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Common Problems with the Acura MDX

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The Acura MDX has been the flagship SUV of the Acura brand for more than 20 years. Boasting excellent handling and an abundance of safety features, the MDX offers both luxury and affordability. This three-row utility vehicle comes loaded with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and an impressive cabin. Despite its sleek design and strong engineering, this vehicle has been known to have its issues. Here are 4 of the most common problems with the Acura MDX:
Transmission
The Acura MDX has a long history of transmission-related problems. Dating back as far as 2001, MDX owners have often reported experiencing problems with the vehicle’s automatic transmission. The most commonly reported transmission-related issues include difficulties shifting and a blinking “D4” or check engine light. During a diagnostic test, these issues tend to generate computer codes P0700, P0740 and P0370.
Anytime the transmission stops shifting smoothly, this is very likely a sign of mechanical failure. In other cases, if the transmission appears to be performing as usual, the problem may be as simple as dirty transmission fluid or a faulty sensor. Both of these issues warrant a professional diagnostic check to properly identify the problem so it can be fully repaired.
MDX owners can help their transmission last longer by strictly following the manufacturers recommended schedule for replacing automatic transmission fluid.
Torque Converter
Many MDX owners have reported a shudder or vibration when driving at speeds ranging from 35 to 45 MPH. Technicians have attributed this issue to a failed automatic transmission torque converter. A torque converter is responsible for managing the amount of fluid that is passed to the automatic transmission. This is also the device that allows your engine to continue running even when you are at a complete stop. A malfunction of this device can cause your car to display a number of erratic behaviors to include slipping and shuddering.
Diagnosing transmission problems can be difficult, but there are a few sure signs to look out for. Common signs of a malfunctioning torque converter include:

  • High stall speeds
  • Overheating
  • Strange noises
  • Dirty fluid
  • Slipping
  • Shuddering

To remedy this problem it is recommended that the driver have the torque converter replaced and then update the power train control module (PCM).
Fuel Tank
In 2005, Acura issued a recall to address a potential fuel leak issue on the Acura MDX. It was discovered that certain gas tanks had been improperly manufactured and were subject to leaking in the event of a crash. Since then, a number of Acura forum users have reported issues with filling their gas tanks. Many complaints allege that the tank will not fill past half-full without causing gas to pour out over paint, tires, clothes and shoes. Some owners have unsuccessfully attempted to fix this issue by replacing the flap or sensors. Others have reported that the issue can be resolved by replacing the filler neck or the tank itself.
Engine
Engine issues are another commonly reported problem for owners of the Acura MDX. Forum users have reported that the MDX may experience issues with the idle air control system. This can lead to a number of problems to include:

  • Erratic idle
  • Poor gas mileage
  • Bouncing idle
  • Check engine light signal
  • Engine stalling
  • OBD trouble code P0505

The idle air bypass system is composed of four parts working in unison. This includes vacuum lines, the throttle body, an idle air control valve (IACV) and the intake manifold. Together, these components ensure that just enough air enters the engine when the car is idle and the throttle body is closed. The OBD code is most likely caused by a failed or dirty IACV. When this issue is encountered, each of these parts should be inspected to help identify the root of the problem. This issue has been reported for MDX vehicles for years 2002 through 2017.
Summary
While there are a few common issues with the Acura MDX, it is still a very economical choice for drivers looking for luxury on a budget. Not only is the MDX stylish, but it also carries the prestige of the Acura name.