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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 1
Average Mileage:
155,976 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Acura TL Owner Comments

problem #7

Mar 152018


  • 215,000 miles


'tamara recall' before taking off the car had trouble going into gear. Once the car was in motion it began to have a hard shift then once I gained speed of 45 on the highway it wouldn't accelerate any more it actually started to slow down so I pulled off the road I put the car in park and heard a fast clicking noise turned the car off turned it back on tried put it in gear and it wouldn't move

- Landover, MD, USA

problem #6

Oct 152015


  • 202,134 miles
My car's check engine light and tcs light came on. Had my car scanned at my local obii service center and recieved code P1676. Still experiencing same problem after, I then took my car to the local Honda dealership service center to get a verification of this code and saw a flyer for recalls. I review the information, (I own an Acura, Honda was unable to provide the recall repair service) and found that recalls pertaining to the code generated from the initial scan for when the check engine light came on pertained to the code. I called in reference to the recalls posted on the website. I was informed that a recall repair for the transmission/power-train (04V176000) and timing belt (02V226000) were made to my vehicle however I am still having the same problem including excessive vibration & hesitation during acceleration especially between 50-60mph), cruise control has shut off without warning/notice while driving, and inability to pass nc emissions inspections. I contacted the NHTSA and was informed with 2 different reasons why my vehicle was not eligible for repair. (1) vehicle batch number was not affected and then (2) the repair had already been made in Feb 2005 by previous owner. All these problem started occurring after I took my car to leith Acura of cary, nc for the recall on the tarkata airbags(15V320000). I have been denied safety repairs to my vehicle. Leith Acura of cary, nc is requiring me to pay $131 inorder to do a diagnostic scan only that I already have proof from several ase certified inspection stations (which were free of charge). I does not include the amount that may be required to fix the problem pending it is not totally a recall repair. I believe that the repair was done incorrectly or the current transmission is not the one that replaced the original transmission after the recall repair. If so, I should be allowed repairs.

- Rocky Mount, NC, USA

problem #5

Mar 042016


  • 161,000 miles
Power steering pressure hose leaking and power steering pump leak. Years 2004-27 have been recalled for this; 2003should be, as well. Right engine mount and rear engine mounts cracked or broken.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #4

Jul 122015


  • 102,500 miles


The accelerator stuck when pulling into my driveway then accelerating. The engine stuck in the accelerated mode. I had to brake with 2 feet and put the transmission in neutral, then turned the ignition to off. I was fortunate that I did not drive through the garage door. Examination of the engine's throttle body showed the breakage of the plastic cruise control "pulley" on the throttle body actuator shaft, causing the cruise control cable to hold the throttle open. The plastic part cracked at the cable retention notch. I have noted that other Acura owners have also experienced this problem. Ref:

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #3

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 #2

Apr 022014

TL 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
I was pulling off the interstate and came to a red light on a hill right before haywood road. I had to stop because the light was red and when the light turned green I pulled onto haywood road and the car went through 1st gear, 2nd gear and right before it went into 3rd it slipped out of gear and just revved to around 4000 RPM. When the car went into 3rd and started sipping I had a pile of cars that bunched on my behind. I had two guys in a truck scream and yell obscene gestures.

- Easley, SC, USA

problem #1

Dec 032013

TL 6-cyl

  • 161,200 miles
Upon driving on a freeway going around 50 mph my transmission suddenly pulled my car to a quick slowing down motion as if being moved from gear down to first or second. Luckily, there were no vehicles behind me as I was in a far right line. It is an older vehicle however it is a recurring issue it appears as there was a recall on it already before. The dealerships have given me conflicting stories on the vehicle history as far repairs and recalls on the vehicle and I do wish to have the NHTSA look into the history of this recall as well as warn the current owners of the vehicle of this issue as I had not had a problem with the transmission since becoming the owner and was not told of the recall upon multiple visits to the dealership.

- Houston, TX, USA

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