Transmission Failure

2003 Acura MDX

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Acura dealer.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
125,550 miles
Total Complaints:
11 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (8 reports)
  2. replace transmission (3 reports)
2003 Acura MDX transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Acura MDX Owner Comments

problem #11

Jan 082018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles


I have experienced recent transmission problems and have read other accounts of other owners having the same problem. The transmission does not engage properly. I will be driving and the throttle skips in and out or completely disengages and leaves me without any power. The car remains on, but I can not get the drivetrain to engage. Usually, if I turn the car off and back on the transmission will engage for a very short time before going out again. From my research online, other drivers of the MDX in this year range have experienced this exact same problem. Not what people expect from a Honda vehicle!!!

- James W., Dallas, TX, US

problem #10

Mar 152017

MDX Touring 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,000 miles

I took my 2003 Acura MDX to my local Acura dealer for them to diagnose my transmission problem because it was slipping when transmission got hot. They recommended I do a transmission flush with cleaner additives. I have always heard this was a bad idea but went with it because why pay for a professional diagnosis if you are not going to listen to the advice. A few hours later they call and say that my transmission failed while there technician was test driving it after the flush. Then they proceed to tell me that they would be happy to fix it for $4500. I drove the car in for a diagnosis then agreed to there solution a few hundred dollar commitment on my part. Now I have a car that I cant drive and a $4500 repair? I'm not sure if that transaction could have gone worse.

- Jason G., Newport News, US

problem #9

Sep 292016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 205,000 miles

I have owned Hondas for many years and have been very satisfied. When I purchase, all be it used, the flagship line of Honda, one should logically expect similar, if not better performance. From what I have read online this problem is a known problem and Honda's apparent lack of acceptance of responsibility has created a serious negative for me about any further Honda purchase. If there is any class action lawsuit ongoing about this obvious design/manufacturing flaw I will most certainly join the list of complainants.

- Mark C., Holly, MI, US

problem #8

Mar 262016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


When I make a right turn the car stops accelerating. The engine is still working but the car doesn't move. I can restart the car and it will move again.

- redbird38, El Cajon, CA, US

problem #7

Mar 192016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Purchased a used 03 Acura MDX from a dealer on 2/23/16. I was traveling at around 40 mph. I made a right turn and the car started decelerating and would not go into gear. I restarted the car and was ok. It did about 6 more times in the next day. Almost had couple of accidents as there was no power to the drivetrain. I took it in for repair and the dianostic showed one bad code which they fixed. They kept it to test. After 20 miles it did it again. They put it back on the dianostics and it shows NO bad codes?.

- redbird38, El Cajon, CA, US

problem #6

Dec 272015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,842 miles

i just purchased a 03 MDX within 3 days of getting the car the transmission blow while driving on the highway going over 100 mph.. had the transmission replaced now the D5 light again is blinking which I've been told means that the transmission is about to go.. so I started to do my research to find that this is a serious problem that ACURA/HONDA doesn't seem to care about.. for a so called luxury car/suv it really is a piece of sh*t and I would recommend anybody to purchase it ... Run far away .... with the money that I spent on getting those car and now fixing it I might as well bought something newer and better.

- Candice P., Toronto, ON, Canada

problem #5

Dec 122012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,100 miles


The gear stick slip off occasionally when start up or stop on red light. The rate is about 1/30 at start up, and about 1/200 on the red light stop. I have been driving it for more than one year with this problem. The symptom is stable. I think this is a design problem.

Besides, there is a software problem on the radio volume button on steel wheel recently. It work fine when change volume up, but the volume goes up when the button change it down.

I told Acura Stevens Creek dealer when car recall, but they didn't pay attention with out customer pay $180 check fee. Hope Acura can follow up.

- Jack Q., Cupertino, CA, US

problem #4

Mar 202014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,999 miles

Wife is stuck out of town with symptoms of a slipping / failing transmission. It occurred immediately after having recall work on interlock system.

- Steve S., Moses Lake, WA, US

problem #3

Oct 242012

MDX Touring V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,440 miles

Vehicle was not driven hard at all, just for taking kids to school and grocery store. We are the orig. owners and followed manufacturer maintenance at same dealer since new. Tranny went out while entering freeway, lost all power at 50mph as if it had been placed into neutral. We were almost hit by a semi but made it to the shoulder. No slipping, nothing to warn it was going to happen.

Dealer told me $4500 to fix/replace tranny and torq converter. I did not OK the repair but rather said I needed to weigh my options. Received a call back an hour later saying Acura Corp. said they would give me a break with a repair amount of $2400. After doing research about Acura/Honda transmission issues I took it on myself to call Acura Corp. and complain. They gave a further reduced amount to fix of $1980.

Bottom line is Acura knows they have a flawed design and unless the victim/customer pushes you will pay big $$$$ to fix it. I loved the car but honestly I feel Acura/Honda knew full well of the tranny issue and decided to ignore it. I have read that several people believe Acura/Honda purposely design components to fail not long after warranties expire. I don't know but after reading of all the complaints there could be something to it.

I will be selling the vehicle and it is my last Acura.

- ckpc, Pleasant Hill, CA, US

problem #2

Apr 232012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,366 miles

Didn't believe it when people told me never to buy honda/acura car again, because by 100,000 mile the transmission will fail...sure enough, when my transmission fail it was 104,366 mile. Cost $2200 to get it rebuilt and then something else when pain this car gave me was $3200 AND on top of that I still have $6000 left to make payment...and it was a used car too...

- reena, Fresno, CA, US

problem #1

Apr 242011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Purchased a used 03 Acura MDX from a dealer on 4/22/11. I was driving the vehicle on a toll road (TX 121) and was traveling at around 65mph. Car started decelerating and would not go into gear. Almost had couple of accidents as there was no power to the drivetrain. Cars traveling behind me at 65mph+ were braking hard to avoid me.

Vehicle towed to a transmission shop and they advised that it was transmission failure. Called Acura customer care and contacted them also via Twitter. They pretended that they did not know of issues with transmission despite my research which points to numerous defects in their transmission. Acura indicated initial intent to consider compensate for the cost of transmission repair. After submitting all repair and towing details/invoices, Acura representative - Sergio Ramos (800-382-2238 ext. 115089) - indicates that he will not consider any reimbursement. When I asked for a manager or supervisor, Sergio indicated that there is nobody higher at the organization who can make the decision (which I do not find credible as Acura/Honda certainly has president's and VPs listed on their website).

Acura manufactured and sold a vehicle that is known for faulty transmissions that have endangered my safety. I have tried working with Acura to amicably solve this issue to no avail.

Acura MDX is a potential hazard to public safety and potential deadly vehicle which Acura fails to acknowledge and fix.

- think0011, Frisco, TX, US

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