Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2003 Acura MDX (Page 3 of 3)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
91,504 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.

2003 Acura MDX transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Acura MDX Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Sep 102009


  • 92,000 miles


I have 2003 Acura MDX which seems to have transmission problem while driving the vehicle its automatically shift to neutral stopping the car in mid traffic it has happen on numerous occasion, no repairs lights to indicate there is a problem. I had 2 take this vehicle to the dealer 3 times before they found the problem and that was only after mechanic tried 2 drive it home when it happened 2 him. This problem occurred periodically at any given time. My vehicle had just been service for its 90,000 maintenance at $560 I told them then I noticed this problem assured me vehicle was fine. Next week took it back they told me the mat was causing the acceleration to stick removed mats drove home next day same problem while driving car just stop in middle of traffic. Took vehicle back that's when mechanic tried to home with it happened to him he brought back into shop she's right it is dangerous. Now they want $4700 to fix it.. there are still no warning signals that this vehicle needs service computers still says its fine. I also just replaced alternator a few months ago could not sit in park positions with lights on or key hanging in ignition car would just stop and would need a hot shot.

- Randallstown, MD, USA

problem #15

Aug 242009


  • 78,504 miles
While driving I lost power meaning I could no longer accelerate because there was no linkage from the engine to the transmission. The engine was running ok, but I had no power to move the vehicle. While Acura is a respected and quality vehicle, I feel that there may be a product defect in that my problem resulted in me having to replace the cooling system along with the transmission. While in the service department of the Acura dealer, I overheard some of the service mechanics saying that they've seen this happen to this model vehicle before and that Acura of torrence California should be made aware of this problem. Acura would have paid for the repair but the vehicle was out of warranty. I have a copy of the service managers report to the td bank as to what, 'they, the dealerships service department" thinks caused this problem. This letter can be made available to you upon request.

- Springfield, MA, USA

problem #14

Apr 042009


  • 111,000 miles
Acura has known for some time now that MDX model, years 2001-2003, have defective transmissions. There have been numerous complaints about this same issue with a lot of Acura owners.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #13

Mar 062009


  • 68,000 miles


2003 Acura MDX 68,000 miles transmission won't go into drive normally, have to drive it like a standard transmission, start in 1-2 then proceed into regular drive many past problems with this car, A/C problems, electrical, trim etc. Dealer states oops you need a new transmission --40,000. Dollar car and you only get 68,000 miles. Dealer states well you can drive it like that for maybe a day or two maybe a week but it needs to be replaced it will lock up on you soon. We can fix it for $3600 in their dreams I will probably paint it yellow and put it up on blocks :) no warning when this happened just pulled up to a red light and it wouldn't move after that.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #12

Sep 012008


  • 87,000 miles
2003 Acura MDX, purchased for used car lot, shutters during 30-40mph driving. Took vehicle in to dealership for the second time and the results were the transmission was failing.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #11

Oct 062008


  • 73,000 miles
We have recently bought Acura MDX from herb chambers dealership in burlington. We took an extended bumper to bumper warranty for the car and paid a good amount for that. Few days back, the transmission fluid leaked. As soon as it was detected, car was stopped to avoid any damage to engine. When the bumper was opened, smoke was coming out of car bumper, it could have caught file and killed people traveling in it. It is notified to us as transmission seal broke. The dealers was informed and car was towed to them same day. I want to report this damage, which could not be explained, as the car was safely parked in very safe area. Car was driven by experience driver and family members, and we are certain that the car was not damaged while driving. Dealer is not ready to take the tag by saying it is vandalism. Please take a note of this and help us out to get the justice here. Sunita

- Lexington, MA, USA

problem #10

Apr 172007


  • 80,000 miles


Transmission failure on Acura MDX - which is well known for Acura - and their unwillingness to live up to their liability. This is an extreme safety issue!!!!!

- Carignan, 00, USA

problem #9

Dec 152007


  • 90,000 miles
Transmission was not shifting correctly for about a day before. I attempted to enter traffic and the transmission stopped working. I was lucky not to be able to get in traffic, otherwise there probably been an accident.

- Yorktown, VA, USA

problem #8

Apr 012008

MDX 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura MDX. When the contact places the vehicle into drive, the transmission will not work and the vehicle will not move unless it is shifted into reserve. Occasionally, the vehicle needs to be warmed up in order for the transmission to work. The vehicle has not been taken to the dealer due to the distance from his home and the condition of the vehicle. The failure and current mileages were 126,000.

- Lynchburg, VA, USA

problem #7

Jul 112007

MDX 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2003 Acura MDX, with ~115,00 miles on it. Over the last year I have periodically experienced significant vibration during shifting of gears. In my investigation into the matter, I have found these symptoms are identical to those experienced by other MDX owners and is consistent with the many complaints of failed transmissions with the MDX model. I have taken the car to the dealer, frankel Acura in cockeysville, Maryland, for service on this issue on two separate occasions, but they have consistently denied that there is any problem with the transmission. However, they have offered two repairs that they said would address the problem. Replaced engine mounts and flushed/refilled transmission fluid for a total cost of ~$800. Their continued denial of problem with the transmission conflicts not only with my complaints, and those of many other owners, but the conclusions of two independent mechanics I had evaluate the transmission on my MDX. One of these mechanics is a transmission specialist and the other has over thirty years experience in auto repair. They both came to the same conclusion that the transmission is failing, and one even spoke to the service and parts manager at frankel Acura about my case. However, frankel Acura was still denying any possible problem with the transmission. If one investigates this type of complaint on the internet, they will readily find dozens if not hundreds of similar cases, and a very consistent pattern of denial on the part of the Acura dealership network. There is no doubt in my mind that this issue warrants a product recall, just like the one issued for the 2001 and 2002 MDX models.

- Monkton, MD, USA

problem #6

Mar 022007

MDX 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles


The transmission has gone out in MDX Acura SUV, 2003. I have passed my warranty by 6,000 miles. The dealer could not tell me why the transmission failed. They just said the transmission was completely totaled, and they did not know why or what happened. The car was in good shape.

- Madison, MS, USA

problem #5

Mar 232007

MDX 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura MDX. While driving 35 mph out of the parking lot and accelerating the vehicle made a noise and hesitated. The contact drove to the side of the road, and the failure occurred on two additional occasions. The vehicle was towed to dealer. The current and failure mileage were 59000.

- East Falmouth, MA, USA

problem #4

Feb 152007

MDX 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I own a 2003 Acura MDX, the transmission was shifting out of order, I went to only to find out that I am not the only one having this problem with the 2003 model, the dealer changed the fluid at around 55,000 miles and I changed it at 68,000 and it was dark brown in color, this problem has been well documented at the site shared by MDX owners. I feel that someone should look into how many of the Acura MDX 2003 transmission have been replaced up to this point, there was a recall on the 01 and 02 models which caused Honda to offer a 100,000 mile warranty on the transmissions, I am not sure if the problem was fixed for 2003 but I am starting to think that is was not, and so are others on the site. I have a family that rides around in this vehicle and I would hate for something to go completely wrong with the transmission during activity time of the day. Thank you

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #3

Apr 222006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
After the engine warmed up, the transmission began malfunctioning. When attempting to accelerate the gears would not change. (this could have been detrimental to my health as I must leave my housing subdivision and enter a four-lane highway!) within a few minutes the transmission had completely shut down. After turning the motor off and allowing the engine to cool, my husband was able to restart the car and drive it to our house. No warning signs were given to alert us to a potential problem. The vehicle had to be towed to the dealership where they inspected it and said the transmission had to be replaced. Upon doing some research, I discovered that 2002 Mdxs were recalled due to malfunctioning transmissions. Do you think that there is a possibility that some of the 2003 models are equipped with the same transmissions? please note that scheduled maintenance was always completed at the dealership and that this vehicle was not used to tow anything. When considering all the facts, I believe that an investigation should ensue.

- Thomaston, GA, USA

problem #2

Nov 152003

MDX 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8 miles
There is a clunking noise coming from the brakes when starting out going either forward or reverse and applying the brakes. On occasion, when the vehicle is put into gear, there is a grinding noise coming from the transmission, torque converter, clutch or some part(s) that is being pressed together with another.

- Warner Robins, GA, USA

problem #1

Aug 052003


  • miles
While driving at 35 mph automatic transmission failed. Consumer states at 1600 miles was a normal transmission failure. Dealer will replace the transmission.

- Yukon, OK, USA

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