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:
No data
Average Mileage:
123,242 miles
Total Complaints:
8 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. believe this may be related to tranny update (3 reports)
  3. rebuild transmission (1 reports)
2003 Acura TL transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Acura TL Owner Comments

problem #8

Dec 302015

TL 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,000 miles


If there are so many people experiencing the same problem with the transmission, then why hasn't there been a class action lawsuit against Acura for their faulty and ineffective parts!? We should all get together and get our money's worth on our cars! I've had my acura for a year and then the transmission takes a sh*t on me like it took a sh*t on the rest of the owners of this make and model.

Update from Jan 4, 2016: So, just came back from the mechanic. Dude said my transmission is done and that it would cost $1,600 just to rebuild it and I bought the damn car for $2,000... I'm so outraged with Acura right now. Anyone know about how to get a class action lawsuit against them if thousands of others have experienced the same problem. Not to mention the recall on this make and model for the airbags. They made a bunch of cars that they knew had a short lifespan and they should have to pay for their wrong doings! I don't think I'm even going to fix this car up some mechanic might have a better chance of owning the piece of sh*t.

- , Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #7

Feb 112015

TL TL 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 205,126 miles


- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #6

Dec 222014

TL 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,500 miles

The problem I am reporting is for a 2003 Acura TL with approximately 64,500 miles on it. We took over this vehicle from our daughter who just purchased a new Acura TLX. The transmission developed a serious hesitation during the 2-3 shift shortly after we started driving it. We know the use the car had while my daughter was using it and there was definitely no abuse and it was maintained regularly at our local Acura dealer (she is 40 years old, not a kid, and she is a car enthusiast just like us). Between us and my daughter we have had 6 new Acuras over the last 20 years.

Upon informing Acura support of the situation, and our ongoing loyalty to the Acura product they requested additional information, but essentially told us "SORRY....."

I informed them that although the car may be 11 years old, I don't expect a car of this quality to develop a problem like this at such a low mileage. Again, SORRY.....

You see, I have had this experience once before with another 2003 TL we still own. That car developed transmission problems at 100,000 miles, but in that case Acura replaced the transmission for free. I can't complain about that. BUT, now that car has 200,000 miles on it and the problem came back. It appears that they may have changed the transmission, but the never corrected the problem with the design. Again, very disappointing for a car company that produces a "quality" product.

The good news is that the I took the 200K Acura to an independent service technician, and after doing a 2-stage flush and adding some product that is supposed to aid the clutches, the problem went away and the car has been shifting fine. It looks like I will be doing the same thing with the 65K Acura I took over from my daughter. I hope it works as well for that car too.

All in all, I feel the lack of support Acura gives it's customers to be discouraging, especially for people like me that keep a car for a number of years. It especially disturbs me because these transmissions are known for this and Acura leaves us floundering. Do they really think we are going to buy another one after such an experience? Don't they care about all the negative publicity they get from the people they have let down? The word does get around. I currently work at an automobile auction and when I take an Acura to the block the question is always the same..."How's the transmission in this thing". I don't get that question with other cars nearly as often.

So, as many have already stated in their complaints, I will never own another Acura or Honda product again. It's a shame......when everything is working OK it's a nice product. It's the company behind the product that is the problem!

- , Cream Ridge, NJ, USA

problem #5

Jan 092012

TL 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 149,000 miles


I bought this Acura with 149000 miles on it. Before than I had a lot of respect for Honda and Acura products. 3 weeks after purchase I notice that the transmission would vibrate in 2nd gear. After researching the web I found out about the recall which Acura will not cover me for. This is a big disappointment because my girlfriend and I were planning to buy another Acura but after this tranny experience I can only think about Toyota from now on. I will ride this import crap to the ground and never look at an Acura/Honda product again. I wish the vehicle had recalls on anything else but the costly transmission, my luck. My mom has been driving Toyota and was thinking about getting a new vehicle, I will tell her to keep being loyal to Toyota as I now will. Please stay away from Honda and Acura.

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #4

Aug 272010

TL 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I love everything about Acura and Honda I wish the folks with Honda and Acura would come up with a remedy for Transmission issues fast because I think i speak for most Americans when I say we are loosing faith and becoming skeptical when looking for an Acura or Honda.

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #3

Aug 262009

TL 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,313 miles

In Aug. 2009 I have notice that the transmission started to jerk in low gears. On way home I visited Casino Acura in Gatineau, Quebec and the car was diagnosed as having the transmission problem. In view of the above I decided for a second opinion and consulted Ontario dealer Camco Acura in Ottawa where the problem was confirmed by their technicians.

In Oct. 2009 I have filed all required documentation with the Camco Acura but the Honda's Customer Relations refused to cover faulty transmission, citing, every time I have contacted them, different reason for rejection.

As of today the odometer reading is approximately 157,000 km and the car is not safe to drive.

Estimated repairs were $6600CAN (Casino Acura) and they are giving one (1) year warranty on this crappy transmission. This is LEMON. Is there anyone (BRUNO in Quebec?) who can give me some advice what to do.

- , Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

problem #2

Jun 232008

TL Navi 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

I noted the weird sensation in going from 3rd to 4th gear shortly after my original transmission was replaced at 104K under Acura's extended warranty. It feels like a little shudder when accelerating slowly. I'm believing it is related to the update Acura did to the transmissions to address the failure problems. I never noticed the shudder in the transmission that failed, however the new transmission engages much more solidly than the previous one. I'm going to watch it for a while but it doesn't seem to be a major issue. The shudder isn't present during rapid acceleration.

- , Old Bridge, NJ, USA

problem #1

Feb 022008

TL S 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

While accelerating slowly car will begin to shake a little. I believe this usually happens between 3rd and 4th gears. while quickly accelerating through same gears no problem is noticed.

- , Houston, TX, US

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