Which Acura TL Years To Avoid and Why? (Explained)

The Acura TL was once an underappreciated premium sedan that provided excellent value in comparison to its German competitors.

Despite its conservative design, it was universally regarded as a dependable and fun automobile during its run. It does, however, have its flaws.

2003 was the most difficult Acura TL year to avoid because of its severe transmission problem. Many owners complained about two to three gallons of oil being required for oil changes also.

Continue reading to find out more about the Acura TL and make a proper decision.

Acura TL Years to Avoid (List of Years)

Overall, the Acura TL has a high level of dependability. However, transmission failure was most common in the 2003 Acura TL. But there’s no disputing that some years are simply worse than others.

These are the Acura TL years to stay away from if you’re looking for a used car:

  • 2003 Acura TL
  • 2005 Acura TL
  • 2006 Acura TL
  • 2007 Acura TL
  • 2010 Acura TL

According to CarComplaints.com, the Acura TL is one of the most problematic for years, with over 400 consumer complaints to the NHTSA. Transmission failure, car rattles during acceleration, and peeling clear coat are the top three most serious faults with this vehicle.

Many of the concerns are about sloppy gear shifting or outright failure.

Some drivers also reported the vehicle shaking or vibrating during acceleration, which was most likely caused by the transmission. The unpleasant and unsightly peeling clear coat has also been extensively reported.

2003 Acura TL Problems:

The transmission is the most problematic component of the Acura TL. The 2003 Acura TL had the highest number of transmission failures.

The transmission received a severity rating of 9, which means “very poor,” due to the massive number of complaints.

Shifting to lower speeds, slipping between gears, and sticking as the driver moves between gears are all known concerns. The transmission may fail and enter safe mode in the worst-case situation. The car can jerk all over the road as well.

2005 Acura TL Problems:

The 2005 Acura TL is yet another year to avoid, with over 375 NHTSA user complaints. Cracked dashboards, transmission failures, and poor in-car entertainment are the top three sources of problems.

The dashboard of several Acura TLs has obvious cracks, according to many owners. The cracks could penetrate through the airbag area and gauge cluster in some circumstances.

This issue is not only unsightly, but it also creates a safety risk because the airbag lights would remain illuminated due to the cracks. The most usual (and most expensive) solution is to completely replace the dashboard.

2006 Acura TL Problems:

According to carcomplaints.com, this 2006 Acura TL model has over 350 complaints. Interior accessory issues are the most common complaint. Electrical issues cannot be overlooked.

2007 Acura TL Problems:

Here comes another worst model of Acura TL. One of the main reasons for avoiding is hesitancy in transmission. This model should likewise be avoided due to electrical and interior difficulties.

For these reasons, more than 150 complaints have been recorded against this model.

2010 Acura TL Problems:

According to carcomplaints.com, this 2013 Acura TL was dubbed one of the worst models. Its fault with excessive oil consumption made it one of the most difficult Acura TL years to avoid.

Regrettably, the 2010 Acura TL didn’t end there. Defective brake rotors were also a concern, with a severity rating of ten, or extremely bad.

The front wheels began to vibrate, and the owners discovered that the brake rotors were the source of the problem. The year 2010 was also marked by the onset of the airbag light. Owners had to take their cars in to have the airbag light turned off after 48,000 miles on average.

What Makes These Acura TL Years Worth Avoiding?

The Acura TL is a powerful luxury sedan that also has the bad distinction of receiving the most complaints of any Acura on CarComplaints.com.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these concerns, focusing on some of the details within each one and discussing which models were more susceptible to the problems. The more information you have, the better decision you will be able to make when purchasing your next used Acura TL.

1. Transmission Problems

The Acura 3.2TL was released for the 1999 model year, although this more powerful variant was much more troublesome.

Because of blocked oil passages, debris damage, and/or heat-related internal damage, the torque converter, 3rd gear clutch pack, and the complete transmission were common failures.

In the vast majority of situations, the transmission must be replaced in its entirety. At a dealership, this type of repair can run into hundreds of dollars. There’s also no guarantee that the repaired transmission won’t have the same issue.

2. Electrical Issues

While the 2000 Acura TL had the greatest electrical problem (odometer failure), the 2006 Acura TL had the most complaints.

Many 2006 TL drivers have reported battery drain issues that resulted in the car being unable to start due to a dead battery. An electrical device draining power even when it was shut off was the source of the problem in some circumstances. The problem is usually solved by disconnecting this malfunctioning component.

3. Engine Troubles

The engine in the 2010 Acura TL is praised by owners for performing like that of race cars. However, many of them have expressed concern about how quickly the engine devoured oil.

They were required to routinely change the motor oil and replenish the oil pan. They detected no signs of leaks or blowouts when they examined the engines.

Because of insufficient lubrication, the engine’s parts wore down faster if the drivers failed to replenish the oil on time.

Damaged parts can create a variety of engine difficulties, which can lead to the engine’s failure. A malfunctioning oil sensor caused the driver to be unaware that the engine was low on oil in at least one case.

4. Interior Accessories Issues

The passenger-side airbag is frequently where the first cracks appear. They may be able to disable the safety device depending on their severity. More cracks may appear on the dashboard as time goes on.

Unfortunately, ugly fractures in the dashboard might detract from the aesthetic of the panel.

This issue isn’t specific to the 2006 model year. The dashboards of some Acura TL sedans from 2004 and 2005 can also develop cracks. These cracks are also common around the passenger side airbag.

Which Acura TL Years are Safe to Buy?

Now that you’ve realized which Acura TL years to avoid, you can focus on the models that you can buy pre-owned or used with confidence.

2009 Acura TL

The 2009 Acura TL was the first of the fourth and final generation. With only 60+ complaints, according to Car Complaints, the 2009 Acura TL receives the Seal of Awesome.

When it comes to issues, cracking paint and high oil consumption are two of the most typical issues with this vehicle.

2013 Acura TL

The 2013 Acura TL is a very reliable vehicle, according to J.D. Power, with a Quality and Reliability score of 86 out of 100.

This is the Acura TL to obtain if you’re planning to buy a new car. It comes with a 280-horsepower V6 engine that delivers sporty handling in both FWD and AWD modes.


It might be difficult to choose the optimum year when purchasing a secondhand vehicle. You could end up squandering your money if you choose the wrong model.

Although the TL has a few flaws, users of 2009 and 2013 have generally been pleased with its dependability. We’ve reviewed the worst years and some of the most common difficulties consumers have raised over time, as well as some of the greatest years you can buy an Acura TL.

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