2019 Acura RDX Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Steering, brakes, electrical and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

When it comes to living in the lap of luxury, many discerning shoppers turn to the 2019 Acura RDX when looking for a midsize crossover SUV to own. After all, the automaker claims this model provides “Polished Power at Every Turn.” Yet, current drivers argue that the engine, electrical system, powertrain, vehicle speed control and service brakes make this vehicle a lemon.

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Engine

When it comes to getting power, a vehicle must have a potent engine. Considering the word “power” is in the tagline of the 2019 Acura RDX, one would expect that this SUV has a mighty motor, but that’s simply not the case.

One Edmunds reviewer had this to say, “The new RDX is a lemon.  Engine and transmission failure from second day of ownership.Neither Acura Customer Care or the dealership is trying to rectify the situation.  Keep putting me on hold.  They tell me they need the car for a couple of days to research, but will not offer a loaner for over a week’s time.”

While this customer faced a failed engine, many other owners find themselves having trouble getting adequate power. Even Service Bulletin #B18-063 refers to how the engine idle fluctuates, especially during cold starts because the engine idle is set too low. To repair the problem, technicians must update the PGM-FI software. Then, maybe the vehicle will respond with polished power.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Acura RDX Engine Problems

I JUST BROUGHT A NEW 2019 RDX,IT ONLY HAS 315 MILES (IT HAS BEEN ONLY TWO AND HALF WEEKS).I WAS DRIVING ON THE HIGHWAY ON MY WAY TO WORK. I LOST ACCELERATION ON MY VEHICLE. I TRIED PRESSING THE ACCELERATOR NO REPONSE. ALL THE WARNING LIGHTS CAME ON ,THE ENGINE LIGHT,AWD, BRAKE SYSTEM, POWER STEERING, STABILITY AND TRACTION. LUCKILY I WAS ABLE TO GET ON TO THE SHOULDER. AS I AM READING SIMILAR COMPLAINTS I NOTICE THAT SOME PEOPLE WERE ABLE TO SHUT OFF AND TURNING ON BACK THE VEHICLE , RESETTING THE CAR AND RESOLVING THE ISSUES. UNFORTUNATELY FOR THAT DID NOT WORK. I HAD TO BE TOWED BACK TO THE DEALERSHIP.

VEHICLE LOST ALL ENGINE POWER WHEN ACCELERATING TO PASS FROM APPROX 60 MPH. CHECK ENGINE LIGHT CAME ON, PULLED TO THE SHOULDER AND POWER WAS STILL NOT PRESENT UNTIL THE VEHICLE WAS SHUT OFF AND RESTARTED. HAS HAPPENED ON A FEW OTHER OCCASIONS, VERY DANGEROUS IF PASSING ON A 2 LANE HIGHWAY.

I WAS ACCELERATING HARD ONTO A HIGHWAY ON RAMP WHEN THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT TURNED ON AND THE CAR WENT INTO “LIMP” MODE. I DROVE AT 40 MILES PER HOUR TO THE NEXT EXIT AND TURNED OFF THE CAR AS INSTRUCTED ON THE MANUAL. THE CAR RETURNED TO NORMAL OPERATION AFTERWARDS ALTHOUGH SPECIAL CARE WAS TAKEN TO MINIMIZE STRONG ACCELERATION.

Electrical System

A vehicle’s electrical system is like the nerves of the body. There are wires running throughout the entire SUV, transmitting power and helping all of the luxury amenities work correctly. In the Acura RDX, these wires might be crossed or short-circuited, because problems are rampant.

One Edmunds reviewer says, “I had my dream car for 7 months and then traded it in for something more reliable. When I first purchased the Acura RDX Advance I was ecstatic. Everything seemed to be customized for me. From the memory seats to the technology, to the safety components. I was in love with my SUV. However, things seemed to go south the longer I owned the vehicle. First it was the constant issues with the Infotainment System. I would exit the vehicle and it wouldn’t turn off. I called the dealership and they either thought I was dumb and didn’t know how to operate a car, or they would say “this is the first time we’re hearing about this…” I found a site called AcuraZine which had a workaround for turning off the frozen system so I wouldn’t get a dead battery. So that was the first issue. The second was the constant brake squealing after about 3 or 4 months of ownership. I drive typically on the interstate, so nothing weird about my driving habits. The last, and most terrifying issue was the electronic issue. I was on my way to work, driving about 65 mph, and everything shut off except for the engine. So I had no dials (since they’re digital) / no GPS / no A/C nothing electronic whatsoever in my car. It was pitch black. I was in the middle lane and there was no way to pull over. I safely made it to work. When I placed the vehicle in park all electronics came back on but they were “strobing.” I called the dealership who told me to bring it in ASAP. After an hour they found nothing wrong and sent me on my merry way.”

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Acura RDX Brake Problems

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2019 ACURA RDX. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE NORTH STAR SYSTEM WAS A DISTRACTION WHILE DRIVING DUE TO A LIGHT THAT CONSTANTLY FLASHED FROM THE CONTROL PANEL. IN ADDITION, THE VEHICLE LOCKED ON ITS OWN. THE VEHICLE WAS DRIVEN TO WESTCHESTER ACURA WHERE IT WAS DIAGNOSED THAT THE COMPUTER NEEDED TO BE REBOOTED. THE VEHICLE WAS REPAIRED MORE THAN TWICE, BUT THE FAILURES CONTINUED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS MADE AWARE OF THE FAILURES AND DID NOT ASSIST. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS UNKNOWN. 

WE PURCHASED THIS VEHICLE NEW IN APRIL 2019. TODAY FOR THE FOURTH TIME SINCE WE PURCHASED THIS LEMON OUR DISPLAY SCREEN WENT OUT AND WE ARE HAVING TO BRING THIS CAR BACK TO THE DEALERSHIP FOR REPAIR. THIS IS A SAFETY ISSUE SINCE WHEN OUR DISPLAY SCREEN GOES OUT WE ARE UNABLE TO SEE OUR BACKUP CAMERA WHICH IS A REQUIRED SAFETY DEVICE

INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM HAS MULTIPLE GLITCHES CAUSING MANY OF THE FEATURES, RADIO, GPS OPERATION, DRIVE MODE CHANGES, SOUND, CLOCK FREEZING, KNOBS AND DIALS NOT WORKING. REPORTED TO DEALERSHIP AND WENT IN SEVERAL TIMES. THEY SAID THERE WERE UPDATES WHICH THEY TRIED TO INSTALL AND THE VEHICLE DIDN’T RESPOND TO ANY UPDATES PROVIDED BY ACURA. CALLED ACURA, GOT A CASE NUMBER, AND WAS VIRTUALLY TOLD THEY ARE STILL WORKING ON THESE PROBLEMS . THESE 2019 CARS HAVE BEEN OUT SINCE MAY OF 2018 AND THEY ARE STILL MANUFACTURING CARS AND PUTTING THEM OUT TO THE CONSUMER KNOWING THESE ELECTRICAL AND SYSTEM ISSUES HAVE NEVER BEEN ADDRESSED PROPERLY. THESE PROBLEMS HAPPEN WHETHER THE VEHICLE IS STATIONARY, IN MOTION, CITY OR HIGHWAY DRIVING. THE PROBLEMS ARE INTERMITTENT. IT DOES BECOME A SAFETY ISSUE WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS BECAUSE THE DRIVER IS NOT ABLE TO DEAL WITH ISSUES WHILE OPERATING THE VEHICLE. ACURA HAS BEEN LESS THAN COOPERATIVE WITH EITHER THE DEALERSHIP OR THE CONSUMER, JUST TELLING ALL THEY ARE SORRY TO BE PATIENT “THEY ARE WORKING ON IT”. MY VEHICLE HAS BEEN DOING THIS FOR SEVERAL MONTHS

Powertrain

When it comes to the powertrain, it’s necessary to have a properly running transmission. Without this, owners face shifting trouble and a rough ride.

Just look at this Edmunds review. “After a month of ownership, with two weeks in the shop during this month, we are finally getting a new transmission for our RDX. Sadly they should be replacing the car considering the transmission started acting up with 30 miles on it, but instead have wasted weeks of our time and act like they are doing us a favor by replacing it. It would slam in to gear, feeling like it was skipping multiple gears at a time. Sometimes it would just hang up between gears, other times it would just rev up and not go before finally shifting in to gear. My favorite solution from the dealership was to just let the car warm up and auto start it and it won’t be as bad. Granted, the issue was worse when the car was cold, but it also did it while warm.”

The manufacturer has nothing to say about these problems, which is probably why dealers are advising people to let the car warm up. These factory-trained technicians have no idea what to think about this problem so they begin to short-circuit themselves. Common sense seems to fly right out of their brains while they advise customers to do things that logically aren’t correct. Apparently, the Polished Power only occurs if the engine is warmed up first. Maybe they should have warned people before purchase.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Acura RDX Transmission Problems

I KNOW BY NOW THE PUBLIC MAY REALIZE ALL THE ISSUES SURROUNDING THE 2019 RDX MODEL. I PURCHASED ONE THREE MONTHS AGO. WHILE THERE ARE A HOST OF IMPORTANT ISSUES/PROBLEMS I HAVE SEEN WITH THE VEHICLE, ALL ‘APPEAR’ TO BE SOFTWARE RELATED, I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS MY CONCERN WITH ONE SPECIFIC ISSUE. THE THROTTLE IS DELAYED WHEN ACCELERATING FROM A STANDSTILL UP TO 10 MPH, BUT CAN ALSO HAPPEN AT HIGHER SPEEDS. THIS APPEARS TO BE DEPENDENT ON THE RPM. THIS OCCURS IN COMFORT AND SPORT MODES. THE DELAY IS ONE TO TWO SECONDS. THIS DELAY IS CRITICAL WHEN SAY, TAKING A TURN CROSSING TRAFFIC. YES, THERE ARE MANY CUSTOMERS WITH THE SAME PROBLEM. I SEE THIS AS A SAFETY ISSUE, JUST AS BAD AS, FOR EXAMPLE, BRAKES NOT ACTUALLY BEING APPLIED FOR 1 OR TWO SECONDS AFTER BEING PHYSICALLY APPLIED, OR MAYBE THE CLUTCH BEING DELAYED IN A MANUAL TRANSMISSION BY TWO SECONDS. THIS WOULD NEVER BE ACCEPTABLE IN THE MARKETPLACE, BUT YET SOMEHOW AN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION IS OK TO BE DELAYED. WE RDX OWNERS HAVE RECEIVED A SOFTWARE UPDATE IN FEBRUARY. I FEEL THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. IT APPEARS THE VEHICLE WAS NOT READY FOR PRODUCTION 2 YEARS AGO, AND HAS YET TO SEE CRITICAL PROBLEMS FIXED. I HAVE BEEN TO THE DEALER WHERE THEY DID A CLUTCH PROCEDURE AND PASSED ON RESULTS TO ACURA.THIS PROCEDURE DID NOT FIX THE ISSUE, AND I HAVE PASSED THIS INFO ONTO THE DEALER

Vehicle Speed Control

When it comes to advanced technology, the adaptive cruise control is one that has been extremely helpful – in most vehicles. In the Acura RDX, however, customers have very little good to say about it.

Just peek at this Edmunds review. “Adaptive cruise control was slow to react to a vehicle in front.  Rather than gradually slowing it would wait until the last second then brake the vehicle.  When traffic resumed speed the RDX would do a near full throttle acceleration back to the set speed.”

In Service Bulletin #B19-051, it’s acknowledged that the adaptive cruise control shuts itself off unexpectedly, even while it is in use. To fix this, the automaker tells dealers to update the PGM-FI software. Then, it’s possible that the SUV will have the continuous power it’s expected to. There appears to be a long list of things the dealer must do to get this vehicle to display its polished power.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Acura RDX Adaptive Cruise Control Problems

I HAD BEEN DRIVING ON THE FREEWAY FOR AT LEAST 20 MINUTES AND THEN EXITED THE FREEWAY TO GO HOME. AS I NEARED THE LEFT TURN TO ENTER OUR STREET, I STOPPED TO LET ONCOMING TRAFFIC CLEAR, AND THEN I RELEASED THE FOOT BRAKE AND BEGAN TO TURN AND SLOWLY PRESS ON THE GAS PEDAL. AGAIN, THE CAR BEGAN TO ACCELERATE AT A FASTER RATE THAN WAS SAFE ONTO OUR NARROW STREET AND UP A SMALL HILL WITH LIMITED VISIBILITY. AGAIN, I SLAMMED ON THE BRAKES, AND THE CAR STOPPED – THANKFULLY OUT OF THE ONCOMING TRAFFIC THAT I HAD JUST CROSSED.

Service Brakes

The last system to look at is the service brakes, although it’s certainly not the least important. In fact, with all the other parts malfunctioning, everyone wants to know that the SUV can stop.

According to this Edmunds user, the RDX isn’t scoring high points in this area either. “I have owned this car for 3 months. It’s been in the shop 4 times. Twice for the brakes, which still is not fixed.Once for the sensor just randomly going off. And twice for the struts, suspension, and shocks that had to be completely replaced!! I regret this purchase!”

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the automakers have yet another Service Bulletin regarding the brake system. #BER18100A discusses a front brake noise when lightly applying the brake. It is described as a squeal or squeak. They don’t offer any type of repair. Instead, they look to gain more information from consumers by getting feedback. In fact, they have requested this data three separate times from dealerships. Apparently, they don’t have enough information right now to help consumers stop the brakes from squeaking, because this is a very complicated issue. If a car company can’t figure out a simple brake noise, they can’t be trusted to create a vehicle that creates Polished Power at Every Turn.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Acura RDX Adaptive Cruise Control Problems

THE BRAKES SQUEAK LOUDLY ALL THE TIME WHEN I COME TO A STOP OR APPLY PRESSURE. I HAVE BEEN TO THE DEALERSHIP 3 TIMES AND HAD THEM REPLACED ALSO CALLED ACURA CORPORATE. ITS A KNOWN PROBLEM THAT THEY ARE LOOKING INTO BUT I DON’T FEEL SAFE IN THIS VEHICLE ANYMORE.I FEEL LIKE MY LIFE IS IN DANGER EVERYDAY DRIVING THIS CAR. 

THERE IS A CONSTANT SQUEALING WHILE BRAKING FROM THE FRONT BRAKES AT ALL OUTSIDE TEMPERATURES.

SQUEAKING AND SHAKING BRAKES SINCE CAR WAS PURCHASED. HAS BEEN TO DEALER 3 TIMES. ACURA SAYS THIS IS A KNOWN ISSUE ON ALL 2019 RDXS YET HAS NOT PROVIDED A FIX. THIS IS UNSAFE AND NEEDS RECALLED

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work aid your lemon at no cost to you. The law makes Acura pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Share your story

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1 COMMENT
  • John J

    I have a 2019 Acura RDX. It has been in for service over 3 times. It is still in the shop at Acura of Peoria after 3 weeks waiting for Acura to come up with a fix for the multiple failures of our car. We are driving a loaner. Acura refers us to the dealer. The dealer doesn’t know how to fix it.

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