really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,683 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Acura MDX Owner Comments

problem #6

Mar 012016


  • 7 miles


The first time it happened was a few weeks ago was when the car is in motion and in drive. I was on the ramp of a merging freeway and then suddenly when I pressed the accelerator to go, it makes a loud ramping noise but the car won't move. I pressed the gas pedal really hard to move it barely to the side of the freeway. Once I turned it off and turn it on again, the car drives fine and no light indictor came up. This morning, I was in motion and in drive at a low speed in a parking lot after driving it normally, I pressed the gas to go, it happened again. It make loud noise when I pressed the gas to go but won't move. When I turned it off and turn it on again, it went back working and driving normally.

- Hawthorne, CA, USA

problem #5

Oct 202015


  • 120,000 miles
I think it is about time that we all push NHTSA to make Acura/Honda recall all these MDX from 2001 to 2012 to have these torque converters and transmissions replaced and fixed once and for all!!! this is very dangerous as there is no sign when these cars are going to lock up and go from 75 mph down to 40 mph and then stays at 40mph till you can get off the highway to an exit. I swear maybe somebody needs to get seriously hurt when they get rear ended by someone that has no clue why you have come to a sudden change of speed. This week it's different then before, now it almost threw me through the windshield had I not had my seat belt on. Though when your not expecting a cars transmission to halt so fast it still scares the life out of you and then try and get over to the breakdown lane. This is my 2nd repair or rebuild of all these items and for the cost of these cars when new Acura should be sued and made to pay to fix these drive train defaults!!! come on NHTSA you know they are in the wrong and lets get these cars fixed too once in for all before more people are killed or seriously hurt.

- Geneva, AL, USA

problem #4

Dec 312013

MDX 6-cyl

  • 95,663 miles
While traveling at around the speed limit on a busy freeway the vehicle suddenly started coasting without any warning. Stepping on the gas caused the engine to rev but no acceleration, which made it extremely dangerous to try to pull the vehicle to the shoulder with the right lane heavily occupied by 18 wheeler trucks that are long and respond slowly. Any speed you loose, particularly after applying some brake to move from one lane to another, cannot be regained to safely maneuver with flow of the traffic and make the subsequent lane change even more dangerous. After towing to an Acura dealer it was diagnosed with a failed transmission and costs $6,100 to replace with a rebuilt transmission. Although the vehicle is beyond its warranty period, it is nonetheless disappointing to have an Acura fail in this fashion considering that there are many lower cost vehicles that easily last beyond 100,000 miles without transmission issues. The vehicle certainly met its warranty requirements, but it is really the sudden nature and crash risk of this failure that is a bigger concern. I later learned from 3 co-workers that had similar transmission experiences with their MDX. Two were 2001/2002 MDX with approx 100,000 and 80,000 miles. The 3rd was a 2006 MDX with only approx 55,000 miles.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #3

Mar 162014

MDX 6-cyl

  • 167,000 miles


While driving my 03 MDX at 20 mph around a corner, it just stopped accelerating. There were no warning signs that my car would stop, it just stopped accelerating. I would not move in D5, D4 or D3, so I had to drive it in D1to the dealership and left it overnight. The next day they tell me I need a new transmission. Two months before that, my car was leaking oil and I took it in to get the leak fixed. They told me there was a leak in the rear main and it would cost $1000 to fix. It was such a high cost due to they had to remove the transmission and the engine to get to it. Two weeks after it was fixed, I hear a knocking noise under my hood and find out I need new motor mounts (hmmm.. Acura had to move the mounts to get the engine out).. $400 later, after I replaced the mounts., I was good to go. A month later, now the transmission that Acura had to remove is now completely shot and needs to be replaced ($5200) are you kidding me Acura. I have no faith in their service dept or my 03 MDX which is always serviced at the dealership. Everything that has ever been done to that car has been done at the dealership from oil change to timing belt replacement, and it feels like I'm getting screwed.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #2

Feb 232005

MDX 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,500 miles
As I was backing-up in parking lot, the car suddenly accelerated. After traveling ~ 20' at an accelerated pace, the rear of the car hit a concrete ballard. Upon impact the car jumped into a forward gear, accelerated forward and hit a parked car. If not for the parked car, our Acura MDX would have plowed into a store front.

- Hopkinton, MA, USA

problem #1

Jun 232003

MDX 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 928 miles
While waiting at a stop light and without warning vehicle surged forward while driver's foot was on the brake pedal. Failure also occurred by a stop sign at an elementary school. The problem was an air intake leak, which began approx. Three weeks after consumer purchased the vehicle and still exist today. The engine died and the check engine light illuminated. The consumer made several attempts to have the vehicle repaired, but to no avail. The consumer would like her monies reimbursed or a brand new MDX with the same options and color of her choice.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

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