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 1 of 2)

problem #28

Oct 312016


  • miles


Takata recall my Acura TL was driving fine and all of a sudden, the transmission started to slip and jerk while on the highway I-25 in Colorado, putting my life in grave danger. I tried pulling over in castle rock Colorado at an auto zone to see if stop slip fluid in the transmission but that did no justice. As I was looking to get it fixed, I seen in the internet that there was a recall on this vehicles transmission. So I hope I can get this fixed and back running soon. Otherwise I may never get another Acura model car in my lifetime.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #27

Oct 082016


  • 120,000 miles
While driving my transmission slips and my car stops moving. The transmission was worked on in 2005 for the recall issue. After doing research it is known that the 2005 repairs did not really work. At 120K miles the transmission is out again. In the morning it drives fine until it gets hot duplicating the initial recall symptoms. The car has been at Acura for a month and diagnosed as duplicating the. A month later Acura decides not to stand behind there vehicle. I have a Hyundai and Dodge with over 200K miles and I have never had any drivetrain issues.

- Fresno, TX, USA

problem #26

Mar 242016


  • 51,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura TL. While driving at 40 mph, the transmission failed without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer to be diagnosed. The contact was informed that the transmission and PCM module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 04V176000 (power train). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 51,000. Updated 05/10/16

- Fort Washington, MD, USA

problem #25

Aug 212015


  • 103,500 miles


Transmission failure for second time. First failed after vehicle was 4 years old with 30,000 miles in 2005. Acura stated the transmission was defective and replaced it with a new one under warranty. Second one failed after car had 103,500 miles on it 8/21/15 even though I followed the maintenance prescribed by the manufacturer. Acura refused to participate in any of the cost of $5,100 quoted by the dealer for a re-manufactured unit. When the unit failed the car would lose all power to the wheels presenting a dangerous condition in that vehicles behind could have easily rear ended me. In other instances the car would not shift up properly and then lose all power which if this occurred in busy traffic could have resulted in a serious accident. Acura is full aware of the defects in their transmission and have tried to present it as an incident that only affects some of their vehicles and that the problem was fixed with an update to the transmissions. I feel this is not true and you may agree with all the complaints being filed. Clearly although these are older cars at this point the problem remains and can pose a danger. I hope serious injury or worse does not have to occur before something is done. Also, Acura should have covered this because the problem has not been cured.

- Evanston, IL, USA

problem #24

Dec 182009


  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura TL. While driving at 35 mph, the vehicle jerked forward and backwards whenever the gears where being shifted. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, who diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 92,000.

- Encinitas , CA, USA

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problem #23

Jul 142015

TL 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Acura TL. The contact stated that the keys were able to be removed from the ignition without the vehicle being shifted into park. The contact also stated that the vehicle crashed into two other vehicles while the vehicle was parked. A police report was filed and no injuries were reported. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 03V423000 (electrical system). The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 140,000. Updated 9/25/15

- Collegeville, PA, USA

problem #22

Oct 252014

TL 6-cyl

  • 162,400 miles


I bought this vehicle used in September and it started having shifting problems shortly afterward. I then discovered there was a recall (04V-176) on the transmission. The recall states in part that "the dealer will inspect the transmission to identify gears that have already experienced discoloration due to overheating. If discoloration exists, the transmission will be replaced." The dealer called and told me they had completed the recall work, but recommended that we replace the solenoids to fix the hard shifting. My wife picked up the car when the work was complete and it ran reasonably well for about a week. On the date noted above, my daughter drove it home from work and it would not shift out of 3rd gear. Note, it is a 5 speed automatic transmission. She told me she was scared to drive it because of the way it was acting. I drove it for a short distance the next day and verified her complaint. I am upset because I feel like Acura let us take an unsafe car out of their maintenance department without letting us know there was a problem. I called the dealer back and told them about the problem and asked if they had done the gear inspection and what it had shown. The dealer would not confirm that the inspection had been completed and would not provide the results of the inspection. He just stated that "the technician knew what to do for this recall." I then called in a complaint to Acura. They listened, gave me a case no. And told me that someone would call me back within 48 hours. When I hadn't heard from them for a week, I called and they told me the case worker was at lunch, but would call me as soon as she got back. I waited all afternoon, but no one called. Now, I feel I have no alternative, but to file this complaint as Acura has been totally unresponsive.

- Peyton, CO, USA

problem #21

Oct 012014


  • 170,000 miles
First off my driver side power window has never worked. I changed my window motor with the regulator twice. That did not fix my window. I changed my drivers master window module twice. I checked all of the fuses and the power window fuses were good. My power window still doesn't work after $400 in parts and $400 in labor. I took my car to the Acura dealership because my car had a few recalls. The person helping me at the dealership was real rude and disrespectful. He told me the only recall I had was for my SRS airbag. He had to order the part. I haven't received a phone call from the dealership to let me know the part was in. Two weeks later I go in and check if the part was I N. the same person that helped me came up to me and had an attitude and was disrespectful again. He told me the part was in but they can't service it that day. They never communicated with me. Horrible service at [xxx] Acura. I told the service guy that my car does not want to come out of first gear and there was a recall on my transmission. He was real rude and told me that I had to pay $6000. I did a little research and my 02 Acura TL type S with my VIN number has many recalls. 1 for my air bags. 2. for my transmission 2nd gear. 3 for my drivers power window. I told this Acura service guy that I had recalls for all 3 things and he laughed at me. My cluster fuse keeps blowing and the code that comes up is for my transmission range sensor. 70+ people with an 02 Acura Tls have had the same issues as me. I just contacted Acura and they told me that the transmission has been completed. No recall has been done on my car. I need help please. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Gainesville, VA, USA

problem #20

Sep 012014

TL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2002 Acura TL with automatic transmission which has only 59,851 miles on it. I bought it from the original owner 6 years ago, and since then I have only driven about 11,000 miles. The well-known 2002 TL automatic transmission design flaw is now causing big sudden jerks and the car shooting forward, thus creating a huge safety issue to me and the generic public. Initially a rep at Acura client relations (1-800-382-2238 option 4) told me to take the car to an authorized Acura dealer for diagnosis. I had the car towed to kearny mesa Acura, paid $130 for a written diagnosis, and faxed it to Acura client relations. The rep said as the car had only 59,851 miles on it, he would take my case to his management. But my request for help from Acura was later denied, citing their extended 109,000 miles and 7 year 9 month warranty had expired. I wonder why Acura cannot man up and take responsibilities for their faulty automatic transmission on 2002 TL models. How can Acura use an arbitrarily-set warranty expiration date to ignore the huge safety problems on their cars?

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #19

Sep 062014

TL 6-cyl

  • 59,841 miles
In Sept 2008 I bought the 2002 Acura TL with automatic transmission from original owner. It had 48,440 miles on it. The safety problem e.g. unexpected sudden jerk followed by car shooting forward did not happen until around 09/06/2014. On 09/08/2014 I called american Honda Motors (ahm) at 1-800-382-2238 (option 4) and was advised by [xxx] to send the car to an authorized Acura dealer for diagnosis. He said there was an extended warranty covering 109,000 miles and 7 years 9 months on 2002 Acura TL with automatic transmission but it had expired. He also said as my car had less than 60,000 miles on it he could present the case to management. Concerned that I might kill someone due to cars sudden jerk and unexpected shooting forward if driving, I had the car towed to the dealer kearny mesa Acura at 5202 kearny mesa road, san diego, ca 92111-1801 (tel 858.430.5600). The dealer said in its written 3-page diagnosis that the transmission must be replaced at $4,400+tax. Their technician said my car had the same transmission problem as the other early Acura Tls that he had worked on. I faxed the 3-page dealer diagnosis pages to ahm. Today 09/16/2014 [xxx] of ahm at 1-800-382-2238 [xxx] informed me that her district representative refused to help citing the expired warranty. I asked her to appeal my case as I felt the rep should not be the sole person to make a decision on it. I feel ahm should help me because after all it was the well-known 2002 TL automatic transmission design flaw which caused my huge safety problem. For 6 years since I bought it I have only driven 11,411 miles, so I feel it is totally unfair that ahm refused to help me. I am unable to pay the $4,400+tax for transmission replacement. But if I do not have the transmission replaced, how do I go to work or shop for food? I am pleading to NHTSA to help. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #18

Sep 162013


  • miles


I bought my Acura February 2011. Since then I have had 2 transmission failures and have spent well over $1400 each time I got it fixed by the certified mechanic. I still have my receipts and only got a 1 year warranty first time and a 3 month warranty this past time. It seems like I am paying more for the transmission alone than the value of the car. The engine is great but I am afraid the transmission is going to fail again and I cannot afford to buy another car or fix the problem if it does fail again. This is a concern for me because the first failure was very scary for me and my family. We were driving up a steep hill to overview a city we visited and the transmission shut down and we were inclined. I did not know how to approach this situation with 3 minor children and as a single mother. It was very overwhelming and I was petrified. Then come to find out not so long later after getting the transmission fixed, the transmission went out again. I am very concerned and have blogged and read alot of complaints about this car. You can youtube google all kinds of info on these Acura with constant transmission problems. I think the manufacturer intended on this malfunction for profit as a automechanic. It is very unfair, unsafe, unjust with them selling cars that do not last 5000 miles and then have the transmission fail over and over. I am the owner of the 2002 Acura. Please keep me informed about this car and if there is any way someone can help me get warranty for free because it is really unfair. Thank you for your time and concern. God bless what you guys and girls are doing.

- Gilroy , CA, USA

problem #17

Sep 152010

TL 6-cyl

  • 78,514 miles
At the time of purchase of my vehicle, I was unaware that there was a recall on my torque converter. The torque converter started going out while on the freeway which almost caused a wreck due to the gears not changing. I have been in contact with Acura relations about the situation and reimbursement for the expense of getting the torque converter fixed. The supervisor told me that they are not reliable for the cost because something to do with in house warranty extension on the part. I disagree because it a company acknowledges the fact that their product have a defect on a certain part, they should be held accountable for their customer's safety. I have been on a merry go round about this matter with Acura and I need someone to take a further look into this matter..........thank you in advance.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #16

Apr 072013

TL 6-cyl

  • 198,000 miles
I car shifted from 4th gear to 2nd gear abruptly, causing the car to hesitate almost resulting in the car behind me to collide into me from behind. I have notice numerous times the car dropping from 3rd to 2nd gear for no apparent reason.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

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

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

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