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Acura TL 1999-2003



  • I have a 1999 TL with 77,700 miles on it. I bought it in 2003 as a certified pre-owened vehicle. I'm 1 year 9 months out of the extended warranty period. Acura has refused a request for "good will out of warranty" assistance (though I'm still working on it based on the low mileage angle). I've maintained the car diligently, replaced timing belt, new tires etc. The only other problems are:
    a) occasional error on navigation system saying it needs a disk reformat. This has happened 3 times and it self-corrected
    b) during a heat wave, I noticed that the cruise control light didn't come on on the dashboard, though the car was performing in cruise control. Again, this corrected itself.(Are these bad signs?) I can't afford a new car or a good used car right now. Is it worth getting my transmission fixed? It drives ok now, but the seal is leaking transmission fluid.
  • Sorry to hear about your problems. I have a 99 TL with 81k miles too, and once the car just stopped. Acura dealers (on two occassions) could not find out what is wrong.

    Tell me when you get "good will out of warranty" clause to have your trans. fixed - I will try the same :-)

    Good luck with your car.
  • Hello, The "good will" phrase is just a concept -- not a clause in anything official. However, in order to even discuss thit with Acura, they need to diagnose your car as needing a new transmission and at your VIN number makes your car a member of the class that the suit was all about. So far I haven't had much luck since it's 1 year and 9 months out of the extended warranty. My research, and this thread talks about the transmission problems with 1999-2003 Acura TLs.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    We also have a '99 TL in our family, with 112,000 miles on it, and have had the problem of the engine just stopping. The problem began several months ago. I don't know the cause, but the symptom is that occasionally, when the car idles or it's traveling slowly (under 30 mph) the engine just dies. It also sometimes dies when it's started after it's been warmed up.

    If anyone has experienced this problem and knows what causes it, and how to repair it, please let me know.
  • 6-CD changer for Acura TL 2002 was skipping and is now jammed. What are my options to get CD player working? Recently bought this standard TL model with with 95 K miles and standard audio system. Otherwise car is in excellent condition.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    Those of you who formerly owned a '99-'03 TL, with what did you replace it, and why?
  • Had an '03 TLS, great overall car but horrible in the snow. I traded for an '04 MDX. Eats northeast winters for breakfast! :)
  • kcall2kcall2 Posts: 18
    Update to my Aug 02, 2008 post. When dealer did the 75K service, he reported the car would need front brake pads shortly, and the lower ball-joints were worn. Ball joints were causing a metallic clank on rough roads, bumps etc.

    Anyway, dealers service department replaced the seat back cover (sent car to an upholsterer) using OEM replacement cover. No charge, called it a goodwill gesture. I also had them replace brake pads and ball joints. Dealer service is not cheap, and the latter two fixes came to ~ $700. Not complaining mind you, I consider this normal wear, and after 78K miles with NO major work except scheduled maintenance, am quite happy. Edit: Had failure of the mass air-flow valve around 55k miles. Other than minor things (brake reservoir cap) etc, zero failures. Great Car! :)

    Best part of the deal was the service manager sent me home in an 09 TSX service loaner, which I kept for two days waiting completion of work on my TL. Nice car! Too small for my needs, tho.

    Fuel economy for life of the car had been excellent, with daily suburban driving averaging 22 - 24 mpg, interstate cruising always 31 or higher.

    Service manager told me they had not seen any tranny problems for several months, believes the bad ones have worked their way out of the system. Guess I'll keep the TL several more years, wife wants it for her run about car. Need to find something for me to drive soon, just gave my F150 to my son. Am thinking probably a Civic sedan.
  • i have had my tl since 2004. i got it with 115k on it. i have had to replace trans and some parts but other then that i am very pleased. looking to add headers, intake and exhaust. looking for a shop or mayhbe a acura club in riverside, ca area to give advice on upgrades. the navigation is awesome and even better in the new tl's. my favorite tl is the 02, i would take that over the new tl's!
  • i know that clank noise your talking about! i went to sears ( dont ask me why) and they told me that they just put lube in a bearing or something like that and it went a way. but they didnt charge me for it either. i have a 99 tl with a replaced engine but its still awesome
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    "i have had to replace trans..."

    How much was the tranny replacement? Was it a new unit, or did they repair the old one?
  • eddiemaceddiemac Posts: 141
    If you have your transmission replaced under the guidelines of the settlement, how long is the warranty period for the replacement transmission?
  • I've got about 90K miles on my acura.

    I've had to replace the transmission twice (covered under warranty) and have also had a similar problem with a 2000 Honda Odyssey. I think Honda/Acura made some poor transmissions for these cars.

    Also recently had to replace the engine mounts ($$$) which I was told by a few acura places is a common problem.

    Overall, it's been a pretty good car, but the boring styling is getting to me.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    The new-for-2000 5-speed automatic was indeed problematic, but the good news is that Acura stepped up to the plate and replaced those that went bad under warranty. From what I know, the automatic transmission on the next generation TL ('04-'08) was reliable.

    My wife's '99 has the older 4-speed automatic, which, at 115,000 miles, has been trouble free.

    We also replaced the motor mounts, though, at about the same mileage as you indicated for your repair. Overall, my wife's '99 has been reliable and satisfying to own.

    We're happy with the styling, which, in our opinion, is aging well. We were more concerned with its blandness when it was newer than we are now. Designs that are edgy when new frequently don't age well. In any event, I'm disappointed with the styling of the '09 TL.

    What car(s) are you considering as a replacement for your '02 TL?
  • If my TL-S broke tomorrow, I would consider a BMW 3 series, the 370Z, or a used porsche 911.

    I guess after driving the acura I want something more sporty.

    I agree with you about the new Acura's styling which I find to be quite ugly.
    If Honda or Acura made a modern, cool sports sedan/coupe I would be very interested.
  • My wife has an '02 TL-S w/ about 73K on it. Overall great car, although seems like certain parts suffer quicker wear and tear sooner than one would think. Had to get the front lower ball joints replaced at 57K and the engine motor mount shortly after. One of my fog lights is shattered and I have no idea how or when that happened. Service quoted me $275 to replace that so I said no thanks since I rarely used them anyway.

    Our TL-S was included in the '00-'03 extended transmission warranty, and we did need it replaced. My wife must have misplaced or forgotten about the Oct 2002 letter Honda supposedly mailed out regarding the issue, and luckily our service dept diagnosed it Jan '08, a mere five months before the extension (7-years) expired! They put in a current model, "state of the art" tranny, which took a couple days and would have cost at least $3,000 according to the service rep. We knew there had been a problem because the car would have a delay in going from 1st to 2nd gear and would all of a sudden kick into gear...just felt like it was "slipping" too much. We brought it in and sure enough that was it. Car felt like new after they replaced it, much smoother and more responsive pickup.

    Our last major recommended maint was at 60,000 (our dealer does the major ones at 30K intervals), and we needed the engine motor mount, cabin air filter, transmission fluid flush, and timing belt. Whole thing came to $2,000. I do feel like the car is better off after they find and fix all that stuff at the major services, but MAN it can hit your wallet hard.

    Suffice it to say, it feels like it could last for another 100K at least. the OEM tires were shot at 39K. Can't recall what they were but definitely a high performance summer tire with awful winter traction that ran ~$230 a pop. Replaced them at NTB w/ Sigma Regent tourings, much cheaper all seasons that are better in snow but have a much less comfortable ride than the OEMs we replaced. My rims are pretty banged up from a couple curb jobs my wife's causing slow leaks from a couple of my tires so I have to constantly take my compressor out to the driveway and fill er back up. Anyone know how much the OEM rims cost?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    Sorry your car needed the repairs you listed, but none of those repairs, except for the ball joints, is unusual for the TL. We had to have the motor mounts on my wife's '99 TL changed at about 98,000 miles, so based on our experience, those on you wife's TL failed prematurely. From what I learned, motor mounts are a week spot on TLs of '99-'03 TLs.

    "...our dealer does the major ones at 30K intervals..."

    I think your dealer is recommending service intervals that are shorter than necessary, mainly for his benefit, not the customers'. Our Acura dealer does the same thing. I'd follow the maintenance schedule in the owners manual, which is the one recommended by Acura, and I'd tell your dealer that this is what you want to do.

    Don't believe what the dealer service people may say about a shorter maintenance schedule being better for your car. Of course, more frequent maintenance can't hurt your car, and may be slightly better, in certain cases, but it's not sufficiently better to justify the additional cost, let alone the time and trouble of taking your car to the dealer more often. Shorter maintenance schedules benefit the dealer primarily.
  • kcall2kcall2 Posts: 18
    Most of the repairs/replacements ie cabin air filter, transmission fluid flush and replacement, are just routine maintenance items. Who would drive with a dirty cabin air filter? The lower ball joint replacement is also somewhat common, as is the motor mount replacement. I recently went over my service invoices, and found that the front motor mount had been replaced at the 60K major service, along with timing belt and all the rest. Believe the motor mount problem is that Acura uses silicone goo-filled mounts to isolate engine vibration, and if the rubber bladder develops a leak, the result is vibration and harshness from the engine. Have 82K miles on my '01 sedan, and so far no hint of transmission problems. Knock on wood, my extended warranty is now expired. Is that what they call self-insured?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    The owners manual calls for replacing the timing belt at 105,000, so the earlier replacement is more for the dealer's benefit than yours, if you should sell your car before that rather expensive scheduled maintenance is required. In the event you should reach 120,000 or 180,000 miles before you replace your car, you will have replaced your timing belt (and probably the water pump too) 2 or 3 times, respectively, instead of only once.

    I believe in proper maintenance, and maintain our cars very regularly, but maintenance schedules that are overly short are a waste of money.
  • zin0zin0 Posts: 6
    Sup people, i just bought a 2003 acura tl 3.2 pearl white clean clean for $10500 couple days after christmas. rides good with 68.000 miles. But i have been reading forums and hearing about problems with the transmission on these cars. i'm calling acura tommorrow to find out if anythings been done to this car. the only thing it really does on me is when i have it in park or reverse and put it into drive it hesitates about 2 to 3 seconds before going into gear. but people tell me thats normal? and i dont think the tranny slips but i dont know much about cars. it seems to ride alright. should i worry about this car. because it sounds to me like i just bought myself a nightmare.. very depressing. :cry:
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