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Read this before purchasing an Acura 3.2 CL

lmbrocatolmbrocato Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Acura
I wish I had the information I now have before I purchased the Acura CL Sport that I paid $32,000 for 2 months ago. I certainly would not have this vehicle. It began with a "scratch" on the steering wheel. I didn't notice it until after I got home with the car. (I picked it up at night) I called my sales person and he said they would take care of it when I returned. Well he took it to the"detail shop" and turned the 1/4inch area at least 1 1/2 inches using only "soap and water". He also just thought it was dirt. It wasn't anything you could feel, just a small black line on top of the beige air bag on the steering wheel. I brought it in ,waited 1 hour for the Acura rep to arrive, he questioned whether the "scratch" was put there by me, and then stated as an act of "Goodwill" they would repair the damage. That very same day I was washing my car at the neighborhood car wash and using the hand held spray power wash. I used this on my Toyota Celica for 6 years without any trouble at all. My friend had just used it on her BMW. Well, as I was washing my bumper, the paint literally began to fall off. It was the craziest thing I've ever seen. The service manager said it was "flexible paint" and not covered under the warranty but I could bring it back for the Acura rep to see. He also acknowledged that they see this several times a month. The Acura rep said I shouldn't have used a pressure washer (at the car wash) but he would allow me another act of "goodwill" and repaint the bumper. Let me state this is not a pleasant experience. They all make you feel like you are doing something terrible and they are bestowing this great favor by helping you. Forget the fact that it didn't hurt the Toyota, or the BMW. You're wrong, and their car is perfect. Period! But that isn't the end. I don't even have any kids. I put an empty suitcase in the back seat to transport it to the repair shop. It left a lasting dent in the foam in the arm rest that separates the seats in the back. The final straw came today when the client services representative called to see if my problems were resolved. I told her that today I noticed a small spot on the front bumper, an area that was probably hit by a very small rock. What may have been a pin-point scratch on another car is already beginning to peel. It looks like plastic. She said I already had two "acts of Goodwill" and she didn't know if the Acura rep would be willing to see me again. Goodwill!!! Something is wrong with this car. Sure, it drives beautifully but I can't have peeling paint all over the place. I now feel like I need to get all of this fixed, park the car so nothing else can happen, and take my big loss after two months of ownership and get my ad in the paper. I don't want any car that is this fragile!!! Period!


  • anselmo1anselmo1 Posts: 163
    Honda uses the term, "goodwill gesture" a lot. My experience has been that Honda (maybe also Acura) sheet metal is very flimsy to say the least as compared to the other cars I have owned. They removed two dents from my new Accord when I bought it as a "goodwill gesture". Both dents were on the same place on the top of each front fender. As far as your paint coming off during a pressurized car wash, I have seen that happen to a few cars myself. Recycled water that is used in those do it yourself car washes is like taking a sandblaster to your paint finish.
  • wytmanwytman Posts: 6
    Hello -

    Sorry to hear of your problems! I must say they are contrary my experience and all the things I have heard before. It does occasionally occur that a car gets a bad coat of paint - I had a Pontiac Grand Prix some years back which had paint peeling right off it too.

    I saw your other post (the duplicate) and the reply of brentwoodvolvo and I have to agree about the foam padding thing. I had a similar permenant "dent" appear in my rear seats in the 97 Camaro I traded in to get the CL. After about 3 weeks in the hot summer sun - it disappeared.

    What color was your car? Given the tan/beige interior - I am guessing it's black or possibly red? The one color I have heard grumblings about from Honda/Acura in the past is black - although I have never heard of a complain like this. I know my Pontiac which had that problem was a metallic grey which GM reportedly had a lot of periodic problems with.

    The dealership or Acura should repair/fix your car though without hassle - and that is the shocking part to me. I went through a similar hassle on the Camaro I traded in with dealerships - which is why after the Pontiac and the Camaro - I vowed to never get another GM product again.

    I hope things turn around for you on this. I at one point had to go yell at a dealer owner in the showroom in front of a Corvette to get an ounce of satisfaction - with deference to brentwoodvolvo - car dealers are all crooks.
  • boas13boas13 Posts: 30
    First, let me say I own 3 cars: 1999 Honda CRV, 2001 Acura TL and 2001 Accord EX-6. I obviously like Honda products. The CRV, no problems since I bought it. The Acura? Door molding fell off, windshield replaced, sun roof leaked. Now 100% okay. The Accord? Defective windshield wiper blade (minor), dashboard bracket fell off and hit me on the leg (again minor). The overall value is still there but Honda is definitely starting to slip in quality, in my opinion. Only 1 dealer in 3 were above average and Honda corporate only blames the dealers. Wake up Honda or my next car is a Chevy.
    To address your issues with Acura, as long as you stay factual, small claims court can get you financial relief if you do it right. Good luck.
  • vasgarvasgar Posts: 7
    Could it be that most of the models are no longer manufactured and asembled in Japan. With the exception of a few select high technology fields, the US is not noted for quality workmanship. I think it went out with the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer, and responsibility for ones own actions.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    Acura dealer owes you a painted front or back bumper. For some reason, the paint is not adhering to the bumper. Spot painting is just a bandage fix, and will not take care of the problem. Sooner or later, they must do another goodwill gesture, and paint the entire bumper.

    Coin carwash should not cause the paint to peel off unless there is something wrong with paint adhesion to begin with. You should be thankful that coin carwash was able to reveal what normal wear would have shown 3-4 years down the road.

    I had a '91 Chevy S-10 with peeling paint problem. It start showing it when I was using coin carwash.

    Make sure you document all your paint peeling issues. if the front/rear bumpers were painted in the same batch, you could have problem with the other bumper later.
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    Sorry to hear about your problem. This is TOTALLY unacceptable. I leased my 2001 CL-S on 3/28/01 and have found it to be the best car that I have EVER owned! I already have 6,500 miles on it! I never drive this much so soon. Just can't stop driving it.

    Anyway, I use those wand type car washes ALL the time in the winter here in CT. I have NO clue if the water is recycled or not. I have had NO problems with the paint peeling off. If I were you, I would go ONE step above "customer service" and call the Honda Corporate office.

    Mr. Richard Colliver
    Executive Vice President, Auto Sales
    Acura Automobile Division
    American Honda Motor Co. Inc.
    1919 Torrance Boulevard
    Torrance, CA 90501-2746

    I wish I had the phone number for you. I would calmly explain the situation from day one and the two goodwill gestures so far. If wand washes peeled paint off of car bumpers there wouldn't be any car washes around. Something is not kosher here!

  • tronsr1tronsr1 Posts: 149
    If the bumper is "properly"primed and then painted....there should be NO peeling. Take the above post advice {#7} and contact their corporate headquarters.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I'm not so sure I agree here....some of those wand washers put out tremendous do have to be very careful with them. I think with some persistence I could peel the paint off any car with a particularly strong wand washer.....just hold it there for a few minutes and it'll go right into the paint. It could even cut your skin in an extreme example of misuse.

    This is not to say you are at fault here, but if there is any little defect in your paint, a wand washer will make it a lot worse very quickly. I actually watched a guy do this to the hood of a new Saab. He just held the wand right down on the paint for a long, long time to get some dirt off and the paint suddenly came right up!
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    Unless there is something wrong with base metal prep or primer or paint, the pressure wash should not peel off the paint. Since 1978, I have owened 17 cars and trucks; Buick, Honda, Chevy, Mazda, VW, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota. The only one that had peeling paint problem was my 91 Chevy S-10. In the fifth year, the paint started to peel off.

    Just because one of the cars was a saab, that does not mean it couldn't have paint integrity problem.
  • brucec35brucec35 Posts: 246
    Unless your "ad in the paper" will mention "paint is peeling off the car", then you wouldn't really be a lot more ethical than your lousy Acura dealer is. Instead....

    I suggest the following:

    1. Print out your comments here, show them to them, and tell Acura that you'd LIKE to be able to report they satisfied you, but you will report further about other problems. You also would of course feel free to name their dealership specifically. You might also want to look up a few news stories that talk about how many people are now using the internet for car buying info, just to remind them what's at stake.
    2. Also, join and write a review there. Be sure to be accurate and factual. Keep to the facts, only. Let readers draw their own conclusions. Epinions reviews are seen by thousands. Also print this out for your Acura rep.
    3. Go to and do likewise. Also print it out and deliver it to your rep. I belive there are a few Acura TL and CL websites. Be prepared to post there also.
    4. Get the name of your Acura rep's boss, the region sales management, owners of area dealerships, and write them. Make it clear that your crummy rep is why Acura may be losing hundreds of potential buyers. Make sure your rep knows he could wind up getting blamed for this, personally. Send him copies of these letters. In corporate America, even the taint of acusation can ruin a career. Your rep knows this.
    5. Contact Acura's national marketing people (do a search for their corporate info) and even perhaps the CEO's office of US operations, and copy things to them. They have more of an interest in Acura's rep than some mediocre flunky who gets paid bonuses to say "no" to people like yourself.
    6. Contact your state's governor's office of consumer affairs if your state has one. Again, copy this to your rep and the dealership.
    7. Look into possible lemon law stuff. I don't know if paint qualifies, however. But be sure to document every time you bring it in. Get complaints in writing. Find out your state's lemon laws online and learn them.
    8. Do you listen to talk radio? There are several consumer oriented talk shows. A big one here is WSB 750's Clark Howard show. He is nationally syndicated and has even been on national TV a few times. If you have the patience, try to get on the air with your problem. Some shows even call up the offending business and badger them to do the right thing. Tape your on-air call and send a copy to Acura. This might have their little unprincipled sphincters puckering pretty good. Many shows won't let you name the business, but if you can get creative toss in hints subtlely, you can get the word out to others w/o saying the name "Acura". Some shows will eventually name the business on the air if they aren't fair to the customer.
    9. Take them to court. You can win up to a few thousand or so in Magistrate's court (small claims court), depending on your jurisdiction. I think violating their implied warranty of merchantabilty and brazenly not honoring their explicit warranty would be an easy win in court if you have peeling paint on a nearly new car, and repeated tries to fix it. You could point out to the judge that they acted in "bad faith" and he might really zing them good. Be sure to get estimates for repainting first. Also, get an independent appraisal on the loss-of-value that peeling paint causes at a car dealer. Also, be sure to point out to Acura that their reps will have to miss a day of work to testify in court.
    10. Make a big sign for your car that says "Ask me about my peeling paint" and stick it in your rear window. Then drive by your Acura dealer to discuss your problems. Park right up front, where customers park. Be sure to go on a crowded Saturday when salesmen are out trying to sell new Acuras. Let them know the sign stays there till they fix your car, for all the commuting world to see as you drive it daily.

    There are some unethical and miserable people in this world who like to masquerade as being "decent" but who really aren't. Sometimes they don't really get the message until someone with guts rams a branch up their nether regions and breaks it off. All you want is your $32,000 car painted properly. Their out-of-pocket cost would be a few hundred dollars. Just let them know that it'll cost them 100 times that if they mess with you.
  • Thats the problem nowadays, the cars built in the US have to use water based paint, but the ones in Japan are still oil based. I can vouch that the paint quality is 100 times better, no orange peel look, etc.

    I own a black 1997 Acura Integra GSR (built in Japan). The paint still looks great, except the sheetmetal is flimsy as hell so I have dings everywhere. I have been extremely satisfied with my car. I currently have 98k miles on it and I have not had one single mechanical problem, Im not joking not one single problem. The only time it has seen the dealership is for regular maintenance. The car has been to hell and back yet I still dont expect it to give up anytime soon.

    The only problem I have had with it are the damn center caps on the wheels that have the Acura logo. I have replaced all of them 2 times at a cost of $27 each. They fell out again for the third time and I have just been driving around without them. It looks like hell but I am not about to spend over $100 again to get them replaced.

    Other then that I have been 100% satisfied and am pretty much a Honda/Acura owner for life.
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    I'm pretty sure the was a TSB about centercaps not staying put. Check with for details.
  • It's true! And I think I am going to have to fight it out with Honda/Acura over this as we are in the midst of determining who has responsibility over what appears to me to be a design flaw!!!!
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    All moonroofs have drain holes that should be checked periodically. There's all kinds of crapola that can get into these holes and clog them up. You just need to check them from time to time. I've had moonroofs on my cars since 1990 and have never had a problem with leaks from the roof or into the car. Might be a good idea not to park under any trees.


    8,500 miles on my CL-S since 3/28/01! NO problems! Two dealer visists for oil/filter changes and tire rotation/balance for a grand total of $36.00! Never less then 300 miles per tank of gas OR less then 20MPG since day one! That includes all kinds of driving- city/highway/slow/fast! BEST car I have EVER owned! IF things change, I will be the first to report it! Those who know me from the Chrysler 300M TH topic area know me well and know I won't hold back- good, bad or indifferent.

  • The rear bumper on my Acura CL-s 2001, had to be refinished in Florida,the bumper developed yellow spots ,at first the dealer and service rep didn't want to refinish the bumper.i called the corporate office in CA. and eventually they agreed to refinish the bumper .i'm now in NJ. and about a month ago a bird bombed the roof +hood .Within a short time the droppings eat thru the clear coat +paint I. went to the dealer were I purchased the car and complaind about the paint being so vulnerable.The service manager said he couldn't help ,but he'll set up an appointment with the service,It took just about one month to see her. The service rep . said it's my responsibility that the bird bombed my car. I TOLD SHE IS MISSING THE POINT IT ISN'T THE BIRDS,IT"S THE PAINT+CLEARCOAT THAT IS NOT DURABLE. I took the car to two body shops one was recomended by the dealer. They both said they havn't seen a incident like this. I called the corporate office in CA. and they refered me back to the manager of the service rep's in NJ. I'm still waiting to hear from him. Overall the experience has been terrible .The service rep. treats you like you trying to put some thing over on them + I get the feeling that they would like to tell you buyer BEWARE. I won't fell comfortable with the car knowing that the paint will not hold up.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Bird crap has been eating clearcoat off for years. My 91 SHO would have a permanent place where the crap sit if you didn't not get it off quickly. By the time it dries, the damage is done.

    The Love-Bugs in Florida would also eat a hole through the clearcoat and paint on this car.
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    There is NOTHING that will prevent bird crap from eating through the clearcoat of ANY car except a garage, a car cover or immediately removing the crap. Don't blame Acura. Put some good protectant on your car, avoid parking under trees and wash your car on a regular basis and you won't have any problems.

  • I have almost 5,000 miles on my car and can honestly say I am appalled by the paint quality and fuel mileage of my car. First he paint - I have a black car and already have several paint chips on the hood of my car. It looks lousy!!! I've tried waxing it off but to no avail. I can't imagine what this car will look like in a year (I bought the car in April 2001) . . . As for the fuel mileage, the car was advertised at 19/29 and I've never even come close to that. I BARELY average 15 mpg in the city and about 22 on the highway. I went to the dealer and the repair manager said I had to wait until I reached 7,000 miles on this car in order to 'break the engine in' before my mileage would slowly climb upwards. I am VERY DISAPPOINTED in this car. Very disappointed. BTY, I do not 'hot rod' or accelerate my car at fast speeds. There is no excuse for getting such poor gas mileage and for the paint to be chipping or bubbling like it is.

    Not happy in SC.
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273
    I have a 2001 CL-S leased on 3/28/01 with 8,900 miles on it and I think it's the best car I ever owned! Just getting ready for a long weekend in Keene, NH. My gas mileage from DAY ONE has never been less than 20 MPG and never less than 300 miles per tank. Much of that is just around here and there driving, some highway, some with AC, some without. For long trips I bought a car bra to protect the front. Learned the HARD way with my previous "award winning 1999 Motor Trend Car of the Year"!! Had chips on the hood of that car the first week I had it! I should have known then that that was going to be 3 LONG years! Paint "ain't" what it used to be and with the aerodynamics of the cars today, chips are inevitable. Just like bird crap and paint. They don't mix.

    Just wanted to let everyone know that not everyone is unhappy with their CL's! If this car was a piece of _ _ _ _, I'd be the FIRST to report it. I have NO car loyalty. Build it right and I'll praise it. Use cheap materials and I'll tell you how I feel.

  • Today I solf the Acura 3.2Cl Sport for $8,500 less than what I paid for it 6 months ago.The " Honda Experience" was one that I could not live with. I thought I would love thhis car...otherwise I would not have paid $32,000 plus $3,000 in tax. I'm not wealthy, just a Registered Nurse. I had saved the money and had paid cash. Now I am taking my $23,500 from wholesaling the Acura and buying a BMW.
  • Good Idea. Lets add another $17,000 to get the same car.
    Oh I forgot. In the world of the superficial, the "Honda Experience" means you can't park your Honda in the "Doctor's Lot"
  • lugwrenchlugwrench Posts: 213
    Good luck on the BMW which has an average reliability at best. You should have considered a Lexus or an Infinity.
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    I agree! 9,600+ miles and NO PROBLEMS!! Two dealer visits for oil/filter changes and a tire rotation/balance. No rattles, no squeaks, no brake shudder. Best car I have ever owned!

  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    6000 miles and no problems!!!

    2001 Chevrolet Impala LS with the 3800 Series II V6 engine..

    Just adding fuel to the fire...hehehe!!!
  • I'm the one who posted that the paint and fuel mileage on my 2001 Acura CL was lousey. Several of you guys have said you are getting over 20 mpg. but thats just a fantasy figure to me. I am nowhere close to that mpg and am only getting 15 mpg in the city and about 24 mpg on the freeway.

    I've had 4 very long conversations with the Acura customer service people and the dealer I bought my car from in April 2001 about my mileage problems. When I told them I was getting 15 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway they said that was typical. I then mentioned the sticker on the car said 19/29 and they told me the mileage posted on the sticker was done by the EPA under ideal conditions and that this wasn't typical fuel mileage!!!! Needless to say, I was very p*ssed!!!

    They then told me there was nothing they could do to help me out.

    I am going to tell everyone I know that I was deceived and I will probably never buy another Acura again. As for the resale, the lady that lost $8,500 on the sale of her car was just more depressing news to me.

    This car is getting the same fuel mileage as a gas guzzling SUV, and if I want to sell it, I'll lose my shirt to boot. Great, just great!

    It would have been cheaper to buy an American SUV, because then I could have gotten the same fuel mileage but in a bigger and heavier vehicle without pretending that I was trying to do the right thing in buying a supposedly fuel efficient car, beause I AM NOT driving a fuel efficient car!!

    I also wouldn't be paying for premium gas or the 'luxury car insurance' costs that come with owning an Acura CL. I am very unhappy with this car, especially in regards to the paint and the fuel mileage. I basically try to avoid driving my CL as much as possible because i feel I bought an overpriced gas guzzler. I should have bought a Volkswagen Jetta.

    Unhappy in the Piedmont (SC)
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    Nothing wrong with an Impala. Glad you're having good luck.


    I'm sorry to read about your unhappiness with your CL. I certainly can sympathize with you because I had a number of problems when I had my "Motor Trend Car of the Year"- 1999 Chrysler 300M. It got to the point where I hated to sign on to the 300M site here because mostly everyone was getting great gas mileage and weren't experiencing any problems with their 300M's.

    So, I guess it happens that you can get a bad one in the bunch. Actually, this is the first car that has even gotten anywhere near the mileage figures shown on the window sticker. I thought everyone knew that those were under "ideal"(whatever that is) conditions.

    You really should go to site and ask in there about your problems. They are a great bunch. There are even guys there who work at Acura dealerships and might be able to help you with the gas mileage problems. I do know that if you take off from lights and race everything that you see, you mileage will drop. Only lately have I gunned it a few times and found out that I did pay for it with less than 20MPG!! A first for me. Since day one, I have never gotten less than 300 miles per tank or less than 20MPG. That's city/highway driving with/without AC on. Most times sunroof open.

    I hope things get better for you because I know what it's like to be paying for and driving something that you're not happy with.

    Keep us informed.

  • cyranno99cyranno99 Posts: 419
    fastdriver's post is right on the money.....

    yeah, I do feel bad that some people got stuck with "lemons". All car makers have this problem..... some just have more than others. I think if you understand the manufacturing process then you'll appreciate that even car on the same assembly line won't necessarily be the same.

    I'd say that you will have a hard time achieving good gas mileage with any V6 in the city. As for highway driving, I hope that you are getting the figure because you have your windows down and not exactly 100% highway......
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    "I think if you understand the manufacturing process then you'll appreciate that even cars on the same assembly line won't necessarily be the same."

    YOU'RE right on the money with that. My 300M was made in Canada on the SAME assembly line with the Dodge Intrepids, Chrysler Concordes and the former Chrysler LHS which they have discontinued for 2002. These cars were all made by the same people, with the same parts, but the reliability varied greatly! Many people had to have their power window motors replaced several times. That was probably the only problem I didn't have with that car! LOL.. It is crazy. That said, it does seem that many of the foreign name cars have fewer problems then the US ones. WHY? I can think of a number of reasons, but I don't want to start any wars here.


    I forgot about one thing RE: the paint. A week ago this past Friday, I was on I-95. Suddenly I heard a VERY loud BANG! It sounded like a rock hit the top of my car. My first thought- a big dent. When I got to my destination, it was dark, but I did look and didn't see anything. The next day I looked again because I was sure there would be a big chip. I didn't see a thing. This weekend when I finally washed my car and Zainoed it, I did notice a very slight dent in the top, but no chip. I can't believe it. The noise was unbelievable. I did see a small chip at the very front of the hood, near the "V", which COULD have been eliminated IF I had the bra on. The rock probably hit there and bounced up to hit the top of the car? I did have the moonroof open! I could have been knocked out if it hit me! Never thought of that until this minute.

  • Thanks to all for their frankness in their postings on the problems they are having with their cars. I was considering an Acura CL Sport, but I am convinced that it is not worth the hassle. Acura is not for me. I hate to have to fight with a dealer. Best to have quality and not have to fight, next best to have a dealer willing to fix up the messes of a poor auto manufacturer.
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