28th Aug 2008, 08:06

I have a 2003 Acura TL-S with 51K miles. I noticed for about a week that it was just not driving right; didn't quite have the "torque" it had before and problems accelerating. The check engine light was on, so I took to the dealership for diagnostic testing and they gave me a TSX loaner car. So... after four hours waiting, the dealership calls telling me I need a new transmission!!! I was told by the service advisor "it is a machine and things will go wrong, you know." If I drove it like a truck and was rough on the vehicle, maybe but I drive this vehicle at most 3 times a week. Anyway, because the vehicle is outside of the 50K warranty but I have a good service record, Acura is willing to pay 50% of the cost of a new transmission. I bought my car there and also take it there for all of my maintenance. I demanded to see the service manager (actual title is Director of Service Operations) and told him this was pure bull and unacceptable to me. Especially since I know (and so do they) of the transmission problems with the TL's! He said how about 75/25 (me pay 25% of the costs)...I said nope, won't cut it. So when I left the dealership yesterday, he was down to me paying only 10% of the cost, as well as a 3yr, 36K warranty. Better, but I still feel they should cover all costs.

29th Sep 2008, 14:08

I have lost the use of my feet due to the Acura 3.2TL transmission. I suffered burns that destroyed the nerves in my feet. I can walk, but no feeling in my feet, which has disabled me and completely changed my way of life.

Acura did nothing.


To see my complaint to the NHTSA, go to:


Search for the ODI number: 10116524

30th Sep 2008, 19:00

My wife just bought a used 03 TL, and on the trip home from the dealer at 65mph going uphill the transmission slipped, ran the tach up and refused to go, not to mention smoking and heating. The car has 116000 on it, and is outside the VIN bracket for Acura's current recall/warranty extension. It had the "oil-jet" solution recall performed so we thought it would be okay... can anyone advise on how Acura might respond to this as their responsibility since they admit that the transmission is a flawed design??

6th Nov 2008, 19:54

I bought my Acura TL-S about 2 years ago at 55,000 miles, and now my transmission is slipping at 79,000. It seems to be a real problem with the TL's around that year. The car just started having the problem, and I hope Acura will take care of their flawed transmission. It seems to be slipping at 3rd gear below 45 mph.

11th Nov 2008, 10:49

My wife and I own a 2003 3.2 TL type s Acura with 68K miles. We have just started to experience transmission slipping problems like those discussed. We bought the car from a local used car dealer and have had it serviced faithfully ever since. The service department noticed discolored transmission fluid @ 49K miles (still under original warranty) during one of my service calls. I had them service the transmission and save me a sample of the fluid which I sent to the closest Acura dealer to be tested. I never heard a word from the dealer. During this time frame there was no indication of any type that the transmission was going out. Now my transmission is slipping and I think the transmission is failing. I am outside the original warranty coverage and outside the extended warranty VIN #'s. What is my next move?

21st Dec 2008, 19:08

I just bought a 2003 TL (base) with a salvage title. I am experiencing the same problem faced by many. It feels like the transmission will go out soon. I was wondering if anyone knows that Acura an dealer will replace the transmission. It has only 78000 miles on it. Thank You.

13th Jan 2009, 11:13

Auto manufacturers have no responsibility to honor any warranty on a salvage vehicle. You are on your own.

29th May 2009, 15:20

I have 120k miles on it and just today the tranny went out. I'm not exactly sure what the exact problem is but after reading this I think it's the tranny. They said I might not know until Monday... Now I am spending my weekend worrying what the outcome will be. I bought a 2003 TL from a colleague and had no idea there was so many posts regarding transmission flaws on this vehicle. I would have reconsidered if I knew then that this model had so many issues and reading peoples' issues isn't very comforting. Acura service center is telling me it could cost up to 3500-4500 dollars! I cannot afford such a big upfront payment! If the design is flawed and has a history of going bad what is the best way to resolve this issue if they cannot replace this in full? They said they already completed the recall but couldn't tell me what year it was done? I will find out soon and post again soon. Wish me luck.

29th May 2009, 18:02

I really liked our new TL except for the multiple trans issues. Great lively performance 0-60 under 6 seconds, nice leather and great Bose sound system. Very quick for a sedan and fun to drive. At high speeds the steering was a bit vague. We also owned new Legends; great no issue cars, less horsepower but a truly great car. The Legend was a better car quality wise in my opinion.

I just bought a late model Corvette used not new, and it is the very first car lately that has great performance, leather, very nice Bose system as Acura and great performance that reminds me of the Acura as far as driving satisfaction. And that's comparing a sports sedan to a 2 seater sports car.

It was a real shame as we liked Acuras, but the trans issues got us off them. BMW is too plain and I did not like Lexus either as far as drivability. As you can surmise feelings are mixed the TL was a lot of fun to drive and great cabin.....just too many trans issues mated to a great engine.

3rd Jun 2009, 14:53

Acuras are not quality cars anymore. I had my tran replaced ($3000+) and I feel the same problems creeping back up. The thought of going to the dealer again, really irks me. The Acura brand suck!

13th Jun 2009, 00:21

Has any one tried to have the 6 speed manual trans put in?

9th Jul 2009, 18:46

We own a 2003 3.2 TL 69000 miles, bought it new. As of a month ago the transmission started slipping. I brought it to our local Acura dealer with the record of maintenance and oil changes every 3000 miles. The mechanic test drove it, did not look under the hood or check anything, and said $3400 to repair the transmission. I called Acura corporate and they said bring in the records and their regional Field Mgr. would look it over. In a week they denied any help.

I am taking it into a local transmission shop for a professional opinion.

2nd Jan 2010, 12:49

I own a 03 Acura TL-S and bought it with 95507 miles on it. I must be one of the lucky ones because I have not had any problems whatsoever with the tranny. I had clean/flushed the tranny at 109,000 miles and replaced the OEM crap ATF fluid with Redline Synthetic ATF and it shifts better than it already had before.

I have no use for OEM parts, if I can find better elsewhere. I have gone through and replaced a lot of OEM parts with superior quality aftermarket ones. For example; replaced the paper cone Bose speakers with Polk Db series, went with a larger diameter high end 304 stainless steel exhaust system, freer flowing stainless steel headers, went with a long tube cold air induction and went with Power Slot brake rotors and Axxis Ultimate pads.

I had an Acura tech check my car out and he says, "This runs better than when it was new and I should get another 100 K miles out of it with no problem. That it was a good move in staying away from OEM parts." I get better gas mileage and a lot higher performance.

I am on disability and I'd rather pay a little now than paying a lot later when things go. This is just my opinion and experience I have done this with every car I have owned replacing OEM parts. I have worked making OEM parts for over 20 years, and have been to the auto maker plants and was told about the quality of the parts and differences in quality of them and some aftermarket ones. They do the same as I and a lot of others.

Well, I will still stand by my Acura TL-S. She hasn't burned me yet. I am planning to sell or trade it in for a decent 4x4 truck with a plow though. I will though, miss this car when it is gone.

I hope this helps and hasn't offended anyone.