really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
91,504 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Acura MDX Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #36

Jun 302010


  • 110,000 miles


I just bought a 2003 Acura MDX with 110,000 miles. I drove the car less than 15 miles and noticed a scraping noise coming from the rear. A little further down the road the vehicle bucked and then the D5 light started flashing. There was hesitation in between the gears. The vehicle is now in the shop getting a new transmission - I had it less than 20 minutes before it started having problems.

- East Longmeadow, MA, USA

problem #35

May 122010


  • 106,000 miles
The transmission on my 2003 MDX has been slipping for about a year. I took it to the dealership 2X, but they weren't able to find the problem--couldn't get it to slip out of gear. Finally, last week, in 5:00 traffic, it stopped totally and I had to have it towed--the car was at 106,000 miles. Apparently, all the previous complaints helped me out B/C the Honda national agreed to cover 2/3 of the cost of a new transmission (4355.00). I must say they have been great to work with so far, and I'm grateful they chipped in on the cost, although it's clear the 2003 MDX's have real transmission troubles.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #34

Apr 092010


  • 105,555 miles
2003 Acura MDX. 105,000 miles. It was fully services at santa monica Acura upto 90,000 miles. I was driving my in seattle, highway I-5 North bound. At 60 mph speed, transmission just stopped totally. Vehicle ran freely. My 2 kids, wife were with me. It was scary as hell. I slowly changed lane in busy Friday traffic, was able to go to shoulder. Called police, then aaa to tow the car to Acura of bellevue. They said today, transmission gone bad. Wants $4000 to fix it. I called Acura Corp office. They have denied to cover any cost because this is out of warranty. 2001 & 2002 MDX had recall. With same transmission, this vehicle should have same problem. I can imagine a huge number of people fixing transmission on MDX vehicles; and Acura not taking any responsibility. Please, someone, please take notice. And follow up on this case. This is a defective vehicle, Acura should extend transmission warranty and cover all transmission failure costs of their vehicles.

- Redmond, WA, USA

problem #33

Jun 082008


  • 90,913 miles


I have a 2003 Acura MDX. In June of 2008, I was told that the torque converter needed to be replaced. I was told that the sound it was making would eventually get louder. No one told me that the torque converter was associated with the transmission. In April 2010, I talked to a private mechanic who explained that he had many customers come to him who were experiencing problems with the torque converter and he directed these clients back to the dealership for repair. He explained that this is a common problem with the MDX and the dealership should take responsibility for the repair. I talked to my dealership and I was told by two service advisors that this is a common problem with this vehicle. No one bothered to tell me this when I initially brought the vehicle in for inspection. I was told that it is no longer under warranty and I'm expected to pay the cost to have it repaired.

- Bellwood, IL, USA

problem #32

Feb 232010


  • 78,000 miles
Transmission slipping on 2003 Acura MDX starting at 73,000. Talked to dealership about it but they said that since the check engine light didn't come on or the transmission light didn't come on there wasn't a problem. Kept driving it and it got worse. Around 78,000 miles had to have water pump, timing belt and engine mounts done (not at dealership); had mechanic check transmission - found it needed to be replaced.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #31

Feb 112010


  • 87,100 miles
I just bought an used 2003 Acura MDX on Jan 30th with 87,000 mile on it. Just after 11 days on Feb 11, 2010, I noticed that some brown colored fluid is leaking from the front passenger side. It's not just dipping, there were lot of fluids coming out. I opened the hood and notice that the fluid was overflowing from the radiator reservoir. Next morning when I start the car and tried to run it just stopped in the middle of the road and engine light came on. I had to tow the car to a dealership. They said somehow internally transmission cooler was busted and the transmission coolant was mixed with the engine coolant. Therefore I had to replace the whole radiator, need to flush transmission fluid, and flush the radiator. It cost me $1000. Now, my car is not smooth as it was before. Transmission is not shifting properly. I am really worried driving this car. I saw that MDX has a lot of transmission problem. I think they should change the transmission for free and they should also take care of this fluid mixing problem. I'd appreciate if you guys investigate this problem.

- Blacksburg, VA, USA

problem #30

Jan 222010


  • 78,019 miles


2003 Acura MDX transmission failure, when starting the car in park the car jumped forward about 18-24 inches, this has happened 3 times in the last year, transmission was replaced at 45K miles and is experiencing the same problems again at 88K.

- Belvidere, IL, USA

problem #29

Feb 122010


  • 122,000 miles
Transmission failure on Acura 03 MDX.

- Florissant, MO, USA

problem #28

Dec 192009


  • 124,000 miles
Torque converter defect on our 2003 Acura MDX. Many similar reports.

- Bellefontaine , OH, USA

problem #27

Jun 302008


  • 92,000 miles
We were on a vacation in Arizona, had the 90K service done 2 days before traveling. Everything was fine until the 3rd day of our trip. We were headed to tombstone, AZ. For a day trip about 90 miles each way from tucson where we were staying, about 40 miles outside of town on I-10 the transmission starts losing torque and the transmission temp warning light comes on, I pull over and call aaa and get towed to an Acura dealer in tucson. I get a call from the dealer a short time later saying I need a new transmission to the tune of $4,000. I have maintained this vehicle to manufacturer's specs by a certified Honda/Acura repair shop. I find it hard to believe that the transmission would just fail with no warning. Luckily we have family in tucson that we could stay with, while the transmission was ordered and replaced. Needless to say our vacation was ruined.

- Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA

problem #26

Jan 122010


  • 114,000 miles


Acura MDX 2003 with over 110,000 miles, began slipping out of drive while running, usually soon after starting. Dealership service had it several times, most recently for an entire week in December 2009. No trouble found. No indicators lit. Dealer-maintained car regularly for last 75,000 miles. Finally slipped out of gear while driving on a busy freeway at 60+ mph, but was able to coast to safe exit.

- Jefferson, NH, USA

problem #25

Jan 092010


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura MDX. The contact stated that while stopped at a traffic light and accelerating the vehicle would not shift into gear. The contact also stated that while driving 35 mph and attempting to slow the vehicle down the engine started to rev extremely high. The vehicle would not slow down and almost crashed into another vehicle; however, it began driving normal. The contact called the manufacturer regarding this issue but have not heard back from them at this time. The contact is concerned of the safety risk with his year make and model. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 105,000.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #24

Dec 182009


  • 155,000 miles
Failure of 2003 Acura MDX transmission.

- Warren, VT, USA

problem #23

Nov 262009


  • 110,445 miles
Driving down I78 on thanksgiving and all of the sudden the car stopped responding. Engine was revving but car wasn't accelerating commensurate with the engine. The transmission was slipping. I navigated my way towards the right across a couple of lanes of traffic and made my way to the exit. Got off the interstate and the check engine light came on and the car completely stopped responding. I pulled over and could not move at all - the transmission was gone. Called aaa and had the car towed. I starting researching this and discovered that this was a well known issue for Acura MDX's of the 2003 vintage. I eventually had the car towed to clinton Acura and of course they told me I needed a new transmission for $4000. I complained and asked if there was anything they could do and they said no. I told them to wait and that I was going to call Acura customer care. I did so and asked them to help defray the cost of the new transmission since it was apparent that they had a deficiency. They took the complaint and request but suggested I needed to make the same request of the dealership. They said the dealer would consult with their local Acura field rep to make a decision. I did as they suggested and about 3 hours later they called me back and said my request was denied. Essentially the vehicle was out of warranty so it was my responsibility. I told them I was very disappointed but I had them do the work. I also called back Acura customer care and told them what happened. Further, I told them I would never purchase another Acura product.

- Lebanon, NJ, USA

problem #22

Dec 112009


  • 108,000 miles
Regarding a 2003 Acura MDX with 108,000 miles, the transmission and two motor mounts failed. Information on the edmunds website confirm these repetitive failures and potential transmission lockup at high speeds. I have all maintenance records to show the car was taken care of. New motor mounts were $500. The dealer paid for most of the transmission replacement but it still costs us $460 out of pocket.

- Navarre Beach, FL, USA

problem #21

Sep 152009


  • 135,000 miles
My 2003 Acura MDX showed no signs of a transmission issue until one day the transmission slipped into neutral without warning. By that I mean no engine lights came on. I pulled over shut the car off and restarted the engine which than went back into gear. This happened occasionally for about a week. I took it to a dealer who checked it out and said there were no issues. Upon leaving the dealership it happened again but this time the engine light came on. I was told by the dealer that the transmission had failed.

- Marlborough, MA, USA

problem #20

Nov 112007


  • 89,000 miles
2003 Acura MDX approx 89,000 miles. Driving and car would not accelerate from stop. Car was in gear D5 but would not run. Had to stop in traffic and restart. Got to side of road and would not re-engage in gear. Had towed replaced drive train in vehicle. Dealer did 75-25 split they know it's a problem.

- Timonium, MD, USA

problem #19

Aug 102009


  • 93,000 miles
2003 Acura MDX transmission failure.

- Roaring Brook Twp, PA, USA

problem #18

Oct 132009


  • 92,000 miles
Family in 2003 Acura MDX with 92,000 miles on it at highway speed when vehicle comes out of gear, unable to drive, towed to repair facility. Transmission has failed and must be replaced.

- Crofton, MD, USA

problem #17

Oct 032009


  • 74,000 miles
The transmission slipped into neutral while driving. Gear indicator showed in D5. Vehicle basically stalled in the middle of roadway. It happened a couple times and no repair has been performed. Shifted to P and back to D5, normal driving resumed.

- Chantilly, VA, USA

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