If you’re driving in a busy area, the last thing you want is for your vehicle to suddenly stall and decelerate — but for Acura drivers, this is an ongoing fear. In fact, Acura drivers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the automaker, alleging that the 2016-2020 Acura MDX and 2019-2020 Acura RDX SUVs suffer from potentially life-threatening defects, according to Car Complaints. If you drive one of these vehicles, here’s what you need to know.
What’s the problem?
There are two major issues allegedly caused by the Acura RDX and MDX – sudden deceleration and hesitation when accelerating. These problems stem from miscommunication between the engine, transmission, and throttle. Each of these vehicles utilizes sensors to detect how far the accelerator pedals are depressed. In response, the throttle control computers adjust the amount of air going into the engines.
However, dangerous issues arise when the vehicle’s computers misread the sensors. In order to prevent engine damage, Acura vehicles can automatically shift into neutral if they detect that the throttle is sticking. If this happens when there isn’t actually a problem, the car will suddenly decelerate, and you won’t be able to speed up no matter how hard you press the accelerator pedal.
The danger of Acura’s deceleration problem
As you might imagine, an inability to accelerate isn’t just inconvenient — it’s downright dangerous, both to the driver and to everyone else on the road. According to CarComplaints.com, one Acura driver reported that during a traffic jam, “suddenly the vehicle could not move and the gear shifted to neutral.”
ClassAction.org reported several other complaints. One driver described their vehicle suddenly decelerating on the highway after they had sped up to pass a truck. Unable to accelerate past 20 mph, the driver was forced to rapidly pull over, narrowly avoiding a collision with the truck they had just passed. A different driver stated that the problem was “frustrating and dangerous.”
The class-action lawsuit is alleging that parent company Honda was fully aware of these defects, as many Acura drivers brought their cars in for inspection after they experienced problems with sudden deceleration. The lawsuit makes the argument that rather than recalling the vehicles, Honda hid the defect and continued to sell the affected Acuras.
Acura’s lackluster response
Many drivers report that they were not taken seriously when they tried to bring their Acura in for repairs after a deceleration incident. Plaintiff Jordan Colosimo states that his dealership replaced the rear differential and brake booster, but that his vehicle ended up worse than it was before. Other drivers have noted that their dealer was unable to replicate the problem, so they were sent away with no repairs whatsoever.
The issue would be bad enough if it was a blip in an otherwise stellar record, but this isn’t the first time Acura vehicles have come under scrutiny for their alleged defects. In July of 2019, a proposed lawsuit alleged that Honda was selling Acura RDX vehicles with defective infotainment systems that distracted drivers and posed a serious safety threat.
The MDX, too, has many years of complaints under its belt. Most of these center around transmission issues — the 2014 model has the highest number of overall complaints on CarComplaints.com, while the 2003 model has the highest number of complaints specifically regarding transmission failures.
The current lawsuit, however, focuses solely on the issues surrounding deceleration in the more recent RDX and MDX models. If successful, the automaker may be forced to recall the impacted Acura models and provide repairs — in addition to providing compensation to drivers who lost the value of their vehicles or had to pay vehicle repair fees.