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Driving Guidelines

Your MDX has higher ground Avoid sharp turns and abrupt
clearance than a passenger vehicle maneuvers whenever possible.
designed for use only on pavement.
Higher ground clearance has many Do not modify your vehicle in any
advantages for off-highway driving. way that would raise the center of
It allows you to travel over bumps, gravity.
obstacles, and rough terrain. It also
provides good visibility so you can Do not carry heavy cargo on the
anticipate problems earlier. roof.

These advantages come at some cost. See page 240 for additional guidelines
Because your vehicle is taller and for driving off-highway.
rides higher off the ground, it has a
high center of gravity. This means
that your vehicle can tip or roll over
if you make abrupt turns. Utility
vehicles have a significantly higher
rollover rate than other types of
vehicles.

To prevent the risk of rollover or


loss of control:

Take corners at slower speeds


than you would with a passenger
vehicle.

Driving


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Preparing to Drive

You should do the following checks 5. Check the adjustment of the seat 10.Turn the ignition switch ON (II).
and adjustments every day before (see page 98 ). Check the indicator lights in the
you drive your vehicle. instrument panel.
6. Check the adjustment of the
1. Make sure all windows, mirrors, inside and outside mirrors (see 11. Start the engine (see page 210).
and outside lights are clean and page 110).
unobstructed. Remove frost, snow, 12. Check the gauges and indicator
or ice. 7. Check the adjustment of the lights in the instrument panel (see
steering wheel (see page 76 ). page 57).
2. Check that the hood and tailgate
are fully closed. 8. Make sure the doors and tailgate
are securely closed and locked.
3. Visually check the tires. If a tire
looks low, use a gauge to check its 9. Fasten your seat belt. Check that
pressure. your passengers have fastened
their seat belts (see page 15 ).
4. Check that any items you may be
carrying with you inside are stored
properly or fastened down
securely.

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Starting the Engine

1. Apply the parking brake. 6. If the engine still does not start, 2. Push the accelerator pedal half-
press the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor and hold it there
2. In cold weather, turn off all way down and hold it there while while starting the engine. Do not
electrical accessories to reduce starting in order to clear flooding. hold the ignition key in START
the drain on the battery. As before, keep the ignition key in (III) for more than 15 seconds.
the START (III) position for no When the engine starts, release
3. Make sure the shift lever is in more than 15 seconds. Return to the accelerator pedal gradually as
Park. Press on the brake pedal. step 5 if the engine does not start. the engine speeds up and smooths
If it starts, lift your foot off the out.
4. Without touching the accelerator accelerator pedal so the engine
pedal, turn the ignition key to the does not race. 3. If the engine fails to start in step 2,
START (III) position. If the engine push the accelerator pedal to the
does not start right away, do not Starting in Cold Weather at High floor and hold it there while you
hold the key in START (III) for Altitude (Above 8,000 feet/ try to start the engine for no more
more than 15 seconds at a time. 2,400 meters) than 15 seconds. If the engine
Pause for at least 10 seconds An engine is harder to start in cold does not start, return to step 2.
before trying again. weather. The thinner air found at
high altitude above 8,000 feet (2,400
5. If the engine does not start within meters) adds to the problem.
15 seconds, or starts but stalls Use the following procedure:
right away, repeat step 4 with the
accelerator pedal pressed half-way 1. Turn off all electrical accessories
down. If the engine starts, release to reduce the drain on the battery.
pressure on the accelerator pedal
so the engine does not race.

Driving


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Automatic Transmission

Your Acura's transmission has five Shift Lever Position Indicator The "D5" indicator comes on for a
forward speeds, and is electronically few seconds when you turn the
controlled for smoother shifting. It ignition switch ON (II). If it flashes
also has a "lock-up" torque converter while driving (in any shift position),
for better fuel economy. You may it indicates a possible problem in the
feel what seems like another shift transmission. Avoid rapid
when the converter locks. acceleration and have the
transmission checked by an
authorized Acura dealer as soon as
possible.

The malfunction indicator lamp may


come on along with the "D 5 "
indicator if there is a problem in the
This indicator on the instrument automatic transmission control
panel shows which position the shift system.
lever is in.

Driving


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Automatic Transmission

Shift Lever Positions Park (P) This position mechani-


cally locks the transmission. Use
Park whenever you are turning off or
starting the engine. To shift out of
Park, you must press on the brake
pedal and have your foot off the
accelerator pedal.

If you have done all of the above and


still cannot move the lever out of
Park, see Shift Lock Release on page
215.
SHIFT LEVER
To avoid transmission damage, come
The shift lever has eight positions. It to a complete stop before shifting
must be in Park or Neutral to start into Park. The shift lever must be in
the engine. When you are stopped in Park before you can remove the key
D5, D4, D3, 2 , 1 , N or R, press firmly You cannot shift out of Park with the from the ignition switch.
on the brake pedal, and keep your brake pedal depressed when the
foot off the accelerator pedal. ignition switch is in LOCK (0) or
ACCESSORY (I).

CONTINUED

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Automatic Transmission

Your car has a reverse lockout so Neutral (N) Use Neutral if you
you cannot accidentally shift to need to restart a stalled engine, or if
Reverse from Neutral or any other it is necessary to stop briefly with
driving position when the vehicle the engine idling. Shift to Park posi-
speed exceeds 7 9 mph (12 14 tion if you need to leave the vehicle
km/h). for any reason. Press on the brake pe-
dal when you are moving the shift
If you cannot shift to Reverse when lever from Neutral to another gear.
the car is stopped, press the brake
pedal and slowly shift to Neutral, and Drive (D5) Use this position for
then to Reverse. your normal driving. The
transmission automatically selects a
If there is a problem in the reverse suitable gear for your speed and
lockout system, or your vehicle's acceleration. You may notice the
Reverse (R) To shift to Reverse battery is disconnected or goes dead, transmission shifting up at higher
from Park, see the explanation under you cannot shift to Reverse. (Refer speeds when the engine is cold. This
Park. To shift to Reverse from to Shift Lock Release on page 215). helps the engine warm up faster.
Neutral, come to a complete stop and
then shift.

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Automatic Transmission

Drive (D 4 , D3) These positions For faster acceleration when in D3, Second (2) This position locks
are similar to D5, except when you D4 or D5, you can get the the transmission in second gear. It
select the D4 position, only the first transmission to automatically does not downshift to first gear
four gears are selected. When you downshift by pushing the accelerator when you come to a stop. Second
select D3, only the first three gears pedal to the floor. The transmission gives you more power when climbing,
are selected. D4 can also keep the will shift down one or two gears, and increased engine braking when
transmission from cycling between depending on your speed. going down steep hills. Use second
fourth and fifth gears in stop-and-go gear when starting out on a slippery
driving, and D3 can keep the surface or in deep snow. It will help
transmission from cycling between reduce wheelspin.
third and fourth gears.

Use D4 when you are towing a


trailer. Use D3 to provide engine
braking when going down a
steep hill. D3 gives you more power
and increased engine braking.

Driving


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Automatic Transmission

First (1) With the lever in this Engine Speed Limiter Shift Lock Release
position, the transmission locks in If you exceed the maximum speed This allows you to move the shift
First gear. for the gear you are in, the engine lever out of Park if the normal
speed will enter into the tachometer's method of pushing on the brake
If you shift into First position when red zone. If this occurs, you may feel pedal does not work. This procedure
the vehicle speed is above 31 mph the engine cut in and out. This is also releases the Reverse Lockout.
(50 km/h), the transmission shifts caused by a limiter in the engine's
into Second gear first to avoid computer controls. The engine will 1. Set the Parking brake.
sudden engine braking. run normally when you reduce the
RPM below the red zone. 2. Make sure the key is in the
ignition switch LOCK (0) position.

To release the Reverse Lockout,


make sure the key is in the
ACCESSORY (I) position.

CONTINUED

Driving


Main Menu Table of Contents

Automatic Transmission

6. Remove the screwdriver from the


shift lock release slot, then install
a new cover.
Depress the brake pedal and
restart the engine.

If you need to use the Shift Lock


Release, it means your vehicle is
developing a problem. Have the
vehicle checked by your Acura
dealer.
COVER SHIFT LOCK RELEASE SLOT

3. Put a cloth on the edge of the Shift 4. Insert a screwdriver in the Shift
Lock Release slot cover next to Lock Release slot.
the shift lever.
Use a small flat-tipped screwdriver 5. Push down on the screwdriver
or small metal plate (neither are while you press the release button
included in the tool kit) to remove and move the shift lever out of
the cover. Carefully pry off the Park to Neutral.
edge of the cover.
To release the Reverse Lockout,
move the shift lever from Neutral
to Reverse, then Park.

Driving


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Variable Torque Management 4WD System

The Variable Torque Management VTM-4 Lock NOTICE


4WD System (VTM-4) automatically
transfers varying amounts of engine Do not use the VTM - 4 Lock button on
torque to the rear wheels under low dry, paved roads. Driving on dry,
traction conditions. paved roads with VTM-4 Lock On may
damage the rear differential when
making a turn. Strange noises and
vibration can also result.

If more traction is needed when your


MDX is stuck or is likely to become
stuck, you can use the VTM-4 Lock
button to increase torque to the rear
wheels. As soon as this feature is no
longer needed, press the VTM-4
Lock button again to disengage the
VTM-4 Lock.

Driving


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Variable Torque Management 4WD System

To engage the VTM-4 Lock: The VTM-4 Lock will temporarily To disengage the VTM-4 Lock, do
1. The vehicle speed must be disengage when the vehicle speed one of the following:
stopped. exceeds 18 mph (30 km/h). It will
2. Move the shift lever to first (1), automatically engage again as the Press the VTM-4 Lock button.
second (2) or reverse (R) gear. speed slows below 18 mph (30 k m / Move the shift lever to D3, D4 or
3. Press the VTM-4 Lock button. h). The light in the VTM-4 Lock D5.
The light in the button will come button will remain on the whole time. Turn the ignition to OFF (0).
on.
NOTICE When you restart your MDX, the
To get unstuck, apply light pressure VTM-4 Lock feature will be off.
to the accelerator pedal. Do not spin Do not continuously spin the front tires
the front tires for more than a few of your MDX. Continuously spinning
seconds. Because of the amount of the front tires can cause transmission
torque applied to the rear tires, they or rear differential damage.
should not spin. This is normal. If
you are not able to get the vehicle to
move, apply the brakes to stop the
wheels, then reverse direction.

Driving


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Parking

Always use the parking brake when If the vehicle is facing uphill, turn Parking Tips
you park your vehicle. The indicator the front wheels away from the curb. Make sure the moonroof and the
on the instrument panel shows that windows are closed.
the parking brake is not fully If the vehicle is facing downhill, turn
released; it does not indicate that the the front wheels toward the curb. Turn off the lights.
parking brake is firmly set. Make
sure the parking brake is set firmly Make sure the parking brake is fully Place any packages, valuables, etc.,
or your vehicle may roll if it is released before driving away. in the cargo area or take them
parked on an incline. Driving with the parking brake with you.
partially set can overheat or damage
Set the parking brake before you put the rear brakes. Lock the doors with the key or the
the transmission in Park. This keeps remote transmitter.
the vehicle from moving and putting
pressure on the parking mechanism Never park over dry leaves, tall
in the transmission making it grass, or other flammable
easier to move the shift lever out of materials. The three way catalytic
Park when you want to drive away. converter gets very hot, and could
cause these materials to catch on
fire.

Driving


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The Braking System

Your Acura is equipped with disc Constant application of the brakes Brake Wear Indicators
brakes at all four wheels. A power when going clown a long hill builds All four brakes have audible brake
assist helps reduce the effort needed up heat and reduces their effective- wear indicators.
on the brake pedal. The ABS helps ness. Use the engine to assist the When the brake pads need replacing,
you retain steering control when brakes by downshifting to a lower you will hear a distinctive metallic
braking very hard. gear and taking your foot off the "screeching" sound when you apply
accelerator pedal. the brakes. If you do not have the
Put your foot on the brake pedal only brake pads replaced, they will begin
when you intend to brake. Resting Check your brakes after driving screeching all the time.
your foot on the pedal keeps the through deep water. Apply the
brakes applied lightly, causing them brakes moderately to see if they feel Your brakes may sometimes squeal
to build up heat. Heat build-up can normal. If not, apply them gently and or squeak when you apply them
reduce how well your brakes work. It frequently until they do. Since a lightly. Do not confuse this with the
also keeps your brake lights on all longer distance is needed to stop brake wear indicators. They make a
the time, confusing drivers behind with wet brakes, be extra cautious very audible "screeching."
you. and alert in your driving.

Driving


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The Braking System

Brake System Design Anti-lock Brakes You should never pump the
The hydraulic system that operates Your vehicle has an Anti-lock Brake brake pedal, this defeats the
the brakes has two separate circuits. System (ABS) as standard purpose of the ABS. Let the ABS
Each circuit works diagonally across equipment. ABS helps to prevent the work for you by always keeping firm,
the vehicle (the left-front brake is wheels from locking up and skidding steady pressure on the brake pedal
connected with the right-rear brake, during hard braking, allowing you to as you steer away from the hazard.
etc.). If one circuit should develop a retain steering control. This is sometimes referred to as
problem, you will still have braking "stomp and steer."
at two wheels. When the front tires skid, you lose
steering control; the vehicle You will feel a pulsation in the brake
continues straight ahead even pedal when the ABS activates, and
though you turn the steering wheel. you may hear some noise. This is
The ABS helps to prevent lock-up normal, it is the ABS rapidly
Front and helps you retain steering control pumping the brakes.
by pumping the brakes rapidly; much
faster than a person can do it. Activation varies with the amount of
traction your tires have. On dry
The ABS also balances the front-to pavement, you will need to press on
rear braking distribution according the brake pedal very hard before you
to vehicle loading. activate the ABS. However, you may
feel the ABS activate immediately if
you are trying to stop on snow or ice.

Driving


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The Braking System

Important Safety Reminders A vehicle with ABS may require a ABS Indicator
ABS does not reduce the time or longer distance to stop on loose or
distance it takes to stop the uneven surfaces, such as gravel or ABS INDICATOR
vehicle, it only helps with steering snow, than a vehicle without anti-
control during braking. You should lock. Slow down and allow a greater
always maintain a safe following distance between vehicles under
distance from other vehicles. those conditions.

ABS will not prevent a skid that


results from changing direction
abruptly, such as trying to take a
corner too fast or making a sudden
lane change. Always drive at a safe, U.S. indicator shown
prudent speed for the road and
weather conditions. The ABS is self-checking. If anything
goes wrong, the ABS indicator on
ABS cannot prevent a loss of the instrument panel comes on (see
stability. Always steer moderately page 59 ). This means the anti-lock
when you are braking hard. Severe function of the braking system has
or sharp steering wheel movement shut down. The brakes still work like
can still cause your vehicle to veer a conventional system without anti-
into oncoming traffic or off the road. lock, providing normal stopping
ability. You should have the dealer
inspect your vehicle as soon as
possible.

Driving


Main Menu Table of Contents

The Braking System

If the ABS indicator and the brake


system indicator come on together,
and the parking brake is fully
released, the front-to-rear braking
distribution system may also shut
down.

Test your brakes as instructed on


page 331. If the brakes feel normal,
drive slowly and have your vehicle
repaired by your dealer as soon as
possible. Avoid sudden hard braking
which could cause the rear wheels to
lock up and possibly lead to a loss of
control.

Driving