Scroll down to the bottom of the post for updates (7/28/17 and 9/6/2017)
Have you ever purchased a brand new car only to have a problem with it? I bought a 2016 Acura RDX last year and it seems to jerk or lurch forward every now and then. Definitely not something I’d expect from a luxury SUV.
About nine months ago, I finally said goodbye to my ‘Mom minivan.’ Despite having a wonderful experience with my 2005 Honda Odyssey and having no major issues, its age was catching up and repairs were on the horizon. Since I’m not a commuter, I barely put over 100,000 miles on it.
Being brand loyal when it comes to cars, we looked into getting a new SUV, preferably another Honda. However, the CR-V didn’t seem to have enough for us. So we looked into Honda’s luxury brand, Acura. A few weeks later, we drove home in our new 2016 Acura RDX SUV.
As time went by, I seemed to notice that the car was a little jumpy on cold mornings, but only at the nearest stoplight to my house. I’d stop at the stoplight and wait. When it was time to go, the car seemed to jerk forward a bit, making a hesitant switch from first gear into second. My husband and I attributed it to the cold Chicago winter and just got used to the slight lurch in movement at that same stoplight all winter. After all, it was only a slight irritation since it only happened on a cold start (after sitting overnight) and only at that one stoplight.
When the weather warmed up and the hesitation into second gear was still present, my husband and I decided to take it in to be looked at. The service team at our Acura dealership said that they couldn’t find anything wrong with the car. No red flags or warning lights were found upon inspection. Their only suggestion was to leave the car overnight so they could drive it on a cold start. At this time, we weren’t able to do that, so my husband left irritated and confused.
However, when getting a ride to and from work by a courtesy driver at the dealership, the driver said that he experienced the same jerking motion every morning when driving customers in the Acura SUVs. My husband was shocked and surprised that the courtesy driver knew exactly what he was talking about, but the service technicians didn’t know about this. Hours of searching on the internet left me with no information with this specific issue for this specific model of Acura. I did find, however, that the TLX model has had problems with jerking motions and gear shifting. A class action lawsuit has been filed in California alleging that the 2015 Acura TLX cars are made with defective transmissions and that Honda/Acura hid this information from customers.
Seriously? Did Honda know about this? Is this a common issue with Acuras? If it is, why haven’t they fixed it?
It’s been a frustrating few months, having a brand new car that makes this unnatural lurching motion at times. Being that it’s a brand new model, I guess I’ll have to sit back and wait for others to experience this problem before Acura will really dig in and figure out what’s causing it. It can’t be too difficult to figure out because it’s only a jerky shift from first to second. We’ve had no other problems with the car and we both really enjoy driving it. It’s just this one issue that keeps poking me.
So my brand loyalty to Honda has slightly wavered through this whole experience. Since I never had major issues with my Honda Odyssey, I was hoping it would be the same with my Acura RDX. Unfortunately, I can’t say that it has.
Any Acura owners out there with similar experiences? Please, let me know in the comments!
UPDATE- July 28, 2017: I’ve been informed that Acura Service Bulletin 17-017 and 17-018 pertain to this issue, described below in my post. These bulletins state that “a judder from the torque converter lock-up clutch may be felt when driving between 20-60mph. The problem is typically diagnosed as a bad torque converter.” I will be taking this information to the service station of my Acura dealership and will let you know about the fix when it’s completed.
UPDATE- September 6, 2017: Today I took my 2016 RDX to the dealership for regular maintenance, as well as checking out this Acura Service Bulletin 17-017, 17-018 to see if it pertains to my car and the issues that I’m having. I must state that I am not good with cars and I wish I could have recorded the conversation I had with the technician so that I could explain to you with clarity, what my issue is. I apologize in advance if my explanation isn’t clear, or if I use the wrong words to describe the following:
I was told that both of the service bulletins do not apply to my hesitation when shifting to second gear. The technician said that it would feel like I was driving on a rumble strip, experiencing a shaking motion, if service bulletins 17-017/18 were related to my problem. Since I don’t experience that judder, it does not apply.
What was explained to me is that because of new fuel economy standards, Acura is manufacturing cars to rev up the transmission, getting the car into higher gears faster and thus have better gas mileage. Sometimes, especially on colder mornings, the engine is not ready to get up and go into the higher gears as quickly as the car wants it to. This in turn, results in the hesitation or jerking motion felt at times, when trying to get the car past second gear. Once everything is “warmed up,” the problem goes away. Nothing was fixed in regards to this issue; besides getting this explanation, I was told my “transmission is shifting as designed,” after our test drive.
Needless to say, I can’t say I’m at all pleased with this explanation. How can you sell a luxury car with a jerky hesitation that shows up from time to time? Every time I’ve been to the dealership, I feel like I’m getting the run around about this problem. It’s unsettling to me how many people have this problem with their Acuras and there is apparently “nothing” that can be done about it. Apparently, it’s just how the car was made, but no one at Acura wants to admit it.