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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi! I have a 2018 MDX AWD with 45,000 miles. I believe that’s the push button 9speed transmission. Dealership is telling me I need separate fluid for the front differential ($129) from the transmission fluid ($329). Independent dealer is telling me the front differential service is included with transmission service/ same fluid ($99).
Both sound like they know what they are talking about and I don’t ! Help plz:)
 

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The dealership will charge you the max price for any service compared to most independent shops (Indy shops for short). Did the MDX show a transmission service is due in the instrument panel like B13?

The sh-awd MDX uses ATF Type-3 @ 3.5qts for the 9AT. There is also a transfer case that provides power to the rear wheels that uses HGO-1 hypoid gear oil at .45 qts. Usually, the 9AT+transfer case fluids are changed at the same time for these two separate units. Dealership (or stealerships) will charge max prices for the fluids/labor and up sell services when none may not be needed. Especially now when new/used car inventories so low and dealerships need to make up the revenue in the maintenance shops.

I would compare prices with Honda dealerships and Indy shops. Honda uses the same fluids for 9AT+transfer case+rear differential for the current models of Pilot, Passport, and Ridgeline.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The dealership will charge you the max price for any service compared to most independent shops (Indy shops for short). Did the MDX show a transmission service is due in the instrument panel like B13?

The sh-awd MDX uses ATF Type-3 @ 3.5qts for the 9AT. There is also a transfer case that provides power to the rear wheels that uses HGO-1 hypoid gear oil at .45 qts. Usually, the 9AT+transfer case fluids are changed at the same time for these two separate units. Dealership (or stealerships) will charge max prices for the fluids/labor and up sell services when none may not be needed. Especially now when new/used car inventories so low and dealerships need to make up the revenue in the maintenance shops.

I would compare prices with Honda dealerships and Indy shops. Honda uses the same fluids for 9AT+transfer case+rear differential for the current models of Pilot, Passport, and Ridgeline.
No I only saw the scheduled maintenance alert for $45,000 miles but the dealership has been suggesting for the transmission and front and rear differential service to be done with prior oil changes.
Dealership vs Independent quotes are so different.
My question is if I am changing the transmission fluid, do I really need a front differential service?
Note: Independent shop said the transfer case fluid does not need to be done until later down the road.
 

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I don't know the service history of your MDX. The Acura owner's site should have all the services done on your vehicle if it was completed by the dealership since new. It is not going to hurt to do a transmission, transfer case, or rear diff service early other than cost for the extra service. Everytime I did my transmission, I also did the transfer/front diff at the same time (08 RDX, 11 MDX only, no transfer case on my fwd 06 TSX, 18 RLX hybrid, or 19 MDX hybrid).

The MDX is designed to go +200,000 miles with just sticking with the "A" or "B" notifications for fluid changes that pop up at 15% on the instrument panel. I would only change it early if plan to do a lot towing or got back from a heavy towing trip, planning a big +2000 miles road-trip and the service will pop up during, you use your MDX for short trips (Uber, door dash, etc...), or planning to let you MDX sit for months (don't drive for +3 months in winter type of thing).

I could be wrong; but, it sounds like Acura is trying to up-sell you services if that service isn't due on the M.I.D. instrument panel.
 

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They must be referring to the transmission and also the transfer case (used for the SHAWD function). Those use two different fluids and are two separate procedures. The rear differential is yet another function using yet another fluid.

Go ahead and read through the 'Maintenance' section of the owner manual to understand what maintenance is required for the vehicle. It'll tell you to follow the service messages that appear on the MID (in the center of the instrument cluster) that will indicate codes such as 'A123', 'B1', and the like. You can then look up that code in the owner manual to see what the code means for service. Note that there may be some additional services needed that aren't based on the codes that pop and are more related to time elapsed than miles driven.

You don't need to change all the fluids at the same time - you need to change them when the MID indicates to have them changed. Some people will find it more convenient to just change them all at once but it's not necessary and throws off the schedule.

A dealer almost always will be more expensive than an independent mechanic but make sure you get a decent independent mechanic and I suggest staying far away from 'kwikee lube' type places that often make mistakes and can be incompetent. Don't just look for whoever's the cheapest. If you don't know of a good mechanic don't jeopardize your expensive MDX by taking it to an unknown and just pony up the extra money for a dealer in that case (Acura or Honda).

I do most of my own maintenance on the MDX. Changing the transfer case fluid and the rear differential fluid are both very easy and quick to do so if a dealer charges hundreds of $$ for those they're making a considerable profit from it.

What codes popped on your MID this time?
 

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Hi! I have a 2018 MDX AWD with 45,000 miles. I believe that’s the push button 9speed transmission. Dealership is telling me I need separate fluid for the front differential ($129) from the transmission fluid ($329). Independent dealer is telling me the front differential service is included with transmission service/ same fluid ($99).
Both sound like they know what they are talking about and I don’t ! Help plz:)
I had my transmission service done when the car told me to because this is the way Acura designed servicing to be: the car, not the dealer, tells you which services to do based on how the car is being driven.
For me, I got code B136 after I passed 49,000 miles, but that will be different for everyone depending on how the car is driven.
117710

I had my service done at a Honda dealer. The dealer invoice shows they performed Service B, Service 1, Service 3 ($169), and Service 6 ($149). Service 3 includes the transmission fluid and transfer case fluid change. Total for all of that plus tax was $406 back in May.

The first dealer should not be charging you $329 for Service 3, then another $129 for transfer case fluid change when those are supposed to be done in the same service. If that $129 is for rear differential service, then that's inline with what one can expect to pay. Nowhere in the maintenance section does Acura mention a service for a "Front Differential" so I would ask the dealership exactly what they referring to. This service isn't cheap, but it's definitely cheaper than replacing the transmission so make sure it is done right.

The independent shop should not be charging $99 because they would be doing the job at a loss! I would avoid this shop because it seems they do not know the proper fluid to use in your MDX. ATF 3.1 costs about $25 per quart. Considering you need 3.5 quarts, the first $87 of that service is buying the fluid alone, I do not expect the remaining $13 you pay them to cover labor and the transfer case fluid.

While doing the transmission fluid change early is not bad for the car, the Maintenance Minder system will have no way of knowing that the service was performed. For example, if you do the service now you may get your code 3 service reminder at 55,000 miles, even though the service was done 10,000 miles ago. This is not a bad thing, but it is inconvenient because now the car is telling you to get services you don't need. Then it becomes your responsibility to track your own maintenance.
 
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