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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going to install the factory hitch on my 17 Hybrid...Instructions state to disconnect battery..Im aware this is a good idea, BUT do we really need to go thru this pain? Anyone successfully installed the wiring harness without disconnecting the battery? Thanks
 

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It's not really that painful to disconnect the battery. Unless you spend an hour afterwards digging around for a radio code only to discover there is no radio code, as I did on another vehicle.

But have you test-fit the hitch receiver to make sure it will clear the mufflers? I got a stealthy peek under one this afternoon and I thought it would be tight. It will also be interesting to hear if the connections are there for the OEM wiring harness. Good luck!
 

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Dunno. But one reason to disconnect is that you will be digging around wiring bundles near airbags. ( DO NOT mess with yellow wiring bundles! )
Another reason is the usual caveat that making connections while things are powered can cause arcing and voltage fluctuations, and electronics don't like that.
 

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Will disconnecting the battery lose the bluetooth pairing and speed dials, and custom settings?
I haven't had a need to disconnect the battery on my 4 y/o 2014 MDX yet but it sure seems like you'd lose the settings - unless Acura got fancy and stored them in flash memory or the HDD, which would survive a power cycle.

There are some memory saver devices you can buy which should hold the voltage when you disconnect the battery but they'd defeat the purpose of disconnecting the battery for you since they'd still have voltage applied but depending on the unit it would have less current capacity than the battery.

For me, simply re-adding the bluetooth devices and handling any present I might care about (and there are only a couple since I listen to streaming audio most of the time), only takes a few minutes and isn't a big deal so I'd just play it safe, follow their instructions to disconnect a power source (which would exclude the use of the memory saver I mentioned - which is primarily for use with battery changes), and just re-program what needs to be programmed. The biggest hassle would be getting the seat setting just right since that always takes a lot of playing with to get just right in this vehicle.

The other thing that could happen would be the powertrain computers' possible loss of what it's learned in tweaking settings but these will be re-learned again.

You actually asked if it's 'absolutely necessary to disconnect the battery' and the answer to that is likely 'no'. It's almost certainly a safety precaution.

If it were me I'd just go ahead and disconnect the battery like it instructs.

You're going to make a number of people happy on this forum by answering the question of the hitch install on the hybrid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I haven't had a need to disconnect the battery on my 4 y/o 2014 MDX yet but it sure seems like you'd lose the settings - unless Acura got fancy and stored them in flash memory or the HDD, which would survive a power cycle.

There are some memory saver devices you can buy which should hold the voltage when you disconnect the battery but they'd defeat the purpose of disconnecting the battery for you since they'd still have voltage applied but depending on the unit it would have less current capacity than the battery.

For me, simply re-adding the bluetooth devices and handling any present I might care about (and there are only a couple since I listen to streaming audio most of the time), only takes a few minutes and isn't a big deal so I'd just play it safe, follow their instructions to disconnect a power source (which would exclude the use of the memory saver I mentioned - which is primarily for use with battery changes), and just re-program what needs to be programmed. The biggest hassle would be getting the seat setting just right since that always takes a lot of playing with to get just right in this vehicle.

The other thing that could happen would be the powertrain computers' possible loss of what it's learned in tweaking settings but these will be re-learned again.

You actually asked if it's 'absolutely necessary to disconnect the battery' and the answer to that is likely 'no'. It's almost certainly a safety precaution.

If it were me I'd just go ahead and disconnect the battery like it instructs.

You're going to make a number of people happy on this forum by answering the question of the hitch install on the hybrid.

I got the hitch installed today along with a painted lower panel that surrounds the hitch, and painted splash guards..waiting for the bolts for the spare tire hoist and Im set....Will post some photos soon.
 

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I the answer to that is likely 'no'. It's almost certainly a safety .

You're going to make a number of people happy on this forum by answering the question of the hitch install on the hybrid.
it doesn't answer the question of the warranty though.
 

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it doesn't answer the question of the warranty though.
Again, there's nothing in the 2017 Hybrid owner's manual that states that a hitch can't be installed - just that a trailer can't be towed. A hitch isn't a trailer and doesn't even imply a trailer since so many people use it to haul bikes sans a trailer. I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to put a hitch on for use with a bike rack, cargo box, and the like. I would 'not' use it to tow a trailer though and any dealer that falsely accused me of doing that would have a fight on his hands - maybe a lawsuit as well if they continued to be unreasonable.

Worst case, is someone had a warranty issue they think might be denied because of something like this they can just remove the hitch before bringing it in - it wouldn't be dishonest or unethical to do so.

Alternatively the owner could get something in writing from the dealer stating the hitch was okay to have on the vehicle - ether that or simply have the dealer install the hitch in which case the warranty standing would be implied.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Again, there's nothing in the 2017 Hybrid owner's manual that states that a hitch can't be installed - just that a trailer can't be towed. A hitch isn't a trailer and doesn't even imply a trailer since so many people use it to haul bikes sans a trailer. I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to put a hitch on for use with a bike rack, cargo box, and the like. I would 'not' use it to tow a trailer though and any dealer that falsely accused me of doing that would have a fight on his hands - maybe a lawsuit as well if they continued to be unreasonable.

Worst case, is someone had a warranty issue they think might be denied because of something like this they can just remove the hitch before bringing it in - it wouldn't be dishonest or unethical to do so.

Alternatively the owner could get something in writing from the dealer stating the hitch was okay to have on the vehicle - ether that or simply have the dealer install the hitch in which case the warranty standing would be implied.
My dealer sold me the hitch and knew its purpose. Said the only issue I would have with warranty was if I towed something and it burnt up the rear motors, than that would obviously be denied. He said that only towing something of significant weight (Not bicycles or a luggage container) could burn up the motors. Any other issues with the motors would not be towing related.
 

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That's good. It seems like each dealer is giving everyone different responses, so probably a good thing to check with your individual dealers first about it. On Azine, a user reported that the salesperson said they would void the warranty for even bike hitches, so there's obviously not a formal position on this. Might be something worth getting a public response from Acura on (just tweeted them, so I'll let you know if I get a response).
 

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there's obviously not a formal position on this.
Yep, that's exactly the problem. In the absence of such, any powertrain warranty claim could be an ugly battle. Dunno if I trust a tweet as a statement of policy. If you install trailer light hookups, that would seem to push things in the wrong direction.

I see hitches for bike racks on little Prius hybrids. I can't imagine those are rated to tow anything, so I wonder what Toyota's warranty policy looks like.

In my reckless youth, I was less concerned about warranties. For a couple of years, I towed a 16' Carlson speedboat behind a little souped up Corolla FWD hatchback with a 1.5L 4-banger and a 5 speed manual transmission. I'm sure the trailer was longer than the car, and weight was a close contest. But they were the same color scheme, white with red trim, so it was a sharp but crazy little rig. Got lots of stares. :grin:
 

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a user reported that the salesperson said...
Key words - 'salesperson said'. Vehicle salespeople are remarkably ignorant regarding the vehicles they sell in so many ways. I wouldn't trust what a salesperson states. I think you just proved this further by getting an opposing response from Acura corporate.

I try to look at things logically fwiw - and it's illogical to infer that a hitch translates to towing a trailer with the way these vehicles are used. I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of MDXs with hitches have never towed a trailer and have only been used for a bike rack or cargo box or even as a tie down point for a kayak mounted on a roof rack - with some percentage having never been used for anything. It's the 'towing a trailer' that the owner's manual states one shouldn't do.
 

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it's illogical to infer that a hitch translates to towing a trailer
I think we need to consider that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Yes, I understand that trailer hitches are used for other purposes, notably bike racks, hitch platforms, and hitch boxes, which are relatively recent innovations. And it's probably true that towing is less common than it used to be, and it's certainly true that the target demographic for "SUV's" ( and crossovers, in particular ) has expanded beyond those who routinely tow and haul stuff.

But there is this issue of burden of proof. If, in the event of a hybrid powertrain failure, the burden of proof is upon the owner of the vehicle to demonstrate that they didn't tow anything, that will be rather difficult if there is an accessory trailer hitch installed, and especially if there is also trailer light wiring installed. Conversely, it will be pretty easy to demonstrate if there is not a tow hitch receiver installed, and there is no evidence that one has been removed. ( Yes, the hitch will probably leave marks on the undercarriage). Since the stated policy is that towing "is not recommended", I do think the burden of proof will be upon the owner. But I'm not a lawyer, and I have no real interest in employing one for the purpose of getting my car fixed. Ever.
 

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I see hitches for bike racks on little Prius hybrids. I can't imagine those are rated to tow anything, so I wonder what Toyota's warranty policy looks like.
To answer my own question, for US spec Priuses ( or is it Priui? ) the policy is no towing. But Toyota sells a hitch for bike racks. And there are entertaining discussions in Prius forums about what you could/should/would tow anyway.

And to confuse the issue even further, for the 2016 model year, Toyota released a Prius with a 1600 pound tow rating, but not for the US market.

2016 Toyota Prius can tow a 1,600-pound trailer, for some reason - Autoblog
 

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Haha the manufacturers really hate paying the extra fees for the darn towing certification...

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