NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2001 Acura CL (Page 1 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 1 of 9)

problem #171

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 #170

Mar 292004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2001 Acura 3.2 Cl. Consumer writes in regards to transmission problems the consumer stated the transmission would slip at times while driving. When the consumer contacted Acura, he was informed their records indicated the transmission was replaced on or about April 12, 2004. The consumer stated he has no record of the transmission being replaced. The consumer stated his wife did take the vehicle to the dealer on March 29,2004 because she was experiencing problems with the transmission, but the service report read no problem found.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #169

Jul 042011


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Acura 3.2 Cl. While driving 55 mph, the contact stated that the vehicle jerked and stalled. A local mechanic diagnosed that the transmission would need to be replaced. The dealer and manufacturer denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The failure was not remedied. The failure and current mileage was 100,000.

- Denver , CO, USA

problem #168

May 012010

CL 6-cyl

  • 155,000 miles


I have had 2 transmissions replaced and my 3rd transmission is failing as well. I have gone through Acura to see if they could goodwill the transmission since I am a victim of thier faulty transmission recall. They refused to replace my transmission and told me it would be $5,100 to replace. I feel that this is not my fault as they have engineered a defective transmission that has reulted in deaths and serious accidents. I was just out side the 3yr/36,000 mile warranty and the would not help. As a member of our armed services I feel I am being treated very unfairly and I fear for my life every time I get into my vehicle. I am not able to pay this kind of money to replace there problem.

- North Charleston, SC, USA

problem #167

Mar 142011


  • 184,000 miles
Check engine due to transmission problem. A lock up occur due to a problem in the solenoid in the transmission. This car had a recall before for the transmission. It was replaced, however. It has new issue. Many people suffer from this problem.

- Orland Hills, IL, USA

problem #166

Jan 242011

CL 6-cyl

  • 58,300 miles
Purchased 2001 Acura 3.2 Cl type-S (replacing my first Acura 3.2cl that was totaled in a 1/2009 crash) on 3/2009 as second owner from Acura dealership with 35,232 miles. Got all service records for this automobile from dealer including the record dated 9/9/04 (mileage 14,660) for the installation of the oil jet kit during transmission recall. While driving home on the highway this evening, the engine and vehicle stability assist (vsa) system lights came on and stayed on. When I finally stopped at a light and then processed through it at a normal slow speed, the tachometer jumped from 2,000 to 4,000 rpms while in first gear. Luckily, I was within a few blocks of my destination. When I returned to vehicle to drive home, car would not shift out of first gear. I had to park the car on a city street that same night. I hadn't experienced any transmission problems until this one night. Had car towed to my regular mechanic the next day only to be told it was a transmission problem. Contacted local Acura dealer to be told that my vehicle was out of the warranty period and they tentatively offered a good will split of the cost. (I had bought my first new 2001 Acura 3.2cl from them and they had installed a new transmission during the earlier recall.) had vehicle towed to a nationwide transmission specialist shop. They determined that transmission had to be completely overhauled. Agreed to have it repaired and they used new factory parts and Honda genuine automatic transmission fluid (atf-Z1). After completion and payment, I was advised to drain and refill fluid every 15,000 miles and flush transmission system using atf-Z1 every 30,000 miles. I had never been told this transmission servicing schedule by my original local Acura service department consultants. Owner manual states changing the fluid at 45,000 miles or 36 months in their maintenance schedule for driving in normal conditions. Vehicle had 58,300 miles when this problem occurred.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #165

Jul 262010


  • 198,000 miles


The contact owns a 2001 Acura 3.2cl. The contact stated that when she drove in second gear, the vehicle seemed to buckle. She would have to let her foot off the accelerator pedal in order for it to gain momentum. Other times, it would not connect into the second or third gear. The vehicle had previously been repaired according to recall 04V176000 (power train: Automatic transmission) and the dealer refused to repair it again. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer had not been notified. The current mileage was approximately 205,000. The failure mileage was approximately 198,000.

- Voorhees, NJ, USA

problem #164

Sep 122010


  • 175,000 miles
I have a 2001 Acura 3.2 Cl just days before my birthday the transmission started to slip I took it to Acura dealer and they informed me that the transmission will have to be replaced at owners expense ($4800) and they also informed me that no goodwill gesture will be exercised because vehicle is out of warranty I am the 2nd owner of this car since late 08 and had no idea of the issues I am still paying for the car and it is my only transportation. I do not know how I will be able to afford both the car and transmission and there is no way for me to sell it this car not only nearly killed me but is now draining me financially (due to Acura not replacing a clearly faulty transmission) and I am now stuck not being able to work and could lose my job this is a huge problem for me I even had to quit school!!!

- Kissimmee, FL, USA

problem #163

Jun 032010


  • 102,175 miles
While driving my 2001 Acura Cl type S to work (about 10 miles) my car would not go above 45 mph, then only 30 mph, but was able to make it into the parking lot. An hour later wanted to take the car to an auto shop and all seemed normal until about 6 miles after when the car would no longer move (engine still running ok). Tried all gears but to no avail. Let the car sit for 10 minutes and car worked ok again and was able to drive it to the auto repair shop. The next day they called and stated the transmission is "shot". all clutches are bad. They installed a jasper remanufactured transmission. I was told that Acura only used this transmission type for the 2001 model. It was the first year for that transmission and the last year. I assume there were a lot of problems with it and Acura went to a different transmission for the 2002 model year. It cost me $4500 to replace the transmission. I had about 102,000 miles on the car at the time of this failure. Note: There was a recall on the transmission from Acura and I did bring the car back to Acura for the recall notice.

- Mays Landing, NJ, USA

problem #162

Jul 082009


  • 216,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Acura 3.2cl. While driving approximately 60 mph the vehicle began to shake violently. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the motor mounts were replaced. The contact also stated that the vehicle had always experienced transmission failures and that the transmission was replaced three times. The vehicle would intermittently slip out of third gear while driving. The failure and current mileages were 216,000.

- Crystal, MN, USA

problem #161

Jun 102010


  • 94,000 miles


Transmission failure at any speed in the Acura Cl 3.2 type S.

- Lithonia, GA, USA

problem #160

May 032010


  • 69,500 miles
2001 Acura Cls (VIN [xxx]). when pulling out onto a major road (55mph) with oncoming traffic the car paused as the trans slipped, the engine revved to 5000 RPM, the trans then locked into gear, the tires squealed and the car lurched forward. Thank god that my wife didn't run into someone or lose control of the vehicle. Now I read that this is common with this model year and transmission. The NHTSA knew of the problem and a class action settlement was offered. However nothing was done to make owners and the general public safer. It seems to me that at a minimum the NHTSA should have mandated Acura to warn owners, and mandate Acura to perform more routine inspections on this poorly designed transmission, and perhaps more frequent fluid changes. I read that the NHTSA was considering additional action on this issue and hope you do. This incident occurred with no prior warning. Allowing a 240 hp car on the road with this type of known failure is unsafe to owners and the general public in my view. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Freehold , NJ, USA

problem #159

Dec 182009


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Acura Cl. While driving at 45 mph the transmission began making a loud noise. The vehicle began to lose power and would not move forward. He was able to maneuver off the highway and had the vehicle towed to the nearest dealer. A diagnostic was performed and it was verified that the transmission had failed. The transmission was replaced at the owner's expense. There were no recalls on the vehicle. The failure mileage was 70,000 and the current was 72,000. Uodated 05/13/10.

- Salinas, CA, USA

problem #158

Jan 052010


  • 65,000 miles
I have a 2001 Acura Cl-S, having severe problems with the transmission. There was a recall, but they say it is out of warranty, by time. Problem is when I bought the car 2 years ago I brought this to someone's attention at Acura, and was pushed away as if I knew nothing, and now they want to charge me close to $5000 to replace the transmission.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #157

Oct 102009


  • 58,985 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Acura 3.2cl. While driving approximately 55 mph on normal road conditions, the transmission began to slip without warning. The engine revved excessively high. The failure occurred intermittently. The driver was able to continue driving normally. An authorized mechanic stated that the failure was contributed to the third gear clutch pack. The vehicle was repaired. The contact had concerns of the safety risk involved. The VIN was rejected from system. The failure mileage was 58,985. The current mileage was 59,000.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #156

Dec 162006


  • 98,090 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Acura 3.2cl. While driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle intermittently down-shifts. A technician stated that the failure occurs between the second and third gear. He also noticed that the transmission fluid was discolored; however, since the warranty expired they would not provide a free remedy. No repairs were made. The failure mileage was 98,090.

- Southfield, MI, USA

problem #155

Aug 032009


  • 104,000 miles
2001 Acura Cl 3.2 automatic transmission, accelerating into the freeway and it automatically shifted into neutral. Pushed the gas and it wouldn't accelerate and the engine revved up. The drive was still in D5. Car in the back almost hit me.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #154

Jul 182008


  • 152,000 miles
Now on 3rd transmission. 2nd owner replaced under warranty about 9 mos. Prior to my purchase (I am 3rd owner). Transmission blew about 1 year after I purchased the car and I purchased new transmission through Acura who offered absolutely no assistance even though this is a known defect. When the transmission failed, we were traveling on a highway at approx. 65 mph and car violently downshifted, nearly causing loss of control of the vehicle. Acura is not taking responsibility for these transmissions. The transmission that the 2nd owner had put in was a transmission that supposedly had been manufactured to correct the known problem. Obviously not, since the thing blew with only 77K miles on it! 152K miles on this car and 3 transmissions. Ridiculous.

- North Windham, CT, USA

problem #153

Jun 262009


  • 86,436 miles
Car suddenly slipping out of gear, revving with no acceleration, 3 days later the engine cut off in the middle of a very busy intersection, simply put I could have died that day. The transmission failed and needed replacing. I paid for a brand new one about 5K.

- Chevy Chase, MD, USA

problem #152

Mar 072009


  • 39,620 miles
I purchased new, a 2001 Acura Cls, and gave it to my mother, about year later in 2002. At only 39,620 miles the transmission started to severely slip, and required towing to the Acura dealership, where, at a cost of $5,076.66, required replacing the complete transmission and ECU. The dealer service department associate could explain specifically what caused this damage.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

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