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Acura MDX Transmission Problems



  • mdxer10mdxer10 Posts: 1
    I drive 2003 Acura MDX with 139,900 miles now. First owner and replaced timing belt, belt tensioner, power steering component?, engine mount, and some electronic component that caused VPN light to come on and off.

    All cars after about 100,000 miles have to replace timing belt and other components that wear down. If it's a moving part, it's going to wear and tear.

    Transmission never gave me problems. But I think I know how I avoided the problem. When the car was only a year or two old I noticed sometimes the car would jump into gear going from Reverse to Drive shift if I pushed the accelerator as soon as I shifted the gear into "D". From that point on I just shift to D and wait. Then I would feel the car gear engaging on its own and after that I would push the accelerator. That only takes a second or two. But not more than 2 seconds. From then I never had the car jump into gear. And it still drives fine.

    And as long as it drives I'm saving at least $500 a month for new car payment to purchase a comparable car.
  • I don't want to start bashing Acura just yet however, I am going to give them one more chance to make things right.
    My mdx just went out of warranty in January 2013 which is only at 45,500 miles. 2009 year model.

    #1 They convinced me that my moon roof leaks in the car wash because it is water proof but not air proof so that's why now every time I wash the car water drips on the driver and passenger. Okay Acura. Why didn't this happen before the car went out of warranty?

    # 2 The check engine and transmission light came on and trouble code p0847 came up. Acura wanted to charge me $125.00 to run a diagnostic which I declined and told the service manager this can be related to a letter I received a few months back about software or repairing a torque converter which Acura extended the warranty on. The software was done then after we picked up the mdx and drove for about 20 miles the lights came back on. I started to google the issue and come to find out many complains about 3rd gear pressure switch and some people having issues with TC on older models. I do not understand why this is not covered under emission which in some states Acura gives 80k/8 year warranty on or why isn't it covered by the power train 70k/ 6 year warranty if this is a common issue. I see some dealers doing the repairs under the power train warranty and others are making the customer pay. My dealer is telling me now I have to pay the $125 to run it to find the issue when they know what the issue is by the trouble code and telling me it may not be covered by the warranty for the power train.
  • jga5jga5 Posts: 11
    edited April 2013
    Thanks for the report and I'm sorry your having to "pay" your way through the problems Acura built into your MDX. It all comes down to a fundamental issue of integrity. Any company that allows this many problems to persist lacks judgement and the ability to look long term. Sure, they are avoiding some warranty costs today, but they have lost, forever, my "new car purchase" dollars. And I'm not alone.
  • irismariseirismarise Posts: 3
    I hear you, I had all the problems above and I have a 2005, its crazy, and am still,paying for it! Sad story for all of us ugh
  • irismariseirismarise Posts: 3
    Nope, they are not fixed!! Trust me, :mad: and keep reading these posts, its crazy.
  • tpulaktpulak Posts: 44
    Hello all,

    I was the original poster of this thread over 5 years ago. It's amazing how time flies :)

    I still own my '04 MDX, now running at over 110K miles. I have been having a very slight shudder/grinding sound of the car at around 35-40 mph. This has been happening ever since 60K miles. However, I've chosen not to do anything about it, and it's been running perfectly fine ever since.

    However, I noticed when driving at "D4" on the transmission (meaning, just using 4 gears), the shudder is completely gone. I did some research online, and I see that 35-40 mph is a "trouble spot" for these transmissions, as the car is confused when to downshift or upshift.

    But at "D4" the car no longer attempts to switch gears at this speed range. I now drive with D4 in town, and D5 in the highway, and the car drives beautifully.

    I recommend everyone to try it out! The Acura MDX truly is a beautiful car, and I still have faith in the vehicle. I plan on selling it for a 2014 model soon , but I will be sad to see it go!
  • I have a 2001 Acura MDX second hand. Bought it October of 2009 and it has been a wonderful vechile, and have had to only replace the alternator over the past 4 yrs. I bought it with 181, 000 kms and it now has 255,000km. I had the Check Engine light go on after driving on the highway. I took it to acura and they said it was the Torque Convertor sensor and the Transmission malmunction sensor. They said my tranny fluid smelt burnt and it needed a new transmission and quoted me $4700 for a rebuilt and $5300 for a new one. Funny thing is there have been no signs of any transmission problems. I have done a lot of research and YES it probably will need a rebuilt transmission but a reputable transmission shop gave me a max quote of $3300 so I will probably go with them, when I need to. For now I will drive it until it truly goes so I can save some coin to pay for the replacement.

    Overall I have loved this vehicle even though I havent loved it with regular maintenance and taken it to some pretty crazy places on some rough roads. The only problems I have had with it are the altenator, A/C went a long time ago, and the stereo is dead, and not the transmission. I feel that all cars have their issues, some manufacturers more than others but I still love my Honda/ Acura and will probably try to stick with them when I can. Sometimes you get a lemon and that cant be helped. Obviously the Transmissions on these dont have a long life but from most of these posts Acura has been good enough to offer something to help with the cost. Good luck trying to get that from any other business after the waranty runs out. Go try that at Future Shop and tell me how that works out for you! LOL. For a top end car they are beautifully made and decently priced. You cant beat that! And compared to a Chrysler transmission they are much better, not much of a conparison though. Im sure they have done their homework and the new MDX probably wont have this issue.

    Love my MDX! ">
  • jga5jga5 Posts: 11
    At 125,000 miles, my '04 MDX developed a high pitch whine from the transmission. I took it to the dealer and then to a transmission place. $4000 later, I had a re-built tranny and I'm driving smoothly & quietly again. I also have a 100,000 mile warranty. The very next week, the rear, passenger side widow controller goes out. Don't even ask how much the dealer wanted to fix that. I found the parts I needed on-line for $94 and was able to make the repair myself...don't use duct tape to hold the window glass up while you remove the mechanism.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    Good for you! Go with the lower price tranny but make sure they have experience with these units and can perform updates and modifications so it reduces the chances of failure. Also expect to replace two broken motor mounts. If the timing belt and spark plugs are over 100,000 miles, replace them too.
  • umkumk Posts: 1
    Hi Tony,
    Can u please let me know what dealer said about your Mdx problem. I do have exact problem on my 2013 MDX. I just got and noticed that when going on uphill it does not accelerate beyond 70 mph, no matter how much we push the pedal. All 4 cyl cars are passing by me.
  • Same exact problem for me (shudder around 35 or 40). Same solution too (switch to D4). I can also let off the gas or stomp the gas to make it stop.

    Has anyone tried putting Mr. Tranny transmission additive in their MDX to see if it fixes this problem?
  • My 2005 Acura MDX started the "chudder" as they referred to it. I took it in and they charged me $3000 to replace the torque converter. The software caused the torque converter to go bad. I told them that is a factory defect and it should be covered. They said they said replacing the torque converter once it is bad is my problem. I only had the car for 1 year and it only had 60,000 miles on it. It was bought from the dealer as a certified pre-owned vehicle. Software causing a mechanical defect? That is a first for me. Software defects need to be covered just like any other defect, especially if it cause mechanical failure!
  • Acuras are notorious for transmission problems! Acura does everything it can to make the customer pay. Never had a problem with a Toyota transmission nor have any of my friends.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    A "Certified" car should come with an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty. Lexus' is 3 years from the date of purchase and up to 100k on the odometer.. You are getting screwed.

    First, make the dealer call the CA Acura office and get them to pay it. If that doesn't work, file a complaint with Better Business.

    Second, Don't buy another Acura, we swithed to Lexus and love it!
  • cwy1cwy1 Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 MDX and love it since the day i bought it. My friend had a 2003 MDX and his transmission quitted on him @50k and luckily it was replaced under warranteed. I heard about the transmission issue of MDX and has been crossing my fingers but my transmission finally died on me @120k. I negotiated with Acura N America and were able to get a $1000 from them as a good faith gesture (they wouldn't give more because of the age of the car and way out of warrantee). Got the dealership to chip in a few hundred and I ended up replacing it for $1700. The problem is those thing only have a limited warrantee and I worry everytime I got that in between gears shutter
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    Our 2003 transmission died at 105k miles. Acura paid 90% after many complaints from me. We have 180k miles now and it's still running. But like you, I have my fingers crossed.
  • drcoreydrcorey Posts: 1
    edited September 2013
    I have a 2003 and our transmission just went out at 148k miles. We are the second owners, will Acura still help us pay for it at the 90%? I read a few of you that posted about Acura of CA, but are you original owners? does that matter? I need to get this fixed asap, we gotta fit 3 car seats in the back ;).
    Thank you to anyone that can help me asap
  • Don't expect anthing being that your are the second owner and at that higher mileage. But you should still try. If it fails, go to an independant and reputable transmission shop and have it rebuilt instead of paying Acura prices. Make sure the shop is familure with Acura problems and their noted faliures.

    We won't buy Acura anymore and just bought a used Lexus. Much better car all around!
  • Hey,
    Check the air filter. It might be restricted with something, thus starving the vehicke of air.

    The air intake is at the bottom of the vehicle. Mine pulled up a plastic bag that got stuck inside and had the same issue.
  • pwr1pwr1 Posts: 5
    edited October 2013
    My 2012 MDX transmission sucks. Period. Now I know why the salesman said to really drive the car hard during the test drive. Because if you don't, it will constantly up shift too early into a higher gear, and you wouldn't buy it. Shame on you Acura for charging $50K and delivering such an otherwise great vehicle. Great style, workmanship, materials, engine, interior... Cannot overcome this transmission issue. Come on Acura, just do a remap so we can all start driving normally again. WE REALLY WON'T BUY ANOTHER ACURA VEHICLE IF YOU DONT FIX THIS! My Mom's 2006 Pilot is a joy to drive compared to this car... Does that really make sense?? Now I know what "near luxury" means. This vehicle is almost not drivable in the mountains because of the transmission hunting around all the time and up shifting. I'm done.
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    We have a 2003 MDX and got stung with the transmission issue. Recently, we shopped for a used car and discovered that the Lexus RX 350 is a much better vehicle then the MDX. However, we wanted a more comfortable sedan and settled on a Lexus ES 350. The Acura equivilants were not as comprable.

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

    Any advice?
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    The best deals are buying a car 3 years old that was turned in after a lease. They are like new, still have a warranty, and thousands less then new. Use the Edmunds website to read reviews. We drove 600 miles one-way to Miami, Florida to buy our car and saved 5 to 6 grand over buying local. Use the internet to do your searching. It wa workth paying a thousand or two more for a "Certified" car from a dealer. Our Lexus came with an extended factory warranty, was completely gone through and detailed from the dealer in Palm Beach, FL , including a full tank of gas. All I had to do was add a little air in the tires.
  • dougc3dougc3 Posts: 2
    I purchased a used 2003 MDX with 87,000 miles 5 months ago; driving on a busy highway I noticed a bad smell. I pulled the car off the road and had it towed to the Acura Dealership I had purchased the car from. After almost 3 hours they came in and gave me the bad news... my transmission and radiator needed to be replaced... OUCH! No extended warranty and a cost of over $6,000. I'm waiting to hear if the dealership will help with the price, any suggestions on how to handle this discussion?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Ouch indeed.

    There's some tips here:

    The Secret Warranty
  • qaliqali Toronto CanadaPosts: 60
    Not knowing what exactly happened, I cant say for certain if you have experienced the issue that a number of MDX owners have had. See my post
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    Make the dealership call the Acura home office in CA. Tell them about this blog and you are aware of the defective transmissions. That's what we did and got Acura to pay 90% of the cost. I would think the dealership would take some responsibilty since it was only 5 months since you bought the car.

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

    If all this fails, an independant transmission shop can rebuild it for $2500.
  • dougc3dougc3 Posts: 2
    After a brief discussion with the dealership and mentioning theses blogs, they and Honda stepped to the plate and paid 100% of the cost for the new radiator and transmission.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    Fantastic. Kudos to Honda/Acura for standing behind their product when they had no legal obligation to do so. My 2010 Advance with around 38,000 miles has been perfect so far. Couldn't be happier with it.
  • Fantastic design and build quality. However, there is a very severe problem when trying to merge and having to accelerate quickly. The car stalls and acts like you are using the brakes for a few critical and sometimes fearful seconds before it "kicks in" and starts to accelerate as it should. I brought it back to the dealer who checked it out and said that it was working fine and that they couldn't find any problems. Well, there is a problem and I think that Acura knows about it, but won't admit to it in fear that it might affect sales. I'll have to tolerate it for now, but no more Acuras for me ever again. I am warning others through this post -- you won't be happy with a MDX! $50,000.00 isn't enough money to get a really good car; the price is now $65-$75K for an Infiniti or a Lexus.
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