NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2002 Acura MDX (Page 1 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 1 of 5)

problem #84

Jun 142014


  • 155,034 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Acura MDX. The contact stated that the vehicle accelerated and decelerated without being prompted. None of the warning lights illuminated when the failure occurred. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the technician diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 155,034. The current mileage was 155,530.

- Saint Pablo, CA, USA

problem #83

May 122013


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura MDX. The contact stated while driving approximately 50 mph, the engine made a fluttering noise. The failure continued to recur intermittently over a six month period. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 110,000.

- Palos Verdes Estates, CA, USA

problem #82

Feb 212014


  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura MDX. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, the transmission began to make noises while going from first to second gear. The manufacture was notified. A private mechanic stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The failure mileage was 160,000 and the current mileage was 170,000.

- Lorain, OH, USA

problem #81

Jun 282010

MDX 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles


Torque converter issue (vibration/shudder/grinding between 20-50 mph while accelerating). Acura recommends replacement of transmission and torque converter. Acura has not acknowledged this as a problem, despite the repeated incidents of failure. This is a known problem and needs to addressed by Acura!!!! it would be safe to say from similar complaints that I've read on the internet that there are probably thousands of Mdxs that have this problem.

- Sussex, WI, USA

problem #80

Jun 282010

MDX 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
Torque converter issue (vibration/shudder/grinding between 20-50 mph while accelerating). Acura recommends replacement of transmission and torque converter.

- Sussex, WI, USA

problem #79

Jul 102011

MDX 6-cyl

  • 119,834 miles
My vehicle is shuddering on the 2nd to 3rd gear upshift. Loss of power. This is occurring with greater and greater frequency, after just a short time of driving. I brought this to the attention of the dealer who advised that I would need a re-man transmission. When I asked about this being related to the known recall for this exact problem, they stated they would bring this up to the manufacturer. The manufacturer's reply was that they don't know me well enough, so they would not look into this any further, and would fix this defect. The dealer advised that the recall was closed for this vehicle, and that only an inspection was done; there was no jet kit installed, no transmission replacement done. They inspected, and sent it on its way, and now it is failing. I fear that the consequence of this known recalled defect not being corrected by the manufacturer, will be transmission lockup at speed, leading to a crash.

- Bristol, CT, USA

problem #78

Aug 072011

MDX 6-cyl

  • 71,500 miles


2002 Acura MDX transmission failure, transmission failed at 71K miles and cut power from engine to wheels in the middle of the street. There are many reports of this similar thing happening to MDX owners. The transmission is defective!

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #77

Jul 152011


  • 110,000 miles
Purchased a 2002 Acura MDX based in large part on prior vehicle reliability found with Acura and Honda. Transmission on this $40,000+ vehicle, though properly flushed (ahead of mfg. Intervals) and maintained, failed at just over 110,000 miles and at 45 mph with the car effectively "seizing", creating a road hazard. Acura dealer refused to cover the costs of repair, though '01-'02 MDX transmission failures are well-documented, and instead "generously offered" (after my goodwill complaint; their term) to knock off appx. 20% from the $4,300 replacement cost for the replacement transmission. Given this unit's known design problems and Acura's incredibly short-sighted handling of the goodwill procedure (during which I volunteered to pay up to $2,500 of the new transmission's cost; ie over 50%), will never purchase another Honda or Acura product again.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #76

Jun 232011

MDX 6-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
Well I bout this car about a year ago at about 112K miles..and was a proud owner of a 2002 Acura MDX...was great for a while until I started noticing slow acceleration while pressing on the gas...thought nothing of it at first....took it for a service to Acura dealership...told the service dept about my issue and they are the once who recommended the 120K mi service made me forget about the reason I brought it in the first place...now 3 mo later malfunction light came on at 128K mi and they tell me my transmission is going bad....they knew this when I took it in the first time..but of course instead of telling me then they let me spend $2K on service and now telling me its going to cost me $5K for a new transmission...thanks! I am pretty ticked coming to know that this issue has been ongoing for thousands of people and they are not doing a thing about it !

- Houston , TX, USA

problem #75

Jun 222002

MDX 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles
Power train:automatic transmission shudder or vibration between 35 and 40 mph.[xxx] torque converter requires replacement. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Kentwood, MI, USA

problem #74

May 102011

MDX 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


The car will make a vibration sound at random intervals. It does not matter what speed you are driving at or the type of road. Additionally, it feels as though you are being pushed back by the wind when the vibration sound occurs. At this time no work has been completed on the car for the new noise. One repair shop concluded that it was the entire transmission that needed to be replaced. Another place feels it is the torque converter. The torque converter was already replaced once on this car due to a different noise. The car had to go to the shop three times to fix the first noise. The car was finally repaired after a week and after a new timing belt, tensioner and pulley, which had already been replaced. They also replaced the drive shaft, idler pulley and compressor belt.

- Woodstock, MD, USA

problem #73

May 272011

MDX 6-cyl

  • 74,685 miles
Bought 02 MDX and have had no issues. Began noticing a stutter when accelerating. Never thought much of it since vehicle performance was never compromised. Recently check engine light came on and had code read. Informed it was a gear ratio mismatch. Call Acura dealer and was informed I would need to replace the non-serviceable trany@ ~$2000! researching, found reams of complaints for the same issue.

- Natrona Heights, PA, USA

problem #72

Apr 182011


  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura MDX. The contact stated that the vehicle would shift gears independently. When shifted into reverse, the vehicle would abnormally accelerate forward. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the transmission was defective and would need to be replaced. The mechanic also stated that the vehicle was previously repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 04V176000 (power train: Automatic transmission). The manufacturer was not contacted and the vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 89,000.

- Philadelphia , PA, USA

problem #71

Sep 072010

MDX 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
2002 Acura MDX frequently hesitates shifting at about 1200-1500 RPM. Problem began at around 110, 000 miles and expect it's the torque converter or faulty transmission that is so prominent with these vehicles.

- Greenville, SC, USA

problem #70

Mar 272011


  • 116,000 miles
I have a 2002 Acura MDX. I was driving on the highway when suddenly my car jerked violently and the D5 began to flash. The transmission was locked at low gear and the check engine light went on. My car nearly ran over by a tractor truck. I went to the dealership and was told that the transmission and engine mounts are broken, which are systemic problems for 2001-2002 Acura MDX models. However, Acura would not be responsible for this manufacturing defect.

- Watchung, NJ, USA

problem #69

Sep 092005


  • miles
2002 MDX transmission shudder, vibrate, noisy between 20 to 40mph. Dealer install A/T oil jet kit to resolve the problem. However, the problem is not solved.

- Melville, NY, USA

problem #68

Aug 292010

MDX 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
There has been an intermittent grinding noise and shudder in the transmission between 35-45 miles and hour in 5th gear. This is a known issue in Acura MDX 2002 and has been issued a recall for other VIN # 's but mine is not included in the recall even though it has the same symptoms. I am worried that it will lock up and cause an accident but the dealer and Acura have so far refused to fix the issue.

- Maple Valley, WA, USA

problem #67

Dec 302010

MDX 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
I have a 2002 Acura MDX. I bought the vehicle brand new from the dealership and have had numerous components on it replaced, however the one item which has not been resolved is a shudder which I get in the vehicle when driving between 30 - 40 mph. It appears to be a transmission issue, but the dealership has not dealt with the issue. The vehicle now has 100K miles on it, but the issue first arose at ~35K miles and was taken to the dealership numerous times while still under warranty with no resolution to the problem.

- Saratoga, CA, USA

problem #66

Jan 122010

MDX 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles
Auto transmission hesitate to shift from 2nd to 3rd gear and not all the time this happens. It occurs all of a sudden when? you never know.all Acura MDX 01,02 should be pulled out of streets. Manufacturer should be accountable for that. It is a design problem not only it is hazardous for owners but also for other people.

- Ardmore, OK, USA

problem #65

Dec 082010

MDX 6-cyl

  • 88,512 miles
2002 Acura MDX - transmission noise. Purchased vehicle new from Acura dealership in 2002. Maintained religiously as per manufactures specifications. Brought vehicle to dealership after hearing noise in transmission between 20-30mph. Vehicle mileage: 88,512. Dealership reported internal transmission failure - transmission needs to be replaced. Estimated cost: $4738. After receiving news, researched MDX transmission issues and found numerous complaints filed online about 2002 MDX transmissions, citing risk of transmission lock-up, and loss of control of vehicle for 2001 / 2002 MDX - posing a significant safety risk. Spoke with Acura corporate. Per corporate - warranty expired at 50,000. Acura will only stand behind product within warranty. Acura does not consider us an "Acura customer" and will not offer any good-will assistance on transmission because maintenance was not performed at Acura dealership, despite offering service record history, and having a prior ownership history of Acura, and family ownership history of Honda and Acura. Acura representative indicated that we should have purchased an extended warranty when we bought the vehicle.

- Milford, CT, USA

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