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Discussion Starter #1
Hello folks,
I’m looking at 14 MDX FWD with advance package with 70k miles tomorrow and would like some advice on what specifically to check.

I was able to confirm two transmission services were done, at 26k and 52k miles and brake fluid change at 26k miles. Air filter/cabin filter changes twice and oil changes every 7k-9k miles all at a dealership. No other major services done.

2014 being the first model year, I did read there is a common issue with the infotainment system. And someone mentioned about Advnaced package with upgraded suspension having issues - I’m not really sure what to look for here.

Any input and suggestions would be welcome and appreciated!
 

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That platform is pretty solid, so you really are looking for the same things you would on any used car. If it is an Advance package with the ADS suspension it should be pretty evident as that one has a switch (on the console I believe) to change the suspension characteristics.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That platform is pretty solid, so you really are looking for the same things you would on any used car. If it is an Advance package with the ADS suspension it should be pretty evident as that one has a switch (on the console I believe) to change the suspension characteristics.
Thanks for the reply. Was the ADS suspension not standard with Advance Package?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Another question.. Are driver assistance features included with advance package (lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, etc) any good compared to today's standards?
 

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Thanks for the reply. Was the ADS suspension not standard with Advance Package?
Another question.. Are driver assistance features included with advance package (lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, etc) any good compared to today's standards?
Yes, the ADS is part of the Advance package. I have not driven an MDX with these features, but there are plenty of threads here discussing it and it seems the general conclusion is there are better out there. Common complaint is ping ponging back and forth, but quite frankly we are still a ways away from fully autonomous cars and you shouldn't be using it to that level. I had a '16 Ford Explorer and it was the same way. There seems to be less complaints about the adaptive cruise, but then that is easier technology to dial in. Lane keeping relies too much on lane markings which run the gamut on the quality of the markings.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, the ADS is part of the Advance package. I have not driven an MDX with these features, but there are plenty of threads here discussing it and it seems the general conclusion is there are better out there. Common complaint is ping ponging back and forth, but quite frankly we are still a ways away from fully autonomous cars and you shouldn't be using it to that level. I had a '16 Ford Explorer and it was the same way. There seems to be less complaints about the adaptive cruise, but then that is easier technology to dial in. Lane keeping relies too much on lane markings which run the gamut on the quality of the markings.
I see. I'm pretty sure having lane keep assist can be useful from time to time. Is there a common issue with ADS? I'm looking for a vehicle with low maintenance / repair costs.
 

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I see. I'm pretty sure having lane keep assist can be useful from time to time. Is there a common issue with ADS? I'm looking for a vehicle with low maintenance / repair costs.
Yes, they are prone to early failure and are very expensive to replace, around $800 per corner I believe. Lots of threads here if you search ADS.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm doing some research regarding ADS and there are conflicting info on whether ADS was included in the 14+ MDX models. The last post on below threads suggest ADS was not a part of 2014 MDX models.

 

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I have an SH AWD but for sharing my experience - bought mine at 15K or so back in 2015. Thankfully, all covered within the original warranty / AcuraCare.

1) replace front wheel bearings,
2) additional padding in drive side door due to shuddering noise - still exists,
3) battery replaced in less than 3 years,
4) "software update" to mitigate RPM "hunting" (RPM randomly moving between 1200-1500 even with a constant pressure to the pedal),
5) torque converter / tranny grinding noise when slowly accelerating (95% gone with 3x3 tranny fluid flush),
6) infamous high pressure fuel pump chirping / replacement,
7) AC compressor / pulley replaced at 15K miles,
8) engine module reprogrammed / engine valve adjusted at 11K miles, etc.
 

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ADS suspension is NOT available at all on any MDX between 2014-2016, so you do not need to worry about that.
For 2014 and 2015 models, the driver assistance technology is standard and only available on the Advance trim level. This includes Automatic Emergency Braking, full speed Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, and Lane Keeping Assist.
2014-2015 Tech models will have Lane Departure Warning (with a single on/off button on the lower right part of the steering wheel), but do not confuse this for Lane Keeping Assist. They also have Forward Collision Warning, but no automatic brake support.

Having driven several cars (Hyundai Genesis, Audi Q7, Ford Explorer, Mercedes C class, Honda Accord & Pilot, Acura TLX & MDX, Mazda CX-5, and Subaru Outback) with Adaptive Cruise Control, I would consider the system in the Acura to be competitive, but not the best. All of these systems are "dumb" because they rely on radar to detect cars ahead of them, not cameras. As such, you will always notice a delay between when you (as a driver with eyes) would ease off the gas or slow down for a car ahead, and the when the car detects it. In my experience, Mercedes and Mazda are much smoother in brake application and acceleration, where the Acura/Honda system is more focused on maintaining the set gap. On two occasions in 14,000 miles of driving my MDX, the car has detected a semi truck in the lane adjacent to me and slowed down unnecessarily, but pressing the accelerator overrides the ACC so this rare occurrence is hardly an inconvenience. None of this behavior should be considered as a deal breaker to not buy the MDX. No other SUV offers these features at this price with so few compromises.

In regards to the lane keeping assist, it is a very useful feature on road trips & commutes to reduce fatigue, especially while driving in high winds. It works way better than the Ford system, and on par with Hyundai and Mercedes for keeping you centered, but you get the added benefit of it working even when you aren't using cruise control. The steering force it applies grows as you near the edges of a lane. Given this, if you are centered in the lane, you wont notice any steering effort from the car, but it grows as you drift closer to the painted lines. It works on gentle bends too, but the system can suspend itself at any time if it does not detect your steering inputs or clear lane markings (fyi, there is a setting that makes the car beep to notify you when it suspends steering assist so it wont catch you off-guard). It is not designed to steer FOR you, but to steer WITH you.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
ADS suspension is NOT available at all on any MDX between 2014-2016, so you do not need to worry about that.
For 2014 and 2015 models, the driver assistance technology is standard and only available on the Advance trim level. This includes Automatic Emergency Braking, full speed Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, and Lane Keeping Assist.
2014-2015 Tech models will have Lane Departure Warning (with a single on/off button on the lower right part of the steering wheel), but do not confuse this for Lane Keeping Assist. They also have Forward Collision Warning, but no automatic brake support.

Having driven several cars (Hyundai Genesis, Audi Q7, Ford Explorer, Mercedes C class, Honda Accord & Pilot, Acura TLX & MDX, Mazda CX-5, and Subaru Outback) with Adaptive Cruise Control, I would consider the system in the Acura to be competitive, but not the best. All of these systems are "dumb" because they rely on radar to detect cars ahead of them, not cameras. As such, you will always notice a delay between when you (as a driver with eyes) would ease off the gas or slow down for a car ahead, and the when the car detects it. In my experience, Mercedes and Mazda are much smoother in brake application and acceleration, where the Acura/Honda system is more focused on maintaining the set gap. On two occasions in 14,000 miles of driving my MDX, the car has detected a semi truck in the lane adjacent to me and slowed down unnecessarily, but pressing the accelerator overrides the ACC so this rare occurrence is hardly an inconvenience. None of this behavior should be considered as a deal breaker to not buy the MDX. No other SUV offers these features at this price with so few compromises.

In regards to the lane keeping assist, it is a very useful feature on road trips & commutes to reduce fatigue, especially while driving in high winds. It works way better than the Ford system, and on par with Hyundai and Mercedes for keeping you centered, but you get the added benefit of it working even when you aren't using cruise control. The steering force it applies grows as you near the edges of a lane. Given this, if you are centered in the lane, you wont notice any steering effort from the car, but it grows as you drift closer to the painted lines. It works on gentle bends too, but the system can suspend itself at any time if it does not detect your steering inputs or clear lane markings (fyi, there is a setting that makes the car beep to notify you when it suspends steering assist so it wont catch you off-guard). It is not designed to steer FOR you, but to steer WITH you.
Thanks for the confirmation on the ADS. That's great to know! And yes, I think the driver assistance package can be useful in 'assisting' the driver, but not take over driving for the driver.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I had a chance to look at the MDX and testdrive it today. The vehicle itself looked good and clean and the drive was mostly fine except for jerky shifting and subtle clunk feeling/noise when it first takes off from a stop. I could feel it shifts poorly, up and down - but the owner stated they (his wife was the main driver) never felt transmission shift quality was poor (He seems like an honest guy and it was regularly serviced at Acura dealership). Maybe because we only have Toyota/Lexus hybrid CVT transmission, shifting could feel more substantial to me. But, my old 2005 Honda Odyssey shifts better than MDX.

I've read Acura offered TSB fix for transmission SW update to fix jerky transmission and/or the transmission could be reset to learn new owner's driving style. There was two transmission services completed at 26k and 52k miles and it's due for another service?

Edit: My 2005 Odyssey used to have a serious shake/vibration problem (I believe) due to a transmission issue which was completely resolved with Amsoil transmission fluid drain and fill x 3 times few years ago. Did one more drain and fill after a year and it has been going strong. Would this also work for MDX to fix the poor shifting issue?
 

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I had a chance to look at the MDX and testdrive it today. The vehicle itself looked good and clean and the drive was mostly fine except for jerky shifting and subtle clunk feeling/noise when it first takes off from a stop. I could feel it shifts poorly, up and down - but the owner stated they (his wife was the main driver) never felt transmission shift quality was poor (He seems like an honest guy and it was regularly serviced at Acura dealership). Maybe because we only have Toyota/Lexus hybrid CVT transmission, shifting could feel more substantial to me. But, my old 2005 Honda Odyssey shifts better than MDX.

I've read Acura offered TSB fix for transmission SW update to fix jerky transmission and/or the transmission could be reset to learn new owner's driving style. There was two transmission services completed at 26k and 52k miles and it's due for another service?

Edit: My 2005 Odyssey used to have a serious shake/vibration problem (I believe) due to a transmission issue which was completely resolved with Amsoil transmission fluid drain and fill x 3 times few years ago. Did one more drain and fill after a year and it has been going strong. Would this also work for MDX to fix the poor shifting issue?
Obviously no guarantee on the Amsoil solution, but a decent chance IMO. I run Valvoline MaxLife in my X and Ody and it performs well. Prior to that I used Mobil 1 and liked that even better, but at 2X the cost I prefer to save the money. Driving style has a lot to do with shift quality in most cars.
 

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I had a chance to look at the MDX and testdrive it today. The vehicle itself looked good and clean and the drive was mostly fine except for jerky shifting and subtle clunk feeling/noise when it first takes off from a stop. I could feel it shifts poorly, up and down - but the owner stated they (his wife was the main driver) never felt transmission shift quality was poor (He seems like an honest guy and it was regularly serviced at Acura dealership). Maybe because we only have Toyota/Lexus hybrid CVT transmission, shifting could feel more substantial to me. But, my old 2005 Honda Odyssey shifts better than MDX.

I've read Acura offered TSB fix for transmission SW update to fix jerky transmission and/or the transmission could be reset to learn new owner's driving style. There was two transmission services completed at 26k and 52k miles and it's due for another service?

Edit: My 2005 Odyssey used to have a serious shake/vibration problem (I believe) due to a transmission issue which was completely resolved with Amsoil transmission fluid drain and fill x 3 times few years ago. Did one more drain and fill after a year and it has been going strong. Would this also work for MDX to fix the poor shifting issue?
I am driving a 2015 Tech, I am feeling what you felt every day, my previous one was CVT too, I really feel the difference, but I love the look of the MDX, and disabling the VCM somehow helps the situation, so I am keeping the car.
 

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One downside with the 2014 MDX is you are coming up on the 7yr/105,000 miles service interval (whichever comes first). It can include:
  • timing belt
  • spark plugs
  • water pump+coolant
  • serpentine belt kit
  • valve adjustment
  • oil change
Other items might also be due like:
  • brake fluid every 3 years
  • checking brake pads
  • cabin/engine filters
  • wipers
  • check/replacing battery if original
  • alignment/balance/rotation of tires
  • new tires
You might have to think about those maintenance items that are due/coming due in the next few years into the cost of ownership. A 2015 MDX with lower miles would space out the same maintenance cost over a longer time and give you more time on the back end to keep the vehicle longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I am driving a 2015 Tech, I am feeling what you felt every day, my previous one was CVT too, I really feel the difference, but I love the look of the MDX, and disabling the VCM somehow helps the situation, so I am keeping the car.
Have you try to get the dealer to do software update for the transmission? I've read a SW update is available to fix the issue with a TSB. As long as jerky shifting does not damage the transmission, I'm probably okay.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
One downside with the 2014 MDX is you are coming up on the 7yr/105,000 miles service interval (whichever comes first). It can include:
  • timing belt
  • spark plugs
  • water pump+coolant
  • serpentine belt kit
  • valve adjustment
  • oil change
Other items might also be due like:
  • brake fluid every 3 years
  • checking brake pads
  • cabin/engine filters
  • wipers
  • check/replacing battery if original
  • alignment/balance/rotation of tires
  • new tires
You might have to think about those maintenance items that are due/coming due in the next few years into the cost of ownership. A 2015 MDX with lower miles would space out the same maintenance cost over a longer time and give you more time on the back end to keep the vehicle longer.
Thanks for the reminder on the service items. I really wish Honda/Acura will switch to an engine with a timing chain in the near future that will not require a major service every 100k miles.

By the way, I wonder most people change a timing belt at 7 years even if the mileage is well below 105k. 7 years or 105k miles whichever is sooner is what Acura recommends but is it really risky waiting for it to hit about 105k miles?
 

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Thanks for the reminder on the service items. I really wish Honda/Acura will switch to an engine with a timing chain in the near future that will not require a major service every 100k miles.

By the way, I wonder most people change a timing belt at 7 years even if the mileage is well below 105k. 7 years or 105k miles whichever is sooner is what Acura recommends but is it really risky waiting for it to hit about 105k miles?
Call me paranoid, but the cost of a timing belt is cheaper than an engine replacement if the belt went.

I’ve always replaced my belts at around 90k. Overkill maybe, but I’ve also not blown up an engine. I’d also consider mileage over time, unless it’s a lot of time. A lo mileaged car from the 90s yea a belt. A 2014... no so much.
 

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Have you try to get the dealer to do software update for the transmission? I've read a SW update is available to fix the issue with a TSB. As long as jerky shifting does not damage the transmission, I'm probably okay.
I used to visit the dealer twice a month, they flushed and replaced the TC, they did sent to the techline, no transmission replacement is needed, so I guess the data didn't indicate my tranny is damaged, I just need to adapt the way it shift. I will suggest you to reset the ECU when you got the car.

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