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:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 1
Average Mileage:
111,300 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 TL electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Acura TL Owner Comments

problem #8

Sep 092016


  • 220,000 miles


By accident, I am able to turn off the engine and remove the key from the ignition with the transmission still in gear. Campaign #10V364000 covers Honda version of my car, #12V573000 covers Acura MDX only, nothing for my Acura version of the Honda sedans.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #7

Sep 022016


  • 119,500 miles
Interlock operation of ignition switch does not function properly allowing ignition key to be turned off and the key removed without shifting the transmission to "park." This is the same defect described in NHTSA campaign no. 05V025000, although that campaign was for Acura TL model years 1999-2000, and did not include model year 2003. I have recently experienced this problem where the car rolled back after I exited the vehicle requiring that I open the driver's door, jump into the car while in motion and depress the brake. I understand that there have been similar defects that have caused serious injuries and deaths. I reported this to Acura today (case no. 05011338) but was told that my car was not included in the prior recall and no repairs would be covered by Acura.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #6

May 092014


  • 55,000 miles
My brother was driving my car one then it all the sudden car just stopped when was going and bad part was it stopped in traffic he almost got hit it was scary. I got lots of problems with this car please help!

- Warroad, MN, USA

problem #5

Nov 072013

TL 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


My daughter died in a accident on November 7, 2013 in the Acura TL 2003. She had been telling me that it felt like the ignition was sticking and would speed up. I would check with my local mechanic and he told me Acura are known to idle high. I believe that her car problem was the cause of the accident and the police could not give me a reason for the accident. She was 19 and a senior in high school and was a good child.

- Winston, GA, USA

problem #4

Oct 152013

TL 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
Can remove key from ignition while the vehicle is in D (drive).

- Ridgefield, WA, USA

problem #3

Jul 042011


  • 158,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura TL. The contact stated that when turning on the air conditioner, it did not dispense any air. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who advised her that wiring harness burned which caused the blower to fail. The wiring harness and the blower were repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure and current mileages were approximately 158,000.

- Garner, NC, USA

problem #2

Oct 102009


  • 52,900 miles
There is a known transmission issue with Acura 2003tl version, even though Acura have put it in recall, to do the work the dealer charge anywhere from $350-600. The vehicle chokes up in between the road because of overheating in transmission. The headlights flickering is one another issue which when taken to the dealer called it as computer system mess up in the car and this is not in the recall, the dealer charges about $800 for such repair which is not reasonable for the faulty equipment of Acura.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #1

Feb 262005

TL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
I was slowing down to make a left turn. The steering failed. I wrestled the car -- bruising my hand -- into the turn and ended up on the curb. The engine apparently had stalled, causing the steering failure. I was able to restart and go on my way, after backing off the curb.

- Redlands, CA, USA

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