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 — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2003 Acura TL (Page 1 of 9)

CarComplaints.com Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague

CarComplaints.com 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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
7 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,039 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Acura TL Owner Comments (Page 1 of 9)

problem #175

Nov 122013

TL 6-cyl

  • 132,800 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Dear safercar.gov, I have a 2003 Acura 3.2 TL navi. It has approximately 132,800 miles on it as of 30 November 2013 (car is in shop, so I can't verify exact mileage). On Saturday, 30 Nov 2013, I took it in to Acura, because the engine check light is on. I also asked that the transmission be checked, because it didn't seem to be engaging correctly. This model as well as other Acura model vehicles, etc, had a previous recall on the transmission (2004). I also previously had to have the car towed (26 Aug 2004) to Acura because the transmission failed while driving and the car broke down. The car has been well-maintained - body and mechanically, I had the 120K service performed on 22 October 2012, where mileage was 125,226. On 11 March 2011, I had the transmission fluid flush service performed. The service record states "flush entire unit of all old and suspended debris using a safe and effective cleaner to dissolve the varnish and gums in the transmission & torque converter. Install new transmission fluid to factory specification. Today (01 Dec 2013), I was told that the entire transmission and some associated parts need to be replaced and will cost me between $4000 to $5000 (estimated now, but could go up). It's difficult for me to fathom that this transmission was verified to manufacturer specs in 2011 and now a complete failure at 132800. I believe this transmission failure is the result of the previous problems, as stated in the recall. The recall I'm citing is from NHTSA in April 2004. The NHTSA campaign id number is: 04V176000; recall date: 13 April 2004; component: Power train: Automatic transmission; potential number of units affected: 1,099,796. As a result of the history of problems with this transmission, and the recall, I'm requesting assistance in having this transmission replaced by Acura at no cost to me. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Laplata, MD, USA

problem #174

Jun 212011

TL

  • 155,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura 3.2tl. The contact stated that the vehicle was previously repaired for the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission). While driving approximately 65 mph, the transmission failed and the vehicle would no longer accelerate. The vehicle coasted to a stop and was towed to an authorized dealer. The contact was informed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 155,000.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #173

Feb 162011

TL

  • 75,900 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura TL. The contact stated while driving 25 mph the vehicle vibrated and the automatic transmission gear was shifting from first to second gear. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated they had to replace the transmission and pay $4500 for the repairs. The manufacturer was contacted and stated the local dealer could make a decision on how to repair the vehicle. The dealer offered no further assistance. The failure mileage was 75,900.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #172

Mar 012011

TL

  • 91,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The contact owns a 2003 Acura TL-S. the contact stated that when shifting gears, the vehicle would violently jerk or there would be an abnormal increase in engine rpms before engaging. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop where it was diagnosed that the transmission was defective and would need to be replace. The manufacturer was contacted who referred him to the dealer. No further assistance was offered. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 91,000.

- South Pasadena , CA, USA

problem #171

Feb 232011

TL 6-cyl

  • 78,550 miles
Was driving on interstate 295 at 60mph. Pushed down gas to accelerate past the car on my left and switched lanes. Car made grinding noise and then acted as if in neutral. I checked to ensure the car was still in drive. I kept trying to accelerate but the engine just revved, then the check engine light came on. The car behind me almost hit me due to the sudden lack of acceleration. I pulled to the breakdown lane and experimented with accelerating slowly. Once it shifted to 3rd gear, I lost all acceleration. I would have to turn the car off and back on to utilize 1st and 2nd gear. I had the car towed to my mechanic. The transmission had blown. I called Acura to see if they would be willing to help pay for the cost since they had extended the warranty on the transmission for several years because they must have known it was defective out of the factory. It was about 8 months past the warranty expiration. Acura would not offer to pay for the replacement cost. My mechanic rebuilt the transmission and the car now drives fine.

- N. Providence, RI, USA

problem #170

Feb 042011

TL 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
I have a 2003 Acura 3.2 TL with 75K miles, I am the original owner of this car which I purchase from Acura dealer in May 2002. In January 2011, one day I was driving and I noticed jerking and slipping. Usually between 2 and 3 gears. While pressing down on the accelerator, the engine's RPM woud go up, but car would not accelerate. And then suddenly car would shift to the higher gear with a jerk. When I took the car to Acura dealership for service on Friday, February 4, 2011 and reported this problem, the service center at the Acura dealership responded back in a few hours that my car's transmission needs to be replaced. The lady at the service center told me that it would cost $5000 to replace the transmission and Acura has agreed to cover 80% of the cost. That means I'd have to pay $1230+tax =~ $1345 out of pocket for Acura/ Honda's faulty transmission !!! the dealership would not let me take the car out of dealership as they said that it would be unsafe to drive. They handed me a loaner for the weekend and asked me to confirm if they should proceed with the transmission replacement work by Monday (Feb 7, 2011). Acura should bear the complete cost of transmission replacement and provide lifetime warranty. This transmission problems are a potential safety hazard!

- Milpitas, CA, USA

problem #169

Jan 052011

TL 6-cyl

  • 51,500 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

2003 Acura 3.2tl-S with only 51,000 miles. Car is immaculate. Transmission began having trouble engaging and would not shift. I took to Honda dealer, who told me transmission is completely shot and needs to be replaced at a cost of $4,200! the tranny was subject to recall in 2004 and had an oil injection system added. But Acura dealer now tells me there is no extended warranty, even though there are known issues with the transmissions on this vintage TL.

- Madison, NJ, USA

problem #168

Oct 222010

TL

  • 93,592 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura TL. The contact stated that the transmission failed. The vehicle was repaired by the contact's personal mechanic; the transmission failed again. The contact called the dealer who offered no assistance. The contact called the manufacturer who offered no assistance. The vehicle had not been repaired. The current mileage was approximately 95,100. The failure mileage was 93,592.

- Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #167

Nov 172010

TL 6-cyl

  • 60,200 miles
Transmission failed with 60,000 miles.VIN number does not fall under recall.pay out of pocket for repair.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #166

Nov 062010

TL 6-cyl

  • 122,200 miles
Definite problem with transmission slipping. Clutch doesn't engage sometimes. Trying to accelerate from a complete stop and the car won't move. Service engine light came on, D5 light has started blinking and the tcs light is coming on intermittently now. Took it to an Acura dealership yesterday and they said the transmission is bad and definitely needs to be replaced. I bought the car used and it had a slight miss in it but I didn't realize it was the transmission until the last few days when it started slipping so back and not even engaging. Then started looking online for similar problems and this particular year and model of car, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of people with the same problem. I called Acura and they don't plan to replace the transmissions because they don't see it as a safety hazard, but it clearly is if you read the reports of other people that have had very bad experiences, some traveling at high speeds and the car is out of control. A transmission on a vehicle should never go bad this soon. Acura definitely needs to be held responsible for this as it is clearly a defect in the transmission and people (like me) don't have $3,000 - $4,000 to replace the transmission. I just bought the car 3 months ago from a used car dealership who only offered a 30 day warranty and they aren't willing to pay for it either.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #165

Nov 052010

TL

  • 139,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I was on my way to work. While sitting at a traffic light my car started jumping. When I pulled off from the light I noticed the engine would race but the car would not accelerate over 30 mph. Once I got to the next light I tried to pull off but the car just stalled and would not move any further. I broke down in the middle of the highway during rush hour without any warning or any failure lights showing. The car just stopped working without warning even though it's had all it's required maintenance. Acura recalled the transmission once and it was replaced at approx. 47K miles. I've put approx. 97K miles on the car and the transmission is completely gone for the second time. I've called several local repair shops for estimates and one shop told me that have replaced transmissions in 34 other 2003 Acura TL's in the last year alone. And, all of these were transmissions that were initially replaced by the manufacturer. The second transmission they put in my car is defective. I was originally told that it was warrantied up to 100K miles. When I called in for service I was told that the warranty on the new transmission was one for 50K by one dealer and then a second dealer told me it was only for 36K. I am not the only person with an Acura TL 2003 replacement transmission from the Honda motor co. (Acura) with this issue. Acura has done nothing to try to resolve the issue.

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #164

Oct 292010

TL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura TL. While driving 65 mph, the transmission locked which caused both front wheels to lock and the vehicle to skid. The contact maintained control of the vehicle and continued to drive until it reset itself. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The contact called the manufacturer who offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 106,000. Updated 02/10/11 the consumer stated a tear down of the transmission revealed premature failure of the 3rd gear clutch pack. The failure appeared to be excessive heat from lack of lubrication similar to the 2nd gear breakage problem. The debris from the failed clutch pack was found clogging the filter and valve body which caused erratic unintended down shifting and possibly multiple gear engagement. Updated 04.22.11

- North Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #163

Oct 252010

TL 6-cyl

  • 91,000 miles
My transmission began slipping when shifting between 2nd and 3rd gear. I took it to a mechanic who told me about a "silent warranty" that Acura had on '03 TL models that was extended 7 yrs or 100K miles. Whew! I'm in luck, I thought, I'm in the 7th year and I have less than 100K miles! I took it to Acura who said that my VIN number wasn't covered under the warranty. I don't understand how my VIN number wasn't covered when Acura admitted there was a problem with this particular model. Acura said they'd pay for half of my transmission as goodwill, but we'd be out of pocket $1750!!! unacceptable as far as I'm concerned. The more I've looked into this issue the more I realize how many people are out there who have this same model year and have the same exact problems. The transmission should be replaced free of charge since Acura admits fault with the model. I now have a luxury Honda paperweight sitting in my driveway. Can't sell it, can't trade it in and refuse to pay the money to get it fixed. Bad form Acura, bad form!! I won't be buying anymore Acura or Honda products that's for sure.

- Tomball, TX, USA

problem #162

Oct 222010

TL 6-cyl

  • 152,000 miles
While driving on a major highway, my car died in the middle of traffic. After taking my car to get looked at, it was discovered that my transmission no longer worked. Afterwards, I found out that there was a recall on my particular make and model.

- Sicklerville, NJ, USA

problem #161

Oct 092010

TL

  • 86,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura 3.2tl. The contact was driving on the highway at 60 mph, the vehicle suddenly lost transmission power. The contact was driving up a hill when the vehicle began to move backward. The contact pulled over and the vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the automatic transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was being repaired. The contact called the manufacturer who stated that the vehicle was not included in recall 04V176000 (power train: Automatic transmission). The current and failure mileages were approximately 86,500.

- Hamden, CT, USA

problem #160

Sep 232010

TL

  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura 3.2tl. The contact was driving approximately 70 mph when the vehicle failed to accelerate any further. The engine continued to display a high level of rpms and the contact shut off the vehicle. The vehicle was then towed to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 118,000.

- Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #159

Sep 182010

TL

  • 139,000 miles
Transmission failed while driving up a hill. Caused car to lose acceleration, nearly got rear ended while pulling off the road to safety. Initial transmission failed at 23,000 miles. This is the 2nd transmission failing with only 116,000 miles on it. Defective transmission.

- Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #158

Aug 212010

TL

  • 178,304 miles
1. the gears in my Acura 2003 TL begin to slip between 2nd and 3rd gears on a Saturday morning at the end of a family beach trip and soon there after on the way back home which was over 200 miles away the check engine light came on. 2. about halfway home(100 or so miles), the transmission completely failed on the open highway, and my wife and I was left stranded in the rural North Carolina with a 1 year old and a 5 year old. 3. after all this happened, I learned of a recall on the Acura TL 2003 transmission. According to Acura.com and the dealership, this defect was fixed by installing an ¿oil jet kit¿ or ¿oil cooler return line¿ to help lubricate the 2nd gear and keep the transmission from overheating. I do not think it was fixed because of the symptoms of my transmission failure. I have called the Honda\Acura corporate office, the nearest Acura dealership and the dealership of the original purchase of the vehicle. I have gotten the same answer from all of them, "there is nothing we can do". I think this is unacceptable and very frustrating. I have also become aware of a warranty extension that was made on 2003 Acura cl and TL models because of a class action lawsuit filed against Honda of America. The extension was for 93 months or 114,000 miles. My car is under the 93 month extension but outside on the 114,000 miles.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #157

Aug 212010

TL

  • 178,304 miles
1. the gears in my Acura begin to slip on a Saturday morning at the end of a family beach trip and soon there after on the way back home which was over 200 miles ways the check engine light came on. 2. about halfway home(100 or so miles), the transmission completely family on the open highway, and my wife and I was left stranded in the rural North Carolina with a 1 year old and a 5 year old. 3. after all this happen, I learned of a recall on the Acura TL 2003 transmission. According the Acura.com and the dealership, this defect was fixed. I do not think it was fixed because of the symptoms of my transmission failure. I have called the Honda\Acura corporate office, the nearest Acura dealership and the dealership of the original purchase of the vehicle. I have gotten the same answer from all of them, "there is nothing we can do". I think this is unacceptable and very frustrating.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #156

Jul 232010

TL

  • 109,779 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura 3.2tl. The contact was driving approximately 65 mph when the vehicle began independently braking. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the contact was informed that the transmission would need replacing. The dealer advised that the vehicle could potentially fall under NHTSA campaign id number: 04V176000 (power train: Automatic transmission). The manufacturer was contacted but it was not confirmed if the vehicle was included in the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 109,779.

- Daly City, CA, USA

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