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:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,000 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2003 Acura TL Owner Comments

problem #2

Sep 262011

TL 6-cyl

  • 122,000 miles


As I was accelerating onto the highway, the car continued to accelerate. At 89mph I hit the brakes hard to see if I could slow down. Would not happen. Put the transmission into neutral and shut off the engine and braked to the side of the road. When the dealer examined the throttle body they found the plastic cam for the cruise control had broken and the cable for the cruise had jammed the throttle wide open. When asked if that part was replaceable I was informed the whole throttle body would have to be replaced at ~$500. The alternative was to remove the cruise cable and tie it up away from the throttle body. Since the dealer told me this was the second one they have had with this problem, it was rare. Oops if this would have happened in town I would have hit several cars before getting it shut down. The throttle cam is made of metal where the cruise cam is plastic and both are on the same butterfly shaft. Just to save a few cents makes for a very hair raising ride.

- Mogadore, OK, USA

problem #1

Jan 282005

TL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
I started the Acura 3.2tl type S at 6:45am, the Acura had not been started or driven the previous 14 hours. Engaged transmission in reverse, the gear locked up and rapidly accelerated backward and at the same time a fire started in the engine compartment, I managed to stop the Acura after 30 feet where I was on and off my parking area at my house. By the time I had stopped the car flames, smoke & fumes were filling the passenger compartment, I could not get the drivers side door opened, my neighbor noticing the large amount of smoke coming from under the hood rushed to my aid for he could see that I was in the car and I was pushing on the door with my feet in an effiort to escape the burning Acura. I was overcome from the fumes and smoke when he pulled me out of the now the rapidly burning Acura, the flames having advanced to the front seat. He pulled me out with my heavy jacket on fire and the bottom of my pants aflame. He managed to get my jacket off and the flames out on my pants and we managed to get away from the burning Acura then in thirty to fourty seconds the fire had progressed to the rear of the Acura and the gas tank exploded and the whole car was a fireball. I suffered 2nd & 3rd degree burns on my legs. Appletree Acura, fletcher, nc had performed recall (campaign id #: 04V176000) on December 8th, 2004 at 42,000 miles in which they did not replace transmission but performed a revision to the oil cooler return line. The Acura was a total loss.

- Asheville, NC, USA

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