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NHTSA — Power Train Problems


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
2,844 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.

2016 Acura MDX drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2016 Acura MDX Owner Comments

problem #14

Sep 262016


  • 16,000 miles


There is no way to place the car in neutral without turning the engine on. Today I was at a gas station when a fuel pump malfunctioned and there was a fuel spill that needed to be cleaned. The procedure was to move the car without turning on the engine so they can access the area to clean up the spill. After speaking to my local dealer and to the main contact phone number for Honda North America, there is no way to get the car in neutral without the engine being on. This caused a significant delay in getting my car moved since a tow truck with a dolly was needed.

- Richmond, TX, USA

problem #13

Aug 072016


  • 50 miles
As I drive my car I experience very strange behavior from my 9 speed transmission. It occurs both while accelerating and decelerating. During deceleration: (1) by only taking your foot off the gas to decelerate creates transmission confusion (the car doesn¿T know which gear to be in), which can cause the car to lung forward or jerk backward (2) this also makes it hard to stop, requiring lots of extra brake pressure. During acceleration the car can feel unresponsive, which can prove scary when pulling out into traffic.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #12

Jul 122016


  • 10,000 miles
We purchased a 2016 Acura MDX with sh-AWD. Within the first few weeks we noticed the transmission shifts were jerky and erratic. Most of the problems occurred when driving blow 40 mph. The vehicle also lunges forward unexpectedly when decelerating while your foot is off the gas pedal. It feels as if the car downshifts and you get some unexpected accelerating. We had issues with the transmission since the first few weeks, the dealership kept saying that it is an ¿adaptive transmission¿ and will get better after time. After a few months, things only got worse. The transmission would make a loud metal on metal noise when starting the car up. The vehicle was in the dealership for almost 3 weeks before they could identify and fix the problem. They ended up replacing the entire transmission December 2015 and we had to go back to have the transmission adjusted as it was shifting so hard that you would hear a clunk. The vehicle has never been the same and it does not feel safe to drive, especially in the winter. We are very careful when coming to a stop because you never know if it will suddenly lunge forward. Now 8 months after having the transmission replaced, the same noise is coming back. The car is back in the dealership and they were able to replicate the sound again. However, now they are telling us that it's a characteristic of the transmission and that 40-50% of all MDX's with the 9 speed auto will develop this noise! they say it is due to the fluid building up at the bottom of the transmission and when it starts up the fluid gets pushed through all the gears. It sounds more like metal on metal to me and why was the noise not there prior and always develops after 6-8 months? I have not seen anything online regarding this noise that supposedly occurs to 40-50% of Mdxs.

- Maple Grove, MN, USA

problem #11

Jun 222016


  • 50 miles


I have purchased the vehicle on 3/23/16 and from day one I have been having issues with the transmission. When I come to a stop and wait for oncoming traffic to give me chance to cross the street. When I finally get the chance to cross I press the gas pedal and the car just does not want to go, it stalls. Same issue when getting on the highway waiting for a chance to get in but the car does not want to. It is an safety issue for everyone because I do not know if the car will respond and if it does not I can cause other vehicles to crash into mine. Another issue just came out yesterday I just got home and was parking the car on my parking lot which is flat. While parking and shifting from reverse to drive the car just would not move forward at all and a light came out shift to park so I did and then when I shifted to reverse the car would accelerate rapidly. I have that several times and every time would do the same did not go forward at all and reverse rapidly. I have recorded the whole issue on my phone and brought it to the dealer. They have told me that they never have seen this problem and they will stay with my new car for about one week. Something should be done with transmission issue before anyone gets injured or killed. Definitely did not expect that from a $54,000 luxury SUV. I had traded my 2009 Acura MDX for this huge problem, what a mistake.

- Chelsea, MA, USA

problem #10

Jun 112016


  • miles
Transmission failed. This 9 speed transmission has a fluid heater in it that has radiator water supplied to it. Car was not shifting correctly and making a beeping noise at 20 to 25 mph. Car was taken to dealer on 06/11/16 with 8,800 miles on it. They called to tell me that the 2 way valve between the coolant and transmission was faulty and coolant got into the transmission. Acura told them to replace the transmission entirely. Will take 2-3 weeks. Have been having issues the entire time we have had the car. When taking off the car does not accelerate quick, in fact, tends to stall then lurch. Have had issues with the sensors coming on, not sure if this is related to the transmission, but is a continuous issue.

- Lorton, VA, USA

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problem #9

Feb 232016


  • 6,700 miles
Transmission failed causing engine to overheat. This 9 speed transmission has a fluid heater in it that has radiator water supplied to it. Car was not shifting correctly and making a beeping noise at 20 to 25 mph. Car was taken to deal on 2/13/16 with 5,635 miles they test drove and said they could not find anything wrong. Same issues driving home from dealer. While driving car on 2/23/2016 with appox. 6700 miles engine light came on, smoke from under hood, display said engine overheated and appox. 1 quart of light blue fluid leaked out from under car. Towed to dealer, they said transmission heater(not cooler) ruptured, causing the transmission fluid and engine coolant to mix and this is what caused overheating. Tthey are ordering a new transmission with at least one week down time.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #8

Feb 082016


  • 180 miles


I bought my 2016 MDX on 02/01/2016 and was quite happy with the initial purchase. After driving for two days I started setting up the car's options, I realized that the cars drive system was set to start in sport mode. I changed the option to allow the car to start in 'normal' mode permanently and that's when I started to feel the problem. There is a noticeable 2 - 3 second lag at take off or when attempted to accelerate from a reduced speed in lower gears. A very uncomfortable feeling when attempting to make a left turn when you have oncoming traffic and the car falls to engage after you make the commitment to drive. I waited a few days to see if this was just a kink that would go away since the car was new. No such luck. I took the car to the dealer and they said everything was fine. I asked about the lag and they said it is normal operational part of the car. Apparently this is a known issue with the car for which they don't think it is worth looking into. The salesman actually told me he has the same model and it's just something you have to get used to. I guess this will only be addressed when someone gets killed making a turn and don't get the power they expect. I had this issue in a new 2007 Camry I bought a few years ago and they were able to get it fixed with an update to the computer system on board. I don't know why Acura has taken this stance and hope you guys can get them to address this issue.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #7

Jan 202016


  • 500 miles
Rough gear shift and cars seems to be rev-up at low gears. This can create a dangerous condition while accelerating from stops.

- Huntersville, NC, USA

problem #6

Jan 212016


  • 400 miles
Transmission slips from between shift 1-2 and 2-3. car also at times lunges forward while coming to a stop

- San Marcos, CA, USA

problem #5

Oct 262015


  • 1,141 miles
With 1000ish miles on car, while we were driving it shifted into neutral then into park by itself. We were unable to shift the car at all. Fortunately we were at an intersection and not on a freeway. The dealership working with Acura were unable to diagnose the problem. Then it magically worked but they didn't feel we should drive it. Because cause not determined.

- Alpine, UT, USA

problem #4

Nov 282015


  • miles


I purchased the vehicle on 10/29/15. The car is not driven on a daily basis so there was only a little over 200 miles when my husband noticed a leak while the car was parked on the driveway. When it was taken to the dealer, the technician has confirmed that it was a transmission leak. Gasket and cover will be replaced. The service advisor mentioned to me that there was service bulletin for that problem dated back August. Don't know why the problem wasn't addressed before the car was sold.

- Waipahu, HI, USA

problem #3

Oct 222015


  • 2,800 miles
I got my 2016 Acura MDX in July. Since then, I am having transmission problems. Off-the-line shifts are erratic, depending on how much throttle I give the engine. Give it 3/4 throttle and acceleration is great, but mileage suffers badly. Give it any less throttle and acceleration is meager, plus the engine revs very high between shifts. One time, I was pulling away from a stoplight after slowing to nearly a full stop (the light just changed as I approached), I pressed 1/2 way on the accelerator and the engine bogged to nearly zero rpms. I thought it died. I let up and pressed down again and it returned to normal. Merging on the highway is also very dangerous and scary. As I hit the gas to accelerate on the on-ramp, the engine hesitates so badly, I nearly run out of ramp. Passing on the highway is the same, unless I press the throttle to the floorboard. Another time, I floored the throttle on the highway while going 50 mph, to pass a car. The transmission down shifted then revved up to 5,000 RPM and stayed there, even after I took my foot off the gas pedal! I had to floor the pedal again to coax the trans to up-shift. I complained to Acura hq. They told me to talk to my dealer. I spoke to my dealer, and they said that's just how the transmission is. So disappointed with car. I suspect bad programming in the transmission on Acura's part. They need to fix this problem before someone dies in a highway traffic accident.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #2

Aug 032015


  • miles
While driving, the MDX shifts into neutral and cannot be shifted out of neutral. This has occurred on the highway multiple times. The information display shows first emissions problem, then transmission problem. Acura has a tsb out for this B15-034, but won't apply it until the problem appears. Having your vehicle shift into neutral in a high speed environment is extremely dangerous. Tsb B15-034 needs to be a recall before their MDX shifts into neutral driving on the highway and they become immobilized and people are killed as a result....updated 09/22/15

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #1

Jun 222015


  • 2,000 miles
The 9 speed zf transmission has unpredictable behavior including: Delayed shifting leading to pauses in power, delayed down shift during attempts at highway speed acceleration, jerky shifts, car remains in neutral when shifting from drive to reverse. Very unsafe condition due to unpredictable effects on speed and car control. This is now a widespread problem affecting the same transmission in Jeep, Chrysler, and Acura models. The Acura tlx has previously been described with this problem. Now the same transmission has been included in the 2016 MDX with the same out come......updated 10/20/15 the consumer stated the transmission was replaced. Updated 12/17/15.

- North Bethesda, MD, USA

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