Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

NHTSA — Engine And Engine Cooling Problems Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague Notes: The 1999-2003 Acura TL has a known & widespread defect with the transmission.

Honda fixed some vehicles with a recall in 2004 by changing the oil cooler return line. To settle a class action lawsuit in 2006, Honda extended the transmission warranty on some of these Acura TL's to 93 months / 109,000 miles.

Now these vehicles are past the warranty limit, so buyer beware.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
43,140 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Acura TL engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Acura TL Owner Comments

problem #6

Jul 132011


  • 73,000 miles


Upon a normal recall invitation for the air bag inflator ( per manufacturer requirement) a separate normal inspection was done to vehicle. The mechanic found the front and right front motor mounts have collapsed. I know several other owners of Honda and Acura of the same year and SUV models with the same failure.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #5

Mar 062009


  • 99,300 miles
Engine started idling at about 3000 RPM unexpectedly, could not make it stop. It was hard to control the vehicle when it would not go under 3000 RPM. Fortunately it stopped after about 10 minutes. Took to dealer, found problem was idle control mechanism on top of engine, it was replaced.

- Dunn Loring, VA, USA

problem #4

Feb 042008

TL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,535 miles
On Monday February 4, 2007 I was driving my 2003 Acura TL type S and came to a stop and heard a weird noise coming from under the hood. Once traffic began to proceed the car simply would not move from first gear. I manage to pull over and let it sit for about 1-2 min. And it went into gear although sluggish. Once on the road again I proceeded about 3 miles when the car would not engage in any gear at all. I was right in front if the Honda store when the second failure happened. I had the diagnostic done and come to find out that I am in need of a new transmission and motor mount due to over heating (from the service tech). My car was towed to the local Acura dealership that notified me that I did infact need a new transmission and motor mount at a cost of approx. $3500. This I now find is a huge problem for Acura with this model year and the automatic transmissions. I would like for Acura to correct the problem and if needed recall all the cars as it poses for a serious safety issue.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #3

Sep 122005

TL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3 miles


Multiple issues over a 2.5 year period with a new 2003 Acura 3.2 TL type S. I have had a transmission replaced after receiving a safety recall. Secondly, the car has had an idling issue for 2.5 years that was just recently resolved with the replacement of an engine control valve. Third, the A/C was not working properly and the compressor was replaced. Fourth, the idle air control system was bad and had to be replaced. Fifth, and most worrisome, is that I have had white smoke come from under my hood on 3 separate occasions. The Acura dealership has told me they are unable to reproduce the problem and cannot assist me in resolving the issue.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #2

Oct 072004

TL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles
While driving vehicle stalled. Consumer drove vehicle to the dealer for inspection, and mechanic could not be duplicate the problem.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #1

Aug 232004

TL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle stalled while driving. Consumer pulled vehicle off the road. Consumer was unable to restart the vehicle, and it was towed to the dealership. The dealership inspected vehicle three times, but was unable to fix it.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

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