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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to compare maintenance costs between the MDX and the Q7, and it would be helpful to understand scheduled maintenance intervals and appointment costs on the MDX so I can compare that to what I'll spend on Q7 maintenance.

With the new Acura's all using the Maintenance Minder, the approach seems to be wait until Acura tells you what service needs to be done and when. This makes it hard to estimate the approximate cost of ownership and service costs. A nice thing about the old service intervals was each interval appointment (i.e. 10k service, 45k service) would have a price and you could easily figure out how much routine maintenance was going to cost.

I know maintenance minder has the following services it wants you to do. Can anyone provide an interval at which these items typically appear? This will allow me to create my own anticipated maintenance interval schedule so I can effectively see whether the MDX or Q7 will be more expensive than the other for scheduled maintenance. Thanks!

  1. Service A - Oil Change
  2. Service B - Oil & Filter Change, Inspections
  3. Service 1 - Rotate Tires
  4. Service 2 - Replace air cleaner element, dust & pollen filter, inspect drive belt
  5. Service 3 - Replace transmission & transfer fluid
  6. Service 4 - Replace spark plugs, timing belt, inspect water pump & valve clearance
  7. Service 5 - Replace engine coolant
  8. Service 6 - Replace rear differential fluid
  9. Replace Brake Fluid - Every 2 years
 

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The general rule would be about 7,000 to 8,000 between services. However the hybrid seems to go more then that. I don’t think I realized when I bought mine. But in stop and go traffic. You could spend an hour in traffic and your engine may only be running half the time.
 

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  1. Service A - Oil Change
  2. Service B - Oil & Filter Change, Inspections
  3. Service 1 - Rotate Tires
  4. Service 2 - Replace air cleaner element, dust & pollen filter, inspect drive belt
  5. Service 3 - Replace transmission & transfer fluid
  6. Service 4 - Replace spark plugs, timing belt, inspect water pump & valve clearance
  7. Service 5 - Replace engine coolant
  8. Service 6 - Replace rear differential fluid
  9. Replace Brake Fluid - Every 2 years
As you know, the MID will adjust based on the conditions of your driving... However, if you want "ballpark" estimates, here you go:

I'd say 7,500-9,000 is a good "average" for the A/B interval, in my experience. My MID alerted "B" was due soon, with 15% life remaining, at 7,709 miles.

Service 1 is usually due along with every A/B.

Service 2 is usually due at 2 year / 30k intervals.

Service 3 is usually around 4 year / 60k intervals. Exception: 30k if you regularly drive in mountainous areas, very low vehicle speeds, or trailer towing.

Service 4 is 7 year / 105k miles.

Service 5 is 8 year / 120k miles. Exception: 60k if you regularly drive in very high temperatures (over 110F) or very low temperatures (under -20F).

Service 6 is first done at 1 year / 15k miles. Then every 2 years / 30k, thereafter.

NOTE: It doesn't sit right with me to change the oil and not change the filter. So I ALWAYS do service "B". Even if the MID indicates A -- I will do B.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As you know, the MID will adjust based on the conditions of your driving... However, if you want "ballpark" estimates, here you go:

I'd say 7,500-9,000 is a good "average" for the A/B interval, in my experience. My MID alerted "B" was due soon, with 15% life remaining, at 7,709 miles.

Service 1 is usually due along with every A/B.

Service 2 is usually due at 2 year / 30k intervals.

Service 3 is usually around 4 year / 60k intervals. Exception: 30k if you regularly drive in mountainous areas, very low vehicle speeds, or trailer towing.

Service 4 is 7 year / 105k miles.

Service 5 is 8 year / 120k miles. Exception: 60k if you regularly drive in very high temperatures (over 110F) or very low temperatures (under -20F).

Service 6 is first done at 1 year / 15k miles. Then every 2 years / 30k, thereafter.

NOTE: It doesn't sit right with me to change the oil and not change the filter. So I ALWAYS do service "B". Even if the MID indicates A -- I will do B.
That's very helpful, thank you!!

Yeah I definitely understand these are just ballpark estimates and the actual point these indicators will come on depends on driving conditions, climate, etc. I typically bring my car in for service (instead of doing it myself) and so this info is really useful, especially in conjunction with the dealer price for these services. I already know Audi service is essentially 1x per 10k miles or 1x per year, so less frequently and their "A" and "B" service essentially alternates at $270 for odd years and $570 for even years, plus other more expensive items that appear (like 40k or 60k).

If the interval for A/B for Acura is roughly 7,500-9,000 miles, I assume "A" and "B" alternate every other, and I also assume "A" would be the 1st appt at 7,500 and "B" would follow at approximately 15k?
 

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I typically bring my car in for service (instead of doing it myself) and so this info is really useful, especially in conjunction with the dealer price for these services. I already know Audi service is essentially 1x per 10k miles or 1x per year, so less frequently and their "A" and "B" service essentially alternates at $270 for odd years and $570 for even years, plus other more expensive items that appear (like 40k or 60k).
I would expect you to find the Acura service costs are MUCH less expensive than Audi.

For example, over 5 years, at 10k miles per year (50k total), according to the intervals you stated:

Audi:
$270 (service A @ 10k)
$570 (service B @ 20k)
$270 (service A @ 30k)
$570 (service B @ 40k)
$270 (service A @ 50k)
====
$1,950

Acura:
$85 (service B1 @ 7.5k)
$225 (service B16 @ 15k)
$85 (service B1 @ 22.5k)
$245 (service B12 @ 30k)
$85 (service B1 @ 37.5k)
$225 (service B16 @ 45k)
====
$950

Acura would cost about HALF to maintain at the dealer, compared to the Audi.

If the interval for A/B for Acura is roughly 7,500-9,000 miles, I assume "A" and "B" alternate every other, and I also assume "A" would be the 1st appt at 7,500 and "B" would follow at approximately 15k?
Not necessarily. My MDX has actually only shown me "B" services. My wife has had a few Hondas and she sometimes saw "A" and sometimes saw "B" but it wasn't as predictable as simply every-other-time. Most dealers charge the same price for A and B, anyway. Just always do B and it's simple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would expect you to find the Acura service costs are MUCH less expensive than Audi.

For example, over 5 years, at 10k miles per year (50k total), according to the intervals you stated:

Audi:
$270 (service A @ 10k)
$570 (service B @ 20k)
$270 (service A @ 30k)
$570 (service B @ 40k)
$270 (service A @ 50k)
====
$1,950

Acura:
$85 (service B1 @ 7.5k)
$225 (service B16 @ 15k)
$85 (service B1 @ 22.5k)
$245 (service B12 @ 30k)
$85 (service B1 @ 37.5k)
$225 (service B16 @ 45k)
====
$950

Acura would cost about HALF to maintain at the dealer, compared to the Audi.


Not necessarily. My MDX has actually only shown me "B" services. My wife has had a few Hondas and she sometimes saw "A" and sometimes saw "B" but it wasn't as predictable as simply every-other-time. Most dealers charge the same price for A and B, anyway. Just always do B and it's simple.
Yeah that's what I was assuming when I saw Audi maintenance appts that were $270 and $570 per year, not factoring in the 45k and 60k services which are expensive. But figured I'd do the math on Acura to get a better picture. I know my Infiniti wasn't terrible to maintain outside of the 45k and 60k services as those include a lot of stuff, but Infiniti has a fixed schedule and intervals so it's easier to plot out and predict.

I was curious what the purpose for "A" and "B" was anyway since I'm used to changing the oil and filter at the same time, and considering the other components of "B" are inspections I always thought that a "multi-point inspection" is usually included as part of each service appt anyway.

In any event, I don't put a ton of miles on and so I'll probably assume about 10k miles per year.

Since the minder pops up at 15% remaining (due soon) and 5% remaining (service asap) and then negative (service past due), what would be the point you'd want to bring it in? I'm assuming 5%? Would it be safe to even wait until the past-due indicator comes on and then bring it in at that point assuming you don't drive a lot of miles between the past-due indicator and service being performed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
While theoretically I can see the Maintenance Minder being beneficial by only alerting you to replace things that actually need it by continuously monitoring things with a network of sensors, the cynical part of me thinks it likely was all part of an effort by Acura to remove some transparency around the fixed interval schedule.

Without the transparency offered by having a clear "menu" of appointments and cost per appointment by interval it becomes much more difficult for customers to figure out whether the pre-paid maintenance packages are any cheaper than paying as they go and as such it's easier for people to get suckered into paying more for service then they would otherwise by paying as they go.
 

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I was curious what the purpose for "A" and "B" was anyway since I'm used to changing the oil and filter at the same time, and considering the other components of "B" are inspections I always thought that a "multi-point inspection" is usually included as part of each service appt anyway.
Honda/Acura does the "A" service in the MID to try to be more environmentally friendly, I think. I read a press release from them where the only real benefit it mentioned was the reduced waste of fewer filters. Personally, I just do the "B" every time. Many dealers do the same -- which I think is why they always advertise the same price for A vs B. Most dealers do the inspection, every time, as well because it makes customers "feel good" and is a way to up-sell services.

Since the minder pops up at 15% remaining (due soon) and 5% remaining (service asap) and then negative (service past due), what would be the point you'd want to bring it in? I'm assuming 5%? Would it be safe to even wait until the past-due indicator comes on and then bring it in at that point assuming you don't drive a lot of miles between the past-due indicator and service being performed?
I did my first service at 15% and sent my oil out to be analyzed. The analysis came back looking good, and still had a good TBN (additive package still in good shape). Based on the oil analysis, I believe the Acura MID to be quite conservative -- especially if you use a quality oil and filter. I'm now confident taking the minder down to 5%, as that lets me get good life out of the oil, while also being able to show Acura that I'm performing the maintenance within the intervals they recommend.
 

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While theoretically I can see the Maintenance Minder being beneficial by only alerting you to replace things that actually need it by continuously monitoring things with a network of sensors, the cynical part of me thinks it likely was all part of an effort by Acura to remove some transparency around the fixed interval schedule.
Yes, that is a valid criticism.

Fixed schedules do make estimates easier -- but they don't apply to anyone outside of the "fictional" scenario evaluated when building the schedule.

Everyone drives under different conditions (short trips vs highway; stop-and-go vs free-flowing; mountainous vs flat; hot vs cold; towing or not; 1 passenger or 7 passengers + gear).

Is the fixed schedule conservative for your driving style? If so, you'll do more maintenance than you actually needed.
Is the fixed schedule assuming more relaxed conditions than you encounter? If so, you'll under-maintain your vehicle.

A maintenance minder, like what Honda/Acura have implemented, can help you to ensure you're doing the right maintenance, without wasting too much time or money.

Without the transparency offered by having a clear "menu" of appointments and cost per appointment by interval it becomes much more difficult for customers to figure out whether the pre-paid maintenance packages are any cheaper than paying as they go and as such it's easier for people to get suckered into paying more for service then they would otherwise by paying as they go.
That is a much simpler question to answer, than you think. The prepaid maintenance packages are NEVER worth it. I would say you're always better off doing a-la-carte services, and being smart about what services you buy, when you buy them, and who you buy them from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, that is a valid criticism.

Fixed schedules do make estimates easier -- but they don't apply to anyone outside of the "fictional" scenario evaluated when building the schedule.

Everyone drives under different conditions (short trips vs highway; stop-and-go vs free-flowing; mountainous vs flat; hot vs cold; towing or not; 1 passenger or 7 passengers + gear).

Is the fixed schedule conservative for your driving style? If so, you'll do more maintenance than you actually needed.
Is the fixed schedule assuming more relaxed conditions than you encounter? If so, you'll under-maintain your vehicle.

A maintenance minder, like what Honda/Acura have implemented, can help you to ensure you're doing the right maintenance, without wasting too much time or money.
That's an excellent point, I never thought about it like that. Yeah the fixed schedule is definitely more conservative then my driving style most of the time so likely I'll save money via the Maintenance Minder by not performing uneccessary service via an interval/schedule that was based on an estimate of a more aggressive driving style.

That is a much simpler question to answer, than you think. The prepaid maintenance packages are NEVER worth it. I would say you're always better off doing a-la-carte services, and being smart about what services you buy, when you buy them, and who you buy them from.
That's what I've been reading. With Audi the pre-paid maintenance can actually be a good deal, and usually with most things when you pre-pay up front in one large chunk you usually save money instead of paying a-la-carte (think car insurance premiums, lawn maintenance contracts, etc). That's why before even considering a pre-paid maintenance plan with Acura I'd do the math to see if it would make sense. I'd only consider doing it if I saved substantially (20%) over the cost of just doing a-la-carte services.
 

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I actually went over on the interval for the oil change once since I was on a coast to coast and back (plus some) trip when the MID went to 0%. I ended up about 200 miles past the 0% point when I got home and did an oil change (it's not really that critical if it goes a bit over). This 0% point ended up to be almost exactly 10,000 miles. I haven't seen anyone else here post the mileage when it hit 0%, which is good because it really s/b changed before hitting that point. Ideally I'd change it when it hit 5% but I might change it prior to that if I know I'm about to go on a few hundred or more mile trip. More typical mileage I change the oil is along the lines of what some other posters stated - 7500 miles plus or minus some depending on what I plan to do with the vehicle - but I change based on the MID - not the mileage.

I always change the filter when I do an oil change. I do the changes myself so the cost is low - about $22 for the Mobile 1 full synthetic 0W-20 oil I use and $7-8 or so for the filter. When I change the oil I also rotate the tires at the same time and I inspect the brake pads to see how they're doing. I also do just a general eyeball check of the steering/suspension components to make sure a bushing isn't noticeably worn or there wasn't some road damage to something. This latter part takes just a few seconds.

Some of the other service items are easy to do yourself, if you're so inclined, and very inexpensive. Hopefully this would translate into it being not terribly expensive to have the dealer do it if you want to head that route although dealers use their service department as a profit center (which is fine). Things like replacing the engine air filter and especially the cabin air filter are ridiculously easy to do yourself and even things like changing the diff oil and brake bleeding aren't all that difficult.
 

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In the RL we've made coast to coast leaving with it at 80% and come home with about 15% left where it first throws a warning. Also with so much variation in price between dealers I don't know how someone would be able to make a finite comparison. The dealers are independent companies who will loose business if they overcharge. Also some folks use Honda dealers for some of their service when it is less costly, and vice versa. Besides I get special coupons all the time from my dealers and sometimes it can be 50% off the retail price they post.
 

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Off topic I know but I'm fascinated by consumer behavior when it comes to purchase decisions, especially big purchases. I do most of my own maintenance but I suppose I 'should' consider maintenance costs, but I have NEVER entered maintenance costs on the list of considerations when deciding (or length of warranty or various commercial reliability ratings).

Luxury SUV shopping suggests you probably have the means to maintain either even if the one you want has a life cost (maintenance costs are just a slice of this pie) that is much greater than the other option. Assuming you have some enthusiasm for driving, isn't life better when you're driving the vehicle that you really want to drive rather than the one some spreadsheet says will save you a little money over your ownership experience. But if you are simply appliance shopping, then carry on with the spreadsheets (just my opinion).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Off topic I know but I'm fascinated by consumer behavior when it comes to purchase decisions, especially big purchases. I do most of my own maintenance but I suppose I 'should' consider maintenance costs, but I have NEVER entered maintenance costs on the list of considerations when deciding (or length of warranty or various commercial reliability ratings).

Luxury SUV shopping suggests you probably have the means to maintain either even if the one you want has a life cost (maintenance costs are just a slice of this pie) that is much greater than the other option. Assuming you have some enthusiasm for driving, isn't life better when you're driving the vehicle that you really want to drive rather than the one some spreadsheet says will save you a little money over your ownership experience. But if you are simply appliance shopping, then carry on with the spreadsheets (just my opinion).
From my perspective I bought a used Audi A8L with 35k miles which was the car I had wanted to drive for a long time. However it had so many problems the dealer knew me by a first name basis (new radiator, air suspension, a few other items). I was tired of bringing it into the dealer all the time (even if repairs were covered under warranty). Some items like requiring new TPMS sensors when the batteries died at $800 ($200 per piece) are out of pocket. In general I got tired of having to deal with problems in a vehicle I spent a lot of money on. Not to mention once warranty runs out repair costs skyrocket.

After that I decided to only buy reliable vehicles, and bought my Infiniti FX35. Great vehicle that I've owned for over 7 years and 75k miles and have NEVER once had any major issues (just minor annoyances). My thought is why spend over 50k on a vehicle if it is always in the shop requiring repairs? Not worth it to me. Hence research and looking at reliability ratings.

For example, I normally wouldn't have considered the Q7 at all given Audi's historically poor reliability ratings and my past experience with the A8, regardless of how nice the interior of the vehicle is. However the Q7 is rated the #1 mid size luxury SUV in reliability, and as such it is now in consideration.

However repair costs on the Q7 are a lot more expensive after warranty runs out, german parts cost more, which will become a problem much sooner with the Q7 because I'd only consider a used 2017 Q7 which would essentially only have 2 yrs warranty left compared to a new 2018 MDX with 4 year warranty. Also a used Q7 that already has 35k miles is only 25k miles away from 60k service, which is over $1k, on the MDX this wouldn't be due for 60k miles. So maintenance costs definitely are a factor.

All of this ignores how much routine maintenance appointments will cost. I don't want to have to pay $300 each time I bring my vehicle in for even routine maintenance (like on the Q7), if the MDX is under $100 each visit. I have enough money to pay for service with either vehicle, that isn't the problem. However regardless of how much money I may have, I am fiscally conservative and don't like to piss money away needlessly. Not when there are better places to invest your money (like towards early retirement for example).

All of which is to say this is just how I personally analyze and assess options before reaching a $50k purchase decision. Obviously not everyone makes decisions the same way, which is fine, to each their own. There is no right or wrong way.
 
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