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Hi All,

I posted once on this forum but that was years ago. Am reaching out again as I suddenly had to spend a lot of money on the car, got some of it fixed, and some more work is pending.
I took the car to a dealer to get an airbag service recall done. Also asked the dealer to check the car thoroughly. This is when he dropped the surprise. He said that the car had multiple issues, many of which were safety issues, and that I need to get them fixed. He said the brake pads needed to be replaced, the power steering pump was badly leaking fluid, the power steering lines had to be replaced, the control arm needed to be replaced, and some non-safety stuff like the AC had a leak in some seals, one of the shocks was leaking, and the exhaust had a hole in it.

As you can imagine, I got quite a shock as my previous oil change with a local guy had not revealed any problems, and the previous one from another dealer had also not revealed any problems.

So I smelled something fishy and went back to my original dealer for a second opinion. He gave a very different story. Told me that the brake pads were fine and will likely go on for another year or two. My power steering pump did need to be replaced, but not the lines. The shock was indeed busted and showed me where it was leaking. The control arms were actually fine - the rubber bushes had some surface cracks but they were not deep at all. He also showed them to me and they did look okay.

So long story short, I got the safety stuff done, and my $4k bill came down to about $900 - which was for the hydraulic pump, the AC seals, and replacing one of the shocks that was leaking. Not sure if I had gone to a local guy if I could have further got it for cheaper (quite likely) but its done.

But I do have a leaky exhaust that is rusty and has a hole in it, that is making a fair bit of noise. The dealer quoted almost $3k for that alone but he also said that if I got it done from a local guy with some other part, it could be significantly cheaper as I would not be using an original Acura part. Any advice or guidance you can give on how I can fix my exhaust will be really appreciated!

I also have a couple of other small things that I have been dragging my feet on. There is a bit of rust in the car's body near the base of the fuel cap - it looks like water accumulated inside the fuel cap door and caused a bit of rust. How can I fix that? I have also had a sticky rear door latch that gets temporarily fixed with some grease but becomes sticky again after a few days. It looks like the inner mechanism might be rusted out. Is there a good way to get that fixed? Another minor thing is that my central LCD has developed a big black discoloration spot. My guess is that the LCD needs to be replaced - or i can just live with it.

My car has never ever given a problem in all the years, but all this happened so quickly and so much, I am feeling quite low. I was even thinking if I should trade off the car. Funnily enough, I drove a loaner 2017 MDX for a few days and I actually found my old 2004 MDX warhorse much better on rough roads and potholes. The new car is either so much lighter or has much stiffer suspensions - it has a much bumpier and jerkier ride than the old car! Of course, the new car is much more nimble, has a feather light steering, has all the tech (although the navigation tech is so painful to use!), and I love the fact that the new car has second row seats that can slide forward. But I was surprised to see my old car really hold its own when it comes to drive comfort and passenger comfort.

Thanks for reading my long rambling post. I started off asking for some help and advice, but also ended up rambling about my repair woes.
 

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Exhaust - check amazon, rockauto, and ebay for aftermarket exhaust parts. Probably everything from manifold back. I used Walker on an older Accord and was pleased w/ price/performance. My 03 MDX still runs quiet here in TX.

Fuel filler neck rust can lead to evap codes or worse; leaks when filling. Use file and emery cloth to remove rust. Lube w/ silicone grease.

My 03 MDX on original shocks still rides quiet and firm at 212K miles. I just completed 2nd Timing Belt job last week.

good luck
 

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Interesting post. A couple of years ago, I had my 2003 in for an airbag recall as well. Took it to an Acura dealer. While there, they did a complimentary inspection and presented me with a 20-page report when I came to pick up the car. Main issues were worn suspension components and some leaks around the P/S pump. They generously gave me an estimate as well, which came up to about $8,000.

Mind you, this is for a 10+ year old MDX whose market value was certainly not even close to that amount. Needless to say, I said thank you, no thank you, and went on my way. I take the vehicle to my own mechanic and he basically tells me that while their inspections were not wrong, their recommendations were overblown. We repaired a few of the major items on the dealership's list and after less than $1,000 later, I was good to go...and still no major issues to date.
 

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My neighbor took his 200,000 mile 2004 Lexus into the dealer, and showed me the $10,000 estimate (a whole lot more than the car was worth). About $400 worth of parts later, I had his car working like a champ (needed O2 sensors and an intake air plenum). They'd quoted a boatload of suspension work that really wasn't necessary (I'm as picky as they come, and his car drives and handles just fine). You have to keep some perspective when spending money on an older, high-mileage car.

That said, I just dropped $900 on some new Michelins, and a couple hundred more on a timing belt/water pump kit and some new hoses. Both of those are truly investments in the miles I plan to get out of my MDX over the next few years.
 
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