Acura MDX Problems and How to Fix Them

Troy Hammond
8 minute read

Acura MDX

The Acura MDX is one of the Japanese luxury automaker’s most popular vehicles. In fact, according to parent company Honda, the “Multi-Dimensional Crossover” is the best-selling three-row crossover of all time.

The MDX carved a unique niche in the crowded crossover SUV market. It was the first crossover to feature third-row seating. Although it is Acura’s most expensive SUV, the price tag has not deterred buyers searching for a unique combination of luxury, space and performance.

However, many MDX owners are finding that with time, the car’s active suspension system loses its ability to keep the car at the proper ride height. Owners report experiencing a bumpy ride, a sagging rear end of the vehicle, electronic malfunctions and more.

Let’s take a look at why these active suspensions have such a high rate of failure.

Common Acura MDX Problems

The Acura MDX has been a luxury car since it came out. The comfortable, nimble and practical vehicle has tons of character and can seat many passengers. However, MDX owners have experienced their fair share of problems. Here are some of the most common:


Owners have described issues with their transmission, such as a lack of acceleration or slipping when the RPMs are high, failure to shift gears and shuddering on highways. There have been notable gearbox failures and squeaky noises when drivers shift into another gear. 

You can fix many transmission issues by draining the oil and replacing the fluid often. Driving short distances between each round can help thoroughly flush the system. Additionally, you can fix some speed issues by completing a software update. 

Excessive Oil Consumption

Some of the early car models featured an engine with pistons that would easily clog or collect a carbon buildup, failing to remove oil from the combustion chamber. 

Acura extended the engine warranty and issued a recall for the vehicles experiencing this problem. This recall led to tearing down the engine and replacing the pistons and other parts, which was a large task. 

Common Acura MDX Problems

Idle Stop

Auto idle should turn the engine off when you completely depress the brake pedal while waiting at intersections or lights. Once you start moving again, it should kick back on. However, some MDX drivers noticed their vehicle shifting into neutral when the engine started up again. Many drivers would need to restart the car to get moving again manually. 

Replacing your battery can help address this issue. Some drivers reset or updated their software. Additionally, you can sometimes trick the system from engaging by lightly stepping on the brake rather than completely depressing it. 

Adaptive Damper System

Some MDX vehicles have an electronic adaptive damper system, giving better handling through magnetic struts. Although you can get upward of 100,000 miles from each set, many MDX owners found they needed to replace theirs well before half of this amount. 

The only way to address this issue is by replacing the suspension system. Many owners convert to regular shocks and struts which requires some work but are very cost-effective. One magnetic strut can be as costly as replacing all four corners, and many drivers discovered this was a great way to eliminate the issue. 

Battery Drain

Bluetooth features often offer convenience and simplicity. However, in these vehicles, the Bluetooth function would cause the battery to drain when it began failing after just a few years. Replacing the battery and jumpstarting the car were temporary solutions as the module continued to drain the battery. By disconnecting your Bluetooth, you can eliminate the battery drain problem.

Acura MDX Suspension Problems

The Acura MDX features innovative suspension technology that was new at the time. The suspension in your MDX (models with the Sport package) uses electromagnetically-controlled ferrofluids to dampen the pressure of the car meeting the road. In other words, it uses a viscous fluid that can be controlled by a computer to respond to changes in the road and driving. While this technology shows tremendous promise and provides a unique adaptive ride, like any new technology it has its kinks to work out. 

Performance-wise, there isn’t much to complain about. The magnetorheological shock absorber was developed by Honda and Beijing West.

Ferrofluids are non-Newtonian liquids, meaning they defy some of the laws of physics typically regulating liquids. They have a unique ability to change their molecular shape almost instantly. Scientists and engineers are finding all sorts of cool things to do with them, like making them danceThis same ability allows a computer to take a reading from a height sensor and instantly adjust the shape and viscosity of the fluid with the help of a control module.

While the science is very sound, this is still new. As we learned with air suspensions, new technology gets refined as it gets established, and the biggest issue with these suspensions is durability. Here are some of the most common Acura MDX suspension warning signs:

  • Lifespan: Due to their complex nature, use of fluids and moving parts, the lifespan of these suspensions is limited. They are almost guaranteed to wear out at some point. This will happen one component at a time.
  • Taking too long to stop: Some drivers noticed issues with their stopping time despite the brakes being fine. Your suspension plays a vital role in your brake system, and a failing system can result in accidents. 
  • Overly noisy compressor: If your compressor is making loud noises, it's likely because it's completing more than 10 to 15 cycles per second and working too hard. If you don't address this issue, it will eventually wear out. 
  • Failing the bounce test: You can use the bounce test to determine if you need to replace your shocks. If you push on your vehicle and it continues to bounce rather than stop, it's likely time to replace them. 
  • Sagging read end: Some drivers notice their rear end sagging when they stop the car. Worn suspensions can cause an uneven weight distribution that can cause one end to dip. Typically, the faster the stop, the worse the dive. 
  • Unable to maintain proper ride height: A worn suspension can also affect your ride height. The uneven weight distribution can cause your vehicle to feel less comfortable. 
  • Leaning or tilting to one side: Sometimes, suspensions wear down one piece at a time. When this happens, it may be because an airbag is having difficulty staying inflated, causing the car to lean to one side. 

How to Fix Acura MDX Suspension Problems

Even if you don’t scoff at the nearly $1,000 price tag of an electronic strut replacement, you will eventually be replacing all of them. Other components, like the control module and height sensors, can also be costly to buy and install. 

From an ownership standpoint, it makes sense to replace everything at once. Knowing that everything is eventually going to wear out, it’s better to get it all done while you’ve got it on the shop floor. Replacing the rear upper damper mount bushings and the shock absorbers can reduce clunking, and frequently servicing your other parts can ensure an even weight distribution and smooth ride. 

However, thanks to Sturtmasters, replacing your OEM parts isn't your only option. You can fix your suspension problems in other ways to eliminate the problem.

Acura MDX Air Suspension Conversion Kits

Rather than shell out thousands for a replacement suspension, consider just ending the problem altogether. Instead of a complex and costly electronic system, you can just replace the entire thing with a robust and dependable coil suspension. 

At just $999, you can replace all four wheels of your MDX and kill the suspension warning light with this kit from Strutmasters. That’s more or less what it would cost to replace just one of your electronic struts!

Our engineering team has designed our conversion kits to be simple and easy for anyone to install at home. With a proper jack and some tools you probably already have at homeyou can replace all four wheels in an afternoon, saving you time and money. You don’t even need to worry about costly labor fees at the shop.

These struts have been tirelessly engineered to give you and your passengers the perfect ride. Strutmasters’ patented Glide Ride technology will have your MDX feeling brand new again.

Backed by a Limited Lifetime Warranty, we guarantee this new suspension will last as long as your MDX is on the road. That means once you install it, you’ll never have to spend your hard-earned money on your MDX suspension again. 

Shop Acura MDX Conversion Kits

Shop Acura MDX Conversion Kits

Strutmasters has more than two decades of experience in the suspension kit industry, and our experts' combined experience totals more than 100 years! We invented the first air-to-non-air conversion kit and continue to offer exceptional deals for our customers at affordable prices. 

You can shop our Acura MDX conversion kits and put your faith in a solution from a technical, experienced, knowledgeable staff who backs their products. Once you’re ready to convert, give our Suspension Experts a call at (866) 985-0387. They’ll make sure you get exactly what you need and have you riding high once again!


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