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Acura TL Electrical System Problems

I have an 1996 Acura TL 3.2. I have electrical system problem. When I first start my car in the morning it usually starts up normally. However, after I have run the car for 30 minutes or so if I stop and restart my car, I often have problems. It doesn't start slowly like a run down battery might do but instead I get nothing. No turnover at all. I can try it numerous times without the car engaging at all. But if I wait for the car to cool down from normal operating temperature, after 30 minutes or so, it will start up without any problem. Once again, its not a slow start, its no engagement or a normal start.
I have already checked the battery and its fine and I've replaced the starter with only a small change in vehicle behavior. Strangely enough, a few months ago my car would experience this same type of starter problem but only when it had sat overnight. No slow start, just nothing. But once I would get it started I could stop and restart my car as often as I wanted all day without any problem. I'm perplexed. Would love to hear from someone who understands this problem.


  • dashman1dashman1 Posts: 1
    TL 03 s-type, digital odometer/temp gauge/trip meter goes on and off intermitently, brought to dealer, or course lights came on while they were holding it. Shortly after getting it back they are off again. They go off for weeks at a time. Can anyone help with a suggestion?
  • taxesquiretaxesquire Posts: 681
    I had the same probelm you described with my '04 TL. When the guy checked it, it showed as being "good" but somehow he could tell it was a heating problem - he commented that just like batteries don't do well in cold weather, they don't do well if they're too warm, and my battery was retaining too much heat, or something.

    Replacing the battery worked for me (this was done under warranty, so it didn't cost me anything, but time). Anyway, the problem has not returned and it's been about 8 mos.

    Hope this is helpful. :)
  • I also have a 1996 Acura 2.5 TL and my car is doing something very similar. I've had the starter replaced twice now and the car works fine for about 2 months and then the symptoms return. I never have a problem with a cold start, but when I've driven my car for a while and it has warmed up (especially on hot days), I turn the key and nothing. If I wait awhile, it will turn on at times or if I do nothing for a good 30 minutes, it will work. The sure way to start it is to turn the ignition repetitively and quickly and eventually it will start??? Makes no sense and the mechanics don't know what it is. Some say the relay, others say its electrical, fuel one seems to know. If you find out what the fix is or if someone knows what it is, please let me know.

  • Anyone out there ever experience a smell which can best be described as the smell after firecrackers have been popped with their vehicle? This happens intermittently with my car on an average of 2-3 times per week but when taken to dealer it never seems to occur.
  • My electrical problem: The car randomly turns off, just as if you would have turned the ingnition switch to the "off" position..After several attempts it will restart..This problem usually happens after I have driven the car for awhile. It has happened both while I have been stopped and also while going. It is easier to start back while running down the road and in gear by just turning the key to the start position...When the car is stopped, turning the key will restart but the engine cuts right back off, and will only stay running after several tries. I took the car to the Acura dealership and they replaced the ignition switch, but the problem is still happening...Somedays, it will go all day without occuring..Help!! I need my car!!
  • moira1moira1 Posts: 3
    Hello to mcamis! I'm having exactly the same problem with my 99 TL. It's in the shop right now and they're telling me to install a new ignition switch. Were you able to solve your problem, and if so, how? Thanks so much!
  • My stop light in the back window, only half lights up and it is kinda dim. I took the light out and put a battery across it and it was very bright and all of the LED's worked. So I measure the voltage on the connector in the car and it only read 7.8 Vdc on the connector with no light hooked up. I checked the ground and that was also OK. Has anyone had this problem and is it the Stop Light Switch that is at fault. If so where is it located. Thanks for you help. Mike
  • This car is the worst; it has some weird electrical issue. It losses power when you drive it some times and the light on the dashboard come on intermittently when it is losing power. I always heard that Acura are good cars, but I will have to go back to the Nissan . I took it to a mechanic and since it is fine some times and only flashes and losses power they cannot pinpoint the problem. My friend who owns a small dealership has the same problem with and he is having the hardest time figuring it out. I see that many other people have the same problem with the electrical parts of TL. Also, the SRS light will not go off. I need to fix this car I just bought it and it is a piece. Does any one know where the electrical problem is. Please email me, at

    I will not buy another Acura... these cars have very hard problems to fix.
  • Moisture got into headlight. Dealer said entire unit had to be replaced. Cost $1200+.
    I think original assembly was fine after inspecting it for cracks, holes. Moisture may have entered from back of headlight assembly from bulb insert location which is usually sealed by gasket after reinserting light. Acura, Stanley (who made light assembly) and dealer told me to take a hike. Any suggestions?

    Andre Libert
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Buy hiking boots! No, just kidding!! :P

    Do the lights still work? If so, why not just leave it as is?
  • No the lights blew with all the condensation
  • The assembly with working lights came to $1200+. I see nothing wrong with the old assembly and would like to tell the dealer to take it back and give me a refund for it. They can install it in someone else's car at a discounted price.

    The real issue is whether they had to use a new assembly at all? If they had just installed the lights which were burned out, and made sure the seals were tight, this would not have occurred.
  • voton1066voton1066 Posts: 1
    My car has randomly been idling too high, then overheating (according to the gauge), and when it does so it downshifts real hard when you try to stop. If I cut it off, it's always worked fine again after I start it back up in a bit. It hasn't set off a light or code, and the dealer has never heard of such a thing and thus can't fix it (it won't happen when I'm there). Now the last two mornings the battery's been dead, and I've had the battery checked and there's nothing wrong with it after I jump it off. This obviously makes it an electrical problem, but I don't know what. It's my only car and I need it, but it isn't safe to drive. Please help!
  • tmaskertmasker Posts: 2
    Hello... curious if any of you were able to get the electrical problems resolved with your 99 TL's. I have a 2000 TL that is shutting off randomly while I'm driving.Thanks in advance for info that can be sent my way... tmasker
  • moira1moira1 Posts: 3
    Hi! It was the ignition switch - it was replaced and I've never had any trouble since. :) Hope this helps!

  • tmaskertmasker Posts: 2
    Thank you for the reply... It's good to hear that the new switch solved the problem. Safe travels!
  • 2tomcats2tomcats Posts: 2
    Mike: I have the exact same problem on my 2004 TL. When you press the brake, the high mount stop light in the rear window is dim, most of the time. If I start the car, ocassionally I can get it to go full brightness. I did a voltage check and when dim only 7 volts, when bright approx 13 volts. So I know the problem is not the light itself (all 16 LCDs work on bright - ocassionally). Did you find the cause of your problem? Thanks. Bill
  • tatued35tatued35 Posts: 1
    i work offshore, and the car sat for about 2 months, when i got back to it today, the batt was dead, jumped it off,started right up,but my ac will not work,tried to add go, was already full,then when i got ready to leave a friends house,no headlights,running lights but no headlights, started checking relays, the light would come back on when tapping the relays,but not stay on long, coolant fan will not work there anyway i could have fried several relays by jumpstarting the car?
  • finl0573finl0573 Posts: 1
    Occassionally my 08 TL will have trouble starting--very random. Has anyone else had this problem? It is as though the battery is not strong enough and the car will not turn over, but thenm magically starts.

    Acura replaced the battery and the cables attahed to teh battery or so they say. I know they at least looked at the battery because they forgot to reinstall the cover plate.

    The problem went away for a year, but is now back in full swing.

    This happened from day one of owning the car with zero miles on it.
  • i'm having the issue. started last night. at 27k miles
  • I solved my high-mount brake light problem, The solution was to replace the brake light switch, which is located on the brake pedal. The switch was less than $7.00, which I purchased thru Rock Auto. The switch is made by Airtex, part number is 1S5785. It was very easy to install - total was about 10 minutes. Bottom line - the switch went bad. (P.S. Acura dealer wanted $109 to trouble shoot the problem and this fee would not be applied towards the actual fix.)
  • On the dashbord yellow light DSL is on all the time, but no light on the balbs.
    Check the fuses all OK, balbs are OK. Normaly after i release the parking brake, the light came on and the sign DSL came off. Now the DSL is on all the time and no any light on the balbs.
    Please, if any body know what is that or had similar experience, please lets me know. Thanks.
  • Hi... my 99 TL goes in driving gear but not reverse i dont know whats wrong with it. it also make a rattling noise that come from the engine everytime i put the car in parked or reverse :( :( :(
  • Hi was wondering if anyone else has run into this problem. I have a 2007 TL base and the dealership has indicated that with the standard battery drain (I think a .4) when the car is parked that you may have a problem starting your car if it is parked more than about 4 days. He indicated that the spec'd out battery Acura has only has so much capacity. This seems ridiculous as when my wife and I go on trips the car can sit at the airport for 7-10 days. So we have to take the other car a 2008 Chrysler that does start without issue.
    I asked about them about replacing the battery with a larger capacity battery and they said they have to use the battery that Acura specifies which makes sense but the entire thing seems dumb.
  • I have an '08 TL that I have left parked in the garage for over a week at a time without a problem starting yet. I am aware if you have the navigation system (which mine does) that there may be a problem with the navigation system that would not turn off when you turned off the car and caused the battery to drain. I am concerned that at some point my TL will not start after reading all the complaints on the forums so I bought one of those self contained battery booster jumpers you can get at Sears and keep it charged and in the trunk. Others in the forum have also reported their battery drains on TLs that do not have navigation so there must be other issues with the electronics in the car that cause the battery to drain. It seems from reading in the forums that once you get the problem with the battery draining if it did not occur before, the problem could not be fixed and the battery would always drain down. Not sure that a larger capacity battery would resolve the problem, only prolong the time it takes for the battery to drain as the source of the problem is still there and need to be fixed. Acura needs to fix the root cause of the battery draining. This is a well known issue all the Acura dealers know about.
  • Thanks Trailhiker. My car doesn't have the Nav. The dealer did find that the blue tooth hands free was coming on by itself when the car was parked which caused a big spike against the battery. They did replace the unit but the problem has not gone away. They have blamed the after market remote starter I have that they claim is also putting a drain on the battery. So now I have had that disconnected. It's very frustrating I think something else is going on. But honestly I think the biggest issue is the standard battery doesn't have enough capacity to allow the car to be parked for days yet still start. I am curious what your climate is like, I am in Nebraska so we get a lot of cold weather and snow. The cold weather also zaps the battery. I do have three other cars (wife and 2 kids) all have remote starters along with different degrees of computer systems in their cars and their cars can easily sit for a week in cold weather and start without any problem. The dealer suggested that when I go to the airport on trips that I disconnect the negative battery terminal. I pretty much said "You've got to be kidding". Anyway maybe it's just a quirk with my 07 TL. Anyone else that has had similar experiences would like to hear from you.
  • I am in Dallas. I had the car parked in the garage for a week at Christmas time when we had below freezing temperatures for almost a week and some snow and had no problem starting the TL after a week. Also the summers are hot, over 100 quite often so there are temperature extremes from hot to cold. I still have the original battery, bought the car in February 2008. I have asked my Acura service advisor about the battery problem and the response was the navigation system can cause this and also because of the electronics in the car, the battery does not last as long. He also advised me that the electronics are all somehow interconnected to each other so it is hard to determine what other electronic component may be causing the battery to drain. I dont accept the answer that the battery does not last as long because of the electronics as I have had Fords with just as much electronics and did not have this problem. Acura service runs a battery check every time I take by for oil changes, etc to check if the battery capacity is low. I know this will start happening to me one day so that is why I bought that battery jump starter at Sears (around $50) and keep it in the trunk. Something else that could be done (I do this with my tractor that I dont start for several months), I bought a trickle charger and connected it to the battery and put a quick disconnect in the wire so it is easy to disconnect as without keeping the trickle charger on it, the battery goes dead in a year or two and will not hold a charge. I am very interested if you do find the root cause of the battery drain.
  • My rear driver window open by it self when I start my car so I have to drive with it open. The only way to close it is while the car is running and in park i have to open the driver door, then push the pull up on the button on the rear window, turn the car off, then close the doors. I think it has someting to do with the swithc located on the body that the door hits was it is closed. I check the fuses and some are missing and some are not even the correct amp indictated in the manual or fuse cover. The alram will also go off for no reason when parked. Any help or suggestions.
  • Thanks Trailhiker for all the information and ideas. I appreciate it! I will let you know if I ever get to the bottom of this one.
  • In the past year I have had 3 times where the car would not start. In each instance everything lights up on the dash but the engine does not turnover. I have jump started the car and it started and then had no further problems.

    The first time it happened I had left the radio on in the garage for an extended period. The second time it was only for less than 10 minutes and this last time I was hooking up a Bluetooth phone device in less than 5 minutes. This last time there was a starnge clicking sound and I knew something was wrong and then it wouldn't start.
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