really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
117,502 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Acura MDX Owner Comments

problem #11

Sep 302016


  • 200,793 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Acura MDX. The contact stated that once the ignition was turned to the on position, the shift lever failed without warning. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The VIN was included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V573000 (electrical system). The approximate failure mileage was 200,793.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #10

Jan 032016


  • 136,000 miles
The heated seat function in our Acura malfunctioned and caused the seat to melt and burn through the entire upholstery down to the seat supports. The electrical malfunction also traveled to the entertainment system and totally melted the dvd screen. The fabric on the ceiling of the vehicle was also significantly damaged and has become undone and frayed and burned. The car is also covered in a dark film/soot that has a burned smell. Luckily no one was in the vehicle when this occurred, as it happened overnight. It was parked in our uncovered driveway with no other vehicles nearby.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #9

Apr 092013


  • 112,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura MDX. While driving at 45 mph, the vehicle seized without warning. The contact was able to turn off and restart the vehicle. The vehicle was merged to the shoulder of the road and was towed to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that there was an electrical failure, but was unable to determine the location of the failure. The contact experienced the failure intermittently. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 112,000. The VIN was not available.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #8

May 152014

MDX 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles


Auto dimming rear view mirror developed strange circles. It became triple vision. Then over the next few days it began leaking a black oily substance on the interior of the car and the view from the mirror is soo distorted you cannot see anything. I contacted Acura and they said out of warranty. Tough luck. I explained that this is a major safety defect and I received the same response.

- Chaplin, CT, USA

problem #7

Nov 252013

MDX 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
I was driving on the carpool lane of 170N with my two kids (heading to 5N) when there was suddenly a dog, yellow labrador crossing the freeway and getting right on my lane. I tried to slow down and brake but it was too late, I hit the dog right on the front of my car. I felt my seat belt tightened uncomfortably thereafter and I released it so I can reset and put it again, but it won't pull to reach the port on my right side, it seemed stuck. It was right around that time we started smelling smoke thereafter we hit the dog. My kids and I were looking around where the smoke was coming until my daughter who was sitting right on my back (driver's) said "mom there's smoke on the back"..(I was on the bottom of the 170N freeway joining 5N) so I was able to drive on the shoulder and pull over and told the kids to "get out of the car, now!" I didn't see where the smoke really was because my concern was to get ourselves to stop the car safely and get out. We ran away from the car about 30-50 feet away. There was a gentleman who pulled on the shoulder and asked what's going on and lend me his phone (I left everything in the car). He checked on the car and thought "it was okay".. I told myself I can get my phone and purse still so I ran back and get it (there was some smoke inside I can't tell where it was from). By the time I ran back to my kids and the gentleman it was already smelling smoke from where we are and in maybe a second there was some fire visible from the drivers side, on the door side inside..and then my daughter told me "mom the smoke was coming from the hole of the seat belt on the wall, it was going to me so I moved on the other side". seeing the fire I called 911 at 2:57pm to alarm and aware them. I asked the gentleman to take us on a safe place away from the car coz I was afraid the car would consequently explode.

- Granada Hills, CA, USA

problem #6

Dec 102012

MDX 6-cyl

  • 209,000 miles
Vehicle was parked in residential driveway. Driver removed key, exited vehicle and remotely applied the door locks. Vehicle immediately began coasting down and ultimately off the driveway, down a steep grade into the yard until it struck a tree approximately 50 feet away. Resulting significant damage to front of vehicle was appraised at $5900. Car could not be removed from its resting place against tree except by tow truck. Tow driver indicated that vehicle was still in drive, not park when he extracted it from crash position. Tow driver and repair facility indicated that it should not have been possible to remove key from ignition without vehicle being in park, yet that was the specific cause of the crash.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #5

Feb 082012

MDX 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


The locking mechanism that secures the key in the ignition until park is engaged did not work. Therefore I unknowingly removed the key from the ignition without having park engaged. The car rolled back from the parking spot into a tree. Fortunately, no one was injured and there was no damage to the car. I have reported this problem to Acura. It seems similar to the problem currently being investigated for Honda Odyssey's and Pilot from 2003 and 2004 by NHTSA. Note that I do not remember the dates/mileage when this first occurred but it is an ongoing problem. I have tried several keys in the ignition and the problem persists.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #4

Jun 062011

MDX 6-cyl

  • 105,180 miles
The ignition park-shift interlock has failed, allowing the ignition key to be removed from the ignition switch without the automatic transmission being shifted to park.

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #3

Feb 282012

MDX 6-cyl

  • 109,545 miles
Ignition can be turned off in any gear and key removed. This should only be possible while in park for safety considerations. Vehicle will coast if on a grade.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 012008


  • miles
Check engine light continuously goes off indicating loose gas valve. Manufacturer's error code: P0457 dealer tells owner gas cap is loose and replaces. After 100 miles and careful attention to making sure cap is tight after each refill, same error code occurs. After smoke checks verify no other leaks, gas cap is replaced. Check engine light is off (ostensibly because the dealer somehow clears the code or disconnects battery). After 100 miles the light goes back on. This has happened continuously over the course of 3 years. Cannot know if something else is wrong with car without paying for a diagnostic because light is continuously on. Cannot pass ca smog check with a malfunctioning check engine light (as this seems pretty clear to me that is what it is). Acura refuses to admit there is a problem. (although the dealer I go to has been great.) have wasted much money to each time be told "loose gas cap" when I know that is not the case.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #1

Jul 272010


  • miles
This is related to the recent Honda recall for ignition key issue. The same problem has been noticed on my Acura 2003 MDX. There has not been any incident arising out of it because of my checks after switching off my car but some other people might not be lucky. The key sometimes comes out after switching the car off without moving the gear to park. This happens if done quickly. The date below is a approximate date since I know it happened 2-3 weeks back.

- Hillsboro, OR, USA

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