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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Quick question on OEM accessories for the MDX.

When building on the Acura webpage, it says "Prices shown are manufacturer suggested retail prices only. Installation cost for accessories is not included. Dealer costs may vary. Prices exclude applicable taxes."

My question was in regards to whether there is a benefit to having them pre-installed vs installing later. For all accessories you select, including tow package, are these all installed by the dealer when your vehicle arrives? If so, then I'm assuming the dealer determines the final price including install when you place your order with them?

If this is the case, then I'm also assuming with the exception of any special discount you negotiate on accessories with purchase of a new vehicle, there isn't a benefit to buying your vehicle with the accessories pre-installed vs buying them and having them installed later, is that correct?

If the dealer charges $1,800 to install 5k tow package then regardless of whether it was "pre-installed" or if you came in 2 years later it would cost the same (except if prices went up of course).
 

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I'm pretty sure accessories are "dealer added options" meaning they are sold and installed by the dealer. Huge profit center for them. I don't know how handy you are but many of the accessories are much cheaper online and the install is within the grasp of average DIY folks.

As far as costs now or later, we got a great price on our MDX, but when we inquired about some accessories the inflated list prices were carved in granite so we passed. I'm certain if you went to the parts counter a year later they would hand you the same granite carved price list.

Many of the 5k 'tow package' folks complain that the addition of the transmission cooler introduces some unwanted noises in the drive train, I would strongly consider more research on that one.
 

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Sometimes you can negotiate in some accessories for no additional cost (usually not the big things) or some minimal cost. It just depends on the dealer you deal with and your negotiations. I was also unable to negotiate much into my deal and they merely handed over a price list for things, but you can see in priced paid threads that some folks have been successful.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm pretty sure accessories are "dealer added options" meaning they are sold and installed by the dealer. Huge profit center for them. I don't know how handy you are but many of the accessories are much cheaper online and the install is within the grasp of average DIY folks.

As far as costs now or later, we got a great price on our MDX, but when we inquired about some accessories the inflated list prices were carved in granite so we passed. I'm certain if you went to the parts counter a year later they would hand you the same granite carved price list.

Many of the 5k 'tow package' folks complain that the addition of the transmission cooler introduces some unwanted noises in the drive train, I would strongly consider more research on that one.
Yeah I'm definitely aware my local dealer's price list is high. When I actually negotiate purchase price of the vehicle at that point I'll push them for discounts on the parts and install. To your point I already know what I can buy the accessories for online and that might be cheapest.

The main part I guess is install cost. Whether it was installed at time of purchase or 6 months later, install cost would likely be the exact same, in which case there isn't a benefit to buy and install all accessories up front. If the cost is the same now or later there's no incentive to do it all at the time of purchase.

For the transmission cooler noise I've definitely read about that, however from what I've read at this point it's just a noise and no actual defect, is that right? Meaning if you want 5k tow package, you have to accept that the cooler will make noise.

But you bring up a good point. I won't need to tow 5k right out of the gate. Is the only difference between 3,500 and 5,000 tow package installs the fact the cooler and hitch are installed with 5k where just the hitch is installed on 3,500? If so, then I could start with just that and look to add just the cooler later if I need to tow more weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sometimes you can negotiate in some accessories for no additional cost (usually not the big things) or some minimal cost. It just depends on the dealer you deal with and your negotiations. I was also unable to negotiate much into my deal and they merely handed over a price list for things, but you can see in priced paid threads that some folks have been successful.

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Yeah I'm not too worried about accessories that don't require installation (cargo cover, floor mats, etc). I'm really most interested in is things like tow hitch, running boards, lighted sill plates, wheels & tires, and things that all require install cost from the dealer.

I didn't know if Acura pre-installed these things at the factory for special orders, in which case it would be cheaper then having dealer install them after the fact, or if the dealer always bolts them all on after the vehicle arrives from the factory.

Is it correct that NONE of these items are pre-installed at the factory and thus the dealer you buy the vehicle from will install them, even if your vehicle is a special order and they were purchased as part of the vehicle order from the factory?
 

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I would shop on-line OEM prices compared to local dealership. You can find some Acura dealerships or eBay selling OEM accessories much cheaper compared to local dealerships. You might have additional savings with no sales tax depending on where the accessories are being shipped to/from. So far, my Acura parts department has met the on-line prices of other Acura dealerships selling the exact same OEM accessories. My local parts department can sometimes get the item in overnight or a few days since they always need to order maintenance parts all the time.

Having OEM accessories installed by Acura are suppose to covered by the same 4yr/50,000 mile basic warranty if there are any issues with them. I don't know how Acura would know what was DYI or installed by them unless the DYI person really screwed up the installation?

There are several ways of doing accessories:
- I negotiated the final vehicle price plus accessories at the local dealership for my brand new 06 TSX with A-Spec suspension, body kit, metal trim kit, cargo net, and rear wing before purchase.

- I purchased accessories cheaper on-line for my 08 RDX I purchased it used in 2010 (front lip kit, leather shift knob, rear diffuser) and had the local dealership put them on.

- I shopped prices on-line and local Acura dealership price matched for my 11 MDX I purchased used in 2014 (roof rack, OEM hitch+harness, advance side steps, front garnish, rear back-up sensors, fender trim kit). Able to negotiate an install price for all accessories with parts department and everything was installed in one day.
 

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Yeah I'm not too worried about accessories that don't require installation (cargo cover, floor mats, etc). I'm really most interested in is things like tow hitch, running boards, lighted sill plates, wheels & tires, and things that all require install cost from the dealer.

I didn't know if Acura pre-installed these things at the factory for special orders, in which case it would be cheaper then having dealer install them after the fact, or if the dealer always bolts them all on after the vehicle arrives from the factory.

Is it correct that NONE of these items are pre-installed at the factory and thus the dealer you buy the vehicle from will install them, even if your vehicle is a special order and they were purchased as part of the vehicle order from the factory?
Options are dealer installed. Some of those things tow hitch, running boards, even the sill plates are really easy to diy. Wheels and tires i would buy the wheels and tires separately and then get them mounted at a trusted tire shop instead. You will likely see a big savings that way.

Options are not installed at the factory though. They impede their production rate if they do so. Some brands install at the port that receive the vehicles and others do it at the dealer.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Options are dealer installed. Some of those things tow hitch, running boards, even the sill plates are really easy to diy. Wheels and tires i would buy the wheels and tires separately and then get them mounted at a trusted tire shop instead. You will likely see a big savings that way.

Options are not installed at the factory though. They impede their production rate if they do so. Some brands install at the port that receive the vehicles and others do it at the dealer.

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Thanks, that was essentially what I was wondering; Whether accessories were pre-installed at the factory or are bolted on at the dealer after the vehicle arrives.

Since they are bolt on's at the dealer, then to points made earlier regarding price, I can find the best price and buy the parts then pay for install separately. I'll see what type of deal the dealer will offer on install (if any) with purchase of a new vehicle. If they don't offer any discounts on cost of install then there is no financial benefit to buying all accessories and having them installed right out of the gate.

Trailer hitch for example I might not use for a couple of years. If I don't save anything having it installed at time of purchase I can just hold off on this and have it done down the road when I'll use it.
 

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Bobby, I’m in a very similar situation as you, and I even posted regarding my tow hitch a few days ago. I’m pretty sure I can answer most of your questions.

-I just purchased a certified preowned mdx 2015 awd from the dealer. I was able to negotiate a free folding cargo tray, but they wouldn’t budge on much else. The sales person even told me that one of their biggest profit centers is added accessories and install price. DIY if you can.

-visit acurapartsclub.com. It’s actually ran by Acura Fremont, they are all factory OEM parts. I live nearby and went to pick them up. It’s not a random shop next to Acura. It’s literally the parts table in the dealership. I asked the dealer I purchased from if they will match the price, and they said they won’t. It’s all dependent on the ownership and management of your particular dealership. It’s not like a Best Buy that price matches other Best Buy. Take home point: Buy your factory oem parts at Acura parts club or another dealer website that sells factory parts. HUGE savings.

-many external accessories are easily DIY and there are tons of videos online. I bought my car 4 days ago and I’ve installed running boards, rear bumper protector, and roof rails. Tow hitch to come. And I’m not that handy at all. I just have a basic tool set and wrench/socket set, and I have a phone that can search YouTube videos.

-Spoke to the dealer and they said parts installed yourself, even factory OEM Acura parts, will not void your ENTIRE warranty. BUT if there’s an incident and it is determined that it is the fault of improperly installed hardware that you put on, THEN it may hinder your coverage. Install at your own risk, but if you follow directions and don’t cut corners. you’ll be fine.

-maybe there are rare instances where you custom build and order a car and add on accessories, in which case the factory *might* install it and send it. But chances are that’s not the case. It’s very cost ineffective, because with each added accessory they are decreasing your buyer market more and more. Same reason Starbucks doesn’t pre-make triple grande 2 pump hazelnut soy milk extra foam extra hot Carmel macchiatos, because they’d have to wait for someone who wants exactly that order. Instead, dealers order and stock cars that have little to no accessories, and people just choose what they want to add on and the service dept at that dealership slaps them on. Often times if they don’t have the part, they’ll have to order it anyway. When I bought mine they didn’t even have the cargo tray and I was told to come back for it.

-last point: you are correct that the only diff between the 5k and 3.5k tow package is the cooler. So yes, you can just do the hitch now for looks and for small towing (bike racks small trailers etc) then when you get something bigger you can just add the cooler. The cooler iis what includes the 5000 lb sticker that goes over the 3500 one on the tow hitch. I’m doing the exact same thing. When we buy a small boat next year, that’s when I’m adding the tranny cooler. Until then I’m just doing the hitch.

Hope this helps, and grats on the MDX!!



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I've only installed one accessory in the 4.5 years I've had the MDX - the roof rails/crossbars. I bought it for a good discounted price online via Amazon from an actual Acura dealer and had it shipped to me and installed it myself. Since there were no other threads on the topic and since I may have been the first one here to have installed roof rails on the 3rd gen MDX, I made a thread on this site with pics and instructions regarding the install that hopefully have helped others do the install themselves.

I may get a hitch someday but haven't needed one yet because I had another SUV (Durango) that had a hitch and I just used that for the odd time when I needed to use it. I no longer have that vehicle so whenever I think I might need a hitch again I'll just order the OEM one via a discount method, either online or a price match at my local dealer, and install it myself.

I have no interest in running boards and wouldn't have purchased a vehicle with them on it even if they were free. To me they just make it awkward to enter/exit the vehicle and dirty up the back of the leg and aren't useful since the MDX really isn't that high off the ground. Note though that some people that have them like them and say they're useful for small kids or short people. My kids grew up never needed running boards on any SUV though including ones with the sill higher than that on the MDX.

Unless you can negotiate a great deal with the dealer 'after' you've already negotiated the cost of the vehicle, then don't fuss with it at the purchase time and just the things when you think you need them and if you're willing to try doing the install yourself you can save a lot of money and can end up with the self-satisfaction and pride of knowing that you did the install yourself. There are various threads on this forum detailing installing various items.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have no interest in running boards and wouldn't have purchased a vehicle with them on it even if they were free. To me they just make it awkward to enter/exit the vehicle and dirty up the back of the leg and aren't useful since the MDX really isn't that high off the ground. Note though that some people that have them like them and say they're useful for small kids or short people. My kids grew up never needed running boards on any SUV though including ones with the sill higher than that on the MDX.

Unless you can negotiate a great deal with the dealer 'after' you've already negotiated the cost of the vehicle, then don't fuss with it at the purchase time and just the things when you think you need them and if you're willing to try doing the install yourself you can save a lot of money and can end up with the self-satisfaction and pride of knowing that you did the install yourself. There are various threads on this forum detailing installing various items.
I'm not sure about running boards, in the wheels upgrade thread I posted a picture of the White MDX with Advance Chrome running boards, and I think it looks awesome on that color. I can see they'd be beneficial to little kids and my parents for example, but definitely see your point about them making the back of your leg dirty and/or awkward entry and exit.

For the self install thing to me it's all about opportunity cost. It's cheaper to do yourself no question. To me the question becomes how big a deal is it, and is it worth the hassle? If a DIY install is going to take me most of a day tinkering around with things and may not have all the tools necessary, then I have to figure out if it's worth it. Running board install for example on the 17/18 looks like there is a decent amount of monkeying around and trimming to get it to fit flush. Sometimes personally I feel the hassle just isn't worth it and the cost of paying a professional to do it right is worth it. I can then spend that time working on other things.
 

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For the self install thing to me it's all about opportunity cost. It's cheaper to do yourself no question. To me the question becomes how big a deal is it, and is it worth the hassle? If a DIY install is going to take me most of a day tinkering around with things and may not have all the tools necessary, then I have to figure out if it's worth it. Running board install for example on the 17/18 looks like there is a decent amount of monkeying around and trimming to get it to fit flush. Sometimes personally I feel the hassle just isn't worth it and the cost of paying a professional to do it right is worth it. I can then spend that time working on other things.
Two things...

1. The wrench-monkeys at the dealer are often in a rush, and rarely "do it right", in my opinion. Remember, no one will care about your stuff nor take care of your stuff more than you.

2. Some people (like myself) enjoy taking time out in the garage to do a project.

If you don't care about #1, and #2 doesn't describe you -- by all means, pay the dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Two things...

1. The wrench-monkeys at the dealer are often in a rush, and rarely "do it right", in my opinion. Remember, no one will care about your stuff nor take care of your stuff more than you.

2. Some people (like myself) enjoy taking time out in the garage to do a project.

If you don't care about #1, and #2 doesn't describe you -- by all means, pay the dealer.
Right, I wasn't implying anyone who does the work themselves isn't doing it right, or that it isn't a worthwhile activity. For those that enjoy working on projects like a self install then it isn't a chore, it's actually enjoyable.

For me, when it become just another chore that I "have" to do, and the cost isn't prohibitive, then I might prefer to just pay the dealer or body shop to perform the install. But if it's pretty straight forward and not overly complicated then I might try to tackle it myself.

There is no right or wrong way, to each their own.
 

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I'm a DIY type of person so I'll tend to tackle almost anything depending on practicality, timeliness, and danger. For example, I installed the roof rack but I have a garage, nice driveway, lots of tools, and wasn't in any hurry. On top of that, the one MDX I saw at the dealership that had a roof rack, installed by the dealer, wasn't done correctly - one of the back plastic pieces wasn't installed right. This is where the penguin's point of 'no one cares about it as much as you do', as well as sometimes dealer techs just not doing an adequate job or caring enough to do it right, applies.

There's a side benefit in two areas - convenience and cost savings. For many things I find it more convenient and expeditious to just do it myself rather than having to take the vehicle somewhere, arrange alternate transportation, get the vehicle back home, etc. For cost savings, with dealerships often (typically or always) charging over $100/hour at 'book' time rates, i.e. the amount of time the book states/allots for a particular job, which is often used even if the tech spent only half that time, the savings can add up quickly. Some people don't know that these 'book times' exist but it's how many dealers and shops charge for jobs.

I don't always do absolutely everything myself but I do most things. I also have some classic cars that I do work on so I'm used to working on cars myself. I can readily afford to pay someone else to do anything that's needed but I'd rather do it myself generally and had the side benefit of having saved many thousands of dollars over the years as a result.

An alternative - your choice on getting things installed doesn't come down to just 'the dealer' and 'DIY' - you could also have a mechanic or just some handy person install some of the items. There are lots of places that install hitches and may be willing to install other items. Their shop rate would likely be lower than the dealer and they probably wouldn't do as bad a job as I saw on that dealer installed roof rack that they messed up (yet they had that vehicle out on the lot for sale as a new vehicle despite the bad roof rack install - someone probably bought it without noticing the problem).
 

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For the transmission cooler noise I've definitely read about that, however from what I've read at this point it's just a noise and no actual defect, is that right? Meaning if you want 5k tow package, you have to accept that the cooler will make noise.

But you bring up a good point. I won't need to tow 5k right out of the gate. Is the only difference between 3,500 and 5,000 tow package installs the fact the cooler and hitch are installed with 5k where just the hitch is installed on 3,500? If so, then I could start with just that and look to add just the cooler later if I need to tow more weight.
There are numerous threads on the thunk/clunk/cooler noise...as far as I can tell, it will drive a person mad. I'm all for transmission coolers when towing (even at or under 3500#), but I'm certain the one thing Vic B and I can agree upon around here is the noise would be completely unacceptable.

I'm not much for adding accessories at the time of purchase, live with the car a bit and add as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There are numerous threads on the thunk/clunk/cooler noise...as far as I can tell, it will drive a person mad. I'm all for transmission coolers when towing (even at or under 3500#), but I'm certain the one thing Vic B and I can agree upon around here is the noise would be completely unacceptable.

I'm not much for adding accessories at the time of purchase, live with the car a bit and add as needed.
I've read some of those threads regarding the cooler clunk/noise. From what I can gather, Acura just said that the noise is normal and the tranny and cooler are operating normally. Meaning there isn't a TSB to "fix" it. If that's the case, then if someone needs to tow 5k lbs they have no choice but to accept that the necessary cooler will make that noise. It would drive me nuts too, because of that if I got a tow package I'd just get the 3.5k tow package (hitch only).

I don't agree with Acura's stance that the noise is normal and operating as expected. If that's the case it's poor design. Something working normally shouldn't result in a loud clunking noise, not on a luxury vehicle they go to great lengths to ensure is smooth and quiet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
An alternative - your choice on getting things installed doesn't come down to just 'the dealer' and 'DIY' - you could also have a mechanic or just some handy person install some of the items. There are lots of places that install hitches and may be willing to install other items. Their shop rate would likely be lower than the dealer and they probably wouldn't do as bad a job as I saw on that dealer installed roof rack that they messed up (yet they had that vehicle out on the lot for sale as a new vehicle despite the bad roof rack install - someone probably bought it without noticing the problem).
I agree, I've also done this. On my FX, I purchased the aero kit for under the front bumper. Instead of paying the dealer to do it I purchased the part online and took it to a body shop to do it. They only charged like $100 to do it.

So for cosmetic things there are definitely options out there for install outside of the dealer, many of which will likely save money for sure.
 

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why would the oil cooler make extra noise unless it or the hoses aren't properly tied down? Does it bang on the frame etc?
I don't think it's the cooler or hoses making noises directly, but rather, the extra cooling having an effect on the trans not getting up to temp the same as without the cooler and the trans making some noises as a result.

I have the 6 speed rather than the 9 speed so I don't have any direct experience with the 9 speed trans.
 
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