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Acura MDX Air Vent Clips

my04mdxmy04mdx Posts: 4
edited December 2013 in Acura
I have an 04 Acura MDX and the air vent clips (the clip that allows you to move the vents)keep breaking. Is anyone else out there having this problem?


  • scottm123scottm123 Posts: 1,501
    I have an 06... mine have not broken. :confuse:
  • my04mdxmy04mdx Posts: 4
    I should hope you don't have any problems with the 2006 model. I was hoping I wouldn't have issues at all. When you do be advised the entire panel needs to be replaced not just the clip...and it's not cheap. :(
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Posts: 710
    Yeah, mine('04) broke a while ago, haven't fixed it yet, use a pencil to direct the air flow. Is that covered under warranty? It's the vent directly to the drivers right, probably gets used the most.
  • my04mdxmy04mdx Posts: 4
    It's covered under the original manufactures warranty of 4yrs/50k miles...the dealership replaced the passenger's vent under the warranty last August and now the middle vent clip broke. The entire panel needs to be replaced (apparently you cannot just buy the clip). Now it's outside of the warranty coverage and the dealership is trying to determine if they are going to fix this problem, free of charge. The panel alone is $120.00.
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Posts: 710
    Took my '04 to the dealer to have a look at the vents. They said the center air vent panel was put together wrong (I assume at the factory) What!? So they found some spare parts and then reassembled it, works fine. My passenger side mirror has also been on the fritz for quite a while, it won't tilt down in reverse, They said its not in the mirror housing, but in the wiring. They have to order parts and take the dash apart (yikes!) All covered under warranty however.
  • jmfleschjmflesch Posts: 1
    I have an 03' Acura MDX and 2 of the vents--actually the ones on the right side just broke off. We are over the 50,000 mile warranty mark.

    Are these available anywhere? It seems like you could put them in without removing the panels!
  • my04mdxmy04mdx Posts: 4
    I was not able to locate an auto store that just carried the clips. You would think that something so small would be sold separately however after much research it is the entire panel that needs replacing. And it's not cheap :(
  • 3 out of 4 on my 2003 MDX have broken. My extended warranty from Acura doesn't cover "trim pieces". As above, the center console is about $130 the side ones are $40 + labor+ =over $250. I called Acura in Torrance CA and they said it is not a replaceable part..the clip.. have to replace the whole vent piece. They said I should try a Junk Yard.. for this $.50 part. The problem is 1 side small tab used to clip it at assembly breaks off. I repaired #1 w/super glue but a car wash sucked up 1/2 of it before I could fix #2. Last Acura I'll ever own!
  • I'm an automobile dealer and specialize in Honda and Acura. We sell quite a few MDX's, both from trade-in and lease turn-in sources. This problem is consistent and appears in over 80% of the MDX's I get in for sale. I searched high and low for a replacement part and any other option without having to replace the full vent - and found none. Clearly an engineering defect in the product. Very, very disappointing. As most of you have found, replacing the center vents is outrageously expense, and almost cost prohibitive.

    Please let me know if anybody finds another option.

  • lknslkns Posts: 8
    My '04 MDX had a center air vent clip break, too (it literally just fell off in my hand when I went to move it - I was not being rough with it at all). As you all can attest, it is VERY expensive to fix, as the entire panel needs to be replaced. The service manager's response was to "wait until the other one breaks" and then replace it all. HUH??? It's out of warranty, so I'm not about to pony up hundreds of $$ to fix something that costs pennies. Not sure what to do, but it really makes me mad! I've never had this happen on any other car (including "lesser" brands and ones that were much older).
    If anyone hears of a solution (or way to have it repaired free), let me know!
  • See my post #6. However my '04 was still under warranty. I don't know how much they would have charged me to "dig up some spare parts" :sick:
  • tpulaktpulak Posts: 44
    Yup...its true. I own a 2004 mdx, and when I was trying to move one vent, it just fell out . I saw that there are two pieces of plastic(very cheap plastic by the way), that is glued together by adhesive, and over time, the adhesive dries, and the vent starts getting weak, and breaks apart. This is very embarrasing for a 4 year vehicle that costs 40k+. My 10 year old camry did not have this problem.
  • jrgearjrgear Posts: 1
    Here is my story - my second vent clip broke and took it to the dealer to fix. While I was demoing the problem/operation on a different vent, that vent clip broke in my hand in front of the service agent. So I just fixed two more ($225+). The design is garbage. On my 2004 MDX I also have had three of four window motors break, headlights craze so bad they needed to be replaced, AC compressor die, front bumper seperate from other plastic trim, right window seal inproperly installed, and front NAV dash panel plastic break. Not sure if I actually got an Acura when I bought my MDX.
  • JR-

    Well, sorry about the bad luck with your MDX. Our '04 has been bulletproof with the exception of the darn vent clips. Three of the four front ones have broken. One was fixed under warranty the other two I just use a pencil to move them.

    It's coming up on 60k miles, two months shy of 5 years old and only 3 more easy monthly payments. Woo Hoo...
  • jbkjjbkj Posts: 1
    I bought a '04 MDX (just over 50k miles) about a month ago. The car was sold under a pre-certified warranty (12K mile/12 mths). Last week when I turned on the heater and moved the vent tab on the driver's side, it helplessly fell off in my hand. Just then I noticed on the passenger's side, the vent tab is already missing. Called the dealer the next day and was told it's a wear and tear item and NOT covered by the "bumper-to-bumper" warranty. To replace one vent is going to cost $150.

    By looking at the broken vent tab, it's a very cheap two-piece of plastic with a flawed design. The weak part is the two clips on the back of the top piece, which sooner or later will break unless you never use the tab to adjust the vent. From many posts I found on the Internet, this seems like a prevalent problem for MDX and the usual breaking point (depending on how much you use the vent tab) is about 4 years. I guess you probably will see increasing complaints form '03 and 04' MDX owners pretty soon. But why does Acura never want to address a problem like this?

    In my opinion, there got to be some easy and cheap alternatives to just "replacing the whole vent". If you have the two broken pieces, I think you can super glue them together but like some posters said, you have to be very careful not to glue the other parts to make the vent practically unmovable. For some people that have lost the broken pieces, Acura should really consider selling the plastic tab, not just the whole vent. It's $5 vs. $150. I understand it’s the owners' responsibility if they screw up. But isn't it true for all other parts if the owners decide to “do it yourself”? Acura can also provide guidance to its dealer technicians about how to replace the plastic tab. It should be a very easy and normal procedure. I bet if some vendors (maybe somewhere in China) start producing some kind of knockoffs for the plastic tab and selling them on eBay, they would be sold like hot potatoes.

    It’s very disappointing that such poor workmanship is discovered on a $40K plus car. It’s even more irresponsible on the Acura part to simply tell many of its loyal car owners just to suck it up or pay it up. I’m not talking about a recall or something. But a prestigious car manufacturer like Acura should be able to find a solution to address a design and quality problem like this. Don’t make the MDX the last Acura I own!!!
  • I feel your pain...$150 is absolute nonsense to fix them. I guess in the big picture though it won't stop me from buying Hondas. ;)
  • tpricetprice Posts: 46
    We just traded our '03 MDX for an '08 - the clips were the main point of frustration for me - we were missing 2 out 4! I thought it may just have been bad luck for us until I came across this discussion. We also have an RL and now the new MDX - with what appear to be the same design...will be interesting to see if they pop off down the road. Acura should do something to help with a pretty loyal owners group..especially since seems to be widely documented issue at this point + with state of the auto industry now more important than ever to retain repeat customers ..otherwise, have no complaints - our '03 was bulletproof..hoping for a repeat experience.
  • I'm posting to see if there has been any further info on this issue. All four vent clips on our '04 are broken. It seems as if the "pencil" method is the only solution without paying the exorbitant replacement price. No surprise that Acura does not include this item in the FAQs on their site. No mention of it on the few parts houses that I questioned either.
  • dasmitdasmit Posts: 1
    I just bought an '05 MDX which had 3 vent clips missing. I happened to find this forum and was amazed at how many this has happened to. The "pencil method" didn't work on mine because the vents were so loose they just flopped back shut!

    I have found a cheap solution that works, at least for now--it's in the air freshener section of the auto parts department. They make air fresheners that are actually clips that you stick into the vents, and all that shows is the very end--it isn't noticeable at all. I paid $2.50 for four of them, and so far they work fine. They move the inside part of the vent as well as the outer (up and down) slats. I didn't like the scent of them that well, so had put them outside to lose the smell before I actually started using them.
    It's worth a try!
  • 10sfan10sfan Posts: 136
    I have an 05 MDX but have not had this problem to date. Congratulations on the fix idea. Maybe you can patent this idea and save other MDX owners from paying their "rip-off" prices. Thanks you for sharing this information.
  • Can I just pull that vent cover out, glue the broken one back together and shove the whole thing back in the hole??
  • kuwkuw Posts: 2
    Just adding my anger to the mix. I have a 2006 MDX.

    About 5 or so months ago my daughter was adjusting the passenger side vent when the tab fell off in her hand. I didn’t worry too much about since I don’t sit on that side of the car!

    But, about a month ago I was adjusting the driver’s side vent and the tab fell off in my hand.


    I’ve looked at it time and again and fiddled with it trying to get it on and keep it on all to no avail.

    I talked with the service advisor while I had the car in for the xmission recall fix (topic for a different thread) and he said the only solution was to replace the vents (easy enough to do myself once bought, I gather). Uh huh. $100 repair for a 50 cent piece of crap.

    I swore off Chrysler products for just this kind of poor quality/reliability (vents and transmission).
  • I had one tab replaced under warranty but now the far right and the drivers center tabs have broken. The estimate that I got from the dealer was a total of over $400 to repair both. Not only did I not have them perform the work, I also informed them that it is a shame that Acura would allow sush a small and poorly designed item and their failure to reasonably address the issue, to jeapordize the sale of even one new $40,000 vehicle. I personally know of two other families that have encountered the same problem and feel the same way. The only thing that the current Acura management seems to care about is money, so the only way that we can get our point accross is to spend our money elsewhere. Fortunately, there are several other quality SUV's on the market.
  • I just replaced my vent tab on my '04 MDX by purchasing an entire air conditioner/heater air vent assembly on eBay. I purchased the passenger side vent then cut the vent to remove the tab. The tabs are all the same - so this tab worked for my center vent. It's a bit tricky to install the new tab; I used tweezers and patience to snap the top and bottom halves together without having to remove the center vent assembly.
    The total cost was only $50. That's a bargain compared to the $250+ estimate I received from the Acura service department!
    Search for these keywords on eBay:
    Good luck.
  • Call Acura and complain. They said they want feedback.
  • There is no reason to remain quiet when actually, it hurts Acura.
    Call and voice your complaint and ask that engineers come up with an inexpensive solution.
  • 10sfan10sfan Posts: 136
    I have an 05 MDX with 63,000 miles I purchased new. No vent clip issues until 15 months ago when the first vent clip broke at approximately 48,000. miles. Within the last 6 months two others broke. Only two senior adults ever use them. I now agree they are pure garbage on a $44,000 MSRP vehicle. Acura quality??
  • Before reading these posts I recently purchased a used 2004 MDX. Sure enough, all 4 front air vent clips were gone. I took your advice and found air freshener sticks. They work perfectly and they look like they belong. Even though I purchased a 10 year old vehicle, I'm still disappointed in Acura. Never would have expected such a Detroit approach to a "luxury" vehicle. I hope they've fixed it by now.
  • I’m having the same issue! I have a 2009 MDX and the driver side vent tab broke a couple of months ago! Now, my passenger side vent tab just broke when a passenger readjusted the vent for their comfort! I am extremely disappointed in Acura’s quality as I paid over $40,000 for my 2009 MDX SH-AWD Technology vehicle! For those of you that haven’t really called to get a quote; I was quoted two different prices from the only Acura Dealerships in my area (Buffalo, NY and Rochester, NY). One quoted $262.20 and the other was $312 including tax and labor with an install time of 1 hour for both vents! Are you kidding me?! I then sent an e-mail and complaint letter to Acura Client Relations: [email protected] 1919 Torrance Blvd. M/S 500-2N7E Torrance, CA 90501-2746 (800) 382-2238 and (310) 783-3535 Fax. I sent my complaint by fax and e-mail and received a response a couple of weeks later. I spoke to a Jenine and she seemed really nice. I was advised on every call that “calls will be monitored for quality purposes”….. She said that she would try and resolve this issue. I informed her that I did not want to pay for this! She said she understood and that she would talk to the Service Managers at Acura to see if there was anything they could do. I also was advised that I couldn’t get a quote over the phone and that I would have to get an “estimate” from one of the Acura Dealerships. They price still ended up being the same. Jenine called me back yesterday to let me know that they would be able to knock $100.00 off the bill if I went in to get both vents fixed! Are you kidding me?! I advised her that this is a huge issue ergo the countless blogs/ posts of complaints on these air vent tabs. I also asked if the models they were replacing were better or up to date. She said she couldn’t give me 100% clarity if they changed the model to fix the issue. I also asked if there was any type of warranty that would cover the tabs since I was going to have to pay for them again as they were included with my purchase of the car. She stated “unfortunately not.” I informed her that I would have to think about it further. This is ridiculous! I have never had so many issues with a car. This is my first luxury vehicle and I’m extremely disappointed! We need to write Acura and let them know of our frustrations and aggravations over this crap! With the economy continuing downhill, we don’t have this type of cash to just throw around and hope that the problem gets fixed!!

  • The reviews on this product even mention the MDX specifically
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited September 2014
    I don't know what they put in it, but I prefer not to breathe that kind of stuff, especially in a closed in area like a car. Can't find a MSDS for this brand, but it looks like it's around at most auto parts stores, Walmart etc.

    Ah, here we go (pfd file). Funny warning - "If inhaled, remove afected person from contaminated area." ( Maybe you could clean the stuff out and just use the sticks.
  • I have an 04 mdx and have 2 broken vent clips. It doesn't look too bad if you put the clip back together and use a 4 inch electrical tie threaded through the middle of the fork in the back of the clip and around to the front. It works like new and won't break again. Takes about 15 minutes and works fine if you don't mind the small tab from the electrical tie on the front of the clip. I used a pair of hemostats to thread it through but tweezers would probably work.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    That the same thing as a zip tie?

  • I FIXED THE LEFT AND RIGHT SIDE VENTS !....I do like the vent-type air freshener work around. But here's the right way. Get your parts: tube of super glue and 4 metallic 1-inch putty knives....1). Remove the vent assembly. Do this by sliding putty knife sides of the vents to push in the 1/2 metal tabs 2 holding the vent. Do this for both side of the vent and pull outward. 2) Break the 2 top tabs attaching the front part of the vent to the back part. Bend the front part so that you are able to slide out the small louver assembly. Now attach your broken tab with the left-behind remaining tab. Super glue the edges of the tab that do not touch a louver. Let dry for an hour. Slide louver assembly back to being between the front and back parts. Tie the front and back part with a rubber band, then glue the tabs together; let them all harden overnight. Then, slide them back into the vent hole. Wahlah ! You're back in service.....Hope this works you all ! God Bless.
  • Thanks cheeseburger72! The e-bay seller has his own website/webstore. I am ordering directly from them to fix my 2009 that has both outer vent's broken.
    Here is the website:
    Looks like Cherokee's have crap components too.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited August 2015
    I don't know why anyone would trust buying something from an anonymous web site like that with no contact info, no street address, no phone number, private domain info, etc. Smells kind of spammy to me.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It's only $5.50. It would seem a whole lotta trouble to invent an "air vent tab" rip-off. That would be like counterfeiting nickels. :p
  • coastie55coastie55 Posts: 1
    I have 2004 MDX with same problem. Tried regluing the tabs but didn't last long. Finally a simple fix. Take 4 small black paper clamps with chrome wire handles. Use them to clip the two halves of the tab together and then remove the wire handles. The clamps I used are about 3/4 in wide. It's been couple of years now and still working fine.
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