Notes: The 1999-2003 Acura TL has a known & widespread defect with the transmission.

Honda fixed some vehicles with a recall in 2004 by changing the oil cooler return line. To settle a class action lawsuit in 2006, Honda extended the transmission warranty on some of these Acura TL's to 93 months / 109,000 miles.

Now these vehicles are past the warranty limit, so buyer beware.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
86,594 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.

2002 Acura TL drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Acura TL:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Acura TL Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #15

Jan 282013


  • 115,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Acura TL 3.2. the contact stated while driving 55 mph, the transmission downshifted from fourth gear to second gear independently and vehicle speed reduced to 20 mph. The vehicle was merged to the shoulder, shutdown, then restarted. The failure recurred eight times before the contact reached his destination. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who inspected the failure and stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 115,000.

- Manhasset, NY, USA

problem #14

Aug 302012

TL 6-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura TL. The contact stated that while traveling 30 mph, the vehicle failed to shift into third gear. The contact stated that the check engine warning light illuminated during the failure. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and confirmed that repairs were previously performed under NHTSA campaign id number: 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 77,000 and the current mileage was 78,600. Updated 10/17/12 updated 10/24/2012

- Gilmer, TX, USA

problem #13

Dec 152003

TL 6-cyl

  • 50,819 miles
My vehicle was purchased in 2002 and since then I have had four incidences where while driving the car at 55 - 60 mph the car lost power, there was a grinding noise and the car came to a halt in the middle of the highway. This happened in December of 2003 (50,819 miles), November of 2005 (91,460 miles), November of 2007 (129,435 miles) and most recently July 17th with (201,000 miles). As I drove on the lie driving westbound around exit 40 my car lost power and began to slow making a loud grinding noise. In the previous three cases the car needed a new transmission. I pulled the car over and after towing it to a station I was told I needed a fourth transmission. I have contacted Acura and they told me they could not help. The car has the original engine and I have a notice from Acura stating early on that the transmissions on the Acura 2002 Tls were defective. I contacted the attorney general's office to appeal to this Agency and apply the lemon law but the law only applies to new cars. They gave me this site to state my case. As I mentioned to Acura for a luxury automobile to still have a great working engine and have gone through four transmissions, I believe their is a safety issue with these transmissions. Not to mention the fact that the transmission gives no warning when it breaks down and one is left with no power at high speeds on the highway.

- Glen Oaks, NY, USA

problem #12

May 112012


  • 104,530 miles


While driving the car there was a noticable shudder, the D5 light started flashing and it had problems upshifting between gears. This is a known defect for this car's tranmission, (I now know). I contacted accure and was told it was out of warrenty and they would be of no assistance. Very disappointed as I loved this car...

- Burbank, WA, USA

problem #11

Sep 022011


  • 150,000 miles
Allege that vehicle airbag deployed causing the driver to be unable to control vehicle and/or including possible acceleration leading to a collision and/or seat belt restraint system. Received two recall notices and/or possible more than two. SRS light appeared to be activated prior to the incident. ( facts: Power inverter connected, other mobile electronics powered by vehicle's DC power supply, both driver and airbag were deployed, new car mount installation on passenger seat frame bolts)

- Sacramento, CA, USA

Search for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #10

Dec 062011


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura TL. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle would not accelerate to higher speeds. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they advised him that the transmission needed replacing. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they advised him that the repairs under NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission) had already been performed on the vehicle by the previous owner. The failure and the current mileages were approximately 75,000.

- Des Plaines, IL, USA

problem #9

Oct 032011

TL 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles


I was in heavy stop and go traffic in dallas, Texas, when my car car started jolting foward during initial acceleration. I took it in to the Honda dealer in my hometown since there is not an Acura dealership there. They told me it was transmission slippage after they took it for a test drive. They performed a transmission service, and I was informed they found burned fluid. I have since investigated this transmission problem online and have found that there are still hundreds of thousands of Acura and Honda with transmission problems like this and worse that are still on our highways.Acura knew the transmissions in these 1999-2003 cars were flawed from the time they left the factory, and Acura has paid for some repairs outside of the extended warranty. I have been told by the Honda mechanic that the problem will only get worse. Acura usa doesn't want to discuss the problem with customers outside the extended warranty anymore, however I can assure you this is a safety issue especially in city traffic. These cars are a real safety problem.

- Denison, TX, USA

problem #8

Sep 222011

TL 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
I almost died on the interstate. Transmission downshifted suddenly into first gear as I was going down the interstate. Please recall before someone gets killed!

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #7

Aug 152011


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura 3.2 TL. The contact was driving 75 mph when the check engine lamp illuminated and smoke was emitted from under the vehicle. The contact mentioned that he was unable to drive the vehicle since the gear would not shift. The vehicle was towed to a local mechanic, who diagnosed that the transmission had overheated to the point that it melted all of the cables. As a result, the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the contact had the repairs performed at an independent shop. The failure mileage was 110,000 and the current mileage was 110,300.

- Amarillo , TX, USA

problem #6

Jan 102011


  • 73,000 miles
Car was purchased March of 2010 with 69K miles. Transmission failed in January of 2011 at approx. 73K miles. Dealer replaced transmission for $1800, after informing us that transmission was replaced by previous owner at approx. 60K miles. Just 13K miles prior. After less than 1 week after transmission is replaced, iac valve was replaced due to unstable RPM. I have never heard of a transmission failing after only 13K miles, nonetheless, a car having at least two transmissions replaced after only 73K miles. For all I know, the transmission should have never failed yet, I should not have had to pay for the repair because Acura cannot fix the problem, and this car should not be bought, sold, or driven.

- Banning, CA, USA

problem #5

Jan 182004


  • miles


Noise when going from park to reverse and reverse to park. Received recall notice after transmission was replace.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #4

Aug 092004


  • miles
The vehicle's transmission failed.

- Algonquin, IL, USA

problem #3

Jan 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,000 miles
My transmission has failed twice. When it failed the first time in January of 2003, I was exiting the interstate with my child in the car. I was able to make it off the road safely, but it made me realize how dangerous it would have been if it happened a minute earlier on the interstate in high speed traffic. It failed the second time June 20, 2003, and the dealer tells me Acura does not have any new transmissions available. They want to give me a remanufactured transmission. I don't think it is safe to give a customer a previously failed transmission.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #2

Aug 202002


  • 30,500 miles
I was on highway 280 doing about 65 in my morning commute from san francisco to cupertino. Without warning, my transmission shifted from fourth to second, sending my car into a sideways skid as if I had hit the brakes...hard. Fortunately, the car beside me on the right was able to avoid hitting me as was the car behind me. Left with second gear, I limped back to the dealer and received my car, with a new transmission, three weeks later. I am lucky to have not been injured and do not trust this car any longer. It was bought for insuring the safety of my family and I am worried about a repeat failure. Thanks, ben. Ph **dimsii IVOQ entry posted after 12/12/02 cut over to artemis**768534

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #1

Mar 062003

(reported on)


  • miles
The engine revved up to 4000 RPM as if the vehicle was in neutral. The transmission did not automatically shift into higher gear as it should have. Scc

- Kendallville, IN, USA

Not what you are looking for?