Wheel Chasers

Mastering Towing: Acura MDX’s Guide to Safe and Efficient Hauling

Understanding Towing Capacity

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to tow a trailer, boat or any other heavy load, but didn’t know the vehicle’s towing capacity? Towing can be a daunting task, especially if you haven’t had experience towing before.

However, before you tow, it is imperative to understand your vehicle’s towing capacity. It is essential to know the safety limits and precautions to take while towing.

Keep reading to learn what towing capacity is and how to determine your vehicle’s towing capacity. What is Towing Capacity?

Towing capacity is the maximum weight a vehicle can pull safely. Every vehicle has a different towing capacity, which varies by make, model, year and trim level.

Towing capacity is usually measured in pounds or kilograms. Many factors determine the towing capacity of a vehicle, some of which include:


Powertrain: The engine, transmission and drivetrain of a vehicle have an impact on its towing capacity. A vehicle with a more robust powertrain will have a higher towing capacity than a vehicle with a weaker one.

2. Suspension: The type of suspension on a vehicle affects its towing capacity.

A vehicle with firmer suspension can tow more weight because it can handle the pressure. 3.

Brakes: The brakes on a vehicle are extremely critical in towing. The braking system needs to be capable of stopping the additional weight that is being towed.

4. Chassis and Frame: The chassis and frame of a vehicle play a fundamental role in towing.

A stronger frame, like a full-size pickup truck, will have a higher towing capacity than a smaller vehicle. How to Determine Your Vehicle’s Towing Capacity

Finding your vehicle’s towing capacity is relatively easy, and it can usually be found in the owner’s manual.

If you have misplaced your manual, you can usually find the information online or request one from the manufacturer. Below are steps to take to determine your vehicle’s towing capacity:


Identify Vehicle Information: Gather information about your vehicle, such as its make, model, year and engine size.


Find Your Vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the maximum weight of a vehicle, including passengers and cargo. The GVWR can usually be found on the vehicle’s door jamb or in the owner’s manual.

3. Determine the Vehicle’s Curb Weight: The curb weight is how much the vehicle weighs when it does not have any load.

You can find the curb weight on the vehicle’s door jamb or in the owner’s manual. 4.

Calculate the Vehicle’s Gross Combined Weight Rating: The Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) is the maximum weight of the vehicle that includes passengers, cargo and the trailer. You can find the GCWR in the owner’s manual.

5. Subtract Curb Weight from GVWR: Subtract the vehicle’s curb weight from the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating to get the available payload.

6. Check the Manufacturer’s Towing Capacity: Check the manufacturer’s manual to see what the towing capacity is for your vehicle.

How Towing Affects Fuel Efficiency

Towing a load can affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. When you tow, you add extra weight to your vehicle, which causes it to work harder.

The extra weight and resistance result in greater fuel consumption. Below are factors that affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency when towing:


Weight of the Load: The weight of the load that you are towing affects how much fuel your vehicle uses. The heavier the load, the harder the vehicle has to work, which consumes more fuel.

2. Speed: Towing at higher speeds causes your vehicle to work harder, which uses more fuel.

Driving at a reasonable speed helps maintain fuel efficiency. 3.

Weather Conditions: Driving in adverse weather conditions, such as a rainy or snowy day, causes your vehicle to work harder, which reduces fuel efficiency. 4.

Engine Type: Fuel consumption rates vary based on the vehicle’s engine type. Smaller engines tend to be more fuel-efficient but have lower towing capacities.

In contrast, larger engines consume more fuel but have higher towing capacities. 5.

Maintenance: Poorly maintained vehicles consume more fuel, especially when towing. Regular maintenance, including oil changes and tune-ups, helps maintain fuel efficiency.

Towing can be a tricky task if you do not understand your vehicle’s towing capacity and how towing can affect fuel efficiency. When in doubt, consult your manufacturer’s manual.

Remember to drive within the legal speed limit and maintain a safe distance from other drivers while towing. Towing safely and within your vehicle’s towing capacity ensures a successful and enjoyable trip.

Factors That Affect Towing Capacity

Towing capacity is crucial when you need to haul anything behind your car, whether it be a trailer, boat, or anything else. To avoid accidents and safely transport your cargo, it is essential to understand the factors that affect towing capacity.

Below are some key factors that can impact the towing capacity of your vehicle:

1. Vehicle Weight: The weight of your vehicle can impact the towing capacity.

The heavier your car, the lower your towing capacity. This is because more weight will be placed on the tires, suspension, and brakes, which can cause damage and make it difficult to handle any additional weight.

2. Towing Package: The towing package that comes with your vehicle will influence how much you can tow.

This package can include heavy-duty suspension, modified engine or transmission, and other components that increase the overall towing capacity. 3.

Engine Power: The power of the engine is essential when towing, as the more power the engine has, the more weight it can tow. The type of engine in your vehicle, whether it be a four-cylinder or eight-cylinder, can impact the towing capacity.

4. Transmission: A vehicles transmission type plays a major role in towing capacity.

Transmission ratios between gears can affect pulling power, which moves the vehicle and trailer safely and efficiently.


Brakes: The type of brakes in a vehicle matters more than you think. When towing a heavy load, it can cause the brakes to overheat, which can result in your brakes not working properly.

It is important to use the right brakes when towing extra weight. 6.

Tires: Matching the right tire with the load you are towing is an important factor in towing safety. Its essential to use the manufacturer-recommended tire size to ensure the most dependable service and safety.

7. Chassis and Frame Strength: The chassis and frame are two of the most critical components of a vehicle when it comes to towing.

The chassis supports the vehicle’s weight, while the frame adds strength and durability. A solid frame and chassis can increase your vehicle’s towing capacity.

Understanding the factors that impact towing capacity can make hauling goods safer and less complicated. Remember to check the manufacturers regulations and ideal weights before embarking on a towing journey.

Choosing the Right Hitch for Your Acura MDX

When it comes to towing, having the right hitch is essential. Choosing the correct hitch for your Acura MDX will allow you to safely tow your cargo and ensure that it is transported securely.

Below are some key factors to consider when choosing a hitch for your Acura MDX:

1. Tongue Weight and Gross Trailer Weight: These two factors are crucial in determining the correct hitch for your Acura MDX.

Tongue weight is the amount of weight placed on the hitch ball by the trailer, while gross trailer weight is the total weight of the trailer and its contents. Be sure to check your vehicles owner manual for necessary details on towing capacity.

2. Class of Hitch: The Acura MDX can handle different classes of hitches, each with a separate weight rating.

It is best to choose a hitch class that matches your typical towing needs. The class will also help determines the weight of the hitch, so it is critical to pick the appropriate hitch with the perfect weight.

3. Hitch Type: The hitch type will play a significant role in how your trailer is attached to your vehicle.

Depending on the type, they can be locked in place, bolted, or removed depending on your needs. Hitch types include Fifth Wheel Hitch, Gooseneck Hitch, and Receiver Hitch.

4. Hitch Positioning: The height and positioning of your hitch have an impact on the weight distribution of the trailer.

If the hitch alignment is not optimal, it could make the trailer unstable, leading to accidents. Therefore, it is essential to install your hitch at the right height to avoid shifting and swaying during movement.

5. Brake System: When towing, it is crucial to have a reliable braking system.

Acura MDX comes in various brake systems including hydraulic, electric and surge brakes. The wiring of the hitch should be appropriately connected to match the braking system installed in your car.

In conclusion, towing is best done with the appropriate hitch, knowing the factors that affect towing capacity and understanding the weight of your tow vehicle. Picking the right hitch for your Acura MDX can seem overwhelming, but knowing what factors to look for can make your choice a much easier decision.

Trailer Weight Distribution and the Acura MDX

Proper trailer weight distribution is essential when towing to ensure a safe and comfortable trip. The weight distribution affects how the vehicle handles, the performance of the brakes, and the overall stability of the vehicle.

Below are some key factors to consider regarding trailer weight distribution and the Acura MDX:

1. Tongue Weight: The tongue weight is the amount of weight placed on the hitch ball by the trailer.

It is essential to have proper tongue weight because too much or too little weight on the hitch can lead to instability and swaying of the trailer. 2.

Cargo Distribution: The way you distribute your cargo on the trailer can impact how the trailer pulls. It is best to place heavier items towards the front of the trailer, closer to the coupling, and distribute weight evenly from side-to-side.

3. Weight Limitations: Each vehicle has a specific towing capacity, and it is crucial to follow these weight limitations to ensure safety when hauling.

Overloading can lead to potential accidents and damage to the Acura MDX. 4.

Hitch Type and Positioning: Selecting the right hitch for your trailer and positioning it correctly can impact your trailer weight distribution. 5.

Brakes: Having reliable brakes is critical when towing to maintain control. When the trailer brakes are working in harmony with the vehicle brakes, it provides a smooth and controlled ride.

With these considerations in mind, maintaining proper weight distribution of your trailer can provide a safe and comfortable towing experience with your Acura MDX.

Acura MDX Towing Packages and Options

When selecting the right towing package for your Acura MDX, it’s essential to consider the towing capacity, vehicle model and the type of cargo that you plan to haul. Below are some of the towing packages and options available for the Acura MDX:


Standard Hitch Receiver: The standard hitch receiver can haul a weight of up to 3,500 pounds; this type of hitch is perfect for smaller trailers and lighter loads. 2.

Trailer Hitch Kit: The trailer hitch kit increases the Acura MDX’s towing capacity to 5,000 pounds, making it suitable for larger trailers and heavier loads. 3.

Towing Package with Trailer Hitch Kit: The towing package is a bundle option that comprises all towing accessories and includes programming for the transmission and AWD systems of the Acura MDX. The towing package increases its towing capacity to 5,000 pounds, making it perfect for larger trailers and heavier loads.

4. Class II Trailer Hitch: The class II trailer hitch increases the towing capacity to 3,500lbs, which is the highest for this class of hitch.

This package is perfect for small to mid-size trailers. 5.

Class III Trailer Hitch: The class III trailer hitch has a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs with a maximum tongue weight of up to 500 lbs. This package is perfect for towing larger trailers and heavy loads of equipment.

6. Technology Package: The technological advancements in the Acura MDX allow it to provide crucial information for towing.

This package includes features such as a rearview camera that helps with hitching and reversing as well as enhanced gear ratios to assist the transmission. No matter which package you select, towing with an Acura MDX provides a reliable and safe option for hauling your cargo.

It is essential to consider your towing requirements when selecting the best package for your vehicle, to ensure that it meets your needs.

Towing Safety Tips for the Acura MDX

Towing can be a complex task that requires careful attention to safety and proper preparation. To ensure a safe towing experience with your Acura MDX, consider the following tips:


Check Your Vehicle’s Towing Capacity: Before towing anything with your Acura MDX, be sure to check the owner’s manual or consult the manufacturer to determine its towing capacity. Exceeding your vehicle’s towing capacity can lead to accidents and damage to your vehicle.

2. Properly Distribute Weight: Distribute the weight of your cargo evenly and appropriately within the trailer.

This will help maintain stability and prevent excessive swaying during the towing process. Make sure heavier items are placed towards the front of the trailer, and distribute weight evenly from side to side.

3. Secure Your Load: Be sure to properly secure your cargo within the trailer to prevent shifting during travel.

Use appropriate tie-downs and straps to ensure everything is tightly secured. 4.

Check Tire Pressure: It is crucial to check the tire pressure of both your vehicle and the trailer before towing. Properly inflated tires will provide better stability and control while towing.

5. Use Proper Braking Techniques: Allow for extra braking distance when towing to account for the additional weight.

Brake earlier and more gradually to avoid putting excessive stress on your vehicle’s braking system. If your Acura MDX is equipped with a trailer brake controller, adjust it to provide adequate braking force for your trailer.

6. Be Mindful of Speed: While towing, it is important to drive at a safe and controlled speed.

Be aware of the increased weight and reduced maneuverability of your vehicle and adjust your speed accordingly. Stay within the recommended speed limits for towing, which may be lower than normal driving speeds.

7. Utilize Towing Mirrors: Consider installing towing mirrors on your Acura MDX to improve visibility during towing.

Towing mirrors provide a wider field of view, allowing you to see your surroundings and any potential hazards. 8.

Monitor Trailer Lights: Before embarking on a towing trip, check that all trailer lights are working correctly. This includes brake lights, turn signals, and taillights.

Regularly monitor these lights while driving to ensure maximum visibility to other drivers on the road. 9.

Allow for Extra Stopping Distance: Due to the increased weight you are towing, it will take longer to come to a complete stop. Allow for extra distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you to ensure safe stopping.

10. Practice Towing Maneuvers: If you are new to towing, it can be helpful to practice towing maneuvers in a safe and open area before hitting the road.

This will help you become familiar with how your Acura MDX handles while towing and give you confidence in your towing abilities.

Hitching and Unhitching a Trailer to the Acura MDX

Properly hitching and unhitching a trailer to your Acura MDX is essential for a safe and successful towing experience. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to hitch and unhitch a trailer:


Hitching a Trailer:

a. Position the trailer: Align the hitch on your Acura MDX with the trailer’s coupler.

Make sure the vehicle and trailer are on level ground. b.

Lower the coupler: Use the trailer jack to lower the coupler onto the hitch ball. Ensure that the coupler completely covers the hitch ball.

c. Lock the coupler: Engage the coupler latch and lock it in place.

Make sure the latch is securely fastened to prevent accidental detachment while towing. d.

Cross-check the hitch: Double-check that the coupler is properly secured by trying to lift the trailer tongue off the hitch ball. It should not come off if properly hitched.

e. Connect safety chains: Attach the safety chains from the trailer to the vehicle.

Cross them under the hitch to create an X pattern. This provides a backup in case the hitch fails.

f. Connect electrical connections: Plug in the electrical connector from the trailer into the corresponding outlet on your Acura MDX.

Ensure all trailer lights are working correctly. g.

Test the connection: Test the trailer brakes, lights, and turn signals to ensure they are functioning properly before hitting the road. 2.

Unhitching a Trailer:

a. Stabilize the trailer: Park the trailer on level ground and engage the trailer’s parking brake.

Place chocks behind the trailer wheels to prevent any accidental movement during unhitching. b.

Disconnect safety chains: Remove the safety chains from the vehicle and trailer. c.

Release the coupler latch: Disengage the coupler latch and lift the trailer tongue off the hitch ball. d.

Store the hitch: Replace the trailer jack and secure it in its storage position. e.

Disconnect electrical connections: Unplug the electrical connector from the trailer. f.

Store equipment: Store any hitch accessories, such as the hitch receiver or ball mount, in a secure location. By following these step-by-step instructions for hitching and unhitching, you can ensure the proper attachment and detachment of your trailer to your Acura MDX, allowing for a safe and hassle-free towing experience.

Trailer Braking Systems and the Acura MDX

When towing a trailer with your Acura MDX, having an efficient and reliable trailer braking system is essential for safety on the road. A trailer braking system helps distribute the braking force between the towing vehicle and the trailer, allowing for more controlled and stable braking.

Below are some common trailer braking systems and their compatibility with the Acura MDX:

1. Electric Trailer Brakes: Electric trailer brakes are one of the most commonly used trailer braking systems.

They are activated by an electric brake controller installed in the towing vehicle. The brake controller applies the necessary braking force to the trailer’s brakes, proportional to the braking force applied to the vehicle.

The Acura MDX is compatible with electric trailer brakes and can be configured with a brake controller to ensure a synchronized braking system. 2.

Hydraulic Surge Brakes: Surge brakes are commonly found on smaller trailers and operate using hydraulic pressure. When the towing vehicle decelerates, the surge in force activates the hydraulic system on the trailer, applying the brakes to match the vehicle’s deceleration.

However, the Acura MDX does not support hydraulic surge brakes as it requires a specific hydraulic actuator and master cylinder that is not present in the vehicle’s braking system. 3.

Electric over Hydraulic Brakes: Electric over hydraulic brakes combine the benefits of electric and hydraulic braking systems. This system uses an electric brake controller to convert the electrical signal from the towing vehicle into hydraulic pressure, which then activates the trailers hydraulic braking system.

The Acura MDX can support electric over hydraulic brakes with the installation of a compatible brake controller and hydraulic actuator. When selecting a trailer braking system for your Acura MDX, it is crucial to ensure compatibility and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Choosing an appropriate braking system will enhance your towing experience, providing better control and increased safety on the road.

The Benefits of Using Sway Control with the Acura MDX

Sway control is a valuable feature that can enhance the towing experience and improve overall safety when hauling a trailer with your Acura MDX. Sway refers to the side-to-side movement of the trailer that can occur when traveling at higher speeds or experiencing crosswinds.

Below are some of the benefits of using sway control with the Acura MDX:

1. Increased Stability: Sway control systems, such as sway control hitches or electronic stability control, help mitigate trailer sway and increase overall stability while towing.

These systems work by applying counteractive force to the trailer to prevent it from swaying excessively. This ensures a smoother and more controlled towing experience for the Acura MDX.

2. Improved Handling: By reducing trailer sway, sway control systems enhance the handling characteristics of the Acura MDX when towing.

This is especially important during maneuvers such as lane changes or passing other vehicles, where stability and control are of utmost importance. 3.

Enhanced Safety: Sway control systems improve towing safety by minimizing the risk of accidents caused by trailer sway. Excessive sway can lead to loss of control, jackknifing, or even complete detachment of the trailer from the towing vehicle.

Sway control helps prevent these dangerous situations, reducing the likelihood of accidents and potential damage to both the Acura MDX and the trailer. 4.

Better Tire Wear: Excessive trailer sway can cause uneven tire wear on both the trailer and the towing vehicle. Sway control systems help distribute weight more evenly, reducing tire wear and extending the lifespan of your tires.

This saves you money in the long run by minimizing the need for premature tire replacements. 5.

Increased Confidence: Utilizing sway control with the Acura MDX gives drivers added confidence while towing, particularly in challenging driving conditions. Crosswinds, uneven road surfaces, and emergency maneuvers can all potentially induce trailer sway.

By having sway control systems in place, drivers can have peace of mind knowing that their towing setup is more stable and safer. When considering sway control options for your Acura MDX, it is important to choose a system that is compatible with your specific towing setup.

Consult with the manufacturer or a reputable dealer to determine the most suitable sway control solution for your needs. By utilizing sway control, you can enjoy a more comfortable, secure, and stress-free towing experience with your Acura MDX.

Towing Laws and Regulations for the Acura MDX

When towing with your Acura MDX, it is important to adhere to towing laws and regulations to ensure compliance and safety on the road. Towing laws may vary depending on the jurisdiction, so it is essential to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations in your area.

Below are some common towing laws and regulations to consider when towing with an Acura MDX:

1. Towing Capacity: The first and foremost law to adhere to is your vehicle’s towing capacity.

Exceeding the maximum towing capacity specified by the manufacturer is not only unsafe but also illegal in most jurisdictions. Be sure to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the maximum towing capacity for your specific Acura MDX model.

2. Trailer Dimensions: Most jurisdictions have regulations regarding the size and dimensions of the trailer being towed.

This can include restrictions on trailer length, width, and height. Ensure that your trailer adheres to these specific regulations to avoid any legal issues.

3. Trailer Lighting: Proper trailer lighting is essential to ensure visibility and safety on the road.

Most jurisdictions require trailers to have operational tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, and reflectors. Before towing, check that all trailer lights are functioning correctly and ensure they are visible to other drivers.

4. Safety Chains: Safety chains are a crucial component of safe towing.

Many jurisdictions require the use of safety chains to prevent detachment of the trailer from the towing vehicle. Make sure to cross the safety chains and attach them securely to the hitch of your Acura MDX.

5. Speed Limits: Speed limits may vary when towing a trailer.

In many jurisdictions, there are lower speed limits for vehicles towing trailers. Be aware of these reduced limits and adjust your driving accordingly to ensure compliance and safety.

6. Licensing Requirements: Some jurisdictions may require you to have a specific driver’s license or endorsement to tow trailers above a certain weight.

Familiarize yourself with your local licensing requirements to ensure compliance. 7.

Weight Distribution: Proper weight distribution is essential for safe towing. Ensure that the load in your trailer is properly balanced and distributed to prevent excessive stress on the towing vehicle and maintain stability on the road.

Always research and consult the specific laws and regulations in your area to ensure full compliance when towing with your Acura MDX. Adhering to these laws is not only required but also crucial for the safety of yourself and other road users.

The Difference Between Towing with an Acura MDX and a Truck

When it comes to towing, many people automatically think of trucks as the ideal towing vehicles. However, the Acura MDX offers capable towing capabilities and distinct advantages over trucks in certain situations.

Below are some key differences between towing with an Acura MDX and a truck:

1. Comfort and Handling: One significant advantage of towing with an Acura MDX is the comfort and handling it offers.

The MDX is designed with a luxurious interior and advanced suspension systems that provide a smooth and comfortable ride. This can make long-distance towing more enjoyable, especially for families or those seeking a comfortable towing experience.

2. Fuel Efficiency: Trucks generally have larger engines and higher fuel consumption compared to the Acura MDX.

The MDX has a more efficient drivetrain that can offer better fuel economy while towing. This can be especially advantageous for those who tow infrequently or for shorter distances.

3. Maneuverability: The Acura MDX is typically more maneuverable than trucks, thanks to its smaller size and tighter turning radius.

This can be beneficial when towing in urban areas, navigating tight corners, or parking in smaller spaces, where a truck might have difficulty maneuvering. 4.

Storage and Versatility: Acura MDX vehicles often provide ample storage space in the rear cargo area and have interior compartments that are convenient for storing towing accessories and personal belongings. This can be advantageous for those who want the added storage and versatility of an SUV while still being able to tow trailers or other recreational equipment.

5. Towing Capacity: While trucks generally have higher towing capacities than the Acura MDX, it is important to consider individual towing needs.

The MDX has a respectable towing capacity suitable for many common towing applications, such as hauling smaller boats, trailers, or recreational vehicles. If your towing needs fall within the MDX’s capabilities, it can offer a more practical and economical option compared to a larger truck.

Ultimately, the choice between towing with an Acura MDX and a truck depends on individual preferences, towing requirements, and the specific circumstances of each towing situation. It is important to consider factors such as towing capacity, comfort, fuel efficiency, maneuverability, and storage space to determine which option best suits your needs.

Handling Steep Grades and Tight Curves While Towing with the Acura MDX

Towing on steep grades and navigating tight curves can present challenges while ensuring the safety and control of your Acura MDX. However, with proper preparation and driving techniques, you can manage these situations effectively.

Here are some tips for handling steep grades and tight curves when towing with the Acura MDX:

1. Plan Ahead: Before embarking on a journey with steep grades or tight curves, plan your route accordingly.

Familiarize yourself with the topography of the area, noting any significant inclines or curves along the way. Use maps or GPS navigation systems that can highlight elevation changes and provide advanced warning of sharp turns.

2. Downshift: When encountering steep grades, downshifting your Acura MDX’s transmission helps maintain control and prevent excessive strain on the brakes.

Shift to a lower gear, such as utilizing the “Sport” or “Manual” mode, which allows you to manually control the gear selection. This technique helps to slow down the vehicle and provides more power to the wheels, aiding in managing descent.

3. Maintain a Safe Speed: It is essential to adjust your speed to a safe and controlled pace when descending steep grades or navigating tight curves.

Avoid exceeding the recommended speed limits for towing and reduce your speed further if necessary. Remember that the additional weight of the trailer may require an increased stopping distance.

4. Use Engine Braking: Utilize your Acura MDX’s engine braking capabilities to control speed while descending steep grades.

Engine braking involves releasing pressure on the accelerator and allowing the engine’s compression to naturally slow the vehicle down. This method helps minimize brake usage, preventing overheating and possible brake fade during prolonged descents.

5. Avoid Overheating: Steep grades can put extra stress on your vehicle’s engine and transmission, leading to increased temperatures.

To prevent overheating, monitor your vehicle’s temperature gauge and take breaks if needed. If towing in extreme conditions or on long uphill stretches, consider installing an auxiliary transmission cooler to enhance the vehicle’s cooling capabilities.

6. Brake Properly: When approaching curves or bends, apply the brakes smoothly and gradually to maintain control and prevent trailer sway.

Braking abruptly can cause the trailer to exert lateral force on your Acura MDX, leading to instability. Moderation and anticipation are key to safe and controlled braking.

7. Look Ahead: Maintain proper situational awareness by scanning the road ahead for any upcoming obstacles or hazards.


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