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 — Unknown Or Other 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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,886 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2003 Acura TL Owner Comments

problem #12

Oct 152015


  • 202,134 miles


My car's check engine light and tcs light came on. Had my car scanned at my local obii service center and recieved code P1676. Still experiencing same problem after, I then took my car to the local Honda dealership service center to get a verification of this code and saw a flyer for recalls. I review the information, (I own an Acura, Honda was unable to provide the recall repair service) and found that recalls pertaining to the code generated from the initial scan for when the check engine light came on pertained to the code. I called in reference to the recalls posted on the website. I was informed that a recall repair for the transmission/power-train (04V176000) and timing belt (02V226000) were made to my vehicle however I am still having the same problem including excessive vibration & hesitation during acceleration especially between 50-60mph), cruise control has shut off without warning/notice while driving, and inability to pass nc emissions inspections. I contacted the NHTSA and was informed with 2 different reasons why my vehicle was not eligible for repair. (1) vehicle batch number was not affected and then (2) the repair had already been made in Feb 2005 by previous owner. All these problem started occurring after I took my car to leith Acura of cary, nc for the recall on the tarkata airbags(15V320000). I have been denied safety repairs to my vehicle. Leith Acura of cary, nc is requiring me to pay $131 inorder to do a diagnostic scan only that I already have proof from several ase certified inspection stations (which were free of charge). I does not include the amount that may be required to fix the problem pending it is not totally a recall repair. I believe that the repair was done incorrectly or the current transmission is not the one that replaced the original transmission after the recall repair. If so, I should be allowed repairs.

- Rocky Mount, NC, USA

problem #11

Mar 252016


  • 196,000 miles
My check engine light came on. I took 2003 Acura TL to (2) local auto parts store (advance auto parts and autozone) to have it scanned using the diagnostic tools provided by technicians on site. Was given an exact recall diagnostic error code (A/T. when I call the recall center they said that this repair had already been done in 2005. This obviously could not have been done properly. I called again when I started having other problems with my car including hesistation during accelaration. This time I was told that my vehicle's "batch" number was not affected by the recall. I called my local Acura dealer (leith Acura in cary, nc) to get an estimate of the repairs which was more than the value of the car which did not include the "official diagnostic test" which was $131 alone. Then was told I would have to pay for the test even though I already had 2 scan reports from my local retail store B/C the store only scans only gave a "general" scan and that their scan was more specific. I asked how can it be more specific when it shows the exact recall description. I was then told that if that was the case then I would be reimbursed..

- Rocky Mount, NC, USA

problem #10

Jun 132016


  • miles
The left rear door will not open from either the inside or the outside.

- Germantown, MD, USA

problem #9

Feb 012016


  • 68,000 miles


Recently purchased an 03 Acura TL. 64000 miles at time of purchase. I drive it using the slap stick and mostly highway driving. I notice when shifting from 2nd to 3rd gears, at approximately 20-25 mph the car seems to jerk, or jump in the front end. Also between 3rd and 4th gears. Depending on how fast I accelerate and change the gears, sometimes there is more lower speeds....and less jerking when accelerating at a faster rate. The vehicle now has 76000 miles on it and I am concerned there are going to be transmission issues soon. This is my second Acura TL, the first one having over 205K miles with no issues with transmission, that was replaced by dealer @ 55K. Is there anything that can be done with this issue that I am not aware of. There are no other issues with this vehicle. Did I miss the recall cut off date, was there never recall, or did Acura miss group of VIN #S? if this is truly a safety concern, from Acura, they should stand behind there products, correct the "known issues" with the transmissions, for there drivers to be safe, so they are there for future purchases.

- Youngstown, OH, USA

problem #8

May 092014


  • 55,000 miles
My brother was driving my car one then it all the sudden car just stopped when was going and bad part was it stopped in traffic he almost got hit it was scary. I got lots of problems with this car please help!

- Warroad, MN, USA

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problem #7

Sep 012015


  • 159,000 miles
For some time, the interlock device has not been working and it allows me to remove my key when the vehicle is in gear. This has allow the vehicle to roll away on hills.

- Ridgefield, WA, USA

problem #6

May 162008


  • 103,000 miles


In 2006 I purchased this vehicle 2003 Acura TL types vehicle...the vehicle only had 53,000 miles on it at the time of purchase....I replaced the transmission in 2008 it only had 103,000 miles 2015 I need.another transmission with only 165,000 miles on it now...I see where there is a recall on the transmission in 2004 I didn't have the vehicle at that time. I need to know what I need to do about this.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #5

Jan 222015


  • miles
SRS light came and wont go off. Can I go to a Honda dealer near me and have problem fix asap.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #4

Dec 152009


  • 50,000 miles
My 2003 Acura TL has accelerator problems similar to the Toyota problem. Two years ago it stuck twice and the vehicle reached speeds up to 90 mph before I could stop it by putting both feet on the brake and downshifting it. I really thought I was going to die. I took it to the dealership, they tested it and said it was probably a bad transmission so they replaced the transmission. The car had about 50,000 miles on it at that time. A month ago the same thing occurred. Again I took it to the dealer. They said it was probably the transmission however they would not replace it without the warranty people actually seeing it malfunction. They charged my $110 and sent me on my way. I am afraid to ride in the vehicle, my wife and co-workers will not ride in the vehicle. I had to buy a replacement vehicle and now cannot sell this one in good conscience. I am going to ask the dealer to take it back and give me fair market value for the vehicle. They can do with it what they want. What other alternatives do I have? tw*

- Flower Mound, TX, USA

problem #3

Oct 082006

TL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,500 miles
The paint on my black TL-S has been continually deteriorating since a couple months after purchase. Every bird dropping, road grime, hard water mark on my car seems to eat through 3 coats of meguiar's wax and take off the paint. Friends have witnessed how well I take care of my cars (witness my 10 year old Mitsubishi with no such problems and it was not garaged!) and agree that the paint quality on my Acura is extremely poor. I have been reading of other customers with similar problems and I believe Acura should have to send out a service bulletin to repaint those cars exhibiting this peeling, flaking, cracking, etching problem. I use a car cover and immediately wash off anything that lands on my car.... often the contaminant does not wash off (bonds to the paint?) or just takes the paint off with it! talked to three Acura dealers over the years and no one will take responsibility. It's disappointing for a company my family has done business with for 18 years (7 Honda products so far). Never saw this problem on any of the other Honda / Acura products either.

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #2

Jul 112006

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer complaint concerning an Acura 3.2tl auto transmission.

- Unknown, DC, USA

problem #1

Jun 012006

TL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
Paint clear coat cracking and coming off "B" pillar on doors.

- Vineland, NJ, USA

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