Scroll to the bottom of this post for updates!
As most of you know, I wrote a detailed post a few years ago about my struggles with my brand new 2016 Acura RDX SUV. You can read the full post about it here. This was my first luxury car purchase, our new family car, and a “so-long” to my minivan years. I did a ton of research on cars, had loved all of our previous Hondas, and wanted to upgrade; thus our Acura RDX purchase. I was ecstatic!
Fast forward a few months and I started noticing hesitations in the transmission, specifically shifting from first to second gear. I took it to the dealership and I was told the car is working fine. Since I couldn’t replicate the problem while at the dealership, there was nothing they could do. I think I took the car in a total of 4-5 times and always mentioned the jerky gear change, even if I was there for a different issue. Only once did I get any clue from an employee that the lurchy transmission was “normal,” and that the transmission was “shifting as designed.”
These are all of the various explanations that I have been given or heard from dealers (and others) about the jerking transmission:
In the 32 months that we’ve owned the car, the front brake pads and rotors were replaced twice. Initially, we were experiencing an embarrassing, loud squeak when pressing the brake pedal. Acura claimed there was rust build up on the brake pads and replaced them. During this time, we also experienced a bad, high-pitched squeak upon turning as well. The replacement of the brake pads was supposed to fix this. It didn’t, but it did fix our ‘squeaking when braking’ issue. Eventually our brake pads were replaced again seven months later, but the squeaky turns continued.
Our entertainment system had to be replaced once because it was booting up with gibberish and random characters instead of radio presets. Acura acknowledged the defect and replaced our interface. I also had a fluttering noise within a dash air vent that was eventually replaced.
Most recently, I’ve been experiencing occasional loud ticking noises coming from the engine. This ticking noise occurred usually on cold mornings when the car was idle but still in the drive gear. It was so loud I could hear it from the driver’s seat while inside the car with the windows rolled up! The ticking would come and go, as there was no pattern to when it was present, but it was unusually loud and definitely not normal for the Acura RDX.
I took the car to the dealership again and even showed them the video with the ticking (shown below). After several technicians and a manager listened to my engine, they told me that some amount of ticking noise in my Acura RDX engine is normal. Of course, my car wasn’t making the loud and obnoxious ticking the day I took it to be looked at so, once again, there was nothing they could do for me.
From the transmission issues, squeaking turns, and abnormal engine noises, and ALWAYS being told, “sorry there is nothing we can do for you,” or “your car runs perfectly fine,” and “nothing abnormal shows up on diagnostics,” I had reached a boiling point. Who better than the primary driver to notice when something is “off” with his/her own car?? And let me mention here that I only have 25,000 miles on the car! (As I am a stay-at-home mom, the car only takes short daily trips and the occasional family road trip.) It was then and there I decided I was done with Acura. The lies, the employees constantly giving me the run around, the false smiles, and all of the apologies made me nauseous. I walked out of the dealership knowing I would never be back.
So I decided to buy a new 2018 Honda Accord, going back to the original brand I fell in love with. (I do realize that Honda is owned by the same company as Acura, so no need to remind me! 😊) I also did check with the salespeople and verified that the engine in this car is totally brand new and is not related to the 2016 Acura engine at all. As I was signing the purchasing paperwork, I learned that the Honda finance employee helping us hated his 2016 MDX Acura. I asked him if he ever had any jerky or hesitating transmission issues and he said, “Oh yes.” He complained of lackluster performance on highways and jerking gear shifts. He had purchased his SIXTH Acura MDX, a 2016, and that was his last. Everyone told him they thought it was a software issue at first, but that didn’t fix his problem. After all of his problems with the car, he sold it and bought a used 2011 Acura MDX and said he hasn’t looked back. Of course, I asked him WHY the car has these problems (after all, he does work for Honda), and he just said, “That’s just the characteristic of the new Acura engine.”
I am SO glad to be finally turning the page to this chapter in my life. However, as the Acura RDX is still in the family (my husband will be driving it), I will continue to provide updates and information as I receive them.
In a perfect world, I just wish that Acura would come out and admit that they make a faulty engine/transmission and offer some kind of fix. Obviously, they’re not going to do that as it would cost them millions of dollars. Acura has lost thousands (if not more) of repeat customers as they have failed to admit they have a problem and failed to fix it. I sincerely hope no one is ever seriously injured or killed as a result; unfortunately, only a serious lawsuit would force them into a corner.
Until then, my Acura friends, feel free to post comments, questions, or information to share. I will definitely be back with updates.
As I continue to receive comments from readers, many of them share with me either potential fixes or procedures that were performed on their Acura. These potential fixes and services are listed here, but they didn’t work for everyone. In fact, most people still seem to have the problem. It seems that for most people, some of the jerkiness and hesitation improved after service, but the main problem/shifting issue remained. Acura continues to skirt the real problem with the faulty transmission and only addresses the symptoms. Here are potential fixes:
R | 9th May 18
Omgosh I’m experiencing the same thing up north with the 2016 Acura RDX elite. It jitters like it’s not shifting properly gettting up to 30 to 60km/hr. I thought it was just me and the technician also did a software update a few months ago and a transmission flush but to no avail the problem is back. So disappointed and like you, I was very excited to purchase this vehicle as well. Based on your story I am pessimistic whether it can be fixed at all. The problem occurs periodically and it was hard to bring it in to the dealer while the problem was happening. I don’t know if they can do anything but I want to thank you for your posts. My previous vehicle was a civic and it was great so I thought the Acura brand would have the same quality but I feel like I bought a lemon 🙁
Julie | 9th May 18
Glad you could find some solace in knowing the rest of us are suffering with you. Unfortunately, we gave up on getting our Acura problems fixed. We’ll be selling the car next spring. Thanks for sharing your story. Let us know if you ever get any answers! 🙂
Joe Average | 10th May 18
2014 MDX owner here. I think Acura is having trouble matching the transmission behavior to people’s expectations. Some people want cushy buttery smooth shifting, some people want snappy sporty shifts. I don’t know if your RDX has this but our MDX does – there is a button next to the shifter labeled IDS. Just search Google for “MDX IDS” for more info.
It makes two things happen that I can detect: It changes the steering feel and the transmission shift style. I’ve read it also changes the active noise reduction inside the cabin but I’m not sure about that.
There are three modes – comfort, normal and sport. The steering is very easy in comfort and the shifts are more soft. In sport the steering is heavy and the shifts are harder.
Around town I use normal or comfort. On highway trips I prefer the heavier steering of sport. It think it helps the MDX deal with cross winds and buffeting from big trucks better. Feels better planted and solid.
You can make the changes default to whatever you want in the car’s settings (in the little display menus between the tach and speedometer).
Your dealer doesn’t know their product very well if they haven’t been coaching you to try out the different modes to see if you like the way the car drives better.
Julie | 10th May 18
Thanks for sharing your information on the IDS (integrated dynamics system) of Acuras. My RDX does not have this feature. Here’s hoping this info will help others with their shifting issues! Unfortunately, it doesn’t help with mine.
Meghan | 17th Jul 18
I test drove a ’14 RDX today and happened upon your blog as I immediately noticed and didn’t like the overall jerky shifting between gears; and this car shifted far too early out of first gear for my taste. I’m glad to read this as the salesperson just explained it was the 8 speed transmission, but something just felt amiss to me. I was looking at another Acura for something that would hopefully more reliable long-term, but just goes to show no brand is 100% reliable.
Julie | 18th Jul 18
Very true. Stay away from the RDX for sure. So many of us are more than disappointed in our “luxury car” purchase. Good luck with your car search!
R.E. | 6th Aug 18
2018 RDX Advance Package
Have the hesitation at low speed primarily when cornering.Had to dealership twice,going back AGAIN
next week. Not happy!!
Julie | 6th Aug 18
I’m pretty disappointed and surprised that this is still an issue with the new models. You just bought a brand new car and you have issues with the transmission. It’s upsetting, I know. If I hear anything from Acura or anything else pertaining to this issue, I will update the website. Best of luck with your car. 🙂
Jim Kolowich | 15th Aug 18
Wow, I knew I wasn’t crazy. Your experiences from the head jerking jitter to the squeaks around corners to the same buttery smiles and shoulder shrugs of the techs at my Atlanta Acura dealer. This just grinds my shorts and will make me a loud and vocal critic of the Acura brand. I had been a faithful disciple of German brands and decided to go Japanese because of the good price and nice features, but that’s all a waste with a substandard engine and a dishonest company. This will be the last Acura this guy ever owns.
Julie | 15th Aug 18
Glad you found some camaraderie amongst us angry Acura owners. I myself have never had a problem like this with any of my Hondas, only with my one Acura. Like you, it’s the last Acura I’ll own. Thanks for reading and commenting. I will continue to post potential solutions here if any come about. 🙂
Bill Malcolm | 10th Sep 18
Read your other article on the subject as well. Amazing that the RDX with the identical engine and transmission as the V-6 Accord of 2013 to 2017 should have an absurd jerky 1-2 shift. That transmission is a six-speed and has been around for a while. It should be refined and have had all the rough edges ironed out years ago, way back in the oughties when it first debuted.
I’m an actual car enthusiast and a mechanical engineer besides. I had never owned a Honda or Acura (Acura is just a division of Honda) when I went and tested the new TLX sedan in all three guises in late 2014 when they came out. Long story short, the four cylinder damn near killed me and the salesmen when its transmission lost drive to the wheels when I was turning back into the dealership (the aforementioned Atlantic Acura above). I was furious. So they said, have a go in this V6, which I knew had a new ZF 9 speed German-designed transmission, different from the 8 speed in the 4 cylinder which Acura was solely responsible for.
So off we went, That thing was herky-jerky shifting the whole test drive. On the highway a constant buffering occurred. Same thing with the SH-AWD version. Subsequent monitoring of Acura forums on the web and other personal experiences of that same dreaded 9 speed ZF on Chryslers, proved that the transmission was an underdeveloped horror. They still shove it in the TLX and MDX, Odysseys to this day, partially tamed down from its original uselessness. The “buffeting” turns out to be when the V6 automatically shuts off 3 cylinders at cruise and causes sympathetic vibrations in the bodywork. I worked that out for myself at the time by goosing it – the engine turns back to 6 cylinders for acceleration and the buffeting went away. You’d think that someone, you know, might have, could have, perhaps maybe might have, been awake enough when they were developing the car to have noticed. Given that it took me all of ten minutes wending my way through suburban streets from the dealer and a minute on the actual four-lane highway to find out. Just saying.
Like I told the dealer, with every example on the lot not even having the door tops meet evenly and orange-peel paint and the useless engineering, the car was the most underdeveloped load of old rope it had been my displeasure to test drive in forty years. It also generally felt leaden and the promise of sports sedan responses resided only in the marketers’ heads. Gave that car a wide berth and kept my old one, a far superior machine.
The trails of despondency on Acurazine webforum about the car have now gone on for four years. Some people never got satisfaction from transmission software “updates”. Some eventually got replacement transmissions from the 2016 redo, and now praise the car, even though it’s still not up to par, just a whole lot less bad. As regards the buffeting, it still goes on. Some people spent thousands on wheels and tires finely balanced, but that wasn’t the basic cause – it was the 6 to three cylinder switch at cruise and by natural variation just worse on some cars than others. Lackadaisical engineering in my personal view. Of course, there were always bright sparks popping up on the forums saying that their car was perfect and that the sufferers were hallucinating, making some people lacking self-confidence feel even worse. And other duller folk who seemed happy with theirs and never noticed anything, wondering what all the fuss was about.
I guess I’m lucky in that I pinned down the dreadfulness on my test drives by being a tuned-in enthusiast, but for the average consumer more attuned to believe that Honda-ness is next to godliness, they just bought the thing and suffered afterwards. The standard response of “your car is operating as designed” is a bad joke – it just means it was lousy design, no ifs or buts about it.
So to find here that the old six speed transmission in your RDX was (is) jerky is not comforting news. I recently drove the new Accord with its 10 speed designed by Honda, and not any relation to the rotten 9 speed in current V6 TLX, MDX, Pilot Elites and some Odysseys. It does seem sorted and unobtrusive, but then they’d have to have been blind, deaf and dumb not to realize they HAD to get it right this time. Too bad about the intrusive tire whir and roar on the new Accord. Maybe one day they’ll get it right, but I’m not holding my breath. As I told the salesman, if your new wowee car is noisier than my top of the line but ten year old Subaru Legacy GT, what do you expect me to do? Hand over near $40K and say thankyou?
I guess it’s worthwhile to reiterate – fully test drive your car choice and don’t purchase it as if it were some white-good appliance expecting everything bad has been scienced out by modern “technology”. And don’t rationalize the shortcomings you find. It’ll be you kicking yourself a few weeks later when that dread feeling of “What have I done?” comes over you if you decide to ignore what you had already noticed. Always give yourself two test drives, and insist on the second one that you drive it from cold by yourself. No warming it up behind the scenes before you get in – that covers a possible multitude of sins.
The latest CR-V has a mighty-mouse turbo engine which has the apparent habit of diluting its engine oil with gasoline, so avoid that for the time being. The oil dipstick starts to indicate more oil over time! More, not less. China made Honda recall them, but the excuse I get here is that it’s because the engines are Chinese made – sure, but it’s identical to the ones made in Ohio; what, are they going to make it out of cardboard and plastic or something over there? All iPhones are made in China. The CR-V engine problem is one of those things that doesn’t affect daily driving to begin with and only noticeable by gas smell and dipstick, so if you meet owners who haven’t encountered the problem yet personally, well it’s unfortunately probably just a matter of time, sad to say. If people do complain, for your pains Honda will make you jump through the hoops of an oil test to see if the oil level rises. This is a polite way of telling you to get lost, in my humble opinion, but probably works for 80% of customers. Nobody knows the long term effect on engine lubrication by gasoline dilution of the oil yet because the engine is relatively new on the market and is in all models of Civic as well.
You can guess what I think about the upcoming autonomous self-driving cars. Wouldn’t trust ’em even after a thorough prod with a ten-foot barge pole. If well-known car makers make duds and then excuse themselves from responsibility saying they’re all like that ma’am/sir, I’d rather not discover their brain fade moments on the highway at an inopportune moment.
Julie | 10th Sep 18
Thank you for your thorough comments! I agree with your thoughts on getting two test drives, with one being a cold test drive. Unfortunately for myself and I’m sure many others, the problems we’ve had with our Acuras weren’t apparent for the first few months of ownership. My car never hesitated until the super cold winter months. I understand that trying to create a fuel efficient car can be difficult, and not every solution will be best one. Hopefully the automotive industry will turn their focus back onto the quality of cars, how they run, as well as how safe they are, instead of all the new bells and whistles they keep adding.
James W | 20th Sep 19
This was a great summary of why it occurs, but I’ve had my 2015RDX for two years and this JUST started happening…
Orlando | 13th Oct 19
Is not just the RDX my 2016 tlx have the same problem they need to fix this
Julie | 13th Oct 19
Wow. Didn’t know that. Thanks for letting us know!
ronald t. chuchola | 26th Sep 18
I am delighted to read these comments; I was beginning to question my sanity. My 2018 RDX with 3000 miles has a problem “hanging up” in 5th gear, frequently, BUT NOT PREDICTABLY!!! It will sometimes shift 5-6 at 38 mph; other times it refuses to shift 5-6 for l/2 mile, same road, same load, same conditions, same temperature. Go figure. Acura mechanics tell me “it is the nature of the beast.”
And for this, I paid $40K!!!.
Julie | 27th Sep 18
I know. Frustrating, isn’t it? Let us know if you ever find an answer. 🙂
Corissa | 20th Dec 18
Just had a heart attack in my 2018 RDX with 4500 miles purchased 5 months ago. Violent grinding in transmission. Went on for about a mile and a half. Turned off the car and moments later someone else drove it and it was perfectly normal. Having it towed to Acura but it’s not looking too good for me.
Julie | 21st Dec 18
So sorry to hear about this. I hope your problem is solvable. Keep us updated! 🙂
Daniel | 29th Sep 18
Did you fix the transmission problem with the 2016 Rdx ??
Julie | 30th Sep 18
My transmission is the same as the day I drove it off the lot. No one at the Acura dealerships had any fixes for us. They said the car was driving “as it should be.” After being told that the last time, I gave up and set my sights at selling the car this winter. I’m totally done with Acura.
Leann | 23rd Oct 18
My car looks exactly like yours and unfortunately I’ve been experiencing this jerking/shaking problem 1yr later since we bought it :(. I haven’t taken mines in to the dealership as yet because I know they will tell me to change my transmission fluid 1st and want to charge an arm and leg…*sigh…I will take it in this week though…I’m just hoping for the best because I love Acura and wanted the MDX, but fell in love with the 2016 RDX…it was a gift from my hubby too!! Will be following this post & keep you updated
Julie | 23rd Oct 18
Good luck at the dealership! Keep us posted!
Mark | 24th Jan 19
We brought out 2018 RDX Advance package with 15K miles in after it jerked and hesitated while changing gears. The dealer replaced 3rd and 5th transmission pressure switches (a known problem that showed up on the car’s diagnostic computer). Jerking and hesitation recurred a few weeks later. I brought it in and 7 hours later the service advisor called to say there was “internal failure of the transmission” and that they will replace transmission! I am waiting to get car back. Btw, retail price of a new transmission before labor is about $7K so they did not take this decision lightly. Anyway, this may be a breakthrough. I have only read online of one other person getting a new transmission for this problem. I will let you know if I get more info when I pick up the car. The service advisor was pretty tight lipped over the phone about the problem.
Julie | 24th Jan 19
Wow, thanks for sharing that! Let us know if replacing the transmission got rid of your problems. I’m amazed they are going so far to fix your problem! That’s great! Keep in touch 🙂
Mark | 31st Jan 19
We received the RDX back after 4 days with a brand spanking new transmission. It seems fine so far after about a week, although time will ultimately tell. I’ll let you know if the problem recurs. Take care!
Julie | 31st Jan 19
I hope your problem is fixed for good. Please stay in touch! 🙂
Wayne | 9th Nov 19
Did the problem go away completely with new transmission? Thanks.
Eddie Ng | 30th Jan 19
My transmission problem never ended even after the pressure switches were replaced. I ended up crashing my 2017 RDX into a truck and got a settlement from my insurance company then I got myself a brand new Lexus RX350. This is exactly what I imagine a smooth transmission to feel like. No more Honda/Acura for me. Never again
Julie | 31st Jan 19
So the pressure switches aren’t the issue. Good to know! Glad you are ok and free from Acura problems. It’s nice to hear that Lexus SUV’s work properly 🙂
Victor lduh | 1st Feb 19
I had the same problem that you described with my 2017 MDX, the dealership also told the same thing they told you. I always knew the dealerships was aware the problems but has a generic answer for everyone. My MDX was a lease with the intention to own. I added things like tow hitch, cross bars, vertical bars and side molding unto my car. I really intended to keep the car after lease. I loved the looks, the seat configuration, and the head lights. I couldn’t stand the shift and the infotainment center. Those two items made me sad anytime l get in the car. I tried to love my car but l couldn’t move past just liking it. It was a hassle turning on the heat, getting the right radio station, switching from radio to music on my iPod. A luxurious car was suppose to make things easier to navigate. I went over to pick up a family friend for the weekend. Family friend got in the car and as soon as l moved the car towards a service road, he noticed that the car was jerky. Last week, l drive to a Toyota dealership and traded it in for a Camry. I have been happy ever since. The driving dynamics to the Acura is night and day. Before l forget, it also uses a regular gas. No more Honda/Acura for me
Julie | 2nd Feb 19
Ha, good point about the regular gas. I hated paying extra for premium fuel. Our 2016 navigation and electronics system is not user friendly and we never use the navigation. We hate it! Glad you are enjoying your new Toyota! 🙂
Doug Harvey | 12th Mar 19
I spent nearly 3 hours yesterday Googling RDX surging problems. Then, today Google your article in my news feed! We have owned Honda products for 30 years. Mostly Accords. Never had any problems. None. Before my father passed away in 2015, he bought my mother a 2015 RDX to replace her 2008 Accord. It’s a beautiful machine but drives horrible. It only has 34k on, but it surges during acceleration constantly, to the point that is not fun to drive. My 2016 Accord V6 is perfect. It’s like night and day. The RDX brakes are horrible too. They are very grabby. If you barely press the brake pedal, it will almost send you through the windshield. At stop lights the brakes growl like they are wet. The dealer replaced the discs and pads under warranty, but it still has these problems. They say “they all do that!” It’s just insane that a 38 thousand dollar car could be like this. Your article nails it on the head! These Acura dealers don’t care, they are just as shady as most are. And, if you call Acura customer service, they have no idea what they are talking about. This RDX needs to go soon! I really think the wisest people are Toyota/Lexus owners.
Julie | 12th Mar 19
Well said! Thanks for commenting. Sorry I have to welcome you to our group of unhappy Acura owners. 🙂
John doe | 12th Mar 19
Drama queens, just drive the car and stop thinking about it so much. Honda makes great cars and transmission. I don’t understand what people expect, my sister drives a Porsche cayenne sub. She turns the AC and it makes a little sound of air moving through the vents. She complains because apparently moving air should make a sound. I heard it and it was nothing. I recommend you all get an old 90s beater and drive it around for a month and then you will get a better perspective.
Julie | 13th Mar 19
Have you driven our cars? Have you experienced our problem? Until then, please reserve judgement. Thank you.
Nelda Jordan | 13th Mar 19
If I were driving an old 90’s beater, I might expect it to drive in this manner, but not my brand new luxury Acura! Actually, we still have a ’99 Acura TL that drives circles around this new one!
Libbie | 29th Mar 19
Have a 2013 rdx. Started problems 6 mos ago.had it towed in twice and they either said nothing wrong w transmission or anything else first, said that pressure switch needed replacement second try and then had to replace the whole transmission this week. Never going to buy an Acura again. Dealership had nothing to say about it.
Julie | 30th Mar 19
Frustrating. We still have the RDX (haven’t pulled the trigger to sell it yet) and I hate driving it. So much for our “luxury” vehicle. Hope you have luck with your repairs!
Dan | 25th May 19
I have a 2013 RDX with the same jerfky transmission shifts. Been told time and time again that there isn’t anything wrong with the car. This will also be my last Honda/Acura purchase.
Ron | 3rd Jun 19
My 2016 Rdx has the jerky shifting intermittently. I’ve taken it back to the dealership about 7 times but they cant seem to duplicate the issue.
Julie | 4th Jun 19
How frustrating.I can’t believe Acura still hasn’t admitted that they know about this problem and are trying to fix it.
MARTHA | 10th Jun 19
I am experiencing this same problem too! It started this weekend, and I got my 2016 RDX, used with 75K miles, just in January. My husband noticed the problem in the morning on our way to church, and then this morning I noticed it when I was driving to work. My car also makes a squeaky/screeching noise when breaking.
Julie | 10th Jun 19
Sorry to hear that. Yeah, you can try to take it to the dealer or where you bought it, but I’m not sure they will help. Good luck!
Dimple | 26th Jul 19
My 2016 RDX has same issue. Transmission flush kept it away for two months.
Do you guys pay to dealership everytime to get it checked or they atleast have the courtesy to check it for free?
Julie | 27th Jul 19
When I came in with transmission issues, I don’t remember having to pay anything (at the dealership). But this was also because they found nothing wrong. I think they look at the car for free.
Wlamo | 19th Aug 19
I have been an Acura owner since New 2004 MDX, never had a problem with SUV, because of that I purchase a New 2008 TL no problem either. Both vehicle are still used by my family . In 2018 I purchase New 2018 RDX this vehicle is making me very nervous the last couple of week I have experiences the jerking and bucking motion with the acceleration . On 8/13/2019 I immediately drove it to the dealership to address jerking and bucking issues. after the service mechanic tightened some loose apart of the vehicle other then that they did not find any thing work with it . But Sunday 8/18/2019 the vehicle had serial of jerking and bucking motions while accelerating. I have appointment with dealership on 8/21/2019. I wish I found this website before purchasing , because I do not like car troubles while still make payment. I only have 19,000 miles on this vehicle
Julie | 19th Aug 19
I’m so sorry to hear about your problems. Just know that you aren’t alone in your frustrations. I hope you find some answers at the dealership. Let us know how it goes. Good luck! 🙂
Gerald | 27th Aug 19
I purchased my 2nd Acura vehicle about 3 years ago—an 2016 RDX—and it was doing really well. I’m not sure when it started but I have noticed the ticking sound coming from the engine as in your clip. I’m also not sure if that has something to do with the jerks that i feel when the tachometer is between the 2000 and 2500 rpms. I believe I may have picked up some bad gas on my way up north some time ago. However, it is time for me to have my transmission fluid changed. What i will do is have that done and if it fixes the problem, then I’ll be sure to report back to you. I’ve also tried putting fuel injector cleaner products in the tank and nothing has resolved the jerks. They aren’t hard jerks but noticeable when the vehicle is accelerating. I am sorry we all are having these issues with a car company we had so much faith in due to history or word-of-mouth. I have been thinking that after I’ve paid off this, I may look into a different car company. In my experience, I’ve had enough of Acura cars not performing well. Take care and be safe.
Julie | 27th Aug 19
Hi Gerald, thanks for your comments. Your story sounds exactly like mine, which is reassuring to know that it is definitely the car and not something we, as the drivers, do. Yes, please let us know if changing your transmission fluid works, although I think a few readers said it didn’t do anything. Best of luck and keep in touch! If I ever hear any verified news about the car, I will post it on this site. Thanks for reading!
Ray | 13th Nov 19
Yesterday in Ontario, Canada I noticed the jerking when accelerating from a standstill and going through the first two gears. Yesterday was also the coldest day since I got the 2016 RDX used three weeks ago with 45000 km / 30000 miles on it. Glad I found this website. Deciding to complain to the dealer Markham Acura who said thirty day warrantee.
Julie | 13th Nov 19
I definitely noticed the jerking much more when it was cold (I’m in Chicago). Hopefully the dealership can help you out with your warrantee. 🙂
James W | 20th Sep 19
Hi Julie, I’ve had my 2015 RDX for 2.5 years and just started experiencing this jerky shifting problem. What no one else has mentioned is that it goes away after the car is shut off and restarted. It doesn’t happen ALL THE TIME, which is probably why the dealers can’t replicate the problem easily. Something on the engine \ transmission must reset when it is restarted. I’m going to give it a bit more time and try some of the ideas on this thread before taking it to the dealer. I will post an update if anything changes.
Julie | 20th Sep 19
Yes, it happens intermittently and is very hard to reproduce because it doesn’t happen all the time. Please let us know if you get any further info. Thanks for sharing!
Arnel | 26th Sep 19
I got my pre-owned mdx 2016 almost a year now. Oh my all these sounds very familiar. First I had this noise on my front disc break when I press on it lightly to slow down. It goes away but to return back, seems my disc break is not squared into the break pads when breaking. Acura dealership said there’s nothing wrong with it.
Then the dreaded transmission jerking when changing gears at low speed, exactly what everybody’s complaining about. And just lately I experience a loud thud when slowing down at slow speed then pressing on the gas. This loud thud scares me, as loud as it is means a major mechanical problem is present. I’m doubtful with all the info I read on this thread that my acura dealership would not be able to rectify it.
Somebody suggested to turn the IDS switch to sport mode, it addressed the jerkiness ( in fact it was all gone ) but I have to be in sport mode every time. What happen now to normal and comfort mode?
I’m really frustrated with my Acura MDX, I think this would be my last.
Julie | 26th Sep 19
I’m glad you found a temporary fix at least. Let us know if you get any answers from your dealership. Best of luck to you! 🙂
Bob c | 24th Oct 19
This post makes me think I am not crazy…!2017 Rdx owner same exact thing is happening. Took it to the dealer twice. They said they were unable to reproduce the problem and no faulty codes were coming up. Something seems electronic because at times it is completely normal and then other times it hesitates from 1st to second .
Julie | 24th Oct 19
Nope, not crazy! Let us know if they ever give you some ‘real’ answers!
Wayne | 9th Nov 19
Wife loves her 2016 RDX, bit the jerking problem started about 3 weeks ago. It really scared her. The dealer told us they could not find any problem and that it was normal or possibly due to my wife “tapping” on gas/brake. It’s really ridiculous that my wife drove the same car without any issue for 3 years and now it’s her fault!? Going to another dealer next week. We are really surprised by how many people are reporting this transmission problem now. It seems that the earlier 8 speed and also the next gen 9 speed transmissions are both susceptible. The 2020 model has a 10 speed now. But if it’s a design flaw then even a 20 speed would be problematic lol.
Julie | 10th Nov 19
How ridiculous that they pointed the blame at your wife! My favorite excuse from the dealership was that the car is “learning how I drive.” As if that explained the hesitation and jerking. Good luck getting some answers! 🙂
Wayne | 10th Nov 19
just today wife tried putting the gear in neutral at a red light to give it some rest and see what might happen. When the light turned green she put it in drive and the car jerked and rocked violently back and forth for a few seconds TWICE before moving forward. She still wants to fix it, but I am thinking it’s not worth it. Not ever getting an Acura ever again!!!
Julie | 10th Nov 19
Sounds like I had the same issue as you. I sold my RDX last summer, couldn’t take the jerking. For a brand new luxury car, there shouldn’t be problems like that. Acura disappointed me.
Laosen | 18th Nov 19
I have a RDX 2017. It has the same issue.
Wayne | 21st Nov 19
Dumped the RDX last Sunday at Carmax and got a certified Lexus. Will see if it’s more reliable. Cheers!
Joseph | 31st Dec 19
I read most of jerking comments about 2016 rdx but no one has mentioned resetting transmission because it changes the computer according to your driving habits. Mine started to shift a little funny at 40,000 and I reset and it seemed to work. Need a few more days driving to be sure. Only difference is I live in Fl. So not very cold here. Also I really love the advance package. Traded my 2003 Olds Bravada for this and I have no other problems so far. Knock on wood.
Julie | 1st Jan 20
Thanks for the suggestion. Glad your RDX is driving well! 🙂
mohamed manji | 6th Aug 20
My 3-year-old 2017 Acura RDX with only 64k km. I had jerky gear problem (1 to 2)yesterday morning (5th Aug 2020) for about an hour and reached my office. After 5 hours when I was going home the problem was no longer there. No issues also today morning (6th Aug 2020). I took the car to Acura service (i had full service done on the car 2 weeks back).
At the service reception, I was kept waiting since their computer was down. I waited over half an hour and no news about my car. I had to look for the receptionist who was not around. After an hour I found her and she told me the mechanic was looking after it and the issue will be sorted out. Another hour went and the car was ready and I was told that it needed a software update and it should be fine and after about 300 km of driving the car will learn about how I drive and I should not have any issues.
Keeping my finger crossed hopefully nothing happens. I wish I had known about this issue when I bought this car new from Acura.
Julie | 7th Aug 20
So sorry to hear about your problem. Sounds identical to the problems I had, and nothing was ever resolved. Best of luck and thanks for sharing!
Jose Castellon | 18th Jan 21
Most unfortunate the continued questionable behaviors with Acura vehicles. May I share with you one more instance on a transmission issue I experienced. In December of 2019, I purchased a certified preowned RDX. I believe it is the basic of all the available RDX models. Within 2 weeks I began to notice what Acura Cerritos dealership refers to as “jerky motion in the transmission”. It is important to ask the dealership on the terminology they use to better communicate with them. My initial attempts bringing it into the dealer where met with “the technician cannot reproduce the behavior you are experiencing”. I’m paraphrasing. So I had to take it upon myself to provide evidence of the jerky motion by video taping the behavior whenever it would occur. I would focus the camera strictly on the dashboard so it would show the speed and rpm. That would allow me to focus on the road. While video taping I would narrate the problem to compliment the video. I would make comments about the environment of the road and traffic conditions and whether I was on the highway or streets. I also realized that the occurrence changes between the engine being on vs off then on again. Once you pull over and turn off the car then restart, the jerkiness would go away until the next occurrence would present itself. The key to reproducing the behavior at the dealership is to NOT turn off the vehicle once you get there. You have to tell the attendants outside to NOT TURN OFF THE VEHICLE UNTIL THE SERVICE MANAGER SEES THE CAR”! It was only then that the service manager was able to obtain an error code from the computer. In my case is was the 3 gear solenoid or pressure switch as some call it. I had also discovered in the glove compartment a service invoice were the original owner was also experiencing this strange jerky motion in the transmission but it was met with “technician cannot reproduce problem”. I realized very quickly that learning Acura lingo is extremely important so the service manager can enter your description correctly so the technician has a better sense of what to look for. This may be easier said than done. The jerky gear shifting hasn’t occurred since the repair, but I also feel that the expectation of the gear shifting from a so called luxury vehicle should be smooth and not constantly feel the shift from one gear to the next. I also noticed that the gear shifting from a stopped position varies from a slow acceleration to a fast acceleration. When I accelerate slowly from a traffic light, I tend to feel the change in gear with a slight forward lean of the body from one gear to the next. On the other hand, if I accelerate quickly from a traffic light, the gear shifting is quick and without any sensation of my body leaning forward. I believe that I am hyper-focused now that I have encountered this problem with the RDX. I don’t expect that Honda USA will have any roadmap to improve upon older RDX models and will only improve on the newer models they release. Thank you for your time and allowing me an opportunity to share my experience. I don’t expect to get another Acura any time soon.
Julie | 18th Jan 21
Wow, thanks for your input and detailed experience. Knowing that it’s likely the 3 gear solenoid or pressure switch will be a big help to readers. Your experience sounds so similar to mine and it frustrates me that Acura still likes to sweep this issue under the rug. Thanks for your comments and best of luck with the RDX in the future!
Steve | 3rd Feb 21
I have the same jerking transmission issue with my 2015 RDX. Similar to previous posters, the FOURTH time into the dealership back in 2016 I kept the car running and showed it to the Service manager. As a result I got a new transmission, which solved the problem… Until this week, when it came back!
Bob Zimmerman | 14th Mar 22
I read the fixes that were proposed and they dovetail with comments made in Acurazine. My 16 RDX has only 23,000 miles on it after six years, and it started the “shudder” issue once the car was warmed up. I took it to the dealership in February 2021 and they performed a software update, but now three weeks later the problem has reoccurred with exact same problem. Supposedly Honda is aware of issue and now has an 8 year 80,000 mile warranty for this problem but can’t verify that. Taking it to dealership tomorrow. I’m not convinced Acura really has a fix and they have built a “lemon” transmission. I don’t have much confidence in the car now and dread having to keep bringing this car back to the dealership and listening to the same song and dance.
Matt K. | 11th Jul 22
In the process of buying a 2013 Acura RDX AWD V6 with Tech and 85,500 miles. I’ve noticed the jerkiness in the first few gears. When it gets up to gears 4-6, not problems. I can tell it goes through the RPMs rather quickly at first (changing just under 2,200-2,500 RPM). I’ve never driven an AWD car, so I’m not sure if this is also a result of the Torque Converter in the vehicle as it’s more noticeable at stop sign/light turning. Not quite as bad as someone driving a manual and not shifting gears smoothly, but it’s rather torquey. If I ease on the gas no problems, if I gun it no issues or even using the paddle shifters. It’s when I drive it “normally” that I feel it. I’ve read that the VCM has a lot to do with it. I’ve driven it mainly in stop and go traffic too. Even though the ECO mode light doesn’t come on, I heard the that VCM is still at play trying to “learn” the driving mode. You can reset this. It did seem to help at first. But has reverted back in only a day. The S-VCM controller link you posted seems to resolve this. I really like the car, but I don’t want a herky jerky ride all the time either. What about the front Active Engine Mount? I’ve heard of those being an issue if worn. It’s sounds like the VCM can cause a lot of other issues along the way. Car is too far out for any warranty and no recalls have been issued for that (and doubt they will. Sound’s like Acura has just passed the buck and this is supposed to be “luxury?” Acura is supposed to be #2 in reliability and affordable maintenance too.
Kathy P | 17th Feb 23
I have a 2016 RDX with 50k miles, the majority of that in town driving. I’m not having the jerking many are talking about, but recently, with low speeds, going up a slight grade, it will on occasion feel like the transmission has a flutter in it. It’s not very noticeable, but it’s something new. Makes me wonder if the transmission is going to start having problems. If it is, I want to get rid of this car before I have to invest thousands of $ in a trans. I’ve already had to replace the AC condenser at 35K miles — a non Acura mechanic was shocked it went bad at all let alone with low mileage, and I’ve also had to replace my rear shocks, and getting close to a 2nd set of brakes. Seems like a lot of things for a vehicle with only 50K miles on it. I also hate the navigation. Takes forever to input the info into it before you get going. My next vehicle will be a Lexus RX hybrid or the Toyota Highland hybrid. No more Acuras or Hondas for me.
Jess | 18th Feb 23
I have a 2018 Acura RDX and am having the same issues! The dealership just replaced a sensor on my vehicle because I took it in due to excessive jerking. It made me so nervous, I didn’t want to drive the car anymore. It was shifting HARD from 1st to 2nd. I’ve also noticed this issue is much worse in cold weather or if the car has been sitting for a while. Thank you all for the advice! I was starting to feel crazy because the dealership was telling me they couldn’t find a problem and that it drove just fine…
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