ANNOUNCEMENT: The Car Book 2018 is now online!

Ratings on over 1,000 new & used models going back 5 years, from the Center from Auto Safety. Learn more about The Car Book 2018 here. 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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,000 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Acura CL Owner Comments

problem #8

Feb 162015


  • 139,000 miles


Acura 2001 was parked on the 3rd floor of a parking structure. Owner(driver) backed car out of its parking spot at 5:00 P, M, when the temp. Was 13 degrees above zero. At first owner was unable to get any acceleration when stepping on the gas pedal to go forward in drive, gear 5. tapped on gas pedal for accelerating and the car lurched forward with engine racing at a high rate of speed. Driver was trying to decelerate the car while steering car through the descending levels of the ramp. Slammed on the brakes and they did not hold the car tried throwing it into reverse and nothing changed. On the first floor driver with foot on the brakes sheared off the front of a pick-up truck before smashing in to the wall, which stopped the car. Driver suffered a broken sternum, collar bone and L-3 vertebrae fracture in the back. Spent two days in the hospital and 4 weeks in brace off work.

- Monroe, MI, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Dec 022011

CL 6-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
Was driving at highway speed. "lost" accelerator pedal. Coasted to shoulder, stopped car. Found that pedal had dropped to floor and connector end of cable was hanging above pedal area. Also found that the cable connecting to engine just at edge of cover/housing was missing. Car was towed on a flatbed to the nearest repair facility. Acura repair part was obtained from nearest dealership and installed. Cable showed signs of fraying at point where it broke. Technician surmised that it had fatigued and that the break was inside the cable housing. Car had been given a comprehensive maintenance and an Acura multipoint inspection in March 2011. Most recent maintenance was an oil change and multipoint inspection on 10/22/11.

- Dunn Loring, VA, USA

problem #5

Jul 072003

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


The automatic transmission fails to shift properly. Would jerk forward as if it was down shifting on its own. Transmission will not shift out of 2nd gear. Also, rpms would run very high. Recently was not able to shift in to reverse. Felt as if the brakes were on. The drive indicator started flashing. Traction light had came on with the engine light and stayed on. Problem had started on 7/7/03. Had taken the vehicle to dealership on 7/11, and had picked up vehicle on 7/18. Mechanic indicated the problem was not able to be duplicated. The problems with the automatic transmission still exists.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #4

Jul 162003

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer states when vehicle is put into any gear vehicle response like it is in neutral. When in 3rd gear rpms rev up very high. Took to dealer, and he replaced the transmission.

- Exton, PA, USA

problem #3

Aug 112002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
At 50 mph consumer applied accelerator, vehicle would not accelerate. Dealer determined thattransmission had to be replaced.

- Louisville, CO, USA

problem #2

Mar 202002


  • miles
Total loss of power on accelleration, car unresponsive.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #1

Oct 282000


  • miles
Vehicle suddendly accelerated while driver had foot on brakes, wheels started to spin and went through garage wall and in back yard, but evenutally vehicle stopped because it ran up on a pole. Airbags did not deploy.

- Fort Walton, FL, USA

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