Acura TL Transmission Problems [4 Common Issues]

In this post, I’ve covered the common problems your Acura TL’s transmission may develop over time and how to resolve them.

Acura TL

But first, let’s explore the common reasons your car’s transmission may go bad.

The transmission in your Acura TL may become faulty due to the following issues:

  • Dirty transmission fluid
  • A broken transmission filter
  • A bad torque converter
  • A defective transmission shift solenoid
  • A dead transmission.

Acura TL Transmission Problems

1. Car jerks when changing gears

A common sign of a bad transmission in an Acura TL car is that it makes the car jerk when changing gears. Sometimes, the transmission may also pause for some seconds before shifting to a new gear. This issue is usually caused by dirty transmission fluid.

Your transmission fluid lubricates the internal parts of your transmission to help them work smoothly. But when the transmission gets dirty, it loses its lubricating abilities. As a result, the components in your transmission will find it harder to move. The extra effort these parts expend while moving makes the car jerk.

You can fix this problem by changing your transmission fluid. But first, you need to replace your transmission filter. Removing the filter first will prevent the transmission fluid from getting dirty again. You’ll find your transmission filter below the dipstick.

Once you’ve replaced your transmission filter, you can start changing your transmission fluid. You’ll need to drain the old fluid before adding the new one. We suggest using the Honda DW-1 fluid as a replacement for your old fluid.

Avoid flushing your old transmission fluid at once, or it might kill the transmission. Instead, do a 3×3 drain and fill.

A 3×3 drain and fill is where you remove 3 quarts of the old oil and add 3 quarts of the new fluid over three periods of time. If you drain the fluid for the first time, you’ll need to wait for about 100 miles before draining it again. You can use a 5-quart oil container to measure the fluid when draining it.

Your car should stop jerking when changing gears after you’ve drained the old fluid for the third time.

2. Drive or Reverse gear won’t engage

If your transmission doesn’t engage the Drive or Reverse gear when you select it, the system has an issue. In this situation, you might feel like your car is rolling, but you’ve lost power to the wheels.

A loss of the drive gear often indicates that you have a faulty torque converter.

Your torque converter transforms the power from your engine into hydraulic pressure and sends it to the transmission. The transmission then uses the pressure to operate your gears.

When the torque converter becomes faulty, your transmission will lose the hydraulic pressure it provides. This may cause the system to stop engaging gears.

Consider replacing your torque converter if your Drive or Reverse gear won’t engage. Check the bottom of your car to locate your torque converter.

Another reason your Drive gear may fail to engage is a bad transmission solenoid. Your transmission solenoid moves fluid around the transmission whenever you change gears. This ensures that your transmission changes gears swiftly.

If you have a bad solenoid, the transmission may keep grinding while trying to change gears. As a result, it may shift gears slowly, or worse—it will stay in the old gear.

If you are trying to change gears when your Drive gear stops engaging, you’re more likely to have a faulty solenoid than a bad torque converter.

You can fix this issue by replacing your transmission shift solenoid. Locate this solenoid inside the valve body of your transmission.

3. Transmission won’t upshift

You can tell that your Acura TL transmission is bad if it can’t shift to a higher gear. Your engine may rev, but you won’t be able to drive fast.

If your transmission doesn’t upshift, the system might be dying.

To resolve this problem, you’ll need to replace the transmission. That said, a new transmission can be quite expensive.

So, if your car is already old, you should consider rebuilding the transmission instead of replacing it. This will help you save money that you can spend on getting a new car.

Ask your dealer to rebuild your transmission.

4. Transmission keeps slipping

If your transmission keeps moving out of gear, the system is problematic. The only way to fix this issue is to change your transmission.

You might also want to check the common problems with Acura TLX transmission.

Acura TL Models with the Most Transmission Problems

These Acura TL models have the most transmission problems:

  • 2002 Acura TL
  • 2003 Acura TL
  • 2004 Acura TL

Data from shows that the 2003 Acura TL has the highest number of transmission issues across all TL models. Thirty-eight users of this model reported problems with their transmission.

The 2002 and 2004 Acura TL are two other models with problematic transmissions. While the 2002 model got 18 negative reports from its users, 11 drivers complained about the transmission in the 2004 Acura TL.

Acura TL Models with the Least Transmission Problems

Here are the Acura TL models with the least transmission problems:

  • 1997 Acura TL
  • 1998 Acura TL
  • 2010 Acura TL
  • 2011 Acura TL
  • 2013 Acura TL
  • 2014 Acura TL.

According to, none of the Acura TL models in the list above got any complaints about transmission problems.

You may also like to read about Ford Fusion transmission problems.

Cost of Fixing Acura TL Transmission Problems

It takes between $300 – $3500 to fix a transmission problem in an Acura TL.

Tips to Prevent Acura TL Transmission Problems

  • Don’t load your vehicle beyond its capacity.
  • Always remember to shift to Park after parking your car.
  • Change your transmission fluid after every 30,000 miles.
  • Don’t shift to Reverse gear while driving.
  • Warm up your car before driving it.

Wrapping Up

You’ll stop facing these problems once you apply the solutions we’ve recommended. Please note that it’s best to allow an expert to fix the car instead of doing it yourself.

Additional Resources:

  1. Acurazine.
  2. Carcomplaints.