NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2001 Acura CL (Page 2 of 9)

CarComplaints.com 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 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,494 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2001 Acura CL Owner Comments (Page 2 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #151

May 232009


  • 136,000 miles


Purchased 2001 Acura Cl-3.2 on 12/02 as second owner from Acura dealership with 46,570 on the odometer. Noticed slight transmission slippage 02/03. Had vehicle serviced and transmission replaced under warranty with. Received letter dated summer 2004 of transmission recall. Took vehicle to dealer on accordance to recall letter. Dealer installed oil jet kit. On 05/23/09 (136,000 on the odometer), traveling approx. 70 mph on interstate, D5 started flashing. Minutes later, the vehicle downshifted and the tcs indicated came on. The vehicle repeated this downshifting again while attempting to move from the center lane to the far right lane causing the wheels to lock experiencing violent jerking motions. The rear vehicle approaching had to maneuver to the center lane to avoid rear end collision. Proceeded to roadside and parked the vehicle. Vehicle was taken to home address and parked. Called and informed dealer of transmission issue which had symptoms of prior recall. Also contacted Acura corporate headquarters and was referred to the dealership for servicing due to the prior recall. Dealer serviced vehicle on 05/28/09 (inv# 291814) and determined by diagnostic, the solenoids malfunctioned. Solenoids were replaced by dealer at owner expense and test driven by service center technicians resulting in no resolution and prompting another diagnostic error code. It was determined by the technicians that the transmission was experiencing unknown symptoms and recommended the transmission be replaced for a second time. Due to vehicle being out of warranty and extended warranty, dealer will not offer good faith gesture or goodwill dealer replacement. Vehicle was serviced at recommended manufactures intervals. Service history was provided to dealer by owner.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #150

Mar 062009


  • 132,000 miles
The transmission on my Acura Cl-S was replaced @ 66K miles under the recall. I just took the car in for service (@132K miles) and they informed me it needs the transmission replaced again. I have to buy tires and brakes as often as transmissions at this rate.

- York, PA, USA

problem #149

Oct 102008


  • 79,000 miles
Transmission does not shift from first to second gear resulting in high RPM status.

- Peachtree City, GA, USA

problem #148

Nov 012008


  • 32,000 miles


I own a 2001 Acura Cl. I was driving in to the driveway, when without warning, the transmission accelerated, brakes would not operate normally and the car hit the driveway wall violently with concomitant abnormal speed. I chalked it up to a one time event. The car sustained $6,000 in front damage. Today, likewise, as I was driving in to the driveway, the car again started accelerating on its own and I almost rammed in to the neighbors adjoining fence/tree. Upon review of all the complaints lodged against Acura for transmission failure on this particular model, I came to realize that the vehicle is obviously defective in normal transmission operation. I was never notified by the dealer to have the car checked due to effective recall on transmission failures/operation. My attorney advises me to proceed with legal proceedings. Obviously, Acura should be notified of horrific consequences of personal injuries and property damages that a defective transmission necessarily entails under otherwise normal operating conditions.

- Great Neck, NY, USA

problem #147

Sep 292008


  • miles
When we heard about the recall, we took the car in to have the recall problem fixed. We took it to Sierra Acura on main street in alhambra, California. We were told by the service department to bring the car back when the recall problem starts giving us trouble. So we waited until it gave us trouble which was around Monday September 29, 2008. We tried to take it to Sierra Acura yesterday around 3:30 P.M. we were told to bring it back the next day because they were closing in about an hour. We could have gotten the car there in about 15 minutes, and were willing to leave it there until it was fixed. So, we were very disgusted with the service there and took it to another dealer thomas Acura in covina. They told my son who is the driver of the car that he would have to pay 75% of the cost which is about $4,000 because he brought it in past the due date of the recall. First of all, we never got a recall notice so we didn't know when the date of the recall notice was. We heard about the recall by word of mouth. Second, when we did take the car in a timely manner, they told us to bring it back when the transmission starts giving us trouble. Third now we have to pay 75% of the cost because of the error of the Acura service department.

- Monterey Park, CA, USA

problem #146

Aug 262008


  • 130,000 miles
No events. Without any warning, at 60 mph steady speed my 2001 Acura Cl's automatic transmission seized up, causing my car to dramatically lose speed, and almost caused the car behind me to rear-end me. The Acura dealer has said that since it has 130,000 miles on it they will not repair it. Acura claims it was recalled in 2004 for this problem, and they "fixed" it that year. I have been unaware of this defect until now, since I purchased it in 2005. I believe this problem should be made public, and to warn the hundreds of second-hand owners like myself who do not know how potentially dangerous this vehicle is. I can only thank god I had my seat belt on, or would have gone through the windshield. You have no idea how terrifying it is to have a car do that with no warning whatsoever. This defective transmission will now cost me over $3,000 to fix, even though I have had the transmission serviced regularly.

- Bothell, WA, USA

problem #145

Feb 192008

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


I purchased an Acura 2001 Cl type S 2 years ago and was not aware that the car had recall problems involving the transmission. On 02/19/08 my transmission started acting up. It makes a loud noise and will not go in reverse. I took the car to the Honda dealer in serramonte, ca. They refuse to fix the car stating it was repaired years ago. They said it will cost me $4,000 to repair the car. I am still making payments on this car and cannot afford to repair it myself. I feel they should repair it because it had a recall issue. It is very unsafe for my 6 year old son and myself...suppose the transmission completely fails..we could be injured and even loose our lives. I do not know what to do now.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #144

Jan 102008

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,500 miles
Transmission slipped when shifting gears a couple of times then seized up on the freeway while traveling 60 mph a few days later. Luckily, there was no car behind me so no accident occurred. Car was towed to dealership where transmission was replaced under a special extended warranty. New transmission started slipping when shifting gears within a few days. Car is currently back in the dealership getting another transmission. This failure is a safety hazard and should be a recall not a extended warranty. The only warning sign before the transmission seizes is some gear slippage when shifting which does not cause any warning lights to illuminate that would signal the driver a dramatic failure is imminent.

- Half Moon Bay, CA, USA

problem #143

Aug 302007

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,082 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Acura 3.2cl. In 2004, the contact received NHTSA recall notice number 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission). The dealer replaced the transmission. As a result, the warranty was extended for seven years. On August 29, 2007, the vehicle was taken to the dealer for routine maintenance and she was informed that a new transmission was needed. The dealer stated that the entire transmission failed and was difficult to shift. They also stated that this was the same defect that was stated in the recall she previously received. Acura was unconcerned since the warranty was extended from the prior recall. The contact stated that her main concern was her safety and the resale potential of the vehicle. As of August 30, 2007, the vehicle remains at the dealer for transmission repair. The powertrain and failure mileage were unknown. The current mileage was 53,082. The dealer stated the trunk latch failing and security system not activating. Updated 09/18/07

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #142

Jun 052007

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Acura 3.2 Cl. While driving 70 mph, the vehicle shifted from fifth to second gear. The speed of the vehicle decreased to 40 mph. The dealer stated that the transmission was slipping and that there was an erratic upshift. The dealer referenced recall # 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission), however, the vehicle exceeded the coverage for the recall repair by 9,000 miles. The contact notified the manufacturer who provided the same information as the dealer. The current and failure mileages were 118,000.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #141

Dec 012002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2001 Acura Cl with transmission problems (slipping)** the consumer stated he was not having problems with the transmission at the time when a letter was received regarding possible automatic transmission problems with certain 2001-2001 Acura's, however he was experiencing SRS wiring problems in Dec 2002. The transmission problems didn't began until December 2003, which resulted in having a re-manufactured transmission installed. The consumer stated there was never a mention of engine mount problems or replacement in the notice that was received in 2002. 4 years later the consumer began to experience more problems, the transmission was replaced, 11 days later more problems had surfaced with the second transmission and upon inspection, the front engine mounts needed to be replaced. The consumer believed there was a direct relationship between the front engine mounts and the transmission problems he experienced. The engine mounts should have been replaced the first time the transmission started to exhibit a problem.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #140

Apr 272006

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,400 miles
Transmission slipping 2-3 transmission replaced.

- Lino Lakes, MN, USA

problem #139

Sep 192006


  • miles
Complete transmission failure. The dealer will not repair the problem.

- Antelope, CA, USA

problem #138

Sep 212006

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,354 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle was taken to the service dealer for a transmission recall 04V176000 in December 2004. The service dealer greased the transmission and performed no other work to the transmission as described in the recall. One week ago, while accelerating the vehicle, the transmission would not switch gears. The service dealer stated the transmission needed to be replaced and the contact expressed as part of the recall, the transmission should be replaced. The dealer told the consumer gear 3 and 4 were inoperable not gear 2 as stated in the recall. Updated 11/21/06.

- Delran, NJ, USA

problem #137

Sep 122006

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 30 mph on a dry highway, the transmission failed suddenly without warning. The contact coasted to the shoulder. The vehicle was towed to a dealership where they determined the transmission failed. There were not any problems with the vehicle prior to the incident. There was a prior recall, NHTSA campaign id # 04V176000, regarding power train: Automatic transmission performed on the vehicle in 2004. The consumer stated the incident was reported to the police. Updated 10/04/06.

- Middletown, NY, USA

problem #136

Mar 012004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,268 miles
The contact states there is NHTSA recall campaign 04V176000 concerning the automatic transmission. This vehicle has the same problems as indicated in the recall, but it is not included in the recall. The manufacturer will not honor the recall due to the vehicle's registration having a branded title. The contact's insurance company provided authorized documentation witnessed by a notary stating the vehicle was not a salvage vehicle.

- Middletown , NY, USA

problem #135

Oct 032005

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,915 miles
Transmission failure. While driving on the I-95 interstate the automatic transmission, which was in 5th gear would downshift into a lower gear as soon as I remove my foot from the accelerator. The problem got worst, in that even with my foot going up a hill, the transmission downshifted into a very low gear which caused the RPM to reach 5,000 and the speed to rapidly decreased. I was able to get to the shoulder of the interstate and stop the vehicle. The Acura dealer said that the transmission needed to be replaced. Acura had extended the warranty for this transmission but my vehicle had over 100,000 miles, putting it outside the warranty period. They were able to partially cover the cost of the replacement by not charging for the parts but I would have to pay the labor. I read of similar problems occurring as part of ODI action # PE02-081.

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #134

Jul 222005

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,981 miles
Consumer has a 2001 Honda Acura 3.2 Cl the recall was for an inspection of transmission 2nd gear. The more miles heat build up may cause gear tooth chipping and may cause gear failure and cause the transmission to lockup. The dealer replaced the transmission in the vehicle with a remanufactured transmission and 40000 miles later the transmission locked up. The consumer says this is the same problem he experienced before. Consumer says that he had a hard time with the manufacturer and he feels that they failed to remedy the defect in the vehicle with out charge, because he will have to pay for labor and a loaner vehicle to have his vehicle repaired.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #133

Jun 262005

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
Acura 3.2 Cl type S has had 4 total failures all related to transmitions problems. The failures occured while driving in the insterstate highway at 65mph. Dealearship has replaced four transmitions causing time loss at work and placing my self in a hazardous situations while the failures occured leaving standed in unsecure areas and far away from any kind of help or assistance even in areas with cell phone coverage. The date of the incident registered below is the last one.

- Surprise, AZ, USA

problem #132

Jul 052005

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I purchased a 2001 Acura Cl in June of 2003. Within the last 18 months, I have replaced the transmission 4 times. There is currently a recall of this vehicle for transmission issues, and as a result, the transmission has been replaced at no cost to me. However, I am tired of taking the care in every 7500 miles for both service and a new transmission. It is obvious that there is a serious problem, and instead of continuously getting the car fixed, I would like to just get rid of it altogether and save myself the headache. I have contacted Acura directly, and I hope to get this issue resolved asap.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

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