slightly, thus a little out of sync and a thud. No scientific proof, but I imagine it is just the engine (flywheel or part that connects to transmission) and the gears spinning at different speeds.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    The 2002s have not corrected the problem as mentioned earlier. I think that may be the cause of a thud I think I noticed? It seems more apparent when you just start up, rather than after a while on the road? I wonder if it is a pressurization thing?
  • bdillmanbdillman Member Posts: 1
    My MDX is currently at the Dealership for the 3rd time regarding the same issue. A noise "flickering" when you approach 40 MPR and take your foot off the gas-Consistently. I have been told that it is a internal transfer case (gear)issue yet it took 3 weeks to get a part? Apparrently rare. Anyone heard of this issue? I have unfortunately experienced extremely poor customer service and although I initially loved my MDX, my feelings are beginning to dwindle:(
  • dmz616dmz616 Member Posts: 17
    After driving our 02 Touring MDX (17" Tires) 9K miles across country and on gravel/unpaved roads, noted many, many paint chips/dings behind the Acura rear mud guards on the bottom of the side bumper (both sides). Apparently, the rear mud guard are not long enough to deflect stones; looks like a design defect. Will see what dealer service has to say. Anyone else noticed the same? Any aftermarket solution?

    Also, please see #4198 on main MDX discussion regarding gas tank overflow; anyone have a solution from Acura as yet?
  • stekatstekat Member Posts: 4
    My 2002 Touring MDX (bought 7/2002) is more sluggish on acceleration than I expected it to be. At speeds between 35 & 70, I have to wait for "one mississippi" before the transmission kicks down and the vehicle accelerates. Service manager says he gets no codes and on test drive didn't notice anything wrong. So, do all MDX's do this, am I being overly critical or is there a problem?
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I don't notice real delay when downshifting, howver I think the mdx "feels" slower than it is. When you get on it, the ride is smooth and there is sort of a whip effect on the power "feel". I think if you pay attention to your speed and time, it is as fast as it is supposed to be. The dampening of engine noise and road feel contributes to the sense of sluggishness. I sometimes notice my '02 driving slowly..but believe it is related to the ride. The overall weight of the vehicle contributes as well.
  • slockoslocko Member Posts: 111
    i think you are right. Sometimes I get the sensation it's sluggish but when i look at the speedometer i am doing 60 or more.
  • stekatstekat Member Posts: 4
    Thanks sbcooke and slocko for your comments. The problem is really the "ONE MISSISSIPPI" that I have to wait for the transmission to kick down from D5 and the tach to register increased RPM's. I really have to be prepared when trying to pass on the interstate. In an emergency, I'd be concerned about the slow reaction. Otherwise, I agree with both of you that the MDX's size and smooth ride are deceiving re: actual speed vs perceived speed. That's not my problem though...engine-transmission response at speed is.
  • slockoslocko Member Posts: 111

    my mdx is only like 3 weeks old so i wasn't driving to fast due to the break in period. Now that I am past that I have begun treating it a little more rough and I think I know what you are referring to.

    i don't know too much about transmission mechanics and rpms, but i have begun to notice that when I hit the gas to pass, there is some hesitation before I feel the increase of speed. Is this what you are talking about? At least it's a quiet vehicle so you don't hear the engine struggling like my old sedan.
  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    Are you in fifth gear when you start the pass? And are you using premium fuel?

    The fifth gear (D5), as you probably know, is very tall for highway fuel economy purposes. If you push the pedal with medium force, there could be a slight delay since the revs go up but the vehicle is still loafing along in fifth gear. So it takes a bit longer to pass. If you hit the shift-point, you'll feel much more acceleration.

    If you push the pedal down with a much firmer foot, you can get the downshift immediately, and you'll find yourself whooshing by the vehicle you're passing. Quite pleasing, actually, that's one of the most positive aspects of the MDX.

    Or, you can drop into D4 when you pass.

    I remember someone here complaining about passing and climbing, but it turns out they weren't using premium fuel as recommended by Acura.
  • stekatstekat Member Posts: 4
    Thanks Slocko and wmquan. You nailed it right on the head slocko. What you described is exactly what I've found. Wmquan, I am using premium gas. The "one-mississippi" hesitation happens with both a light press and a hard stomp. I've tried D4 where it's not a noticeable and even D3 where it doesn't happen. I don't recall the owners manual suggesting that for good response at highway speed to use those gears. But I will. So I guess the service manager was right when he said that he didn't notice anything wrong. The hesitation must be normal on the MDX. My last 3 cars (98 Maxima, 92 G20, 91 Dodge Dynasty) were all way more responsive at all speeds. Of course, they didn't weigh 4000+ lbs. Of course this is an Acura and costs twice as much as any of them, so foolish me...I expected performance at least as good. I guess my expectations are just too high.
  • slockoslocko Member Posts: 111
    i am using premium. I will try stomping the accelerator :) doesn't bother me any. I like that it's quiet. i was very disappointed with the X5 when I test drove it. It had a noisy engine.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I don't notice problematic delay with downshifting. I just came back from a long highway road trip and when I needed to pass I just stepped on it and was doing 90 before I knew it. It is amazing at how smooth it is at 90 too.
  • wfuller1wfuller1 Member Posts: 2
    Occasionally (about once a week) my navigation system background color goes to pitch black. You can still make out the roads and movement, but it is essentially useless. After 10-20 seconds, it corrects itself. Anybody else see this?
  • slockoslocko Member Posts: 111
    someone just posted that his did that and the dealer couldn't fix it.

    i haven't experienced it yet, but i hardly use it.
  • will4271will4271 Member Posts: 187
    You should bring it to the dealer to claim warranty and get it fixed.
  • rjh2rjh2 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 MDX that I purchased in November 2000. My mileage is at about 36,000. A few hours ago I went out to get something from my car. It had been parked for about 2 hours. When I closed the front passenger side door the back window totally shattered into hundreds of pieces. Nothing had hit the window. As far as I know it had no cracks or damages. Has anyone heard of this happening with other MDX's?
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    Volkswagens have been prone to this in the past. The air tight seals caused this to happen...older golf's had this happen occasionally. Perhaps there is something with the MDX's? Since this is the first mention of something like this, it is also possible that it was just a fluke too?
  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    Don't think I've heard of the rear window shattering before.
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    Have 2002 with only 7500 miles.

    Build quality less than expected, though nothing major wrong. It is sluggish. Not enough engine for the tall fifth gear. Unlocks torque converter on anything other than a slight incline. Will downshift to fourth on medium freeway hills. Acceleration from a standing start is fine, but passing on a two lane road when speeds are above 50 is a challenge. Not the fastest downshifter, but no major delay either.

    Brake pedal groans (inside the car) louder than others that I have checked, but dealer can find nothing wrong. Rear brakes clunk/bang from time to time, but stopping is smooth. Driver's door lock rattles if in locked position.

    Seat memory fades with time. Headlights were aimed much too low and beam pattern could be better. Front A/C typical Honda - slow to cool, but eventually catches up and works well thereafter. Rear unit works well all the time.

    Rear bumper scuff strip is too short. Result is the rear edge of painted bumper get scratched easily. Looks like the one from the Pilot, which covers the rear edge, will fit.

    Had it on a couple of trips including mountains to 7000 feet. Does well going up because the tranny holds a lower gear by itself, however there is not much engine braking available on the way down (even in second gear).
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    There is a TSB on the site about some MDX and other vehicles that might experience hesitation at "high speeds". Maybe that is what some people are experiencing. There are no other details on it however.
  • edgarvtooedgarvtoo Member Posts: 1
    Whenever I go over 75 mph I notice a very strong vibration in the steering wheel. I have owned other Acuras and have never noticed this vibration when going fast. I was wondering if any others have noticed this vibration? Also, when braking at high speeds, I have found that the brakes shudder as if the anti lock brakes are kicking in even though I am not braking hard. Anyone else experienced these problems? I have another year on my lease and am thinking of switching SUV's as I am very disappointed in having these problems with only 36K miles. Would appreciate any help. Thanks to you all
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Member Posts: 890
    Don't own a MDX but it sounds like it could be an alignment problem, or possibly a tire is out-of-round.
  • wwoertewwoerte Member Posts: 4
    Just bought my mdx and want to carry two touring kayaks on the top. Has anybody outfitted their mdx to carry kayaks? What did you find? I've been shopping Thule & Yakima and haven't found much of anything that will go on the MDX unless I take off my factory roof rack and start from scratch with a Yakima or Thule. I'd be interested in what solutions you have come with to utilize the factory rack.
  • tomc14tomc14 Member Posts: 7
    My windshield washer on my 2001 MDX does not consistently work correctly. I get everything from no fluid at all when I pull the lever to a dribble down my hood, to working properly (I have fluid). Naturally, when I take it to the dealer it works fine. They say there’s nothing they can do unless they "see" the problem. Anyone else have a problem like this? Possible solutions?
  • l943973l943973 Member Posts: 197
    I've seen similar things happen with my RL. My problem was that wax got into the nozzle. It blocked the opening causing the dribble on my hood. Sometimes it would work, other times the wax would harden and block it completely. The wax wasn't even noticable but I guess it was deeper in the nozzle.

    My dad basically took a metal tie (like the ones you see at grocery stores to tie bread) and removed the outer paper (just burned it off with a match). This left me with a very thin metal tie (much thinner than a toothpick) that he used to insert into the nozzle. He basically moved it around to clear out the nozzle and this fixed the problem.
  • tomc14tomc14 Member Posts: 7
    Not a nozzle problem. Checked that. I heard today that Acura put a stronger washer pump in the 2003's because of so many problems. I need to figure out how to verify this before I take it back in again. Thanks for the input
  • foxcroft1foxcroft1 Member Posts: 16
    Has anyone heard of the recent problem with Honda transmissions including the MDX?

    The local newspaper had a small article saying the it affected 2-3% of the cars and Honda will extend the guarantee. It did not say what the problem was or how long the extension will be.

    My brother in California saw something on their TV news saying it was a serious problem that could lock up the wheels even at speeds of 80 MPH. Does anyone know about it?

    My dealer did not have a thing on it.
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    Honda/Acura apparently does have a significant transmission problem (reports vary from 2 to 4 percent of cars) with some 2000 and 2001 vehicles with four speed automatic transmission. I read where they have extended the warranty on the transmissions for these vehicles to 100,000 miles. My next door neighbor had the transmission (a four speed) on his Odyssey fail twice. It was repaired the first time and replaced the second time.

    The MDX has a five speed and so far has proven reliable. I spoke with Acura customer service (they called me about a resonation problem) and they told me the MDX transmissions are not among those that are experiencing problems.

    That said, the faint resonating hum I hear in 5th gear only, between 2100 and 2300 rpm, may be a transmission related problem. The car has been in for inspection and so far neither the dealer nor Acura has been able to pinpoint the cause.
  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    I learned this if I put a tape (prefer mask tape) to cover the holes in the washer nozzles when waxing. It saves me a lot of trouble.
  • qguqgu Member Posts: 93
    I went to and read some of the owner reviews there. Quite a few reviewers encounted transmission problem. As an MDX owner I am concerned. That is probably why the upcoming newer MDX has a redesigned tranny.
  • will4271will4271 Member Posts: 187
    Check out the '03, they have a newer transmission. I'm betting that it will resolve any short comings with the '02 problems.

    Unfortunately, the Pilot still has the old transmission (not sure about the realibilty thought).
  • hopeitsfridayhopeitsfriday Member Posts: 396
    A few of the reason I think Acura change the transmission on the 03 MDX is 1: Acura acknowledge that the 02 and ealier transmission has problem in 2 to 3 percent of its units. Mostly due to overheating. secondly, I think they try to make a lighter transmission to improve the weight distribution of the vehicle. Third, the 02 and earlier has a problem with gear hunting on highway hills, the 03 suppost to correct that.
  • will4271will4271 Member Posts: 187
    You maybe right now your reasons. Makes good sense though.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    They also needed to adapt to accept the new HP delivered by the engine.

    You know there is all this discussion about why they changed it, and what that means for the '02 because of also could mean that the '03 has a bad one with all sorts of first year problems...I doubt either...maybe they just wanted to keep the car competitive.
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