Acura has won the hearts of American drivers due to their performance and quality. However, there have been reports of transmission issues with Acura and it would be helpful to find out what the signs and symptoms are and where to go for help.
Acura transmission problems may occur as early as 60,000 miles and usually come up in the winter or during start-ups.
The Acura MDX stands out when it comes to transmission issues. The first model rolled out of the production line of Honda in 2001 and they struggled with issues even then.
Numerous owner complaints were reported on automatic transmission issues.
Certain transmission issues can be fixed by updating your transmission software while others need a complete replacement.
If your Acura is still under warranty you shold bring it to the dealership for a diagnosis.
For Acura owners with warranties that have passed, you should become familiar with the symptoms so you will know when to take it to the auto shop for repairs.
Many of the MDXs transmission problems were resolved in 2008. There may be lingering problems but complaints are now fewer compared to when the issues started.
How do I know my Acura has a transmission problem?
If the gears on your Acura MDX stop shifting smoothly you may have a mechanical problem within the system. Try to change your transmission fluid and check on your sensors, shifting may return to normal once these steps are taken which means you don’t have to go through major repairs.
Older models of the Acura MDX had owners experiencing slippage in the gears while others felt vibration at certain speeds. Once the speedometer hit 25 to 50 mph, drivers would feel shuddering in the steering column.
The vibration would stop if drivers took off their foot on the gas pedal but it would return after a while. Some owners described the shuddering like driving over rumble strips on the road.
Some Acura MDX owners complained about a loud growling noise that accompanied the vibrations. Their cars would accelerate slowly but things would get better once they entered 4th gear.
Car Complaints listed the 2003 model as the worst of them all. Aside from being the first model to have torque converter problems it also had electrical malfunctions as well.
Check Engine Light
If you notice your check engine light and D4 or D5 indicator on your dash flashing you may have transmission issues. Some owners even hear a loud noise from their transmission which results in delayed shifting between gears.
To fix this issue, a new torque converter is needed. Honda gave longer warranties to fix the problem but older Acuras are now outside the warranty period.
Worn Out Clutch
Some Acuras are prone to 3rd gear clutch pack wearing down prematurely. If you notice issues when upshifting or downshifting in 3rd gear you have a problem. Typical symptoms include flaring, slipping or no shifting to third gear at all.
Your check engine light and gear D5 may be flashing in this situation.
To fix the problem mechanics overhaul the transmission and replace the 3rd gear clutch.
It can be a hassle when your Acura shifter won’t move out of Park. You can’t go anywhere and you may worry about expensive repair.
The problem is usually due to a bad brake light switch or ignition switch that is not releasing the shifter from Park.
You can perform a temporary solution by manually overriding your transmission.
Look for your Shifter Unlock cover next to your shifter. Remove the cover and use a screwdriver to move the shifter from Park to Drive.
Solenoids and Sensors
Acura transmissions have multiple solenoids mounted in its valve body. Age and dirt may cause these solenoids and sensors to fail resulting in erratic shifting.
Acura mechanics can overhaul your valve body instead of replacing it. Valve body repair kits are more affordable than replacement.
Things Mechanics Check when an Acura has transmission issues
The Acura MDX offers consumers a mid-size three row luxury vehicle from Honda. It was the first in its class to offer third-row seating which made car buyers fall in line to buy the vehicle.
Owners of the Acura MDX love their vehicles for its interiors and bullet proof engines, but the kryptonite of this vehicle is transmission issues.
These issues are quite expensive to repair and have been causing headaches to owners.
Most transmission failures start to manifest with hard shifting, delayed shifting, and excessive RPM. Acura transmissions depend heavily on fluid pressure to regulate performance. Sensor failures disrupt fluid pressure which leads to transmission failure.
For Acura MDX owners who experienced shuddering problems, mechanics were able to diagnose the problem which was due to a torque converter failure. To fix the problem technicians recommend repair or rebuilding the converter but you had to replace the transmission as well.
This issue was common to the Acura MDX 2003 to 2007 models. Expect to shell out $5,000 to replace both the converter and transmission.
The 2001 to 2003 model Acura MDX had numerous complaints of gear slippage issues and the solution was the replace or rebuild the transmission. The cost of repair would range from $2,000 to $4,000 depending on where the owners got the repair done.
The most common problems mechanics check on with Acura included the following:
Blinking D4 Light
Check Engine Light
Error Codes P0700, P0740, and P0370
Loss of Power
Vibration While Driving
Grinding and Screeching Sounds
A vehicle with a bad transmission should not be driven due to safety concerns. What if your car suddenly shifts to another gear and causes your Acura to lunge at the vehicle in front of you?
Don’t risk getting into an accident, call your Acura car repair shop and leave your car somewhere safe.
Once you notice signs of transmission issues you should call your mechanic at once.