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Discussion Starter #1
After discovering the muffler issue today, I fired off this email. I have another thread about the hood alignment, so you can see the pictures there. I'm curious how they'll respond, but I think the car deserves a sanity lookover/inspection similar to what they would do if CPO'ing a car or doing a PPI.

I genuinely think the design of the car is excellent, but mine is a product of really poor assembly QC. I probably put too much unnecessary detail in it surrounding the roof issue, but since I believe the selling dealer fixed that unofficially, I wanted to make sure it was on the record.

Dear Acura,
I hope this email finds you well.

I’m writing today, to seek advice about the brand new 2016 Acura MDX SH-AWD Advance that we purchased last month. The VIN of the car is: 5<redacted>1

We purchased this car less than one month ago, and at present it has just over 400 miles on it. I’m writing to seek advice on how to handle a few concerning issues we’ve had in our brief ownership. I’m concerned about other issues of similar character that may still be present in the car. The issues thus far have been:

1. We purchased the car with 8 miles on it. We had test drove an identical model (different color), and did not test drive the vehicle we bought before taking delivery. Immediately on the drive home, within the first 1 mile, I heard one of the worst car interior rattles I have ever heard. It sounded like it was coming from the rear passenger area. The next morning I took the car back to the dealer as I was having the OEM hitched installed. The sales person (who was great by the way) went on a drive with me and he immediately heard it. I let him drive while I sat in the backseat and I immediately diagnosed the noise as coming from the center/roof speaker. I also noticed there was significant vertical play/looseness in the roof liner.

The dealer took the car back and a tech looked at it while installing the OEM hitch. I didn’t receive paperwork, but the sales person said the entire roof was not clipped in and that the tech just pushed each clip into place. I asked if they removed the roof liner to do this, and they said they did not. Fortunately, the rattle went away, but I’m not sure the entire roof liner is installed properly. Every once in a while I hear what I think is a small roof rattle, but it’s without a doubt magnitudes better than when I received the vehicle.

2. Upon driving home, I also noticed that the hood wasn’t aligned very well with the fender on the driver’s side. You can see the gap and step while in the driver seat. Upon examining the passenger side, it is apparent that the driver’s side is not aligned right at all. I’ve attached pictures of both sides, you can see the driver’s side does not flow evenly. The car came this way, it hasn’t been in an accident or anything, etc. It’s not extremely bad, but it’s quite noticeable while driving and just doesn’t seem fitting of a $56,000 vehicle (or any brand new vehicle for that matter).

3. I have been noticing that when I hit a small bump, pot hole or man hole cover with the right rear tire, I get a slight pop noise. It sounds distinctly different than when any of the other three tires hit a similar piece of road. Today, I looked under the car and noticed the exhaust/muffler was just dangling and the rubber hanger was not attached to the chassis hanger. As best I could, I attempted to put the exhaust hanger back on. I couldn’t get it all the way on as it is really tight rubber. I also haven’t driven it since doing that, but it could possibly be causing the noise.

Anyways, these are all issues that are a bit concerning about the build quality and attention to detail during assembly. The car only has 400 miles and hasn’t seen anything but pristine pavement. We have a newborn child and the car has been driven extremely gingerly. Roof liners not clipped in, misaligned body parts and mufflers not attached to the chassis are all signs of extremely careless craftsmanship and human error.

Is there a way to get the car looked over in great detail to find any other out of specification things? The overall design of the car and the actual components are all of excellent quality, and I have no doubts that Acura designed a great SUV here, but the assembly process was negligent on this vehicle. I’m concerned of any possible safety or reliability systems that were as carelessly installed as the roof liner, hood and exhaust.

Thank you for your assistance, and I hope we can work together to rectify the concerns of the vehicle and restore peace-of-mind in the quality and safety of the vehicle.

Regards,
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I think it's fine to send them a letter but they'll likely just refer you to your dealer to get it taken care of. Actually, you'd be justified to make the same complaint to your dealer and have the dealer service people do a thorough inspection of the vehicle since yours clearly has a number of build issues. On top of that it has QC issues - but the real issue is with the build itself - the QC check should ideally just result in a sign-off that the item checked out okay. In your case it was a double process failure - both build and QC. You could probably add another failure - the dealer should have done some inspection when it arrived and probably caught at least the headliner and the hood alignment. It's apparent your dealer didn't bother with much of an inspection, if any.

It's funny how so many people were saying 'avoid the first year' on a new redesign - it appears that 2 years later there's not much of an improvement in these quality areas. Actually, my early build 2014 hasn't had the issues many others have posted on here - such as headliner not clipped in, exhaust not secure, etc. - it's been fairly perfect.

Good luck - I hope yours gets sorted out - it probably will.
 

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I feel like we need to voice our concerns with QC to the media and the new head of Acura. I haven't faced many issues, but i feel like i just can't trust this brand at all.

One thing i find pretty sad is that i have a ton of QC check marks in my Hyundai and virtually zero indication of QC on the Acura. Makes me wonder if Acura will even be around in a decade. Customer satisfaction will keep sinking (especially with the TLX 9ZF issues, oh by the way it looks like our FCA counterparts and ZF are revising the 9ZF) and there will be little reason to keep a pretty Honda around.


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Discussion Starter #4
To be honest, it wasn't until I re-read my email that it dawned on me that the muffler issue could have been caused by the selling dealer installing the hitch. I'm not sure if that's a required step or not, but its very likely.

In regards to the selling dealer, they claim to be a Top 10 dealer in the US (by volume). I purchased the car in another city, and I never had any interest tions of a relationship post-sale with them given I live elsewhere. My local dealer will be responsible for service Google forward.
 

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I highly suggest test driving the exact car you purchase prior to delivery. I have heard too many horror stories over the years. Expect very little from Acura. Your dealer is the one to fix everything. I would take it in ASAP. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Lessons learned, although it's hard in the spur of a moment to find every little thing, I mean who looks at the roof liner when inspecting a car.

After re-attaching the muffler, unfortunately the sound didn't improve, I'm thinking it's something in/around the shocks. I found another thread about that, so I'm going to chase that down with the dealer:
http://www.mdxers.org/forums/94-third-generation-mdx-2014-present/64618-2014-mdx-clunking-noise-rear-suspension.html

In regards to the above, and for the benefit of others, I had the opportunity to look throughout the car, and found a few more roof related issues. I'll also show the hood alignment pictures here.

To reiterate, issues thus far:
1. Roof liner not clipped in at all causing huge rattle (attempted fix by selling dealer)
2. Roof liner is not fitting well in many places and has visible issues throughout the cabin
3. Engine hood is not aligned right on driver's side
4. Muffler was not hung to chassis at final anchor/hanger (fixed by self)
5. Rear shocks clunk and pop over minor bumps in the 5-45 mph range
6. Front shocks crunch over large speed bumps (like crunching a coke can). I've had this before on cars with extra stiff urethane bushings, but only in cold weather, not in 95F weather.

Otherwise, and I am serious, the car is quite nice, it drives straight, handles well, is very quiet (shock issues aside), electronics and stereo are nice. I wish the nav screen showed street names, but other than that, things are good.

Again, this car is brand new, it has 400 miles on the clock and these issues were not done by us or via normal wear and tear:

Here are some pictures:

Proper alignment of hood:


Improper alignment of hood:


Various roof liner fitment issues:




Some sort of tool mark on the plastic (perhaps blade screwdriver or similar). I've never had any cargo loaded very high or even had any third row passengers (third row has never been up yet) to cause this sort of damage.
 

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As a native Alabamian, I must point out that Hyundai, Mercedes and Toyota all have plants in AL that have no QC issues like this. Nor does the new Pilot which is assembled in the same factory as the MDX...so the problem must lie with that actual assembly line and not my fellow drunken rednecks :p

Course the real issue here may be a population of Alabama Crimson Tide fans that work there building a car for the consumption of Auburn grads. :D

All that being said, my '16 now has 1200 miles on it and none of these QC issues (May 2015 build)
 

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As a native Alabamian, I must point out that Hyundai, Mercedes and Toyota all have plants in AL that have no QC issues like this. Nor does the new Pilot which is assembled in the same factory as the MDX...so the problem must lie with that actual assembly line and not my fellow drunken rednecks

Course the real issue here may be a population of Alabama Crimson Tide fans that work there building a car for the consumption of Auburn grads. :D

All that being said, my '16 now has 1200 miles on it and none of these QC issues (May 2015 build)
Roooolll tide!!

The Merc C class in Alabama actually does have a bunch of issues (fit, finish, nvh), as does the Hyundai Theta engine built at Alabama (anyone able to keep track of how many failed 2.0Ts there are in the Santa Fe family?). And the Pilot has been mentioned (see their forums too).

Obviously, there is a lot of company training and culture involved that make the difference at each company, but for Acura, that Alabama plant has been doing quite poorly compared to plants like the Ohio one.

It's nothing against your state, just that specific factory. Quite a few of these TSBs have been for assembly issues. Crossing my fingers that my April 15 build will also be OK. Had a leather defect so far.
 

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Coming from a long line of German cars (BMW, Audi, VW), my Odyssey and now MDX both leave much to be desired in the QC department. My Odyssey had misaligned hood, doors rubbed against fenders, rear hatch was not aligned either, etc... The MDX, fit and finish is subpar, not what one would expect from an upscaled vehicle. My steering wheel is off to the right and the dealer can't even aligned since their equipment is not set up for a 2016 MY. Luckily my wife (her car) is not as picky and doesn't even care about any of it. In any case we are leasing it and will probably not keep it after the lease is done. I am hoping that VW will bring the Cross Blue soon so I can go back to where I belong.
 

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It is fine to send a letter to Acura, but I honestly don't think they care. I have a very early build 2014 MDX (build date June 2013) I had some issues over the first year and I called Acura to express my disappointment with the quality build issues and they basically said resolve it out with the dealer you bought the car from. The dealer was just plain lousy and I now get my servicing done at another dealer in Chicago. Acura repeated to me on the phone that they have nothing to do with the issues (bad wheel bearing, bad tail light, bad trunk assembly that required a new part, a vent that was falling out of the dash board) and that there was no reason to contact them. Acura also told me that if I wasn't happy with the dealer, that was too bad and they advised me not to go back to them and if I could not resolve the issues with the dealer I purchased the car from, there was no recourse. I was a bit annoyed to say the least but all the things were fixed and for the most part I am happy with the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Agreed, I hope I don't get that experience. I do understand that Acura needs to rely on the dealers to service these, but I would like them to step-up and own the process. I also think the dealers are more motivated to fix the issue appropriately when they have backing and requests coming from corporate.

Like VMDX, my wife isn't as picky and this is her car, but I bought it brand new for her, and I went out of my way to get the exact colors, etc. so I obviously want her car to be perfect.

I'll keep everyone posted with my results. Fortunately, thus far I'm not dealing with any real severe issues like electrical or mechanical issues, it's just upsetting little naggy QC issues that are annoyances more than anything.
 

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From my experience, ACR never helps until you go to a dealer first to diagnose. They then contact the dealer for the problem (they don't trust us) However, this is where we lose as consumers.

Dealers either cannot reproduce the issue or simply don't want to deal with warranty work (limited labor allowances, making most diagnosis work an automatic loss), and push us away by saying a problem is "normal."

For example, my 2nd row leather seats had a gouge from damage either during assembly or delivery. ACR didn't care about the pictures or anything, and required a dealer to make the judgement call for repair. The dealer wanted to use a leather repair service, which i said would not suffice, as a new $50k+ car with a leather repair was unacceptable since ANY repair would stand out like a sore thumb. However, they (dealer and ACR) persisted despite my objections to them. Only when their leather repair guy agreed with me and drove away did ACR finally agree to reupholster my brand new seats. So, what is ACR really good for?

In the end, the way Acura treats owners through ACR is with a heavy serving of distrust and with canned responses. Our word, even when backed by photographic (you'll find other posts here of problems recorded on video, only to be thrown back at owners with the "cannot reproduce issue" reasoning), means very little, so your dealers are your only hope to get anything done.

I've resorted to harassing (jk, more stern tone than anything) the service manager directly enough for him to know me on a first name basis because there simply is no concern for us past the dealership level (if you even get the dealership level!).

I do wonder how many people face the same issues but don't really know to check forums nor speak out about it. The MDX owner population isn't very technical in nature (those who are tend to be on these forums), and seems rather quiet/tolerant of faults compared to the vehicles in the brand. So they ultimately may lose those of us who come from other brands with better treatment or those of us who are technical in nature. But we're such a small population that they don't care. Same could be said about any brand really, but the more problems there are, the more interaction will be required, and the more people will notice their true level of customer service.

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I doubt they are listening.

They are too busy fixing the giant screw up on the Pilot.
They thought they could get away without building any pre production test vehicles.

It's a massive screw up. Alabama is in crisis.
 

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I doubt they are listening.

They are too busy fixing the giant screw up on the Pilot.
They thought they could get away without building any pre production test vehicles.

It's a massive screw up. Alabama is in crisis.
This is probably true. There is a huge demand for the new Pilot, they cant make them fast enough especially the elite. There are waiting lists at dealers.

Fixing quality issues with the line comes secondary to moving product. They are going to do whatever they need to get those orders filled before people find some other car to buy. They will dump the problems on the dealers. The primary concern is getting the parts from suppliers, and cranking out as many cars as they can as long as this crazy demand exists.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
In my case, this isn't a single issue that I want to get fixed and a dealer isn't complying. I'm more concerned about what I don't know, but if I have to, I'll start taking it issue by issue with the local dealer, which fortunately is less than a 5 minute drive from here.
 

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I think someone here put it nicely... "assembled by drunk rednecks." :(
That was me, and I used that same phrase both with Acura customer service, and the dealership. They don't care, they already had my money. :rolleyes:

I wish you the best of luck with your MDX, fellow Austinite. I'm really glad to be rid of mine, it was a year of irritation I could have done without! :headshake

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #20
ACR responded to my letter, and it was fairly apparent they didn't read my letter. They were asking what dealers I've been dealing with these issues with. As stated, I was seeking their advice for a more appropriate inspection and was not complaining about an issue at a dealer. That said, it seems consistent with the above poster who mentioned they really want to pawn you off to the dealer.

I was hoping giving the newness, that they would own this process and at least pretend to give a crap, but the initial response was disappointing.

I did include the pictures of my roof liner (which were not included in the original email), and I told them I wanted their advice before contacting any dealer and that I am again concerned about overall quality and do not want to deal with things on an issue-by-issue basis.
 
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