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NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2002 Acura MDX (Page 3 of 5)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,412 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Acura MDX transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Acura MDX Owner Comments (Page 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #44

Jul 152009


  • 121,604 miles


My two sons (17 and 18) were driving my Acura MDX 2002 on a highway 45 miles from home when the revs starts going out of control when the vehicle was driven over 40 mph. They had to be towed back by aaa and I have had to have the transmission changed at 121K.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #43

Dec 222008


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura MDX. The contact noticed that whenever the speed reached between 20-35 mph, the gears would stick. In addition, the check engine indicator began illuminating on the instrument panel. The dealer stated that the transmission was defective and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. Immediately following the repair, the gears became even more difficult to shift than before the repair was performed. The vehicle was driven back to the dealer, but they could not duplicate the failure. The following day, while driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle began smoking from the rear and all of the warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle stalled and was towed to the nearest Acura dealer. The contact was informed that the intermediate bracket failed, which caused the transmission to fail. The vehicle has not been repaired. The manufacturer stated that they would issue a new transmission, but were not liable for the repairs for the intermediate bracket. The current mileage was 61,900 and failure mileage was 61,000.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #42

Feb 172009


  • 109,100 miles
2002 Acura MDX transmission failure at 109100 miles, extend warranty expired @ 108,462 miles. There was a recall for the transmission that required Acura service department to do an inspection, but there have been countless transmission problems with this model vehicle. The replacement cost is $4400 which is what the dealership is charging me. It seems cheaper to buy another vehicle. There have to have been thousands of others on year models 2001-2005 Acura MDX SUVS.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #41

Feb 152009


  • 120,000 miles


Transmission on our 2002 Acura MDX is going out. Our transmission on our 2001 MDX went out last year. We also have a 2002 Honda Accord and the transmission is going out on that also.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #40

Oct 022008


  • 60,000 miles
Recall NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000, relating to motor vehicle safety, was issued for owner's vehicle. Recall was for defective Acura MDX transmission. Acura failed to notify owner of transmission recall, even though owner has lived at same address for nearly ten years. Acura's records confirm that Acura failed to notify owner of transmission recall. Owner discovered transmission recall on NHTSA website in 2008. Owner brought vehicle to authorized Acura dealer in October of 2008 for repair of defective recalled transmission. Acura dealer determined that owner's transmission was defective and required replacement. Acura dealer estimated cost to replace owner's transmission at $5,500. Acura refused to provide any free of charge replacement service or repair to recalled defective transmission. Owner's vehicle has remained on premises of the authorized Acura dealer since October of 2008.

- Old Greenwich, CT, USA

problem #39

Dec 012008


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura MDX. The contact stated that his vehicle would not shift into gear. On 12/12/08, Acura headquarters refused to pay or help pay for the major work on the transmission cost of approximately $4,000+. the dealer confirmed that the recall work was done on June 2, 2004; however, they didn?T state what was done. They will not provide any proof in writing. The carfax report also does not list that there was a recall on the transmission or any recall work was performed. Two Acura dealers had the vehicle in their possession (corporate car) when the recall was announced and cannot provide proof that the work was done. The vehicle has currently experienced total transmission failure. NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission) was referenced. Since the contact is the second owner of the vehicle, the dealer stated that a new oil jet kit was previously installed; therefore the contact would be responsible for the repair costs. He would like to speak with an investigator concerning the failure. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Anthem, AZ, USA

problem #38

Nov 072008


  • 64,000 miles


Vehicle abruptly downshifted almost throwing driver through windshield traveling at approx 30 mph. Immediately brought to dealer where the downshifting occurred 3-4 more times on the 6 mile drive to dealer. Determined by dealer to be transmission failure. All servicing for transmission was done in a timely manner including 2004 recall service where jet kit was installed. Dealer covering all costs of replacement except $500 out of pocket expenses and providing a 3yr/36,000 mile warranty on repair. Had this failure occurred on a busy highway a severe accident would have been highly likely.

- Wyckoff, NJ, USA

problem #37

Feb 072006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Acura MDX has had the transmission replaced twice and it needs another transmission now. The transmission temperature light illuminated and the transmission would slip before taking off. The transmission was replaced due to an internal failure of the clutch.

- Windsor, CT, USA

problem #36

Sep 152008


  • 82,500 miles
2002 MDX purchased as a certified pre-owned with 37K miles. At 55K miles reported to dealer a rumbling sound coming from under vehicle. Dealer test drove the car and found nothing. At 65K miles complained about the same thing, they found nothing and suggested transmission fluid change and vtm fluid change. I performed both services. Now at 82K miles check engine light and vtm4 light come on, I take it to the dealer and they found the transmission to be bad. Transmission will be replace on Monday the 22nd of Sep under warranty. Will trade car after they fix it because I don't trust it anymore, judging from all the problems everyone seems to have with 2002. Acura should pay for everyone's problems regarding transmission/ motor mounts for model year MDX 01-02.

- Wappinger Falls , NY, USA

problem #35

Aug 252008


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura MDX. The contact stated that the transmission shifted into second gear with much difficulty. The vehicle is experiencing the same failure as listed in NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission). The dealer stated that the transmission was discolored. They are currently attempting to remedy the failure. The failure mileage was 85,000.

- Grand Island , NY, USA

problem #34

Aug 152008


  • 69,000 miles


Transmission failure at 69,000 miles after being recalled at 25,000 miles. Car transmission locked up while driving down the highway almost leading to a crash. Car slips when shifting gears now and will lock up regularly.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #33

Jun 202008


  • 89,262 miles
The transmission to my 2002 Acura MDX started to malfunction about a week ago. It starts to slip from 1st to second gear. I called an Acura dealership and they told me that the transmission had been serviced and covered the recall. I believe that nothing was done and Acura is trying to pass the cost to me. I purchased this vehicle new in 2002.

- Flushing, NY, USA

problem #32

May 172008


  • 83,000 miles
Original owner of the vehicle. Has transmission failure on 2002 Acura MDX 83K miles.

- San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #31

May 052008

MDX 6-cyl

  • 127,890 miles
Recently experiencing transmission is slipping with my 2002 MDX, especially going uphill and during acceleration, it hesitates and then violently bangs into gear. Also intermittently, reverse gear does not work as well. There was a transmission recall on this model/year and our car did get serviced for it, the dealer did not replace transmission back in 2004 once we were informed of the recall but an oil jet kit was installed according to the directive of the recall instructions. We've always maintenance our car with the dealer in a timely fashion as recommended by factory maintenance care guideline and recently did a full service which included a transmission flush 2 months ago at 120,000miles. After full diagnostic/assessment of why our transmission is slipping it turns out our transmission fluid (which just got flushed 2months ago) was heating up and filling up with discoloration. This is the exact description of what was recalled in 2004. Our car is currently at the dealer and they have quoted us $4800 to get a new transmission installed (factory remanufactured). I truly believe this failure is related to the 2004 recall. Some folks who have experienced similar situation has been fortunate to have taken their matter to the right dealer, according to some discussion forums on this matter, the dealer agreed to pay for a new transmission (after getting approval from Acura corporate office). In my situation, it has been unfortunate. Please investigate and give us some consistency/continuity on the handling of this matter. Thank you.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #30

Mar 012008

MDX 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles
I took my car into the nalley Acura dealership where I purchased it for servicing. The service personnel told me after checking the vehicle that I needed a new transmission because the second gear was worn out. My wife found on the internet after this fact that there was a recall on the second gear breakage in the transmission for the 2001-2002 MDX. I contacted the manufacturer about my vehicle being repaired under this recall, and they will not agree to pay full cost of $4000 for the new transmission, but stated nothing of the recall. The manufacturer offered to pay half the cost. As stated below they are responsible for full repairs as my vehicle has over 15,000 miles and other reasons as stated below. I have tried working with the manufacturer on this situation for over a month with still no resolution. I would appreciate assistance from you all concerning my vehicle being repaired and the manufacturer paying in full. Thank you. On some mini vans, sport utility and passenger vehicles, certain operating conditions can result in heat build-up between the countershaft and secondary shaft second gears in the automatic transmission, eventually leading to gear tooth chipping or gear breakage. Consequence: Gear failure could result in transmission lockup, which could result in a crash. Remedy: On vehicles with 15,000 miles or less, the dealer will update the transmission with a simple revision to the oil cooler return line to increase lubrication to the second gear. On vehicles with more than 15,000 miles, the dealer will inspect the transmission to identify gears that have already experienced discoloration due to overheating. If discoloration exists, the transmission will be replaced if discoloration is not present, the dealer will perform the revision to the oil cooler return line. The recall began on April 21, 2004, for Pilot, Odyssey, and MDX owners.

- Carrollton, GA, USA

problem #29

Oct 012005


  • 80,000 miles
Automatic transmission frequently hesitates and makes loud grinding noise. This happens especially when driving at low speeds (5mph to 45mph).

- Apex, NC, USA

problem #28

Oct 242007

MDX 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura MDX. While driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle would not properly switch gears and the rpms would increase to the next gear. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and they stated that it was included in NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission). The dealer stated that they added an oil cooler return line, which increased lubrication to the second gear. The vehicle is currently in need of a new transmission. The current mileage was 84,400 and failure mileage was 84,000.

- S. Jordan, UT, USA

problem #27

Oct 102007

MDX 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,615 miles
Transmission came out of gear while driving. Gear selector was not moved. Dealer performed out of warranty replacement or transmission for the second time. First replacement was June 2007. Previous complaints about the first replacement transmission were dismissed by dealer personnel.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #26

Oct 152007

MDX 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
2002 Acura MDX automatic transmission failure.

- Carson, NV, USA

problem #25

Mar 102007


  • miles
1st incident: We were going up a hill with car full of children when my 2002 Acura MDX slowed down considerably and the RPM revved up to 4-5,000. It continued to do this as trucks and cars started to pile behind me. I finally reached an exit and pulled over. After parking, I could not reverse, it would not move. After waiting an hour for the tow truck, we decided to test the car around the parking lot.. it started driving like nothing was wrong, and reversed again. So we took our chances and drove carefully home. The car didn't act up after that but we started a case with Acura/Honda after realizing there was a mass transmission recall. They said my VIN was not under the recall warranty and they could not help. 2 days later: We assumed the hill must have been too much for the car, but it was ok to drive on flat roads. While driving under normal conditions at 35mph, the car jerked violently and continued to until I pulled to the side of the road. After a phonecall to assess what might have happened, it was suggested the transmission was acting up. I cautiously drove the car home with my young daughter in tow. After researching the Acura transmission recall, I got a case going again with Honda. They suggested I take the car in for a diagnostic. I did just that and faxed in the tech comments. Based on the comments, they concluded that they will not help because I had too many miles (98K) and my car was "poorly maintained". however I contested how it was poorly maintained and they could not give me an answer. I bought the car 6 months ago at 95K and peformed its regular oil change and transmission fluid. They recommended I had to replace my cv boots and brakes, but I don't see how that would affect the transmission. They quoted me at $5000 and would see to any discounts. After much research, it is apparent that there are definitely manufacture defects in these transmissions, but Acura and Honda has made it clear to me they are not willing to help.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

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