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Acura MDX Transmission Problems



  • Can anyone give me real good "ammunition" that I can use with the Honda people in CA, concerning the transmissions? I am not literate in car issues at all. I have less than 80,000 miles and am having the transmission replaced. I think Honda should pay for it or at least some of it. It is costing $6K for a remanufactured one and another $1K for the ECU. Trust me, I am angry and will not buy another Honda. I'll stick with Toyota. Thanks
  • Well, I know this. Our previous vehicles were Jeep, Dodge and then this 2002 Acura MDX. Here's the scorecard: Jeep Grand Cherokee 100,000 miles, no issues except a stereo; fixed under warranty. Dodge Grand Caravan, 205,000 miles, no issues. Acura MDX, 89,000 miles, THREE TRANSMISSIONS. The first one went out at 37,000 miles, the second started misbehaving at 83.000, finally crapped out at 86,000. Because we bought it new and because we had almost all maintenance, including major services, done at the dealer, Honda did "goodwill" a major portion of the cost of the third transmission. Then we found out that the timing belts only last about 90,000 miles and that was another $600. Oh and the rear main seal started leaking.

    I have a little more leverage because I work at a chain of dealerships and can get inside a little bit. The Acura store is part of that chain, but the reason Honda paid for the goodwill is because we serviced at the Acura store and Honda could verify the services.

    I can tell you this: Japanese car quality is a myth. Both Honda and Toyota are still cashing in on a reputation that used to be true, but no longer applies. I see the behind the scenes and both GM and Chrysler have every bit as good a quality as Honda or Toyota. Probably Ford does too, but we don't have one of their dealerships.

    Both Toyota and Honda are superior in one way: suppressing bad news. The general public still doesn't know about the Acura problems and they are just starting to hear about the Toyota problems that have been manifest for years.
  • The issues being reported appear to be on 2006 and prior models. Was the tramission issue fixed with the redesign in 2007 or is it just too early to tell since few of 2007 or newer would have 70k+ miles?
  • Interesting comments about automatic transmissions in general and MDX in particular.

    I have a 2005 MDX with 104K miles. No repairs other than brakes. There are no indications of any issues.

    For what it is worth, I have been buying new cars since 1968, all with automatic transmissions, kept ALL for over 100K miles (many, closer to 150K). I have NEVER had a problem with an automatic transmission. I follow the maintenance schedules in the owners' manual (not the dealers' recommendations) and always service at the dealer during warranty period. After that, if I think the dealer is the most competent and reliable shop, I go with them nevermind their pricey rates.

    * 1968 Ford Mustang (100K+)
    * 1971 Buick Skylark (~110K)
    * 1972 Chevrolet Vega (100K+)
    * 1974 Buick Century wagon (120K+)
    * 1979 Buick Skyhawk (then end of my relationship with Garbage Motors) (100K+)
    * 1984 Ford Econoline E-150 (~110K)
    * 1987 Toyota pickup (100K+)
    * 1988 Mazda 929 (~120K)
    * 1990 Volvo 740 (150K)
    * 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee (150K)
    * 2001 Mercedes E-320 (currently, 112K)
    * 2005 Acura MDX (currently, 104K) also, the most reliable of all I have owned.

    Draw your own conclusions.

  • Sorry to inform you - but I just purchased a 2010 MDX and after 3 weeks - the transmission has already been replaced! If that isn't bad enough the transmission on my 2004 MDX died after 4 years. I took the chance and purchased another one after being reassured that the problem was fixed and looks like I made a bad decision.
  • The NTSA is under fire right now for all of the missteps on Toyota. If you have had a possilbe near wreck, they need to hear about it. And, there are already several complaints on the transmission problem in general. Everyone please at least file a formal NTSA complaint on their website (you will need the VIN number of your vehicle) and perhaps at least we will get some notice that there is a serious problem here. I guess someone's car has to run of the road and kill someone before Acura will step up too. At least it will be well documented.
    To the fellow with 2010, that is a huge bummer. I don't think Honda will be getting my business anymore.
  • jrcarguyjrcarguy Posts: 4
    The dealer replaced my Transmission 3 1/2 years ago with just under 100k miles. I now have 145k and it is starting to shudder again. I plan on buying a 2010 TL AWD in the near future and want to leverage that purchase to negotiate some type of discount when I eventually have to replace the transmission again (planning to keep the MDX in the family). What do you think I should ask for? (E.g. 35% off; parts and labor at cost; other???)

    Anyone actually know what the going rate is for the Transmission replacement these days?

  • rbhjrrbhjr Posts: 3
    A few months back noticed this brief buzzing/rumbling noise from the car at 35-45 mph (in the 1500rpm region so it would be 5th gear I guess). Kind of like the noise when you drive over the rumble-strip on the highway but it lasts about 1 second. From what I've read on this and other forums, sounds suspiciously like a transmission/torque converter problem. The car is a 2005, but only has a bit over 29,000 miles on it!. No 'check engine'/error codes show. Ours even has the transmission cooler added becuase we have the tow hitch installed (but we only use the hitch to attach a bike rack, never ever towed anything).
    No way am I going to fork over thousands to fix this, the warranty period expired 9 months ago, but I'm 18,000 below the mileage warranty. If I have to pay more than 10% of the cost, I'm going to engage in a massive negative campaign against Acura. I've heard a lot of cases with people having this problem 50K+ miles, but 30K, and we baby the vehicle is pretty disappointing.
  • $3000-$4000 is what I had been quoted for transmission replacement with a rebuilt tranny.

    The TL and the MDX used the same transmission technology. Why in God's name would you ever want to get another Acura? The TL automatics were horrible.

    I have had many vehicles over the past 20 years, some with over 200,000 miles. This includes Jeeps, Caravans and GMCs. The only problem vehicle ever was this Acura MDX with three transmissions in 89000 miles.

    I have never seen a vehicle as fragile as this Acura and after one experience, there is no way I would ever spend my money on any Honda product again. Just like Toyota owners who clung to a myth of superiority, I see the people on this list blindly swallowing the "higher quality" garbage from Honda. Honda just hasn't had their Toyota moment yet.

    My advice is: Take off the blinders and look at other brands.
  • Welcome to the club!
  • jslivonjslivon Posts: 57
    If they don't pay for 90% or better for the transmission, then look for another brand of car. Acura wnats $4,500 list price for a new trans. Independant shops charge $2,500.

    Despite what Toyota is going through, I bet you can get some great deals from them.
  • rogerdyrogerdy Posts: 2
    What symptoms did your 2010 MDX transmission have prior to replacement?
  • I am having a shuddering noise when I take my foot of the accelerator and then put it back on the gas pedal. I have talked to several owners with a 2006 and they are having or had the same issue. Apparently the torque converter goes bad and sometimes the transmission. I took it to the Acura dealership and they said it is a known problem for 2005 and prior. I called and spoke to Acura corporate and filed a complaint. They said that they have had no complaints on this. Please call Acura Client Services and file a complaint at 800-382-2238 to make Acura aware and they will eventually have no choice but to issue a recall and we won't get stuck with this costly repair.
  • rbhjrrbhjr Posts: 3
    I've read a lot of messages with people having this issue, but it always seemed to be on cars with 20,000+ more miles.

    Wife brought it to dealership today, they noticed particles in the trans fluid right away, are diagnosing the extent of the damage as I write this. The service manager said he would talk to Acura today about goodwill repair on this.. Hopefully will be taken care of gratis or as close to that as possible.
  • brian30brian30 Posts: 11
    What year is your MDX? I am looking at a 2010 and was hoping this problem had been fixed with either the 2007 model or even the new 2010.
  • rbhjrrbhjr Posts: 3
    It is a late 2005 MDX,
  • chucko3chucko3 Posts: 793
    edited March 2010
    When I gave my 1989 Accord LXi away, it registered 213K miles on the original transmission & engine. The car broke down after 3 yrs after that.
    When I gave my 2004 Acura Integra away, it registered 193K miles on the original transmission & engine. And it is still going with 215K on the odometer.
    My Accord 03EXV6 has 80K miles on the odometer. Will see how long it will last.

    I take great care of replacing engine oil & tranny fluid.
  • Redondodave,

    Did your previous Honda products have 4 cylinder engines? Manuals or autos? There is no denying that Honda makes very high quality 4 Cylinder vehicles. It's when the V6 is added into the mix.

    Additionally, I feel that as they became more popular, their engineering was rushed and cheapened by market forces. Honda rarely sells V6 vehicles anywhere but North America. If you look at what vehicles have been problematic, they have all been V6's with autos: Accords, Odysseys, Pilots/MDX's, TL's.
  • saukfjsaukfj Posts: 1
    Definitely the torque converter. Had mine (2006 model) replaced about 3 months ago at 68,000 miles (luckily still under warranty). I tried to push them to have a close look at the transmission based on other feedback online. They flushed the system but told me not to worry about the tranny. Now getting the same sound from the new torque converter at 74,000 miles and have an upcoming appointment!!! The new one has a 12 month/12,000 mile warranty. REALLY FRUSTRATING at this point. Also worried that the tranny will go as well and won't be covered.
  • Did you contact Acura Customer Service to report it? They tried to tell me that no one has reported this issue at all for 2006 Acura MDX. The more people that report it could help us all out.
  • dmd909dmd909 Posts: 1
    I have to vent again as this entire saga is now playing out with my co-worker's 2002 Odyssey. I have both a 2002 MDX (177k miles) and a 2004 Honda Accord LX V6 (98k). His Odyssey is starting to lose 2nd gear and now Honda wants $5k to fix it. I warned him. Now, I know I had a lot of miles on my MDX, but the recall fix didn't work as I had to replace the entore transmission. However, I am worried about the Accord as it is the same POS transmission that I expect to go soon too.

    When I got both cars, brand new, everyone asked me how much I liked the cars. I told them the engine, suspension and steering were great, it was the transmission that always felt bad (mushy). I am vindicated by the fact that there are so many problems with these cars transmission. Honda got in over their engineering heads by bolting 1 transmission to the 4 and 6 cylinder cars. I vow never to buy a Honda product again. I won't even talk about the cd changer in the MDX crapping out. Just happened to another friend's 2010 MDX.
  • We purchased a used Acura MDX a couple of weeks ago and now it is making a unique noise that the dealership cannot figure out. It makes the noise when going forward at about 35 miles an hour and it is a short rubbing/vibrating noise that is quick to start and quick to end. Often only a second or less but happens quite often. They cannot seem to diagnose it since it is short lived and not a continual noise. I am worried that it is something serious and we want it taken care of while it is still under the 30 day warranty. Does anyone have any ideas? When others had trouble with the transmission what were the symptoms?
  • Does the tachometer move during the other words, if you are holding steady MPH on a flat road at 35mph, do the RPMs vary?
  • madmommy3madmommy3 Posts: 28
    I would print out all of this Torque Converter and Tranmsission stuff and go to the dealer with it (armed with info). Get it well documented. They tend to stall on the diagnsosis as not to have to fix it within the warranty. I am dreading that I have a 2008 Honda Oddesy van (in addition to my 01 MDX) as I know what is likely coming. I think I am officially over Honda.
  • signguy2signguy2 Posts: 7
    Return the car and get as far away from it as you can. The Deal knows what
    the problem is, don't let him get away with this. Honda is covering up. Return the Car and buy something other than Honda
  • mdxownrmdxownr Posts: 2
    In my experience, I have found this sound is very difficult to duplicate. I don’t know what causes the sound, but I have spent quite a bit of time understanding the behavior of my vehicle. Here are my findings/suggestions/ideas:

    1) Find a long side street with max speed of 30~35 mph and a very slight uphill slope. Drive in D5.
    a) The street must be long enough to allow for the vehicle to shift through gears 1-5 as you slowly accelerate from 0 to 35mph. If/when you begin hearing the sound, hold your speed steady to sustain. A longer street will give you more time to dial it in.
    b) The uphill slope of the street must consistent and minimal. If the slope is too steep, the transmission will shift back down to 4th gear and you will not be able to duplicate the sound. If the slope is not steep enough, the vehicle will not experience enough loading to recreate the issue.
    c) The street must be free from traffic. If you have to stop, slow down or adjust your speed, it may interfere with your ability to tune in to the conditions described above.

    2) Find a street described above near your dealer and practice recreating the sound before scheduling an appointment. Then take the service tech for a drive and replicate the sound for him/her at the same location.
    a) This may seem time consuming at first, however, if you let the service tech drive on any street at any speed, he may never be able to replicate the sound.
    b) If you are successful replicating the sound before your appointment, then you can schedule an appointment with more confidence that you will achieve a diagnosis.

    3) Eliminate as much ambient noise as possible to help isolate the problem sound.
    a) Turn off radio, climate control / fan, shut windows (reduce wind noise), avoid traffic, etc...

    Please read through all the posts in this thread of the forum. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to search the internet for similar year Honda Pilots and Honda Odysseys to get a feel for general customer satisfaction related to other similar Honda/Acura V6 vehicles. If you have the option to keep or return your vehicle, this information can help you make an informed decision.
  • I will check this afternoon. What does this mean? It always happens on a flat road, never going up hill or down hill. If you feather the gas between 30 and 40 mph. it happens a lot.
  • I have the same problem and my local dealer does not seem to know what's going on either. I hope someone have an answer soon as to what caused this noise. I don't want something to happen while driving.
  • I am able to recreate the sound almost everytime. I have also recreated the sound with an Acura tech in the car. He was not able to figure out the issue. I suspect this is a transmission problem due to the symtom, but I am no expert. I hope someone can figure this out so I can get this issue fix pronto, it is beginning to make me nervous driving on the freeway.
  • It sounds identical to the issue I was having. Check your vin number on There is a recall for the 2005 Acura MDX for torque converter. Most likely that is what the issue is. It sounds identical to my situation and I found out it happens in almost all Acura MDX between 70k and 90k. I would also call Acura customer service to alert them of your issue so they can make record of it. Good luck.
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