Skip to Content

14 Common Problems Of An Acura RDX

14 Common Problems Of An Acura RDX

What kind of problems does an Acura RDX have? This blog has outlined all the most important things you should watch for when you’re in the market for an RDX. However, let’s first start with a quick answer.

Acura RDX have problems with a leaking fuel pump causing loss of power or engine stalling. Furthermore, prematurely wearing brake pads, warped brake rotors, and loss of braking power are problems for the RDX. Finally, the 2013 – 2018 models had problems with hard shifting of the 6-speed automatic.

However, that certainly doesn’t tell you the complete story about the problems several model years of the RDX have experienced. In the article below, we’ll thoroughly discuss the problems both the second (2013 – 2018) and third-generation (2019 – present) of the RDX have had. We’ll also discuss what caused these problems and if any recalls were issued. Read on!

Want to save money on gasoline? earn up to $0.25/gallon every time you fill up? GetUpside is a free-to-use cashback app for US gas stations. Use coupon code THEDRIVERADVISER25and earn an additional $0.25/gallon the first time! Click here to download the app for Android or iOS.

Third Generation (2019 – Present)

The third generation of the luxurious Acura RDX certainly hasn’t been without its problems. To be honest, there are some problems that would make us reconsider being in the market for a third generation of the RDX since they relate to the fuel system, driveshaft, and turbocharger intercooler. All of these problems mean they’re costly to repair.

However, if you’re able to find a good model, the RDX can typically last you around 200,000 – 220,000 miles. Now, let’s look at what you can expect from this generation.

1. Failing Fuel Pump And Engine Stalling

Engine stalling seemed to be a well-known problem for the 2019-2020 model year of the RDX.

A first recall was issued in May 2020 under recall number 20V314000. Acura recalled the 2019 model year of the RDX. It turned out that the fuel pump was the problem here. This was not surprising since a faulty fuel pump was the same defect found in many other Acuras and Hondas of this model year (such as the TLX)

Honda (the owner of Acura) found that the impeller in the low-pressure fuel pumps was susceptible to swelling. This would reduce the flow of gasoline, which, in turn, decreased power or caused engine stalling. In affected models, the fuel pump assembly was replaced free of charge.

In March 2021, Honda launched another recall campaign that, this time, also included the 2020 model years of the RDX. This was done under recall number 21V215000, and it involved the same problems as mentioned before.

2. Failing Driveshaft

The 2021 model year of the RDX was recalled at the end of the same year because owners complained about noise and vibrations while driving. The recall happened under number 21V939000.

It turned out that both the 2021 RDX and 2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid had this problem. These vehicles have constant velocity joints that were manufactured improperly. Therefore, they would wear prematurely, which would lead to loud noise, vibration, and possible failure of the front-left driveshaft over time.

The recall included replacing the front-left part. Honda also specifically mentioned that no car needed to have both driveshafts replaced. It was explicitly only the one on the front-left side.

3. Loss Of Power When Accelerating

The following is one of the significant problems that 2019 and 2020 RDX struggle with. We’ve often read reports about owners wanting to accelerate on the highway, resulting in the car losing all its power, the check engine light coming on, and the vehicle going into limp mode. Oftentimes this happens in rainy conditions.

Acura has failed to address this problem properly so far. There haven’t been any recalls, and often, dealerships don’t seem to know how to handle the situation. For these reasons, owners have speculated what the cause might be.

The answer that seems to be most likely is that there’s a problem with the turbocharger intercooler and water condensation, a problem that some Ford F150 with 3.5 EcoBoost V6 have also had. In rainy or high-humidity conditions, water condenses inside the intercooler. A sudden increase in acceleration then increases airflow, which creates a vacuum

water condensing in the intercooler for the turbocharger under high humidity conditions. A sudden demand for power causes increased airflow and vacuums up the condensate which means the part malfunctions, and the engine protects itself by going into limp mode.

Since Acura hasn’t provided any solution, expect to pay between $850 – $1,000 to have the intercooler replaced if this problem occurs in your RDX. You can read more about the cost of maintaining an Acura in this blog post.

4. Rear Window Shatters

A very odd yet well-known complaint of the 2019 RDX is that the rear glass window can spontaneously shatter. This typically happens randomly without the car being in extreme conditions (e.g., heat) or there being any known source of impact. However, it has happened so many times that it’s not a one of occurrence.

Once again, Acura never did issue a recall for this and owners have had to spend around $250 – $350 to get the rear window replaced.

5. Squeaking Brakes And Loss Of Brake Pressure

An article about the problems of an Acura is not complete without talking about the brake problems the car can have. Whether you own an MDX, TLX, RDX, or ILX, there’s quite a chance you have experienced one of the two following problems.

In the case of the 2019 – 2020 Acura RDX, we found that owners complain about a complete loss of braking power or hear a loud squeaking noise when braking.

The complete loss of braking power is something seen with many Acura models. Again, Acura has never issued a recall for this, but owners report that they have no pressure from the braking pedal. This is likely a problem caused by the master cylinder. Typically, the master cylinder is leaking or hasn’t been appropriately bled after repairs were done. If you experience this problem, this should be your number one location to look for problems.

Then there’s the squeaking noise. Further inspection by dealerships and owners has learned that this is often caused by brake pads that are completely worn after a short period of use or a sound created by warped brake rotors. Either way, it’s a problem caused by Honda using low-quality parts on what’s supposed to be an upper-range brand.

Replacing the brake pads on an Acura RDX will cost $150 – $300 per axle, whereas replacing the brake rotos will cost more in the range of $500 – $700 per four rotors. Also, check out this article where we check out the maintenance costs for Acura and we discuss common replacements like these.

7. Airbag Warning Light

2019 owners of the Acura RDX have complained about the ‘airbag off light’ coming one for the front passenger. This means the front airbag on the passenger side is deactivated even when a person is sitting in the seat. This, of course, creates a safety situation that could result in fatal injuries.

Typically, this problem seems to occur when the passenger is in the range of 100 pounds. However, the system should already detect a person who weighs over 65 pounds. Multiple RDX have been in the dealerships numerous times for this problem, but it hasn’t been fixed, and, not surprisingly, no recall was issued.

Currently, the only known solution for the problem is turning the car on and off after which it disappears for a varying amount of time.

Second Generation (2013 – 2018)

The main problem of the second-generation RDX was caused by its airbags. To be fair, though, this wasn’t Acuras fault and was a problem for all carmakers nationwide. However, the braking issues of the third generation started in the second generation. Also, the 6-speed automatic wasn’t without its problems. Let’s see what this all meant for the RDX.

8. Takata Airbags Recalls

One of the most complained about, and luckily also one of the parts that has been recalled the most, are the airbags that were used in the 2007 – 2016 RDX. These were part of the largest nationwide recall that involved practically all carmakers and tens of millions of vehicles.

We’re going to be short-and-sweet here. The problem was that Takata had produced millions of frontal airbag inflators installed on the driver’s side of vehicles. Due to higher temperatures and heat cycling, these inflators were prone to spontaneous explosions or rupturing.

Problems did not stop there since the first recall that was issued in 2016 (16V061000) was also a part that was prone to the same failure. Therefore, two other recalls were issued in 2019 (19V500000, 19V182000) to replace the faulty part that was the focal point of the first recall.

9. Braking And Acceleration Problems

Like the third generation, the second generation also had problems with warped rotors and a complete loss of braking power, with the braking pedal going all the way to the floor. The main issues for this (lousy build-quality of the rotors, leaking master cylinder) are the same as in the third generation.

Unexpected Braking

However, the second generation also had some other problems. First, there were instances reported in which the car’s collision mitigation braking system activated without there being a use for it. This meant the car would break unexpectedly, creating a dangerous situation in which a car would slow down in the middle of the highway.

This wasn’t a widely reported problem, but it was reported in more than one case. Because of this, solutions weren’t widely discussed, but from the research that we did, owners have been told that the radar needed replacement or that the software was too sensitive.

Loss Of Acceleration

Another problem with the car was loosely related to the same system. In this case, owners would experience a sudden loss in acceleration when using the automatic cruise control. Again, this increased the risks of a crash and caused dangerous situations. At the same time, the dashboard would display a warning sign stating ‘collision braking mitigation system problems, see your dealer’.

Acura did issue a technical service bulletin for this problem (19-051) in which they stated this was caused because The PGM-FI software cancels the ACC when a conflicting stop-and-go signal is detected in the software at the same time.

10. Problematic 6-Speed Automatic

The transmission used in the 2013 – 2018 Acura RDX isn’t what you would want in an upper-range vehicle. Supposedly, the RDX from this generation has an unpleasant driving experience altogether. Owners complain about harsh shifting, sudden downshifting, trouble accelerating because gears don’t seem to grab, etcetera.

Mainly, this generation of RDX uses a Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission connected to a V6 engine. We know that Honda has had some problems with transmissions connected to their V6 engines during these times and the RDX doesn’t seem to be any different.

What is more difficult is finding out what the actual problem here was. Nowhere does it seem well documented what caused these problems. Instead, most owners just lived with the difficulties or had the transmission replaced if necessary. A recall was never issued as well. If you’re in the market for an RDX from this generation, be careful to inspect the behavior and history of the transmission.

Also read: The Exact Towing Capacity Of An Acura RDX (And More..)

11. Rollaway Risk

2013 model years of the Acura RDX were recalled under number 13V143000 because of increased rollaway risk. Honda described the problem as follows:

The brake-shift interlock blocking mechanism may become slow and allow the gear selector to be moved from the Park position without pressing the brake pedal.


This problem was specifically a problem in sub-freezing temperatures. From what we know, no serious accidents have occurred, and the gear selector lever was repaired free of charge.

12. Low-Beam Headlight Malfunction

One final major complaint with the second generation of the RDX was that the low-beam headlights would not illuminate the road much. This seemed to be a problem specific to the 2013 – 2015 model years. One owner reported the following on the website of the NHTSA:

Low beam headlights have become continually worse in the past four years. The bulbs are working fine, but the low beam headlights only project light out a few feet from the front of the car. The car is unsafe and undriveable at night using only the low beam headlights. 

Acura did not issue a recall for the RDX models with this problem. Surprisingly, they did issue a recall for the 2013 – 2014 ILX that suffered from the same symptoms (recall number 14V323000). In these vehicles, it turned out that heat buildup in the headlight assembly caused the deformation of plastic parts, thereby not allowing enough light to escape.

Given that the model years of these cars line up, it’s pretty likely that the same problem caused the illumination problems of the RDX. Since replacing the headlight assembly sets you back $250 per headlight, not having a recall issued was quite upsetting to owners.


Have More Questions? Join Our Facebook Group!

Do you have any more questions that weren´t answered in this blog post? Join our free Facebook group and ask your question there. We promise you you´ll get an answer from one of our team members. Join the group here!