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:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,025 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2003 Acura TL Owner Comments

problem #4

Mar 112015


  • 135,000 miles


!!!warning this is a safety issue and needs to be addressed!!! "cruise control control box defect!" 2003 TL type S automatic 4 door without cruise control on car engine began to rev out of control while driving, tried to apply brakes but engine is too strong, once vehicle hit 80 mph from this on highway I calmly turned ignition off one click so steering wheel would not lock and coasted to safety. I had to detach module as well as speed control wire going to the idle control of engine. If I was inexperienced I could have been killed either by getting into an accident or by my airback being deployed and killed from the takata inflator. "clear coat" 2003 TL type S black clear coat paint flaking off and massively discolored due to the dry winter cold and the uv heat during summer. "instrument panel lighting problem" 2003 TL type S problem with part of instrument panel where odometer is as well as outside temp not illuminating.

- Brunswick, ME, USA

problem #3

May 012003


  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Acura TL. The contact noticed that water entered into the housing of his headlights, leaked down into the balance and blew the bulb. The contact did not inform the dealer. The manufacturer was contacted but offered no assistance. The current mileage was approximately 200,000. The failure mileage was approximately 13,000. The vehicle was not repaired.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #2

Apr 022004

TL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,100 miles
I am a claim representative for nationwide insurance. Our insured, john miholic's son, was driving the 2003 Acura 3.2tl at night. He lost control of the vehicle and struck the right front end of his vehicle. A cause and origin report conducted by lange technical service indicated that due to the impact, the ignition of combustible materials form the high intensity head lamp bulb that was displaced caused the fire which totaled out the vehicle.

- Elmsford, NY, USA

problem #1

Sep 082003

(reported on)

TL 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle's low beams are aimed to low failing to provide illumination. High beams caused reflections high up on vertical objects at the sides of the roads. Dealer stated that was the way the lights were designed and they could not be corrected.

- Bridgewater, NJ, USA

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