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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
63,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. pay to have someone clean out ports with a brush (1 reports)
2003 Acura TL engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Acura TL Owner Comments

problem #1

May 012008

TL 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles


Well the 2003 TL's EGR ports clog just like the previous models. The Acura dealer said Honda fixed the problem with a redesign and won't cover the 2003 under warranty. (The car is certified pre-owned and the engine/drive-train warranty goes to 100k).

When the ports start to clog, the car will idle rough, and the gas mileage will degrade. In my case the car was getting ~12 MPG city, 17 MPG highway. I guess if the ports completely clog, the check engine light will come on.

Basically, it looks like the ports are simply too small, and because they are at the top of the manifold the cool manifold cover appears to cause the exhaust gas byproducts to condense in the manifold ports. The dealer blames it on running "cheap" gas, which I can't comment on since I've only owned the car for 5k miles.. Either way, I've never owned a car that had the EGR ports clog at 60k miles, good gas or bad. To me, it sounds like a design problem if the car can't run on gas being sold at any random gas pump in the US. The car should be designed to run on the lowest standard of gas available, rather than making assumptions about whether or not I�m putting a particular brand of gas in the tank. The dealer actually gave me an approved list of gas brands!

The dealer admitted, had I waited until the check engine light came on, the work would have been covered under the emissions portion of the warranty, but because the car was brought in complaining about bad gas mileage the dealer wouldn't cover it. Nor would they cover it when the light eventually came on. They wanted $400 (the same price some people were charged to have the retrofit applied to previous model years before the recall) to "drill out the carbon". This is also BS in my book because with the 2003 they only need to remove a cover over the intake to access and clean the ports with a brush. In previous model years the whole manifold and intake needed to be removed and the ports drilled out and a sleeve inserted.

Normally I would have probably fought with the dealer some more over the warranty issue, but it was easier in my case to pop the cover and clean it myself. $3 in carburetor cleaner and a little time spent scraping carbon and the problem is solved.

- , Austin, TX, USA

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