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Acura MDX Care and Maintenance

24

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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    You can change it yourself, but the first time requires cutting off a small plastic bar behind the glove box.

    1. Remove the glove box.
       a. remove the stops on each side
       b. disconnect the damper on the right side
       c. take out the bolts under the front
    2. Cut the plastic cross brace in the glove box opening near the ends of the opening. Throw away the cross brace. The plastic cross brace sort of covers the glove box frame in step three. It is in the lower part of the glove box opening.
    3. Remove glove box frame.
    4. Remove and replace the filter.
    5. Put everything back, except the cross brace.

    It may sound like a lot, but really isn't. Takes about 15 to 30 minutes the first time.
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    steve290steve290 Member Posts: 25
    Is that what the dealer does? Is it worth doing yourself, what do you save? Where can I get filter?
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    The cost of the filter was a lot less from http://www.hondacuraworld.com/ on line than from my local dealers.

    The removal instructions in post 52 are from experience on my 02 MDX and on my neighbor's Odyssey (which has what appears to be the identical setup for the pollen filter). The instructions are essentially what the 02 MDX service manual says.

    If you do steps 1a and 1b in post 52 you can see where the filter is located when you open the glove box door all the way.

    My Jag and PT Cruiser pollen filters also require(d) removal of items before one could change the filter. The MDX is the only one that a part is discarded after the first time. There appears to be no loss in stiffness with the plastic cross brace removed.

    My neighbor and I each saved about 2/3 of the cost of having the dealer(s) do the replacement. In addition, we saved a lot of time by not having to take the vehicles to the dealer. For me, the time savings alone is enough.
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    New updated Navi DVDs are available for 2002 and previous as well as 2003 models. Suppose to ship the week of 11-17. Still no Southern Canada with US DVD. Cost is $185 plus shipping, and is available direct from Alpine, not Acura nor an Acura dealer.

    Can order on line at https://ecominet2.alpine-usa.com/pls/admn/ha.header?p_make=Acura or call 888-549-3798.

    My dealer gave me the phone number and I called it first. While waiting for a person to become available the message said the DVD could be ordered at acuanavi.com, which turned out to be the above link.
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    The new Navi CD came today. Took about a minute or so to install on my 02 MDX. The voice has been changed to a lower pitch. This version has a red flag for all of the schools in my area. Have not found a way to turn the flags off. Tried all of the icons on and off, but the schools stay. A little distracting AND about half, around here, were not in the correct location on the screen. Either half a block off or on the wrong side of the street. Database not as up to date as hoped, but better than the version that came with the car. Has a feature to turn on and off unverified roads. Seems a little slower to boot, but not enough to matter.

    I picked a large database item, KFC, and it took about 15 seconds before displaying the list of over 4800 KFC locations. It did not have the nearest one to where I was at the time (it has been there for about a year).
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    Wish I had not upgraded to the new DVD. Very slow, with some voice messages coming after a turn instead of before. Can't get rid of school icons that dot the screen all the time. A number of the icons are in the wrong place too. Can't get rid of the icons in the turn box either, and some of those are wrong too. The new soft voice is okay, but the 'bong' that sounds first to get one's attention is exceptionally loud. Worse, one can't easily go back to the DVD that came with the car.

    Spoke with Alpine and was told they do not have any customer service for factory nav systems. They referred me to Acura. Acura essentially said that is the way it is and there is nothing that can be done. Acura added that the dealer may have a way to make the original DVD work again.

    Just spoke with the local dealer and was told I am the second person to call today that wants to switch back to the original DVD. The dealer is waiting for tech support to call back - the dealer doesn't know how to do it. Neither did the second dealer I called.

    The upgrade was just released on Monday. This doesn't sound good.

    Advice: Save your money and wait for Alpine/Acura to fix the problems with the upgrade.
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    harsmdxharsmdx Member Posts: 10
    Any ideas that the MDX cover which hondacuraworld.com sells wont damage the exterior of the car. I don't have experience with the covers any input will be appreciated...What should be looked into when buying a car cover.

    Thx
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    danschiffdanschiff Member Posts: 4
    I am buying a new 2004 with Nav and expect to own the vehicle long-term. I am curious how the updates are done.

    How much did the update cost?
    Did you buy from the dealer or a third party vendor?
    Did you do it yourself?
    Does the DvD load everything into memory somehow, or is the disc required to be left inthe system/permanently installed?
    Can the update be re-sold (think eBay) to someone else to use, instead of paying full price for it and beign stuck with it?

    BTW, I am sorry to hear about the update problems with your systems, and hope they correct the issues/return your system to the original software.

    Dan
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    Dan,

    Your 2004 will come with the latest version of the database and the current operating software.

    The update cost is $185 plus shipping and in some cases sales tax. You cannot get the updates from the dealer. Alpine makes the update and they have setup an Acura/Honda update web site and call-in service. This may change in the future.

    The update is very easy to install and took about one minute or so. Just press the eject button on the nav unit under the passenger front seat and slide in the new DVD while either the engine is running or the key on. The update self installs, but does require driving on a street in the database for a short distance before the update is ready to be used (less than half a block for me).

    The DVD stays in the nav unit. Some information is loaded into the unit's memory, but the database is on the DVD.

    The upgrade can be returned to Acura for a refund - as soon as Acura/Alpine figures out how to do that. Problem is that once the this upgrade DVD is used, the old DVD will not work. There is supposed to be a procedure the dealer can do to allow one to go back to the DVD that came with the car, but neither Acura dealer around here knows how to do it.

    When we bought our 2002 MDX I recall being told that one could expect an update to be available sometime around October every year. While there has be at least one very minor update that added a few small cities I have the impression this is the first major update since Acura started offering DVD based nav systems (1999 model year I believe).

    The update does have a larger database than what came with my 2002, but it appears to be more than a year old. Still, it is more complete and more up to date than my OE DVD.

    The larger database does seem to slow my nav system, but I doubt it will on 2003 or 2004 models.

    I can live with the slowness - it isn't that bad, and I can put up with the often misplaced and unwanted permanent school icons on the 1/8 and 1/20 mile screens (the two I use 99% of the time). I can even live with the wrong voice directions (happened twice so far). The new softer voice is okay too, but the 'bong' that preceeds the voice directions is very loud now. It is annoying and worse, distracting.

    In almost two years I never had to adjust the sound level. Now I have to change the sound level with car speed. If the 'bong' is set to an okay level I can't hear the voice directions when at freeway speeds. Never a problem before.

    All I wanted was an up to date database for roads and points of interest. Alpine made a number of other chnages that, for me, makes the nav unit less desireable. I suspect most people will not find the update objectionable

    Next time I think about nav for a car I will look into buying direct from Alpine or just using a laptop based system. Alpine's DVD for their own systems includes Southern Cananda while the Alpine one for Acura does not.
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    dcyndcyn Member Posts: 17
    Just as quick question, what is the current nav dvd version (# of version)?

    Thanks.
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    The update for my 2002 MDX is ver. 2.11B

    Acura called me last week about the update. I was told update shipping had stopped and that a new fixed update DVD will be automatically sent to those that have already received the update. This is planned for sometime in early January. When questioned about going back to the OE DVD I was left with the impression they are working on that too.

    Hopefully the 'fix' will have some QA testing. Not holding my breath about the early January time frame.
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    sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I am around 12K on my MDX and I just noticed the "Service Required" light is blinking. Anyone know what the intervals are for this? I saw one at 7K regarding the 7500 mile service. Is this a warning for the 15K service?
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    sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I found the answer to my own question via the owners link on Acura.com. 6000 miles after every reset this light comes on...I can reset it by holding the "select" and "reset" buttons on the instrument cluster and then turning the ignition to the "on" position for 10 seconds.
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    loosedukelooseduke Member Posts: 1
    We got the spiel on the Teflon treatment for our new MDX. We're not the kind of guys who spend the w/e detailing the car, so we're giving it some consideration. However, we would like to make sure that this treatment is actually effective before purchasing it.
    Experiences, alternatives?
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    Save your money. The dealer is just trying for extra profit.

    Today's car finishes are very good and none of the Teflons/polishes/waxes/coatings last for more than a few months anyway. Any leather/vynl cleaner/protection product for the seats etc will do as well as the expensive product the dealer wants to sell. For less than $10 you can do it yourself in less than 30 minutes with a spray bottle you can buy at any auto parts store. I do my interior about twice a year and just finished the spray bottle I bought two years ago. Worried about carpet and floor mats? A can of Scotch Guard works as well and costs little. Time to spray is under 10 minutes.

    One thing that may be worth the cost, depending on driving conditions, is a clear bra. This is a clear plastic coating that covers the front and prevents chips (not a bad idea for the rear bumper too). This is expensive, but effective for years.

    I find my 02 MDX is not chip prone and therefore have no need for the front clear bra, but wish I had done the rear bumper top rear edge.
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    sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I am doing my own 15K maintenance, since it isn't much more than a "check" of everything and I have already had the oil changed at 13K. I noticed my transmission fluid was a little low. I added about 1/3 of a quart. My MDX seems to be a little quieter accelerating now? Maybe I am just trying to imagine that I fixed something?

    Also, the honda ATF fluid is red, like it is supposed to be, however I noticed that the transmission fluid in the truck is more brownish? I have seen burnt transmission fluid before and it isn't that kind of brownish, more like clear brown, maybe synthetic oil brown. Any ideas? Do they put an additive in the fluid from the factory that might make the color look like that?
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    sbcooke: We both have 02s. The tranny fluid in mine is not red, but a brownish color like yours. No burned aroma. With tranny fluid cool mine shows a bit low, but once warmed up (supposed to check it warm) the level is fine.
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    sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I checked as per the manual...at normal operating temp. Basically 5 minutes after pulling into my driveway. Its good to hear that yours is the same color. I added the Honda ATF as per the manual and it is red like I am accustomed to. I wonder why the difference. I will call my dealer today and ask. Thanks for the response.
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    According to one of my service manuals ATF will change color from red to brown with use. This is normal.

    A burnt odor and/or deterioration of shift quality is an indicator of a transmission and/or fluid problem.
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    sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I spoke with my dealer and that is the same information they gave me.
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    lmacmillmacmil Member Posts: 1,758
    I'm seriously looking at the MDX but there is no Acura dealer in town. In fact, the closest dealers are about 100 miles away. I know at least one of those dealers will pick up your car and leave an identical loaner when you need service but I may buy used so I don't think I'll get that kind of treatment. Anyone in this situation and if so, what do you do?
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    sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    My maintenance required light got to the point where it was on all the time...at my 7500 interval, I have already done most of the 15K service myself and didn't want to be reminded anymore. Very easy as per the manual...turn the car off, hold down the select and reset buttons, start the engine and hold until the light goes off.
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    steve290steve290 Member Posts: 25
    I have an 02 MDX with close to 90,000 miles on it with original pads. My past cars needed pads anywhere from 30,000-50,000 miles. The original brake pads in the MDX are incredible and I want to make sure I get the right ones when I have brake job done. Does anyone know what are the OEM brake pads for an '02 MDX? Can I get cheaper on-line, I have someone who can install? I saved money on a pollen filter and air cleaner from hondacuraworld.com from a tip from this forum. I was always having trouble locating air cleaner in auto stores and on-line was more convenient anyways.
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    newmiatakidnewmiatakid Member Posts: 10
    Hi, I am attempting to change the acc cabin filter on my 2001 MDX. I believe the filter is behind the glove box. I ordered the part from the PartsBin.com, but it looks wider than the housings behind the glove box. Beside, there are two black housings behind the glove box. The left one is bigger than the right one. Should I remove the right one? There is also a cross bar in front of the housings. It appears that I must remove the cross bar before I can get to the housing. Anybody has the experience of changing the filter for a 2001 MDX. I have seen the bulletin for 2002. Are they the same? Please help!
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    The first time requires cutting away the cross brace behind the glove box (throw it away, it is not needed. It was there for initial assembly purposes).

    Same procedure as an Odyssey BTW.

    Once the cross brace is removed the filter is a snap to replace.
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    newmiatakidnewmiatakid Member Posts: 10
    Thnaks, Fndlyfmrflyr. I read your previouse instructions. I followed every step of the way, except that I had to remove a screw behind the cover on the side of the dash board. It took me about 45 minutes to an hour. But thank God, I did it. Thanks for your help, again.
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    doreenldoreenl Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 MDX. My dealer suggests that I should not change to synthetic till ~ 15,000 miles (for the reasons which have been discussed in this Forum). I'm about to do so, but I cannot find any Mobil-One 5W20 synthetic in the stores. The only place I could find it is at Mobil gas station, who would charge me outrageously $5.9/quart. Is there anywhere I can get it at reasonable price? on the web?
    My dealer uses Agip synthetic (of course at much higher cost than the regular oil change). Is Agip good? Anyone has any experience with it? Thanks much!
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    According to the Mobil web site they don't make 5W-20 Mobil-1:

    "Mobil 1 with SuperSyn 0W20 is engineered specifically for Ford, Honda and any other vehicle where a 0W-20 or 5W-20 engine oil is recommended."

    The 0W should be available in stores.

    BTW, I've been using Mobil-1 since the mid 1970's and have switched from conventional oil no later than the first scheduled oil change in every new car except my oil burners.
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    jch123jch123 Member Posts: 1
    Paid $165.00 for 7500 mile service, did I just got ripped off? What are people paying?

    Also, notice the sheetmetals get dents easily, any solutions?
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    sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    Did they change the VTM fluid? VTM fluid, oil change...$165 isn't bad.
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    markmark Member Posts: 16
    In searching the archives, it was noted that the VTM changes were recommended at 7500 and 30,000 and every 30K following. I have a '04 MDX that is just turning 7300 miles. I called the selling dealer who quoted $120 + tax for the rear VTM fluid change, another dealer quoted $68.00; so I figured a third call was in order. The service writer indicated the VTM fluid change, for an 04 in regular service was 15K, 30K and every 30K after that. I then checked with Acura customer service who affirmed the 3rd opinion (I didn't have the vehicle nor manual at my office during all this). I intend on changing fluids at the prescribed intervals since we rarely keep our vehicles beyond the warranty in any case.

    Opinions?
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    mjtianmjtian Member Posts: 48
    I spent $175 when the Service light came on for my '02 MDX at 7,500 mi and when it turned 15,000 it cost mt $375. The dealer went on and on about the VTM fluids and that at 7,500 mi they only replaced part of it and that now it is getting a complete change. I got the little service booklet from them and realized that they recommended service every 15,000 mi. Is that overkill? I never serviced my Toyota Camry and it runs fine. Also, what do you all think about bringing the MDX to the Honda dealerships? With the Honda Pilot, I figure they should know a little about the MDX as well right? I am just afraid that it may void my warranty. I love this vehicle, but between paying MSRP, waiting for it to arrive and the endless trips to the dealership, I can't help but feel ripped off!
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    phild_masonphild_mason Member Posts: 99
    Most dealers will try to push you to the "severe" intervals. Truth be told few people qualify for severe. You need to stand firm and tell them to back off. You can do work at a Honda dealers also. From underneather the Pilot and MDX are just about identical.

     

    Finally, you can do it yourself. It if fairly easy to change the VTM and oil the main maintenance items.
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    Around here Acura dealers charge $80 to $90 to change the VTM fluid. The Honda dealer charges $50. Same job, same fluid. The fluid costs about $20 per gallon and it takes about three quarts. Fluid change interval is at 30K odometer multiples after the first change at 7500 miles.

     

    You will not void your warranty as long as you have documentation that the service was done in a timely manner (even if you do it yourself).

     

    My current Acura dealer thinks a lot of his service (high prices), but does give a free loaner and has matched a lower price for service in the past.
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    steve290steve290 Member Posts: 25
    Any other tire choices for an 02 MDX besides the Goodyear or Michelin? I got great mileage out of Goodyears and was going to change to Michelin, but heard a lot of negative comments about them. I had assumed that the Michelins were better than the Goodyears because they put them on the Touring model. Any thoughts?
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    hopeitsfridayhopeitsfriday Member Posts: 396
    The Michelin cross terrain has a much better traction rating than the Good year integrity, but it cost almost twice as much. The Goodyear Fortera HL and the Yokohama Geolandar H/T-S are also good choices, at about $35 cheaper than the cross terrain.
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    The only negative I have for the Michelin Cross Terrains on my MDX is they do not grip well during fast cornering. Ride is very good, can't complain about noise, they've been okay in the wet, and they wear well. CR did not rate them highly though.
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    sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I like the michelins a lot. I have Bridgestone dueler a/t's on my other truck and they are good too.

    There are lots of good tire choices out there and it is probably the most common car upgrade going. Check out what the X5 and ML has on them? What type of driving do you want? For all around I think the cross terrains are probably one of the best on the market. Though for Arizona roads for example, you might want a z rated tire?

    If you wanted to take the MDX to camping sites/beach driving etc you could consider getting tires on a 16" rim...the 17" low profile is a drawback in offroad (even light) situations.

    Don't feel stuck with either of the stock choices, although the michelins are quite good in my opinion.
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    phillybigeasyphillybigeasy Member Posts: 31
    I took my '04 MDX to a Honda Dealer for oil change and 15k Service. Total bill was $98.60 ($58 for the VTM fluid change, although $30 for an oil change is a bit high, especially with no lubrication required!). I'm glad I read the other post's, if I had an Acura dealer close by, I probably would have been overcharged even more.
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    meyervillameyervilla Member Posts: 40
    Will using regular fuel (87 octane) rather than premium (91 octane) damage the engine? I used regular in my Camry V6 with no problem and no noticeable reduction in power. I can't see paying $2.00 more per fill up at today's prices.
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    See other posts. You will not damage your engine if you use regular (as long as the engine electronics are working properly). However you will probably not save significant (or possibly any) money by using regular. You will lose some performance using regular, but you probably will not notice without a stop watch.

    Tests on my MDX show premium (vs. regular) gives about 8% better mpg and tests using a stop watch show the car accelerates significantly faster with premium too. Around here the difference in cost is just over 8 percent. If gas prices continue to increase the cost difference will become less than 8%.

    My tests were done over 1500 miles for each grade of fuel. The road and driving conditions were similar throughout and involved local and freeway driving (including some long drives). Actual fuel used was used for mpg calculations, not the inaccurate trip computer.

    The car drove fine on regular and did not feel different than when premium is used.
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    sdao16sdao16 Member Posts: 2
    I have 2003 MDX with about 16000 miles, mostly driven during the weekend. My MDX tend to have some steering wheel vibration between 75-80 mph that comes and go. I have contact the dealership service and they are blaming on flat spot on the tires from not driving it often enought. Have anyone experience the same problem with their MDX?

    The service dept also tell me that I will need a 15K service that going to cost me around $300. Is this worth it or should I do this myself?

    Thanks!
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    sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    Flat spot...rotate tires and drive it a little more or don't let it sit for weeks at a time...i.e. roll it back 2 feet without starting the engine.

    $300 isn't bad, check a honda dealer for maybe better pricing. Also itemize, some things you don't need? Check wiper blades, tire pressure, etc. Maybe give them a list and get a price? You probably should follow the extreme schedule since you don't drive it a lot, so you will need a vtm change at 15K...you could wait until 22K, but I wouldn't wait until 30k since you don't drive it so much.
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    otis123otis123 Member Posts: 439
    Is the vtm fluid the first fluid that needs to be changed - besides engine oil.... My dealer says it is at 7500 for the 2004 MDX. Bull or truth?

    Thanks,

    Ralph
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    If you do the 15K service the tires should be rotated. That should tell you if it is a wheel/tire problem. The problem will most like remain as is if it isn't. If tires flat spot from sitting too long they round out in a few miles. This has not been a problem on cars in decades.

    The 15K service is an oil and filter along with a tire rotation. The rest are 'inspect' items that can easily be a DIY look-see. I agree that one should check Honda dealers' prices for the service.

    Because the MDX is high off the ground it is very easy to change oil and VTM-4 fluid without a lift or jack (about 30 minutes or so to do both if you have a small hand pump for the VTM-4 fluid (about $10 at the dealer))
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    Acura has wanted the first VTM-4 fluid change done at 7500 miles since the first MDX was sold. The next change is at 30K. It is a 15 minute job, depending on how long one lets the unit drain. Fluid cost is about $17 per gallon retail and the unit takes about 3 quarts.
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    jellymanjellyman Member Posts: 3
    My ACURA dealer informed me that two, I say again 2 cabin air filters need replacement. I located one behind the glove box, a pullout, but the other I cannot find. They want $198 to replace the filters
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    jellymanjellyman Member Posts: 3
    Are there 2 cabin air filters on a 2003 ACURA MDX and if so, where are they located?
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    otis123otis123 Member Posts: 439
    Thanks! 7500 it will be...but probably the only reg. main. service Acura does. I have an excellent "award-winning" Honda dealer/service 2 miles away - Curry Honda. $198. for cabin air filters at Acura? Crazy!
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    fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    Your owner's manual should tell you if your MDX has more than one dust and pollen filter (cabin air filter). The one for my 02 says filter, not filters, and my 20 has only one - behind the glove box. Unless the design has been changed, the first time the pollen filter is changed there is a part blocking the filter from sliding out that must be cut away (and thrown away). This adds a few minutes to the labor. The pollen filters are expensive and it does takes a little while to change, but $198? Even $98 seems like a lot.
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