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First Post, 1st Gen Reliability for a Runabout Vehicle

 
Old 06-11-2019, 06:59 PM
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First Post, 1st Gen Reliability for a Runabout Vehicle

Hey all. Just asked Scotty Kilmer his thoughts on the reliability of this generation (though I knew he was critical of turbos and Honda transmissions in general). He referred me to a contentious Toyota fanboy and told me to buy one of those.

I currently have an Ď05 non VTEC Civic LX with a little over 200k miles on it and have replaced most everything shy of the engine, transmission, and shocks the past two years. That said, my wife and I live at the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains (couple snows a year and mostly heavy rains) and Iíve been looking for an inexpensive, used vehicle thatís fun to drive like my Civic, has more room than my Civic, is an automatic, and would hold up for at least 50,000 miles. We love mostly debt-free and would like to keep the price under $12,000, and I personally drive no more than 4,000 miles a year.

Thinking the 1st gen RDX or the 2nd gen MDX would be a fun and reliable enough car to own. Wanted your takes on it. Have been a reader here for years but never a forum member til today. Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:28 PM
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dont buy a beat up RDX then...make sure you take the time to find a clean example that has always been maintained.
If that means spending a little more for piece of mind; then do so.

the only un-reliable cars are the beat up shitty non taken care of ones.
or perhaps, you could rehab one back to health if that's something you can do.

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Old 06-11-2019, 07:36 PM
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My 08 RDX with +163,000 miles is the wife's weekday commuter, weekend errands, and MTB hauling CUV. The smaller size, easy fold down 2nd row seats, excellent visibility, and turbo engine makes for a perfect city car for us. I've had my share of issues that seems to be normal for most Acura's and RDXs like:
- replaced P/S pump
- replaced alternator
- replaced all four coil packs
- replaced struts/shocks (eibach lowering springs killed them at 100K)
- replaced A/C compressor (replace for free under Acura extended warranty at 95,000 miles)
- Vtec oil pressure switch
- air mix door groan, re-grease to fix

Pretty much all those issues happened after 100,000 miles. My 08 RDX I purchased used in 2010 has been paid off for over +6 years. I've spend more on 2 sets of tires than repairs over the same time (conti DWS 06 tires). The only thing about the RDX is it drives a lot better the harder you push her. The RDX makes an excellent hammer if you only see nails. Another downside is premium gas and mpgs in 17-21 range average.

Our 11 MDX (130,000 miles) is a way nicer, smoother, way less road noise, and very comfy in front or 2nd row seats (6'3" & +270 lbs). We use this car when we need to take the adult kids, need more hauling space, or if I need to take more than 3 bikes on the rack. The MDX is still our main travel vehicle once we leave the city limits. The MDX will cruise all day long at +80 mph AND get better mpgs compared to RDX. The RDX can't touch the MDX once you get on the hwy. The downside of the MDX is it can be too large sometimes for parking spaces, has little less city mpgs (14-17 mpgs), not a nimble or quick as the RDX, and has larger blind spots (not as good as a city car as the RDX).

The MDX is still pretty sporty. It might be one of best "bang for the buck" handling SUVs out there without a S-line, AMG, GTS, SVR, or M badge on the bumper.

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Old 06-11-2019, 08:13 PM
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A well-maintained 1G RDX should be very reliable. The interior tends to hold up pretty well outside of center console and door armrests (I replaced all mine with higher grade material a few years back and have had good results). I'm closing in on 160k myself, and outside of normal maintenance (fluids, brakes, suspension, tires, etc) I've done the following:

Replaced battery terminal due to corrosion ($200)
Replaced steering wheel cruise control button ($50 DIY)
Replaced vinyl armrest cover and front door armrests ($350 upholstery shop)
Replaced turbo actuator bolt ($200 DIY)

So, about 800 bucks over 160k miles in unscheduled work, almost half of it cosmetic, and the only thing that actually left me stranded was the battery terminal. I'd call that a win in terms of vehicle ownership.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:38 PM
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Thank you all for the helpful responses. This is the first I have read about any actual problems with the machine. Iíve had zero major non maintenance problems with my (Japanese) Civic and would like to find a vehicle thatís a fun step up from what I have (while still being reliable enough to last 50,000+ miles) It seems like the 07-09 MDX may have fewer problems than the comparable RDXs.

I have not driven a second gen MDX. How similar does it feel to a first gen Pilot? My wife enjoyed the Pilot more than I did but sheís used to driving her Ď05 Camry and it floats like a boat as did the Pilot (to me).
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:33 AM
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I have a 2007 RDX with almost 256K miles. It's had it's fair share of repairs, but nothing too unusual...


It did fail to start earlier this evening, battery terminal is corroded to hell...
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:51 AM
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If you do test drive a 07-09, I would find out if it is a sport model with magnetic struts/shocks (ADS: Active Damper System). The struts/shocks can/do fail at any time and can cost $700-$1100 per corner to replace. No aftermarket replacement, only OEM. Many folks just convert to regular suspension for a faction of the cost. My 11 MDX is the Advance model with the ADS system and I've replaced all four corners since purchasing the MDX used in 2014.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:39 AM
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mrgold35 Itís funny you say that. I looked online for the last year or two to read about the different vehicles that need to criteria I am interested in. I read about those sport shocks and then leaking eventually. I was thinking about avoiding that line all together and looking for an entertainment package or a tech and entertainment package. I think I would enjoy the sport package a lot but donít want to deal with $800 a shock. That would truly bring a shock.

We donít have kids though we would like them so Iím also trying to find something that is mildly accommodating to that end in a pinch. I personally donít care about luxury inside vehicle but my wife prefers it. She enjoys leather, sunroof, and heated seats. I personally just care about slightly tight steering, a decent turning radius, and hearing the engine. I really donít care how fast it is, I donít plan to take it in a genuine Offroad situation, and the roughest road I would probably take it on would be a deeply rugged gravel road or bumpy grassy field out in the country. This would be like twice a year.

I realize this is an Acura forum but I have read it for the last few years and canít imagine mentioning other vehicles as a reference being a totally bad thing. I find myself interested exclusively in Honda and Toyota products. It seems ones that have McPherson struts in the front and back have the most boat like ride and those with MultiLink suspension in the rear have the kind of handling that Iím used to with McPherson upfront. Iím not sure what A solid rear axle would feel like in comparison to what Iím driving now but I have always liked the reliability I perceive from the 4Runner line.

The RDX seems like it would have better handling as a smaller vehicle despite its weight. The MDX seems like a pilot on a better frame, with more accoutrements, and an overall more comfortable road trip feel. Iím afraid if I buy that my wife is going to take it! Especially if it has rear heated seats. LOL.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by thecupofcoffey View Post
Thank you all for the helpful responses. This is the first I have read about any actual problems with the machine. I’ve had zero major non maintenance problems with my (Japanese) Civic and would like to find a vehicle that’s a fun step up from what I have (while still being reliable enough to last 50,000+ miles) It seems like the 07-09 MDX may have fewer problems than the comparable RDXs.

I have not driven a second gen MDX. How similar does it feel to a first gen Pilot? My wife enjoyed the Pilot more than I did but she’s used to driving her ‘05 Camry and it floats like a boat as did the Pilot (to me).
I dont think they are problems per se.... as you said it best...it's a machine..
machines have moving parts. moving parts fail.


and YOU dont have to get it serviced at a dealer, which would explain the exorbitant prices.
Indie shops and or Do It Yourself, will result in a much much cheaper cost of ownership.

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Old 06-12-2019, 07:53 AM
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people are always scared of the high cost of maintenance of BMWs...but they are just cars, just like any other car on the road.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:04 AM
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My 11 MDX has the Ent option with rear heated outboard seats. You only get the rear heated seats with the Ent option. I've probably used the Ent system 3-4 times since 2014. Much more value and flexibility with ipad mini and smartphones now days. I get constantly use from the rear heated seats and that was the reason I wanted the Ent option. The 10-13 MDX tech has some nice tech upgrades along with a newer Ent system if you can find a tech+Ent. The main issue with the 10-13 MDXs is the hit or miss oil consumption issue. Acura has an extended warranty for the issue and some folks had the problem corrected. It can be as bad as 1 quart under 1000 miles in some cases (I'm about 1 quart per 8000-9000 miles). Very hard to know how bad you have this issue unless you monitor the 10-13 MDX over the 8000-9000 mile oil change interval.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:10 AM
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justnspace I asked our trusted mechanic who is super popular in our town because they kind of function like a credit union. I couldnít tell you who the actual owner is because they all have stock in the company so it presents a really unique work ethic situation because if one person drops the ball it affects all of them.

So, I asked them what they thought of an Acura RDX (especially the first generation model) and they said they have had to do very little work on them aside from regular maintenance. They said this could either be because not many people in this town have them or theyíre simply very reliable vehicles. Compared to Honda CRVís which are plentiful and suffer from both abuse and neglect from their owners as well as defects especially in the third generation model I felt like this was safe to say a good thing.

I agree with what youíre saying about supposedly high cost of maintenance of vehicles. I always buy used reliable vehicles because in the past when I was starting out as a driver (20 years ago) I had General Motors grandma and grandpa cars with large engines and much unreliability and some added comfort luxuries. But they were a huge pain in the butt to keep running as they frequently broke down.

When I bought my Honda in 2008 (for 10k) it was night and day compared to the previous vehicles. It had the same amount of mileage on the odometer but it was newer with significantly more reliable technology in it. And by technology I mean standard mechanical technology.

Iím basically looking for a $10,000 fun car (with AWD) made by a reliable company that most people are not running towards (but should be) for irrational reasons.

Many people today would rather have expensive cars with lots of electronic technology on it (gadgets) and would pay a whole lotta money for it. Theyíre also obsessed with gas mileage.

But if you sit down and do the math, you can get a very well-made vehicle with the luxuries that would have been thought as luxurious 25 years ago with an engine not constrained as much by the EPA, and because it is used/depreciated if it was well taken care of then I feel like you can get a much better deal than buying a brand new Buick SUV or Hyundai Sonata.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:24 PM
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Welcome to the board!

Originally Posted by thecupofcoffey View Post
...would like to find a vehicle ... reliable enough to last 50,000+ miles) ...
Originally Posted by thecupofcoffey View Post
...

Iím basically looking for a $10,000 fun car (with AWD) made by a reliable company that most people are not running towards (but should be) for irrational reasons...
Originally Posted by thecupofcoffey View Post
...
We donít have kids though we would like them ... my wife ... enjoys leather, sunroof, and heated seats. I personally just care about slightly tight steering, a decent turning radius, and hearing the engine...

The RDX seems like it would have better handling as a smaller vehicle despite its weight...
RDX checks all of the above.

Bought a 2008 Base (no navigation, no dvd-a capability) just over 2 years ago with 208k km in the Toronto area. Now have 264k with no troubles.

When bought I did the maintenance to bring it up to date, assumed it was all skipped when due (ALL FLUIDS, belts, water pump, spark plugs, valve adjustment, 3 pressure switches, 1 battery, 1 power steering reservoir, front sway bar polyurethane bushings, added a block heater). All in, with purchase price less than 10k U$.

There are several similar deals online, lingering on the market, perfect for the knowledgeable parties, easy to compare.

Two preventive measures, ie. replacement by choice before failure: the intercooler fins were more than 80% bent from roadrocks so restricting the air flow ie. reason to splurge $900 on the aftermarket unit from ETS (Acura OEM unit would have been cheaper by a huge $125), and the radiator with a cheap eBay unit <$100 which i did on my own in a weekend - this IS a known failure point when it dumps both coolant and transmission oil (similar to MAX, other Honda models).
https://acurazine.com/forums/1g-rdx-...oolant-949321/

The intercooler can be seen/inspected on top of the engine under an oversized plastic hat.

Being in Canada, we have a second set of tires, great driving and no slipping thanks to SH-AWD even during deep snowstorms.

Paint is still shiny, our carbon bronze has a nice shimmer in the sun. The air intake has an extra elbow/cap, removed to enjoy the air swoosh sound, no cost enjoyment feature!

According to mrgold35 the turbo engine is much better at higher altitudes than NA cars, if that is relevant to you.

I budget for myself some 5c per km for on-going maintenance, everything in. So far have done only four major items: a tie rod + a wheel link (suspect a pothole issue, as they were in the same corner), a muffler joint, and one set of brake pads (rear), maintenance fund still growing.

Have two teenage boys, the young one already taller than [email protected]'11", had no trouble travelling all four of us and luggage.

There are no heated rear seats though - which might "help" you indirectly. The leather is still great, moonroof used as much as possible.

We are all enjoying this FUN car, trouble free ownership, and expect many more years of daily driving out of it. Btw it is addictive, dreaming to buy another in the future.

Good luck with your search!

Last edited by Altair; 06-12-2019 at 01:37 PM.
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