really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
138,143 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Acura MDX Owner Comments

problem #7

Jul 012016


  • 200,000 miles


The SRS (air bag) may fail to deploy in an accident if the driver's seat belt is unbuckled at any point during the drive, even if it is subsequently buckled prior to and during the accident. With the engine running, if I unbuckle the seat belt, the seat belt warning light does not illuminate, however, the SRS (air bag) warning light does illuminate. When I start the vehicle the SRS and seat belt light are usually both illuminated for the ignition test period of 3-5 seconds. If I don¿T buckle the seat belt, the seat belt warning light will remain illuminated and the SRS light will go out after the 3-5 second test period after the ignition is turned on. Once I buckle the seat belt, the seat belt warning light goes out. If I then unbuckle the seat belt while the engine is running (ignition remains on) the seat belt warning light does not come on, but the SRS warning light does come on. If I then buckle the seat belt again, the SRS warning light stays on until I turn off the ignition. Once I restart the engine and buckle the seat belt, the SRS warning light will go out. In addition, I have witnessed numerous occasions when the SRS warning light illuminated without any action towards the seat belt buckle. This leads me to believe that there are cases where the switch fails even when the seat belt remains buckled. It is my understanding, that while the SRS warning light is illuminated, the SRS (air bag) will not deploy during an accident. If this were to happen, even though the seat belt is buckled, the SRS would fail to deploy. My research indicates that a failure of the switch in the driver's seat belt buckle causes this condition and that replacement of the seat belt buckle assembly is required to remedy this.

- Boxborough, MA, USA

problem #6

Nov 102014


  • 165,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura MDX. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 10 mph, the brake pedal was applied and traveled to the floor board as the seat belt pretensioners deployed inadvertently and fractured. Additionally, the air bag warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that both drivers side and front passenger side seat belt pretensioners needed to be replaced. The contact did not disclose if the vehicle was repaired or not. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 165,000.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #5

May 102014

MDX 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
My daughters MDX was driven by her son and he had to make a sudden stop under rainy conditions. There was no crash, and the slightest contact with the stopped car in front. There is no damage to either car, the touch was so slight there was not even a scratch nor a bent license plate. To our shock the steering wheel airbag had deployed and safety belts locked up. There is no way that airbag should of deployed. There is a recall for the airbag system. The dealer did part of several parts of the recall, but refused to replace the steering wheel airbag and repair the frozen front seat belts.

- Live Oak, FL, USA

problem #4

May 222014


  • 165,000 miles


My son was driving in town normal speed it was raining, he had to make a quick stop to avoid a car in front of him that made a quick stop also. The bumpers barely touched, left no marks at all, not even to the front license plate. The airbag deployed and black and blued his arm. We received a recall notice for this 2003 MDX. Took it in to libertyville Acura and they fixed one part of the recall but refused to fix the deployed airbag and seatbelts. That's not right! the steering wheel airbag should not have deployed without a crash! what gives. A recall without repairs is nothing but lip service. How many of us are out there" how many others are or, were denied also" the car is still at the dealer. They have not fixed the problem.

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #3

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

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problem #2

Sep 072010


  • 117,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura MDX, while stopped the contact was rear ended by a vehicle traveling at approximately 50 mph. The seat belt did not tighten to hold her firmly in place upon impact and she was thrown forward into her windshield. A police report was filed. The contact suffered injuries and the driver of the other vehicle was transported to the hospital via ambulance. The vehicle was destroyed and was towed to a private lot where it had not been examined for the cause of failure.the failure and current mileages were 117,000.

- Boulder, CO, USA

problem #1

May 082003

(reported on)


  • miles
The seat belt was mounted in the ceiling of the vehicle, which caused the belt to come across the passenger's neck.

- Arnold, MD, USA

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