hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,444 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 CL transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Acura CL Owner Comments

problem #17

May 122014


  • 107,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Acura Cl. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the transmission failed causing a reduction in acceleration. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, who diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage 107,000.

- Barto, PA, USA

problem #16

Dec 132010

CL 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Acura Cl 3.2 2003 w/ 60K miles, maintained on a regular basis exceeding owners manual recommendations and driven conservatively by a professional female: Car being driven on heavily trafficked road normally, and very abruptly/suddenly geared down to low gear from high gear. Violently jerked and shifted, causing the car to instantly go from around 50 mph to only around 10-15 mph. No warning lights or previous problems. If car had been being driven on the busy, high speed interstate leaving san francisco at 60+ surrounded by traffic (luckily had just exited the interstate and was on secondary road), it could easily have caused fatal accidents. Luckily, I was able to immediately access a shoulder to pull over. Drove car to Acura service on side road with flashers on - took nearly an hour to go 6 miles. Warning light finally came on a half mile from the dealership, although problem had happened several miles before and could easily have caused major accidents, based on driving situation. Acura service determined that transmission was defective and replaced it. Even though I later learned that the same model and year had been put under an extended warranty and was the subject of a class action lawsuit, I had never received any notifications. Further, I was told by Acura Corp and the dealership that my VIN number was not part of the problem/ lawsuit and I was required to pay for the new transmission, on the Acura with 60K miles that was in otherwise excellent condition..

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #15

Sep 102009


  • 117,200 miles
Transmission in my 2003 Acura Cls had shifting problems. It would downshift randomly for no reason and throw you hard against your seat belt. It was so bad I had to take it to the Acura dealership where they said the transmission needed replaced. Other Acura Cl's and Acura products had a recall for this transmission problem that required them to replace the transmission, but mine was supposedly a vehicle that was not affected and not covered under the recall. The Acura dealer replaced the transmission and covered 1/2 the cost after I asked them to contact their local Acura dealer rep.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #14

Jun 012009


  • 75,000 miles


There are two safety issues with my 2003 Acura Cl. First, the headlights are flashing like a strobe light. I replaced the bulb and it did not fix the problem. Replaced the fuses and still have the problems. Second, the transmission is failing. After some research, I found out that there was a recall on the transmission and could lock up and cause an accident. At the time of the recall, the first owner did not have it replaced. The dealership replaced an engine cooler to help with friction. This obviously did not solve the problem. The engine is jerking and accelerating when I am trying to maintain a constant speed. I notified Acura and the dealership where the car was purchased. Neither are willing to cover the cost of the repair.

- Blountville, TN, USA

problem #13

May 202009


  • 75,000 miles
The car would not take off when it's on drive fell like it on neutral for a few seconds and would not reverse when it's on R 2003 Acura Cl type-S automatic transmission faulty. According to the class action law suit against Acura they are liable to repair or replace the faulty transmission. Acre has offer to extended the warranty to 7 years 9 months or 109,000 miles. I called acre to report the problem and asked about the extend warranty and was told that my car was fixed on recall 2004 and it was a one time fixed only, no extend warranty because VIN does not qualify.

- Newton, MA, USA

problem #12

Oct 032008


  • 62,600 miles
Automatic transmission started missing shifts into 3rd gear, especially when under load, like going up hill. Two weeks later it won't shift into 3rd at all. Dealer says I need to have transmission replaced. Only 62,000 miles on a very well taken care of car. Honda agreed to replace some of these model year transmissions, but not all of them. Anecdotal information, but in speaking with a non Acura related transmission shop, he knew exactly how my problem manifested itself, and what it was, with only the model year. Clearly Honda should be forced to extend their service coverage to at least the balance of the 2003 model year if not beyond.

- Laguna Niguel , CA, USA

problem #11

Sep 172008


  • 124,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Acura 3.2cl. On September 17, 2008, while driving approximately 60 mph, the vehicle lost power and stopped. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and they stated that a new transmission was needed. The contact wanted a second opinion and had the vehicle towed to another mechanic. A diagnostic was performed and the second mechanic confirmed that a new transmission was needed. The manufacturer stated that her vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission); however, they would not cover the cost of the repairs due to the mileage that was on the vehicle. The contact was also informed that repairs were made to the vehicle on September 27, 2004. The vehicle has not been repaired. The current and failure mileages were 124,000.

- Smyrna, DE, USA

problem #10

Nov 142007

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,455 miles
1) rough shifting. 2) gear would not change, erratic shifting, and then car would not move. 3) 01-some 03 Cls had many problem w/ transmission so transmission warranty was extended to 109K but I have an 03 that is not covered and transmission blew. Dealer paid for the transmission but I had to pay for labor.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #9

Aug 252006

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles
Had to replace transmission after 89,000 miles.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #8

Apr 162006

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
Transmission failed at 60,000 miles. After hearing that there had been a recall of my vehicle for transmission problems, I called Acura. They told me that the recall did not affect my vehicle (according to the VIN #). they agreed to check to see whether it would be covered under the recall but the process they suggested would take several weeks to determine whether or not they would cover the problem. I had my vehicle repaired at my expense. I now see the VIN #'s that were affected and it looks like my vehicle should have been part of the recall.

- Springfield, PA, USA

problem #7

Jun 012005

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,500 miles


I have a 2003 Acura Cl type S. Acura has replaced the automatic transmission twice and the 3rd transmission currently in the car is having problems. Although the manufacturer extended the warranty to 7 years and 100,000 miles, they sent service bulletins requesting service induced slippage between gears and reductin of horsepower to reduce strain on the transmission. This car is advertised as a high performance automobile and unknown to the customer to take care of a manufacturing defect they are adjusting the overall performance of the car. My car has been in for repair in excess of 15 times. As a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair this has dramatically impacted my quality of life. Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Ron cheek

- Kenner, LA, USA

problem #6

Sep 012004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The dealer informed the consumer of a transmission recall. The consumer had never received a recall notice in reference to a transmission problem. Recall#04V176000

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #5

Jan 052003

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,800 miles
Tranmission failures: 2003 Acura Cl. 1st incident was at 3,000 miles. Car stalled and was acting up on a very busy freeway in ca (405 freeway). I wasn't in a familiar area when I pulled over. Acura roadside assistance said to drive to the nearest dealership when I didn't even know where one was. It was dangerous but I ended up making it to dealership. Replaced transmission and some other fluids after 1 week of being in the shop. 2nd incident was at 25K miles and not even 2 yrs old. Car was pulling I slowed down and had a blow out on another freeway. It is in the shop as we speak. They have to replace the transmission again. I'll be without my car a week.

- Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #4

Sep 252003

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles
Own a 2003 Acura Cl built in March of 2002. Transmission slipped going into third eight times. Reported this to dealer and they checked it out but it would not reccur. Told me no probblem. I am happy with the dealer, not with Honda. This problem has happened seventeen times starting in late September.

- Crystal Lake, IL, USA

problem #3

Jul 142003

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
The transmission in my 2003 Acura Cls hesitates during certain shifts and it has downshifted and upshifted at the wrong times.

- Deerfield Beach, FL, USA

problem #2

Mar 032003

CL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,000 miles
Transmission slips every time vehicle is driven.

- Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #1

Aug 262002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The automatic transmission violently locked hile proceeing down the road. In contacting the Acura dealer in mobile, al (my closest dealer) I was informed they had 4 in the shop this week alone for the same problem. According to them the transmissionneed a external cooler which they now install on the newer modela. I was informed that the price to fix mine would be $5,100 plus incidentals. With the number of problems they are having with this and the fact it could cause a major accident it need to be a recall item.

- Gulfport, MS, USA

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