A luxury midsize SUV with a long-anticipated lifetime is the Acura MDX. Due to the extraordinary demand, the new 2022 models will be delayed by two years. The phrase “multidimensional luxury” in the MDX’s name alludes to the SUV’s function as a car that blends luxury and utility on the road.
Since it first went into production in 2000, the Acura MDX has been one of the most dependable mid-size three-row luxury SUVs available. The term “multidimensional luxury” (abbreviated MDX) refers to the junction of function and comfort that this SUV occupies on the road.
Some versions of the MDX are undoubtedly superior to others after 20 years of development and refinement. We are here to help you go through the huge selection of Acura MDXs available.
Despite the Acura MDX’s widespread appeal, you should avoid buying certain model years of this three-row SUV. Over the previous few years, this brand has received numerous complaints.
You need not worry because I am here to help you. I’ll go through which years to invest in safely and which ones you should avoid.
Which are the Acura MDX Years to Avoid?
In the history of the MDX, there have been several ups and downs, but not all of them will meet your demands. To get the most out of your Acura MDX purchase, you must stay away from certain versions. We advise staying away from the following Acura MDX model years:
2022 Acura MDX by Gold Pony / CC BY 3.0. The Acura MDX is a luxury midsize SUV that has been anticipated for a long time, but the new 2022 models will be delayed by two years due to the extraordinary demand.
Total transmission failure is a terrible problem that plagues the initial five-year versions of the Acura MDX (2001-2005) at some time in their lifespan. It isn’t too early because they typically happen between 100,000 and 130,000 miles in, but the expense of repairs is above $4,000 nevertheless. The poorest of the lot is the 2004 model, whose transmission breaks down even earlier, at 84,000 miles, and has other mechanical flaws including jerking and a rumble strip noise.
The 2010 MDX receives the bulk of criticism for using too much oil, which happens at an average mileage of 92,000 miles. In other cars, this would not be a deal killer, but it would cost about $6,700 to correct it here.
2014 has the most complaints overall and a ton of engine issues that appear right away. There’s a considerable probability that the engine may make odd ticking noises, stall out, or lurch when you accelerate. Similar problems are present in the 2016 and 2017 models, but the gearbox is the main culprit because these vehicles jerk, lurch, and hesitate when accelerating. You should refrain from purchasing any of these Acura MDX model years.
Why Do They Feature in Our List of Acura MDX Years to Avoid?
Below is an in-depth discussion of why we feel these model years should feature in our list of Acura MDX years to avoid.
1. Acura MDX 2001 Issues
In 2001, Honda unveiled the Acura MDX. The Acura MDX was their first problem. By improving and enhancing their original ideas, they were able to reclaim their confidence.
Before they could, they had to deal with the worries of countless irate owners. Shared by CarComplaints.com are a few of their numerous transmission issues.
Gearbox failure, jerking, torque converter, and column shift are common complaints from customers. The entire transmission system may need to be replaced in some circumstances, which can be expensive.
2. Acura MDX 2002 Issues
One of the 2001 Acura MDX’s most common complaints was its transmission.
Transmission failure, erratic shifting, torque converter issues, and other issues unique to automatic gearboxes are just a few of the frequent complaints from transmission users.
A typical transmission failure occurs at 115,000 miles and costs $4,260 to repair. The transmission replacement option is the most common.
3. Acura MDX 2003 Issues
The two most frequent trouble spots for this year were the engine and gearbox, with this model year seeing more issues than the previous two.
Regarding the airbags and seat belts in the 2003 Acura, the NHTSA also received several complaints. The three most urgent transmission issues are failure of the gearbox, failure of the torque converter, and reverse gear locking out.
Gearbox failure, which affected the 2001 model year and cost at least $4,000 in repairs, is one of the most serious Acura MDX problems. The 2004 Acura MDX experienced transmission problems about 80,000 kilometers in.
The NHTSA is primarily worried about issues with front buckle assemblies, airbag malfunctions, seatbelt length, and SRS failure to activate when the seatbelt is fastened.
4. Acura MDX 2004 Issues
The gearbox and interior components of the 2004 Acura MDX are the sources of OTP issues. Rumble strip noise, grinding noises from transmission failure, and jerking sound coming from the transmission are the most often reported transmission problems, according to consumers.
There are issues with interior parts including split leather seats, broken door locks, and broken blower settings.
5. Acura MDX 2005 Issues
These car model years have much fewer major concerns than previous ones. As in previous years, buyers’ top concerns concerning the 2005 Acura were total transmission failure, antifreeze leaks into the transmission, and transmission vibration and shaking.
6. Acura MDX 2010 Issues
The most engine issues were reported for the 2010 Acura MDX, with customers noting heavy oil consumption that required frequent oil changes and check engine light lighting starting at about 77,000 miles.
The electrical system in the Acura MDX received the second-most complaints, with a few minor issues including the battery dying and the replacement battery light flashing frequently while in use. Even though this is a small problem, it is nevertheless annoying and can necessitate more costly battery replacements.
7. Acura MDX 2014 Issues
The 2014 Acura MDX has more issues with the brakes, body, and paint than any other model year combined, along with the engine.
The most frequent complaints are related to the electrical system, steering, and engine. The car lurching or stalling as the car accelerates, engine noise, unusual noises at a rough idle, and whistling engine noise are some of the most typical engine-related complaints.
The most frequent issues with the 2014 Acura MDX’s body and paint are paint bubbles on the roof between the windshield and the sunroof and corrosion on the underside of one of the doors. The majority of issues start about 34,000 miles into the lifespan of the car.
Additionally, there have been various NHTSA worries and consumer complaints concerning the brakes, including issues with the electronic stability control (ESC), rotor warping, and service brake troubles.
8. Acura MDX 2016 Issues
In comparison to the 2017 to 2020 model years, this year’s model has a lot of problems. The gearbox is the main source of complaints from consumers who say the car slides, jerks when shifting, and hesitates when accelerating.
Which are the Best Years for Acura MDX Model Years You Can Consider Purchasing?
One of the best 5-door SUVs available, the Acura MDX offers you opulent aesthetics and comfortable third-row seating. One of the lines’ safer models is what you should choose, and we’ve identified which ones they are. We advise you to buy the following Acura MDX year models since they are secure:
The 2007 Acura MDX problem that is most commonly reported is a broken Bluetooth system that drains the battery. Owners would claim that their automobile wouldn’t start because the battery was dead.
These Acura MDX models from each year either receive few complaints or the ones that do, are insignificant. Models from the past several years are your best chance because the 2019 and 2020 MDXes are flawless.
One worrying claim of a 2018 model passing away while driving has surfaced, but the incident was so unusual that it shouldn’t be a problem. The low number of complaints for a 2006 model shouldn’t cause too much alarm, as the problems are both uncommon and have only happened at an average mileage of 150,000 miles.
The main problem with the 2007 model is a damaged sunroof, but if that happens to you, it only costs approximately $700 to fix. The Acura MDX models from 2008, 2013, and 2015 all have largely spotless histories, and the majority of their possible flaws would be simple to fix, such as a sluggish gearbox ($300) or a subpar A/C system ($400).
However, this scenario was probably an oddity and shouldn’t happen with your MDX. There was one incident when a 2008 model had a damaged timing belt, which would be rather expensive to replace.
Simple issues with a 2009 MDX include a depleted battery at 96,000 miles that cost about $400 to repair.
Similar issues exist for models from 2011 and 2012, with some of the most common complaints including minor issues with the backup camera or the garage door opener. Any of these Acura MDXs will have your best interests in mind.
Which are the General Acura MDX Issues
The Acura MDX still has issues, despite having excellent dependability ratings, and some model years are more problematic than others. Some of the most typical Acura MDX issues are listed below:
1. Hesitation or Poor Acceleration
Owners of Acura MDXs from 2016 and 2017 first experienced gearbox difficulties as well as poor/jerky acceleration. They said that this problem would progressively worsen until they were unable to operate their vehicle at all.
For vehicles from the 2016 and 2017 model years, the affected owners would become aware of this problem at about 9,600 and 16,500 miles, respectively. Some owners claim that their dealerships urged them to get the software in their transmission control module (TCM) updated.
Honda/Acura issued a technical service bulletin (TSB) in October 2020 that detailed how to fix this problem. The MDX’s from 2016 through 2019 as well as the AWD and 2WD versions of the 2020 MDX were among the affected cars. The paper claims that the sporadic harsh/jerky upshifts that occur with continuous acceleration require a TCM software upgrade to be fixed.
2. Car Stalling or Lurching at Light Acceleration
Some 2014 Acura MDX customers claim that their cars would stutter when accelerating before lurching ahead as if trying to make up for the stutter.
Affected owners claim that trying to maintain a speed between 35 and 45 mph makes this issue much more obvious. According to reports, this problem starts at about 28,000 kilometers. There haven’t been any TSBs or recalls that specifically address this problem yet.
But in June 2016, Acura did publish a service news article on the sporadic shaking in select Acura MDX cars. According to this article, when traveling around 30-65 mph, some drivers may hear rattling or feel their car run rough.
According to reports, this is brought on by stuck VCM rocker arms. To resolve the problem, Acura urges dealerships to swap out the problematic VCM rocker arms.
3. An Excessive Reliance on Oil
An extremely aggravating problem for many 2010 and 2011 Acura MDX owners is high oil usage. They claim that in addition to being difficult to identify, this issue is also extremely expensive to resolve. Owners of 2010 Acura MDXs paid, on average, $6,800 to correct this problem.
Owners of the affected vehicles reported that their cars would use more oil than usual. One owner claimed that he consumed 3.5 quarts of oil in just 5,000 miles after conducting an oil consumption test.
To resolve the issue, Acura/Honda released service bulletins that include repair instructions. The most current TSB is TSB #19-006, which was published on May 18, 2019, and is titled “Warranty Extension: Engine Oil Consumption Exceeds Client Expectations.”
The 2010-2013 Acura MDX, 2011-2012 Acura RL, 2009-2014 Acura TL (SH-AWD), and 2010-2013 Acura ZDX are among the vehicles that are affected. Owners have already been informed, and they may verify the eligibility status of their VIN.
This TSB suggests that carbon deposits may have built up inside the oil control rings of the affected vehicles, preventing them from properly scraping and returning oil from the cylinder wall to the crankcase. The affected owners may use more engine oil as a result of this problem than they anticipated.
As indicated in this paper, executing an oil consumption test is the suggested remedial step for this problem. The recommendation in the document is to replace the engine’s pistons, piston pins and rings after verification.
4. A Dead Battery and Parasitic Draw
The most frequently reported 2009 and 2007 Acura MDX issue is a malfunctioning Bluetooth system that consumes the vehicle’s battery. Owners would say that a dead battery was the cause of their car’s refusal to start.
Even after replacing the dead battery, this problem continued to occur. The affected owner took their car to repair, where it was discovered that a parasitic draw with the Bluetooth gadget was the real source of the problem.
The car supposedly developed this problem when it had driven about 100,000 kilometers. The price of fixing this problem varied from $120 to $480.
Honda has not yet issued a TSB or recall to the problematic Bluetooth systems found in Acura cars. However, they did publish a few TSBs covering battery problems with the Acura models from 2007 and 2009.
To remedy a problem where the batteries on the impacted vehicles ran out when the A/C blasted warm air, TSB #SB-11-031 was announced in October 2011. In January 2012, TSB #SB-12-001, which covered starter assemblies and batteries, was released.
In August 2016, a few impacted owners took matters into their own hands and sued Acura as a group. This complaint claims that the “HandsFreeLink” Bluetooth connection devices included in Acura vehicles are faulty and deplete the battery.
2022 Acura MDX by Kevauto / CC BY-SA 4.0. The best way to make sure your Acura MDX lasts for a very long time is to perform routine maintenance. By doing this, you’ll keep the automobile in good condition and avoid needing to fix its parts more regularly.
The Florida plaintiff was rejected by the California judge because she did not buy the Acura vehicle through a Honda dealership, but the claims of the two California plaintiffs were permitted to proceed.
5. A Malfunctioning A/C
The most prevalent 2008 Acura MDX issue, with a total of two entries on the CarComplaints website, is an a/c unit that isn’t working properly. Even though it might not be as serious as some of the other problems on our list, a broken air conditioner can be quite uncomfortable when driving, especially on very hot summer days.
The affected drivers claim that the A/C problem seemed to be brought on by an A/C leak that resulted from a compressor line rubbing against a grounding point on the car.
This issue was discovered by the afflicted drivers at about 130,000 miles, and it cost them, on average, $460 to fix. To remedy this problem, Honda issued TSB #SB-11-031, however, you can’t find it online.
6. The Noisy Rumble Strips
Some 2004 Acura MDX owners found that their gearboxes began to make an odd grinding noise when traveling between 34 and 45 mph at around 119,000 miles. Owners of several vehicles brought them to the shop to get the problem rectified, but the mechanics found nothing wrong with the cars.
In June 2007, Honda/Acura did publish a TSB (#06003) about a torque converter shudder/vibration issue, however, as of this writing, this document hasn’t been made available online.
7. Transmission Malfunction
One of the greatest Acura MDX issues is gearbox failure, which afflicted cars from 2001, 2003, and 2004 and required at least $4,000 in repairs. Transmission issues started to appear in the 2004 Acura MDX at about 80,000 kilometers. In comparison, the 2001 and 2003 model years start to have transmission problems at about 120,000 miles.
Owners of the affected vehicles stated that their gearboxes abruptly slid or disengaged. Some owners ended up stranded on the side of the road as a result.
Some owners believed that their vehicles just required a transmission fluid replacement when they brought them in for servicing. But when they discovered that the repairs required replacing their entire gearbox, they were shocked at how pricey they were.
A recall had been issued by Honda/Acura due to a gearbox problem in 2001 Acura MDX vehicles. On April 15, 2004, Acura issued recall #P30/P31 for more Honda vehicles. More than 1,000,000 vehicles were impacted in all.
Buying an Acura MDX should be rather risk-free as long as you are aware of its possible difficulties and steer clear of expensive/serious model years.
Of course, you should continue to learn more about the car you intend to purchase, and before you sign the contract, double-check that the seller has answered all of your questions.
How Reliable Is the Acura MDX?
The Acura MDX is a solid midsize SUV overall. The 2020 year model received an above-average score of 78 out of 100 from J.D. Power. The dependability rating for the MDX’s most recent 10 model years (2010-2019) is 76 out of 100 on average.
The MDX receives above-average dependability ratings from Repairpal, with a score of 4.0 out of 5.0. In Repairpal’s ranking of 14 premium midsize SUVs, the MDX comes in second place.
Paint bubbles on the roof between the windshield and the sunroof and corrosion on the bottom of one of the doors, which started about 34,000 miles into the lifespan of the car, are the most common problems with the body and paint of the third-generation Acura MDX.
The MDX is quite inexpensive to maintain since its average yearly maintenance cost ($571) is lower than that of comparable premium midsize SUVs ($807) and other vehicle models ($652) In terms of the frequency and severity of unplanned repairs, MDX owners typically take their cars into the shop 0.4 times each year, with an 8% likelihood that the problem is serious.
For a vehicle to endure a long time, it must be well maintained. The Acura MDX is the same way. With proper care and upkeep, this model should be able to go more than 200,000 miles.
How Many Miles Will an Acura MDX Typically Get?
Prospective purchasers shouldn’t be shocked to learn that the Acura MDX is anticipated to endure a very long period.
Even while the MDX is slightly smaller in size than the Honda Passport and is part of Honda’s premium division, Acura, the two cars have a lot in common genetically.
The MDX, which is expected to last between 250,000 and 300,000 miles, is no exception to Honda’s well-deserved reputation for producing tough vehicles.
One owner we spoke with noted that their MDX had 250k miles on it and was still in good shape; their only complaint was having to replace the shift solenoid sensors.
Another owner who was close to 260k miles reported no issues but highly suggested making sure the timing belt is changed on schedule.
Additionally, there have been stories of MDXs surpassing the 300,000-mile milestone. One owner reported an astonishing 402,648 miles on the odometer; after 20 years of use, they’ve seen no issues and claim they perform all their tune-ups.
While such high mileages are undoubtedly possible, they shouldn’t be anticipated.
Getting the maximum life out of your MDX ultimately depends on a few significant variables, specifically:
- Maintaining the factory-recommended maintenance plan.
- Driving cautiously; applying controlled, steady acceleration and braking.
- Doing simple, routine maintenance like fluid level and tire pressure checks.
Advice on How to Extend the Life of Your Acura MDX
A car is more prone to develop problems the older it gets. Regular maintenance is the greatest method to ensure that your Acura MDX lasts for a very long time. This will maintain the car in good shape and save you from having to repair the vehicle’s parts more frequently. Although the Acura MDX is a fantastic SUV, it is not faultless.
Avoid operating your Acura MDX near obstacles like potholes or sharp edges since doing so might result in a breakdown. This is especially true if you’re trying to take your Acura MDX on a lengthy journey.
Parking your Acura MDX in locations where it may be exposed to excessive heat or cold is another thing you should avoid. Try to park the car someplace else where it won’t be subjected to high temperatures if you don’t keep it in a heated garage. Don’t attempt to push your Acura MDX over its capabilities. This may make the vehicle more prone to breakdowns and decrease its level of safety.
Check your car frequently for any issues. Take your Acura MDX to repair right away if you suspect that something is wrong with it. Don’t wait for it to become worse since the car may sustain more harm if you do. Additionally, make sure that your Acura MDX’s engine is kept clear of any debris that could get inside of it. This will maintain the engine operating as smoothly as possible and prolong the life of the vehicle.
2008 to 2009 Acura MDX by EurovisionNim / CC BY-SA 4.0. Maintain the engine of your Acura MDX free of any debris that could enter it. By doing so, the engine will continue to run as smoothly as possible and the lifespan of the car will be increased.
Additionally, you must be careful not to use any dangerous chemicals on your Acura MDX. Use of anything that might enter the car should be avoided as this could harm the car. You can maintain your vehicle clean using a variety of items, like clothing or cleaning supplies. To keep your vehicle looking fantastic all the time, you should strive to wash and wax it every six months or so.
Always make an effort to bring extra petrol with you if you’re taking your Acura MDX on a lengthy vacation. To avoid running out of petrol, attempt to fill up at a separate gas station along the road before arriving at your destination if there isn’t one close to where you are heading.
Are Acura MDX Maintenance Costs Expensive?
The Acura MDX’s yearly repair costs are $571, according to RepairPal, vs the $807 average for all other luxury SUVs.
The Acura MDX has somewhat lower yearly average repair and maintenance expenses when compared to comparable premium SUVs.
Each year that the Acura MDX was produced had recalls, although not all of them were significant enough to deter buyers. There are a few years left to secure a sound investment and get something secure.
We advise staying away from Acura MDX cars from the years 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2014, 2016, and 2017. Transmission failure is the Acura MDX’s most prevalent issue overall, and the 2004 model exhibits earlier and more expensive failures than the majority of prior MDXs.
Total transmission failure also affects MDX models from 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2005, however it happens a little later. While the 2014 and 2016 models have several early engine problems, the 2010 model has an expensive problem with high oil use.
Additionally, compared to other models, the 2014 MDX receives the most complaints. The 2017’s gearbox may not malfunction entirely right away, but it causes its owners problems fairly quickly. You shouldn’t purchase any of these Acura MDX year models due to problematic engines and gearboxes. You’ll be better able to choose the best Acura MDX for you if you use the tips in this article.
Jim Wicks is the founder of MotorVehicleHQ. With over two decades of experience in the automotive industry and a degree in Automotive Technology, Jim is a certified car expert who has worked in various roles ranging from a mechanic, car dealership manager, to a racing car driver. He has owned more than 20 cars over the past 15 years. Ask him about any vehicle you see on the road and he can tell you the make, model and year. He loves the aesthetics of all things cars, and keeps his vehicles in pristine condition.
In his free time, Jim enjoys getting his hands dirty under the hood of a classic car or taking long drives along the country roads. His favorite car? A 1967 Shelby GT500, a true classic that, according to Jim, “represents the pure essence of American muscle.”