21st Jun 2008, 06:28
I loved the VTEC motor and the options on the TL; but the car was quite frankly too trouble-prone to keep.
Areas I felt needed definite improvement were; weak air conditioning (even though climate controlled), weak braking (even with front and rear discs), and the handling at the high end 125 mph plus (done in a controlled situation, it was quite unstable).
There is plenty of great power, but hard to keep under control at speed and when cornering. I would have preferred rear wheel drive, like BMW, if it were available. Nonetheless, it was a nice sport sedan to own. The immediate throttle response made it a blast to drive.
I have owned Legends, and have driven an NSX perfectly balanced weight ratio (not mine, but it was great to drive on a few occasions). The TL has great hp, but the transmission is a weak point, and it is dangerous to continue to own.
Great seats, gauges, and options (especially the Bose sound system). I stopped buying Acura, however, due to the persistent trans issues. It can fail at very bad moments. I had mixed feelings moving on, as they are otherwise nice to own.
I now drive new 2008 domestics, and sometimes drive my sons' modified Viper RT/10 on some limited opportunities. I wonder how many individuals actually drive vehicles to their full potential, but I love handling and performance capabilities on my new vehicles. And durability...
If you plan on using the sport shifting gate mode much on the TL model, you will no doubt be in the shop soon. But I believe many have issues regardless, using that shift mode or not. I always dealer maintained and meticulously took care of ours, and yet they were in shop for various issues at low mileage. Wait until you have to buy a headlight bulb, tires, etc, plus you run 93 octane; not really an economy vehicle if that's your intent.
5th Aug 2008, 20:20
I have a 2003 3.2 TL and at around 75k miles, the transmission started slipping. I took it to the dealership and forty minutes later they told me they saw nothing wrong with it. I then took the technician with me on a test drive trying to get the error to come up but it wouldn't. I paid the $700 maintenance since it needed it anyway, which includes changing the transmission fluid, which according to the technician would be what could fix the issue. Today on my way home from work, it started skipping like never before (real bad). Am I screwed now and have to buy a new transmission? Does anyone know if Acura will own up to this and repair? Please let me know. Thanks.
10th Dec 2008, 19:07
I own a 2003 TL and have 203,000 miles on it. I serviced the transmission and timing belt at around 147,000 miles. I have nothing but good things to say about this car.
I bought the car with 70k and travel over 45k to 50k per year on business. I do have a broken front engine mount and will be replacing it. All the others seem fine.
The car gets over 30mpg and I do run nothing but high 93 octane gas.
I was planing on putting 300k on this car, but you guys have me worried. I have my own mechanic and don't take the car to the Acura dealer unless I have to. Just put new tires all around so I won't be selling anytime soon.
23rd Mar 2009, 10:05
I had motor mount issues on my 2003 TL type S and wrote a letter to Acura client services in CA. My local dealer called me and replaced the broken mounts for free, probably because I've bought 3 Acuras from him previously. Nevertheless, it is a problem that Honda has tried to hide and seems to be getting away with. I have 65k on the car now and, so far, no tranny problems.
10th Apr 2009, 11:29
I just bought my second Acura TL from the 2000-2003 generation TL. Though I have heard from the boards many of the problems associated with the transmission, I thought I would chime in to try to make this series a little more balanced.
I have had very little trouble with my 2000 TL and have more than 230K miles. I got it with 56K and it has been relatively trouble free with routine maintenance (trans oil cooler mod put in free by dealer) but still going strong. There is literature on the NHTSA website concerning this. Timing belts replaced about every 80K, brakes seem to be a weak spot if you buy aftermarket rotors which warp under the heat of braking. A/C fan went out at about 159K. Struts and ball joints began to wear out around 200K and at 220K replaced the harmonic balancer ($450). Besides tires and batteries, that's it.
I drive it very hard almost 100 miles a day in rural hilly curvy roads and interstate straightaways, then city start and stop. It is starting to get pretty rough around the edges, but I am still keeping it.
I purchased a second 2003 TL S type with 71K miles and it is just a pleasure to drive all over again. It has firmer suspension for the twisties, and my big reservation was of course the transmission problems. I did the research and found that the transmission has been subject of a class action suit, which ultimately resulted in a warranty extension for the vast majority of owners. This seems too little too late in my case, so I dug a little further and found that the recall/lawsuit/only applies to Acuras through 2003 whose VIN number last five digits are under 19000. Thus it would seem that Acura finally resolved the manufacturing problem early in the 2003 model year, and the 2003 Acuras with VIN 19000 and above are good. I also read somewhere that the ongoing transmission problems only affected 2-4 percent of all Acuras sold. I don't know if there is any truth to that, but it is normally the ones that got burned who are the most vocal.
I might feel differently about the TL if I had gotten burned, but for me it has been a great car. Besides that, IMO the roominess, styling, and Bose stereo beat the next generation of ACURAs hands down.
I always took it to the dealer for routine maintenance and diagnostics, but had my private mechanic do the repairs about about 60% of the time. He charged me about 1/2 of what the dealer would have cost.
12th Jun 2009, 10:04
Car fax killed me, reporting all the replacement trans, otherwise a mint black in and out beautiful Type S. I am still glad we sold with young kids in the car. Very displeased with the depreciation hit due to Carfax saying it all.
26th Jun 2009, 21:37
Having the motor mounts and the transmission on the 2003 Acura TL is common. There's a service tag/recall notice on the transmission. My TL Type S's transmission and motor mounts went as well.
But if you hear a rattling noise that sounds like a piece of metal hanging off your front end, it's the motor mounts. And again the transmission going and the motor mounts are a common problem with the TL.