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:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
78,825 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

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2002 Acura TL Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

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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

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