Acura MDX Won’t Start—What Could Be Wrong?

The Acura MDX is a fairly reliable luxury, mid-size SUV class vehicle with a high rating and excellent gas mileage. However, if you discover your Acura MDX won't start, you may wonder what could be the cause? Not to worry, as we researched common reasons that an Acura MDX has difficulty turning over for drivers. Learn how to troubleshoot an Acura MDX that won't come start with confidence.

If you can't get your Acura MDX to start, look for the following problems and remedy them to get back up and running:

  1. The car battery has died or is weak
  2. Corrosion on the car battery
  3. The fuel filter is clogged
  4. The key fob is weak or died
  5. Engine failure
  6. There's a blown fuse somewhere
  7. The fuel pump has a problem
  8. The starter motor is gone
  9. The alternator has a defect
  10. Vehicle has suffered damage caused by animals
  11. The spark plugs are not working

Thankfully, most problems that cause your Acura MDX to not start can be easily fixed. Read on to decipher whether your car battery, electrical malfunctions, or even animals could be keeping your car from starting.

Modern car Acura MDX on road at sunset. Acura MDX Won't Start—What Could Be Wrong

Troubleshooting Your Acura MDX

Here are some common reasons your car isn't starting:

1. Weak Or Dead Car Battery

If the car battery is too weak to deliver power throughout the vehicle or is completely dead, your vehicle is not going to start.

2. Car Battery Corrosion

While your car is running, the battery gets charged and creates a feedback loop of energy. However, any corrosion on the battery, especially where the cable connections exist is a big problem. Dirty cables, terminals, or other areas where there is battery damage creates resistance and may interfere with power delivery to the rest of the vehicle, so a car won't start.

3. Clogged Fuel Filter

Find the time to maintain and clean your fuel filter, injection system, and create a clear delivery of fuel to the engine. If there are clogs, it can lead to the car hesitating, lowered performance, misfires, or the car not starting at all.

For more information on this topic, check out our post How To Use A Fuel Injector Cleaner.

Check out this fuel system cleaner on Amazon.

4. Weak Or Dead Key Fob

Make sure that your key fob has a working battery and is in good condition if you want to take advantage of a keyless entry system. The engine in a car won't start if the car can't detect the key fob.

Check out this key fob for an Acura MDX on Amazon.

5. Failed Engine

Without a working engine, any fuel delivered to this vital component in a vehicle cannot be used to make a car go. Check your engine for burned-out parts, loose wires, clogs, or anything else that could cause failure, leaving you grounded.

6. Blown Fuse

It's a rare occasion that a blown fuse will cause your car not to start, but it happens. Typically, blown fuses may impact interior lights, back up lights, or cause the radio to fail. However, if a blown fuse makes it so electrical components to the engine, spark plug, or other areas fail, the car won't start.

Check out these car fuses available on Amazon.

7. Problems With Fuel Pump

Pay mind to the fuel pump because any problems here might inhibit the flow of gas from the tank to the engine. If there is any damage, a faulty connection, or other problems like clogs, the car won't be able to start.

8. Check The Starter Motor

Another reason you may hear a clicking noise when you turn the key and try to start your car, but nothing happens is because of the starter motor. When the starter is weak or broken, the engine cannot crank like it's supposed to, or at all.

9. Defects With Alternator

If the alternator fails to charge the car battery, there won't be enough power to get the vehicle to start. Usually, following a jumpstart, if the engine begins to stall, you should check the alternator.

10. Animal Damage To Parts

Sometimes animals like squirrels, rats, or even feral cats can find their way under the hood of a car when seeking shelter. Unfortunately, they may chew or disconnect wires, or create other types of damage so the car won't start.

11. Non-Working Spark Plugs

Even if you have a full tank of gas, a car will fail to start if the spark plugs have a malfunction or are degraded. You might hear a clicking sound when you turn your key, but the fuel won't ignite and the car can't start.

What Problems Do Acura MDX Have?

There is no perfect vehicle, as they are all capable of developing specific issues from time to time. When it comes to the Acura MDX, complaints often pointed out include: failure with the fuel pump, uncomfortable seats, or that using the HandsFreeLink drains the battery life.

Another major problem for the Acura MDX beyond airbag recalls has been transmission failure. However, most transmission problems affected models between 2003 and 2007.

Are There Any Recalls On Acura MDX?

According to sources like, there have been more than a few recalls for the Acura MDX. Check out the following.

  • Certain 2019 - 2020 models were recalled for fuel pump
  • 2001-2002 and 2003-2006 models were recalled because of the airbag
  • 2018 and 2019 models had a recall because of timing belt separation
  • 2014 - 2019 models had a recall because of moisture trapped in the tail lights

Close Up of Jumper Cables in Use.

How Do You Jumpstart An Acura MDX?

There are times when unfortunately you may be faced with a dying car battery that could desperately use a jump. Once you line up both vehicles to connect the jumper cables between batteries, make sure that the car in need of a jump has its engine turned off. Also, make sure there is no power flowing to any electric-dependent parts of the vehicle like the lights or audio.

  1. Open the hood of the donor car and car that needs a jump. Remove anything that obscures the battery and its negative and positive terminal points.
  2. Connect the positive, red terminal of the jumper cables to the dead battery and the donor car's battery.
  3. Connect one negative clip to the donor car's battery but not to the dead car's battery. Connect the other negative black clip to a part of the car, not touching the battery. The engine hanger, an unpainted part of the car, or the metal piece that holds the hood open is good.
  4. Start up the car transferring energy to the dead car battery and allow it to idle for 10 to 15 minutes to charge.
  5. Test the car being powered up by checking if the interior lights will come on. If so, the car might be able to start.
  6. If the car getting a jump can turn over, do not turn off the engine.
  7. Remove the clips in reverse order, carefully so as to not experience electric shock.

Be careful about the voltage of the car battery or automotive charger being used before proceeding to give a jump.

Check out these jumper cables on Amazon.

How Do You Reset An Acura MDX Battery?

Because vehicles like the Acura MDX rely on electrical and computer components to function properly, sometimes a reset is needed. If the battery cable becomes a problem, conducting a reset may help with malfunctions with the computer or electrical system.

Before you do a reset, make sure the battery is full and not low or weak. Also, have any anti-theft codes for the settings, keep those on hand. Once you do this, follow these steps.

  1. Turn the ignition into the lock position and remove the key.
  2. Disconnect the battery cables, starting with the negative first and then the positive.
  3. Use a jumper cable to short the battery cables together.
  4. Turn the ignition to the "On" position and allow 10 minutes to pass.
  5. Turn the ignition to lock and remove the key again.
  6. Remove the jumper cables and replace the battery cables to the right position, positive first and then the negative.
  7. Use a scan tool and execute whatever reset procedures or learn procedures for the vehicle that are needed.
  8. Restore the settings by entering the anti-theft codes.

Check out this battery charger on Amazon.

Is Acura A Reliable Brand?

If you are looking for a hybrid SUV that is mid-size, roomy and comes with excellent gas mileage, then Acura's MDX is for you. All things considered, Acura is a reliable brand. For context, the Acura MDX (2019 year) has similar ratings to Honda vehicles in the same class. 

Check out the following qualities offered by Acura brand vehicles.

  • Long lifespan of up to 20 years with proper maintenance
  • Repairs are often low-cost
  • You get desirable luxury features, comfort, and style for a lower price than similar cars
  • Overall, Acura vehicles have a good reputation

cura MDX 2008 year black color with headlights standing in the light service box of the detailing workshop. Acura MDX Won't Start—What Could Be Wrong


We hope you feel more confident about troubleshooting problems with an  Acura MDX starting. Routinely take your SUV in for maintenance to catch problems before it's too late. A certified mechanic or the dealership can help with any replacement parts and necessary fixes. Otherwise, the Acura MDX is a dependable and highly-rated mid-size SUV worth driving.

Before you go, check out the following articles.

Read More: What Acura Vehicles Are AWD?

Read More: What SUVs Have Remote Start?

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