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Acura MDX Transmission Problems



  • Sadly I had the same thing happen and Acura all the way from the district manager to the California head office refused help. Asking for a split share in the $4500 bill to rebuild was declined. They are so beseiged with failing trannies that they've placed a moratorium on any concession outside of warranty. I even spoke to a sales person about absorbing my MDX with the trade in to a new car and he indicated service/sales operate independently with Acura sending 100% of their transmission jobs outside so there was no labor absorption to make up. After my Dad, brother, myself have owned 7 Acuras in the last 2 decades, I swore my family off of them and Honda. I recieve a letter of condolence from the Acura head office for my troubles...but that was it. To add insult to injury, the transmission dealer down the street who finally replace my transmission said he has MDX in their more than any other vehicle. He warned me that an Acura transmission rebuild is a reconditioned housing and the $4500 was a rip-off. He then charged me $2100 and even bored out the new transmission for better efficiency. When I had 2 transmission neutral switches go bad 6 months later on the MDX, the shop ( Gator Transmission - Wheeling, IL) replaced those free of charge. Find a good local mechanic with honor and forget about Acura , then never return to them and spread the word.
  • I want to know if owners of 2010 MDX or later have had transmission problems, even if covered by warrenty. If so, please give details. I may have a route to getting appropriate attention. But can't guarentee. Acura's behavior in this (even with older vehicles) is both inexplicable and damaging to a heretofore excellent reputation. Let's move on this.
  • 22332233 Posts: 64
    edited December 2011
    I share you frustration and anger with Acura.

    My brother had an 05 MDX and his transmission failed fortunately for him at around 90 k, within the warranty period. Same with his Honda Accord. Many posters have 2 and even 3 failed transmissions with their Acuras.

    My 2000 TL's transmission slipped nearly every day during the warranty period and Acura did nothing to remedy it. We couldn't take the constant slipping and jerkiness and my daughter began to drive it. Drove her crazy also. It failed after the warranty expired and Acura agreed to "absorb $1000 of the $5,000 quoted for a new transmission." What a joke. I asked them to just send me a check for $1,000 and of course they denied this since this "reduction" occurred only if you paid their jacked up price on the tranny.

    It took Acura's corporate office 12 days to make this "offer" to me which was made by a pleasant sounding female. She would assure me numerous times that Acura would be fair but she inevitably and predictably called back finally with no assistance.

    We were in limbo for 12 days not knowing whether to buy another car or wait. I ended up selling it for parts to a junk yard. I never want to see another Acura again. Their attitude was always patronizing.

    You point is well taken concerning having a non Acura shop do the work so you don't screwed again.

    The MDX still has many transmission issues and I wouldn't be surprised if the new TL starts to develop them also.

    Also. beware of posters here and on other sites defending Acura. There is little doubt that Acura employs others to monitor these sites and has them criticize those who legitimately criticize their products and practices.

    I will feel vindicated if just one person chooses to not purchase an Acura MDX or TL based on posts like yours and mine. I owned over 10 Hondas and Acuras and recommended this product to others over the years. I feel that I unwittingly betrayed them.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Also. beware of posters here and on other sites defending Acura. There is little doubt that Acura employs others to monitor these sites and has them criticize those who legitimately criticize their products and practices.

    I don't buy that. Nothing would backfire faster on Acura or any other automaker than to have a shill outed on the net.

    Acura (and most all the rest) are doing fine responding to customer complaints on Twitter and Facebook and FourSquare and all the other social media sites, not to mention via their own internal customer service departments. They have plenty to do without trying to squelch complainers. That would be waste of time anyway, since every brand has problems with their cars.

    People who have no problems with their MDX typically won't take the trouble to sign up with a forum just to report that their ride is working as expected. Unfortunate, but that's human nature.
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    Looks like small claims is the way to go if you have the time..... 120103.html

    A woman who expected her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid to be her dream car wants Honda to pay for not delivering the high mileage it promised. But rather than joining other owners in a class-action lawsuit, she is going solo in small claims court, an unusual move that could offer a bigger payout if it doesn't backfire.
    A trial is set for Tuesday afternoon in Torrance, where American Honda Motor Co. has its West Coast headquarters.

    Heather Peters says her car never came close to getting the promised 50 miles per gallon, and as its battery deteriorated, it was getting only 30 mpg. She wants Honda to pay for her trouble and the extra money she spent on gas.

    Peters, a former lawyer who long ago gave up her bar card, has devised a unique legal vehicle to drive Honda into court — a small claims suit that could cost the company up to $10,000 in her case and every other individual case filed in the same manner.

    If other claimants follow her lead, she estimates Honda could be forced to pay $2 billion in damages. No high-priced lawyers are involved and the process is streamlined.

    "I would not be surprised if she won," said Richard Cupp Jr., who teaches product liability law at Pepperdine University. "The judge will have a lot of discretion and the evidentiary standards are relaxed in small claims court."

    A win for Peters could encourage others to take this simplified route, he said.

    "There's an old saying among lawyers," Cupp said. "If you want real justice, go to small claims court."

    But he questioned whether her move, supported by publicity on the Internet and elsewhere, would start a groundswell of such suits. He suggested that few people would want to expend the time and energy that Peters has put into her suit when the potential payoff is as little as a few thousand dollars.

    Peters opted out of a series of class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of similar Honda hybrid owners when she saw a proposed settlement would give owners no more than $200 cash and a rebate of $500 or $1,000 to purchase a new Honda.

    The settlement would give trial lawyers $8.5 million, Peters said.

    "I was shocked," she said. "I wrote to Honda and said I would take $7,500, which was then the limit on small claims in California. It is going up to $10,000 in 2012."

    She said she also offered to trade her hybrid for a comparable car with a manual transmission, the only thing she trusted at that point.

    "I wrote the letter and I said, 'If you don't respond, I will file a suit in small claims court.' I gave them my phone number," she said. "They never called, and I filed the suit."

    She said she also sent emails to top executives at Honda with no response.

    Aaron Jacoby, a Los Angeles attorney who heads the automotive industry group at the Arent Fox law firm, said Peters' strategy, while intriguing, is unlikely to change the course of class-action litigation.

    "In the class-action, the potential claimants don't have to do anything," Jacoby said. "It's designed to be an efficient way for a court to handle multiple claims of the same type."

    He also questioned her criticism of class-action lawyers for the fees they receive. Jacoby, who handles such cases, said lawyers who take on the multiple clients involved do extensive work — sometimes spanning years — and are not in it just for money.

    "They're representing the underdog and they believe they are performing a public duty," he said. "Many of these people could not get lawyers to represent them individually."

    American Honda's offices were closed for the holidays and no one could be reached for comment. Peters said the company has tried five times to delay the trial but each effort was rebuffed.

    The upside of Peters' unusual move, she says, is that litigants are not allowed to have lawyers argue in small claims court in California. This means any award will not be diluted by attorney's fees. Honda would have to appoint a non-lawyer employee to argue its side in court.

    "If I prevail and get $10,000, they have 200,000 of these cars out there. That's a potential payout of $2 billion," she said.

    While she doubts that all other owners will take the same route, she suggests the penalty could be substantial for the company if a large percentage of the owners file individually.

    A judge in San Diego County is due to rule in March on whether to approve Honda's latest class action settlement offer. Members of the class have until Feb. 11 to accept or decline the settlement.

    Peters has launched a website,, urging others to take the small claims route.
  • We have a 2011 MDX with 15,000 miles and have the same problem. It sounds like if you put golf balls into a Rubbermaid container and shook it. We like you took it to our dealer and the said they could not reproduce the sound. It only happens when we accelerate and then gets louder and seems to level out as we pick up a faster pase.
  • goomba1goomba1 Posts: 20
    sounds like engine knock to me. Are you using 91 octane gas?
  • goomba1goomba1 Posts: 20
    Awesome story -- power to the people!
  • I have a 2010 MDX and recently noticed the unstable RPM when driving around 80km. Many people complain about the transmission. My car has only 16000km on it. very disappointed with Acura. I paid almost $60000 for my car and didn't expect to get a car like this. Took it back to the Canadian dealer and they had no idea what the problem was. I would never buy another Acura.
  • What is incredible is the feigned disbelief among service managers when customers describe the rumbling sound and they say they cannot reproduce it. I was fortunate to have the service manager accompany me on an uphill ride and Bingo! we heard the sound. He immediately said it was the torque converter. I was smart enough to check the message boards here and read the whole story and knew my rights. My car was at 101,000 just off extended warranty. I fought with Acura headquarters for weeks and finally secured a deal for 50 off transmission replacement. All the while I knew I had an ace in the whole. My insurance company would have paid all less a 200 deductible because I had purchased mechanical breakdown insurance; however I felt Acura should pay something. It is a real shame because my 2003 MDX has been trouble free except for this major transmission problem; I now know that my next car cannot be an Acura.
  • mdxer7mdxer7 Posts: 8
    I don't get Acura. The MDX is now their top selling vehicle...yet they don't fix the torque converter problem. Well, I guess as long as they keep selling, they don't have a reason to fix it. My 2001 MDX is on the way out due to the torque converter failing (again). I cant complain in that my dealer replaced it the first time out - no charge to me w/just over 100K miles. I now have over 214K miles. I will buy another SUV - I wanted to buy an MDX..but am really looking hard at Lexus's RX350 instead. Until it cost them more than they are making they will most likely continue to ignore this problem.
  • dontondonton Posts: 2
    Has anybody been able to ascertain a pattern of the torque converter issues, whether driving style, a series of vins etc and most importantly the percentage of vehicles experiencing the issue?
    I am considering a 2010 mdx 26,000 miles, I've read a lot of posts on the torque converter issues. If anybody has any info on percentage of vehicles with the issue or if this is anticipated to stretch across the entire model I would love to know before I jump in on one.
  • There are lots of people around with the same transmission problem, but they are not aware of it. I talked to one of my female friend who drives a 2010 MDX about the problem and she said her car is fine. I asked her to bring her car over and let me test drive it. She brought her car and I test drove it, guess what? her car has the same transmission problem as mine, but she didn't notice it.
  • Yes, the problem can be subtle. I happen to live at the top of a hill. Every time I turned up from the street below, the "indecision" in the tran was all-apparent. Had this been the case during winter snow/ice, the issue could have caused the all-wheel-drive to become a joke.
    At the cost of being considered ridiculous, I have written to the pres/ceo if Honda to ask that he look into the matter. I will no doubt get a form letter in response, but after a while the sqeeking wheel may prevail.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    My guess is that you are encountering the "shiftiness" aspect of almost all modern day 6-8 speed, 10-12 speed w/lockup, automatic transmissions. In an effort to achieve the best FE the engine/transaxle controlling ECU is continually searching, re-computing, for the most optimal gear ratio. As a result even minor perturbations in the roadbed might result in gear changes.

    Drive along at a relatively constant speed where the "solution" happens to lie right in the "middle" of two adjacent gear ratios and the ECU might prove to be indecisive in the extreme. Sounds as if you often encounter one of those mid-point gear ratio conditions.

    In my experience using the cruise control whenever possible helps as even minor fluctuations on the accelerator position will/might exacerbate the problem.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You might suggest to Honda/Acura a rather simple way to solve this problem...premature failure of driveline components.

    Give the driver a "snow mode" pushbutton. Each time the engine is started the system defaults to "normal" mode. Revise the SH-AWD firmware such that absent being in snow mode minimum use is made of the rear drive capability for/during straight ahead low speed acceleration.

    In snow mode the possibility, presumed possibly, of loss of traction would be increased so the firmware would revert to "robust" use of the rear drive, "drive" all four.

    It might be worth noting that throughout the industry "AWD" systems that are derived from a FWD "base" seem to be having premature driveline component failure issues. The more functional, seemingly, the "AWD" system happens to be the higher the failure rate.

    The early RX300 F/awd systems went through this, most especially 99, the first year, less so by '00, and was a noticeable, however relatively minor issue, for the remaining years of the RX300. As of '01 the F/awd system was completely lobotomized. A final fix, the adoption of DBW, was adopted beginning with the RX330.

    As of 2010 the RX350 has a new F/awd design, in my opinion while not as adequate as the SH-AWD system, certainly a more functional design.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The RX350 has a completely new F/awd design as of 2010 so the votes are not yet in regarding the durability...failure rate. On the other hand the functionality of the SH-AWD system, in conditions that require "AWD" functionality, is head and shoulders above even the new RX350 F/awd system.

    Catch 22.

    It appears that with these F/awd systems derived on/using a "base" FWD design the more functional they be, the more likely premature drive line component failure will result.

    As an alternative to the MDX I would suggest a serious consideration of the more inherently SAFE Porsche Cayenne V6 base, R/awd. The rear wheels provide the primary "drive" leaving the majority of the front tires' roadbed traction coefficient to the task of maintaining directional control.
  • charleyecharleye Posts: 1
    edited January 2012
    I purchased a used 2004 Acura MDX in 2007 with 52k. The used car dealer I bought from supposedly added the 2 year 24k WYNN warranty that I was charged for. My transmission went out at 72k. I called Courtesy Acura, where the original owner leased it from, and they informed me there was nothing that could be done because of being outside warranty period and could not help a penney. I called WYNN, monies were never applied to Warranty.Used car Dealer pocketed the $1400. So I financed my new transmission since I already had it in for service when I found out I was jipped the Warranty money. AC Compressor goes out at 100k in Orlando, FL Summertime. Could not afford Car payment and Transmission payment had to let the vehicle go. I paid the transmission off on a car I was not even driving anymore. My wife and I loved the vehicle, Spent tons of money on maintenances and it still fell apart. Power steering pump was beginning to fail and in need of replacement. Would not recommend to my worst enemy. Talked to a honda dealer about the problem said the 01-05 Tranmissions were awful but the 2006 was a new company and supposedly great. Thanks for the information. It definitely left a bitter taste in my mouth even though over a year ago.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Acura's drive line failures are more likely attributable to how often, and how "tightly" the rear drive is engaged during "straight ahead" low speed acceleration on a highly tractive surface.

    If you're a consistent "leadfoot" start putting aside repair funding NOW.

    The only recall fix that might be appropiate would be a firmware revision to lower the % of time that the rear drive is engaged. Other than adding an SH-AWD off (default condition) function to the "snow" switch, assuming the MDX already has one of those.
  • mdxsammdxsam Posts: 2
    My wife has a 2010 with 28,000 miles. Just went in to have torque converter replaced. She had a 2002 that she loved...130,000 miles and not one problem. However, one of her girlfriends bought an MDX (mostly because my wife raved about hers) and she had to replace her transmission. Not sure of year/mileage but I think it is a 2005 or 2006.

    Very disappointed in what appears to be a chronic problem. That said, the dealer was very quick to point out the problem, admit that "they have seen similar problems in a couple of 2010s" and tell us it (torque converter) needed to be replaced. Our lease is up next year. Had every intention of buying, but now I'm not so sure...
  • mdxsammdxsam Posts: 2
    My wife has a 2010 with 28,000 miles. Just went in to have torque converter replaced. She had a 2002 that she loved...130,000 miles and not one problem. However, one of her girlfriends bought an MDX (mostly because my wife raved about hers) and she had to replace her transmission. Not sure of year/mileage but I think it is a 2005 or 2006.

    Very disappointed in what appears to be a chronic problem. That said, the dealer was very quick to point out the problem, admit that "they have seen similar problems in a couple of 2010s" and tell us it (torque converter) needed to be replaced. Our lease is up next year. Had every intention of buying, but now I'm not so sure...
  • Acura's failure to do a recall (even a silent one) is shocking. Yes, I think the trans was better for a few years, but now my 2010 let go at 35K. Others report the same. With the cars still under warranty, I think Acura would rather pay out for the cars needing replacements rather than recall all the MDX vehicles. My anger is increased, however, by the fact that the replacement in my car is NOT a new design. I'll trade the car (probably for an Infinity) well before the next 35K go by. Meanwhile, that used car dealer of yours should be jailed.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    Good thing you walked away from it. At 110k miles you would have needed a timing belt, spark plugs and valve adjustment $$$$$. At that time, they would have found two broken motor mounts $$$$$$$. In 150k miles, you'd need front lower control arms and ball joints $$$$$$. Then your new transmission would fail again $$$$$$
  • dc1225dc1225 Posts: 53
    Curious, just wondering which infinity? QX? Have you done any research? I have 06 mdx which I just had tc replaced but I am looking for equivalent suitable replacement for mdx. I love Acura and mdx but I am going to give another brand a try.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited January 2012
    Infinity products are all RWD based so there is NEVER a need to apportion engine torque AWAY from the front so that enough traction coefficient is leftover at the front for safety, maintaining directional control.

    Absent that need, unique to base FWD vehicles, there is no extraordinary driveline stress levels that must be accounted for in the R/awd design.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,625
    The new JX is a FWD-based vehicle..

    The Infiniti G20 and I30 were both FWD.... nothing about the Infiniti brand specifies that they are RWD-based..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Infiniti = upscale = RWD.

    "were" both.....
  • Hi wwest i too am having issuses with the tranny,i have a 2001 mdx with 150,000+ miles with second transmission on its way out,how do i disengage the rear wheel drive?and which fuse to pull? Is it safe ? Thanks .
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I could advise you on that point for a Ford(etc) or a Toyota(etc) product since I have full access to those shop/repair manuals. But I do not have access to any Honda/Acura product. I do know that were this an SH-AWD system what you ask could not be done.

    If you live well south of the "snow line" you might consider have a mechanic simply remove the rear driveshaft.
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