7 Common Problems With Acura RDX (W/ Recall #s)

If you plan to buy an SUV, you most likely will consider the Acura RDX. The sports crossover vehicle is an exciting car, and many owners say it’s an excellent car. But not everyone has had a good experience with it, as some owners mention problems and issues they face.

Common Acura RDX problems and issues depend on the vehicle model. With recent models, owners point out brake system issues, auto-emergency malfunctions, connectivity issues, and broken hood cables. While in older models, they complain of power loss when accelerating and limp mode. In this post, we’ll discuss these issues in-depth and discuss potential solutions.

Fixing your Acura RDX whenever there’s a problem can be expensive. The good news is that you can fix some of these issues yourself, which will help you save money. Also, you may be able to return the vehicle to the manufacturer if it has an open recall. You’ll find info on these and more in this post. Read on as we begin with an overview of Acura RDX issues.

Acura RDX Issues Explained

Acura RDX issues occur due to different reasons. Sometimes, it’s the manufacturer’s fault, and other times, it’s the owner’s.

If the issue is due to a manufacturing error, you can usually return it for replacement or refund when there’s an open recall. But it is due to your fault, as the owner, you should take it for repairs.

Nevertheless, whether it’s the manufacturer’s or owner’s fault, it all boils down to the car’s reliability. 

How Reliable Is the Acura RDX

According to user reviews, the Acura RDX is a relatively reliable car. The car has an overall rating of 8.3 out of 10. In fact, it ranks among the top ten luxury compact SUVs and Luxury SUVs with two rows.

This isn’t surprising considering how much luxury the car packs. While it does have some issues and problems, it’s not universal. In other words, you can purchase an Acura RDX and use it without problems.

Universal problems – that affect every vehicle of a particular Acura RDX model – only happen if there’s a manufacturing defect. Rest assured that you won’t be spending any money on repairs when such happens.

You can send the car to the manufacturer, who will fix it free of charge. These recalls last for up to fifteen years, according to NHTSA regulations. So, it doesn’t matter when you notice the defects – you can still send them in.

We’ll discuss more on recalls later on. But first, let’s look at the most common issues with the Acura RDX.

Most Common Issues With the Acura RDX

Below are the seven most common issues with the Acura RDX and potential solutions:

1. Acceleration Issues

The most common issue Acura RDX owners face involves acceleration. This occurs when the engine hesitates, delaying acceleration.

Usually, this means there’s an engine problem. It’s ideal to have an inspection and possible repair, costing $100 to $200. However, up to $2,000, a complete engine replacement will be too expensive.

But what causes this problem? It can be due to issues with the fuel pump or fuel injectors. It can also be due to failing throttle position or mass airflow sensors.

A failing fuel pump cannot supply fuel to the engine, and this will cause acceleration issues. Also, fuel injectors can become dirty and clogged over time. You should replace such fuel injectors. They can cause more than acceleration issues.

A replacement is ideal if it’s a fuel pump issue, as fuel pumps aren’t expensive. Likewise, thorough cleaning of the fuel injectors will get them working again.

But if it’s a sensor issue, having a professional handle the job is the best option. These sensors are more technical. If they have issues, it’s usually because of a connection problem.

2. Infotainment Failure

In 2019, Acura RDX owners filed a nationwide class action settlement due to defective infotainment systems. In particular, it involved 2019-2020 Acura RDX models. The settlement amount was a whopping $10.5 million, leading to recalls and resolutions.

This implies that if you are experiencing infotainment failure with your Acura RDX, it is likely due to a manufacturer error. Hence, returning it when there’s a recall is the best solution.

Infotainment failure is a severe issue as it affects the navigation system. A malfunctioning infotainment failure can result in accidents since they distract the driver. If your Acura RDX has this problem, park it until you fix it.

While you wait for a recall or response from the manufacturer, you can also examine the system yourself. For example, in some Acura RDX models, infotainment failure occurs due to other reasons, not manufacturing defects.

For example, an irregular power supply to the system can cause it to crash. Wiring issues, dead batteries, and blown car fuses are also possible causes of infotainment failure.

You can try troubleshooting if the infotainment system failure is due to any of the above. Recheck the wires, batteries, and fuses if they are bad. Having a professional handle this won’t cost much.

In difficult situations, you may need to replace the infotainment system. A new infotainment system will cost anywhere between $300 to $500. However, you may pay higher for the Acura RDX, as the car has a custom-built infotainment system.

3. Limp Mode Problems

Does your Acura RDX lose power when you are driving at high speed? If yes, then it could be due to limp mode problems. Unfortunately, this is a common issue with the 2019 and 2020 Acura RDX models. However, owners confirm that recent 2021 models don’t experience this.

In limp mode, the Acura RDX stops accelerating. No matter how you try, it won’t speed up. For example, you may be speeding at 60 MPH, and the car suddenly decelerates below 20 MPH and won’t go past it.

The problem, however, is that you don’t get any warning before this deceleration happens. As a result, it could cause serious car accidents, especially when close to other cars.

Whenever you notice this issue on the highway, the best line of action is to stop the car. Then, you can try a quick restart of the vehicle to fix the problem. The car may speed up after restarting, but it will most likely happen again. Some other times, the car won’t accelerate after a restart.

Limp mode problems are not what you can fix yourself. Instead, you should take your car to a professional shop for a check. Usually, such issues are the responsibility of the manufacturer. But Acura is yet to announce a recall of this issue.

4. Brake Noises

The previous limp mode problems occur due to high speeds. In contrast, brake noise is a common Acura RDX (and Acura TLX) problem when driving at low speeds. Data from NHTSA shows that 2019 and 2020 Acura RDX models experience this issue the most.

In particular, the issue is common with all 2019 and 2WD, and AWD 2020 models. You’ll know your car has this issue if the front or rear brakes squeal when you apply them below 15 MPH.

The most likely cause of this issue with the front brake is if the discs are too stiff. With the rear brakes, noises occur due to insufficient dampening between the shims and brake pads.

There is only one solution when dealing with Acura RDX brake noises: to replace the brakes. You must ensure you get the correct brake parts, or you’ll only be making it worse.

Acura RDX brakes cost between $150 to $300. If you take the vehicle to a shop for a replacement, the labor fee will range between $100 to $150. Alternatively, you can change the brakes yourself following the owner’s manual if you have the right tools.

5. Turbocharger Issues

Turbocharger issues are common with the Acura RDX turbo system. Earlier Acura RX models, like the 2007 models, experienced this issue. Generally, you can encounter this if you own a 2012 Acura RDX or older model.

But the turbocharger issue is hardly a manufacturer error. Instead, it usually occurs due to poor maintenance on the owner’s part. Oil contamination, starvation, and damage are common causes of turbocharger issues.

If you are experiencing turbocharger issues, try troubleshooting to determine the cause. A simple oil change will fix the problem if it’s due to oil starvation or contamination. However, if it comes to replacing the turbocharger assembly, it could cost you more than $3,000.

Also, note that turbocharger issues can be a symptom of a more serious problem. For example, a damaged exhaust system blocked air filters, and a failing fuel injection system can affect the turbo system.

6. Airbag Problems

Airbag problems have led to the recall of many Acura RDX vehicles, especially older ones. Models like the 2001-2003 BAD and 2007-2016 Acura RDX are among the recalls.

The primary causes of airbag problems are humidity and temperature fluctuation. As you use the SUV, the fluctuations cause the ammonium nitrate in the airbags to be unstable.

It could cause the airbag module to explode, putting the driver and front passenger at risk. As a result, this is one of the most dangerous issues you can encounter with the Acura RDX.

However, such an explosion is only likely if it is an issue with the front driver-side airbag inflator. From statistics, problems with the front driver-side airbag inflator aren’t common, with only fourteen reports in over twenty years.

The solution if your vehicle has airbag issues is to return it for replacement when there’s an open recall.

7. Headlights Are Dim

Dim headlights are common with the 2015 Acura RDX, among other models. But, of course, if your headlights are dim, you get poor visibility when driving at night. Hence, it’s a serious issue.

Fortunately, dim headlights are relatively easy to fix. First, you need to perform an inspection. Most of the time, dim headlights are due to clogging of the headlight plastic. If that is the cause, you only need to spend money on a cleaning kit.

Other potential causes include corroded ground wire, bad alternators, yellowed lenses, and loose alternator belts. These are not difficult to fix, although they could cost you when you visit a repair shop.

In some cases, you may need to replace the headlights. Acura RDX headlight parts cost around $250.

As mentioned earlier, these issues are not always universal. In addition, they are sometimes particular to some models. Let’s look at the Acura RDX year models with problems next. 

What Years Did the Acura RDX Have Problems

While some Acura RDX vehicles are smooth sailing, others are more prone to problems. So far, the Acura RDX models most likely to develop issues are:

  • 2015
  • 2019
  • 2020

Therefore, if you plan to purchase an Acura RDX SUV, you may want to avoid any of the above models. On the other hand, here are some ideal Acura RDX models to buy:

  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2016
  • 2017

The above models are less likely to have any issues. Recent models like 2021, 2022, and 2023 Acura RDX can also make a good buy. However, they’ve not been around long enough to know for sure.

If you own an Acura RDX prone to issues, you should watch out for recall numbers. So in that view, let’s find out more about recalls.

What Is a Recall Number?

A manufacturer may ask customers to return a car if there are any safety concerns or flaws that could endanger the consumer or expose them to legal liability. This is known as a recall.

Subsequently, a recall number identifies the recalled car model and the issue the recall addresses.

Recent Recall Numbers

Here are some of the most recent recall numbers for the Acura RDX:

  • 21V939000: this recall was put out in late 2021 for 2021 Acura RDX vehicles. The recall was due to an error with the power train, driveline, and driveshaft.
  • 21V215000: this recall was put out in early 2021 for 2019 and 2020 Acura RDX vehicles. It was due to an error with the gasoline fuel system and fuel pump delivery.
  • 20V314000: this recall was put out in mid-2020 for 2019 Acura RDX vehicles. The recall was due to an error with the fuel pump.

For future recalls, it’s better to know how to check for open recalls yourself. So, find out how below.

Check To See Whether Your Vehicle Has an Open Recall

To check if your Acura RDX has an open recall, visit the NHTSA website – https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls. On the website, all you have to do is to enter the 17-digit VIN of your Acura RDX vehicle. If there’s an open recall, you’ll get all the details.

How Is It Compared to Similar Cars?

The Lexus RX 350 and Audi Q5 are popular competitors of the Acura RDX.

Compared to the Lexus RX 350, the Acura RDX has a better MPG for city use. While the Lexus RX 350 has 19 – 20 MPG, the Acura RDX has 21 – 22 MPG. Note that the years in comparison here are the 2022 models.

Furthermore, the Acura RDX has a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is better than the Lexus RX 350’s 8-speed. The Acura RDX only falls short in horsepower with 272. Meanwhile, the Lexus RX 350 has 295 HP.

However, the Acura RDX has better horsepower than the Audi Q5, which is 261. Acura RDX also has higher engine torque and automatic transmission than the Audi Q5.

In general, not many sport crossover SUVs are faster than the Acura RDX or have more technology.

What Is the Life Expectancy and Mileage?

The Acura RDX can last for use for up to fifteen years. The vehicle can cover 250,000 – 300,000 miles, with a 15,000 annual mileage.

However, when it comes to life expectancy and mileage, it mainly depends on the car model. As you’d expect, recent Acura RDX models will have a longer life expectancy than older ones.

Also, how you maintain and conserve the vehicle will also determine how long it lasts.

Is It Worth Buying Used?

Most often than not, buying a new car is better than buying a used one. However, if you’re on a low budget, there’s nothing wrong with getting a used Acura RDX.

SUVs maintain their value over time, and the Acura RDX is one of the most sturdy vehicles from Honda. So, a used Acura RDX can still serve you for a long time.

If you opt to buy a used Acura RDX, ensure you check it thoroughly for any underlying problems. You can go with an expert or have a mechanic test the car before you make the payment.

Furthermore, it’s not advisable to buy a used Acura RDX model prone to issues. As mentioned earlier, the models are 2015, 2019, and 2020. So instead, purchase a 2016 or 2017 used Acura RDX.

What Is Good and Bad About the Car?

The Acura RDX boasts the following:

  • Spacious and sophisticated interior
  • Relatively affordable price
  • Adaptive suspension
  • Safety protection and driving assistance
  • Sound insulator for quieter rides

With the above, it’s no surprise many car lovers want to own it. Nevertheless, the car also has downsides, which include:

  • Poor infotainment user interface
  • Shifter

What Do Owners Say About the Car?

Before we conclude, check out what some car owners say about the Acura RDX:

  • On Edmunds, one owner considers the Acura RDX as the perfect SUV. However, he highlights the price and luxury features as the key factors while noting that the car isn’t perfect. Also, he attests to not having any serious problems with the car after three years of ownership.
  • On Cars.com, one owner commended the car’s spacious and stylish interior. However, he mentions that it could take some time to familiarize himself with the infotainment system.


If you own an Acura RDX, you own one of the best SUVs from Honda. However, this doesn’t mean the car won’t have issues.

As explained in this article, some common issues Acura RDX vehicles experience are due to manufacturer errors. Others are due to mishandling by owners. However, with the solutions discussed, you should be able to fix these issues.

Finally, please take note of the models that are more likely to have issues and avoid them. Then, if you can afford it, go for the most recent model if you want to own an Acura RDX SUV.