Notes: The automatic transmission on the 2nd generation CL (2001-2003) is a downshifting mess. According to reports it slips, flares, and eventually fails --- sometimes around 40,000 miles.

The troubled transmission got an extended warranty for some CL owners that was later extended even further thanks to a class-action lawsuit in the United States. But even with the extended warranty, the transmission in this car is well known for overheating and locking up suddenly and without warning.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
112,191 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.

2001 Acura CL drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2001 Acura CL Owner Comments

problem #17

Nov 292013

CL 6-cyl

  • 136,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Acura Cl. The contact stated that the vehicle intermittently would not shift into second or third gear. The failure occurred without warning. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 04V176000 (power train), but the VIN was not included. The failure mileage was approximately 136,000. Updated 01/05/2017

- Wilmette, IL, USA

problem #16

Feb 032016


  • 133,000 miles
This car has had multiple issues with the SRS system, which has rendered it inoperable. Apparently, there are design issues with the seat buckle and seat sensor that have been there all along. There are multiple owner complaints here and on the internet about this. This apparently makes the entire SRS system inoperable, including the driver airbag. This along with the well documented transmission issues make this a "rolling coffin"-- I am not sure why Honda is not concerned about the safety of its owners. I guess it would take major injuries and lawsuits and publicity to get some action.

- Ellsworth, WI, USA

problem #15

Dec 152014


  • 223,500 miles
Contacted duncan Acura in roanoke, va. Transmission drops speed from 70mph to 10 mph without warning on highway. Was told transmission was repaired when recall came out but car had too many miles on it now 223,000. The service manager at duncan would not return my calls or schedule to get transmission inspected after I understood that I would need to pay for the inspection. Contacted Acura headquarters and they issued a claim & claim rep to help out. Never will trust duncan Acura with a safety issue. Just wanted to know if this issue was the same as the earlier recall was for on these cars. Not safe to drive and Acura dealer would not take the time to inspect it. Still waiting on response from Acura been 4 days.

- Clifton Forge, VA, USA

problem #14

Dec 152014


  • 223,000 miles


Transmission lockup at highway speeds. Vehicle would drop speed from 70 mps to 10 mps without warning in a matter of seconds almost causing loss of control & crash with cars following on highway. As described in Acura service bulletin 04-020. Car was fitted with repair part but did not prevent it from occurring again over time & miles from driving.

- Clifton Forge, VA, USA

problem #13

May 092014

CL 6-cyl

  • 81,339 miles
Transmission failure. This is a safety hazard as the transmission stalls and then slams into gear. I no longer feel safe to drive this car. I had to pay a great amount of money to fix my defective transmission.

- Moore, SC, USA

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problem #12

Apr 082014

CL 6-cyl

  • 32,437 miles
Summary: I own a 2001 Acura Cl with 32,437 miles on it. The car has been perfectly maintained. While driving approximately 20-30 mph, the transmission slipped hard between first and second gear jerkily, and the rpms increased. The vehicle was taken immediately to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. I inquired about any recalls regarding transmission and the dealer stated that the vehicle was previously repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 04V176000 (power train: Automatic transmission). I didnt remember. I feel strongly that the failure was either not corrected properly, or that Acura corporation failed to properly identify this serious and recurring issue. My car has been driven about once a week since purchase and a few times for vacation. Given the low mileage and regular maintainence I feel this $4,511.39 repair issue is one I cannot afford to ignore. It should have at least included a lifetime warranty, instead of 3 years or 36,000 miles. Do I have any recourse or is this a forum simply for complaints?

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #11

Jan 202014

CL 6-cyl

  • 141,000 miles


I took my car to nalley Acura 1355 cobb pkwy. South marietta Georgia 30060 I was told that 2 jetters was put into my transmission and they took a picture and sent it too the manufacturer. I asked for a record of the maintenance I never got one [xxx] the service tech. Said that I would be mailed one. I do not believe the picture that was sent to me was of my transmission, cause it took days for them to come up with this picture and I did not see my name by it or my VIN number. The info the company sent me was out of a book that was showing me a diagram of a transmission. I stood there for 4 hours and all that was done was my hood was raised an no one hardly touch my car. It was never put upon a jack or raised to a level where you could get a good look a the transmission. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- East Point, GA, USA

problem #10

Feb 202013

CL 6-cyl

  • miles
I took my car to nalley Acura 1355 cobb parkway South marietta Georgia 30060 the told me they put in a jetter into my transmission and took a picture into manufacturer. I asked for a summation ot what they did and they sent me back pictures out of a book nothing signed where anyone done anything just pictures out of a book. This was a recall of 2nd gear transmission claim.

- East Point, GA, USA

problem #9

Feb 202013

CL 6-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Acura Cl. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the transmission slipped and the rpms increased excessively. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the vehicle was previously repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 04V176000 (power train: Automatic transmission) in 2004 but the failure was not corrected. The approximate failure and current mileage was 57,000.

- Okemos, MI, USA

problem #8

Aug 172012

CL 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
Parked car. Moved transmission lever to what I thought was park (push straight up). Started to swing out of car putting weight on outside foot. The transmission was actually in neutral and the key was removed - it can be removed in any gear position just like the 2001 Honda Accord recall says. The Acura of the same year never had the recall even though it is using the same defective part numbers. Car started to roll backwards and I was forced to stop car using foot and hand pressure resulting in slight sprain to wrist requiring no additional care. This is a troubling safety issue that was actually recalled for Honda brand vehicles only ignoring Acura brand defects.

- Walnut Creek, CA, USA

problem #7

May 012012


  • 170,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Acura Cl. The contact stated that while driving 70 mph, the vehicle emitted smoke from under the hood. The contact was able to coast the vehicle onto the shoulder where the vehicle was towed to a local mechanic who performed a diagnostic. The failure was located at the transmission. The contact stated that the transmission was replaced at 85,000 miles under NHTSA campaign id number: 04V176000 (power train: Automatic transmission) but the failure was not corrected. The vehicle was repaired and the local mechanic replaced the transmission. The approximate failure mileage was 170,000 and the current mileage was 174,458.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #6

Dec 142009

CL 6-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
It's been slipping...but it never bothered me until now and it's super bad.

- Baltimore, Md, MD, USA

problem #5

Nov 182009

CL 6-cyl

  • 156,000 miles
Was driving on the freeway when transmission started to slip and the failed and down shifted to second gear. Nearly caused accident on freeway. I did get hurt from the sudden drop in speed.

- Rowland Heights, CA, USA

problem #4

Oct 172011

CL 6-cyl

  • 64,267 miles
Transmission would not shift into reverse or into drive on multiple occasions. Transmission would not decelerate.

- Castro Valley , CA, USA

problem #3

Oct 132009


  • 150,000 miles
I own a 2001 Acura 3.2 Cl type S. I was driving my car (approx 45 mph) on a busy two-lane road yesterday when my car suddenly stopped responding to the accelerator being pressed. I had cars coming at me at a high speed behind me. I saw an opening in oncoming traffic so that I could turn and get myself and my child out of harm's way. When I turned left, my car (I guess) downshifted and came to an almost complete stop with cars coming behind me and at me!!! I thankfully safely got to the side of the road and have not driven it since. I have been told it sounds like complete transmission failure. Myself and my son could easily have been killed! what do I do" am I responsible for paying to replace transmission"

- Lafayette, LA, USA

problem #2

Jan 012003


  • 18,700 miles
The vehicle transmission failed at 18700 miles. The consumer received a notice that the manufacturer was extended the warranty on the transmission. A little over a year later the consumer transmission failed and was replaced with a new one. The consumer then received a recall on the transmission and had it replaced a second time. Now the transmission is starting to slip again.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #1

Apr 202004

CL 6-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
The transmission failed prematurely. The part had been replaced three times, however the problem recurred. The transmission would slip and delay shifts. The downshifts were sometimes harsh. On at least two occasions when downshifting to pass other vehicles on the highway, the vehicle would feel as if the transmission had gone dead and then shift.

- Double Oak, TX, USA

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