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If you’re in the market for a good luxury sedan at a price tag that won’t break your budget, consider getting the Acura TL. It’s got a roomy interior, fuel-efficient engine options, and decent handling on the road. The most recent model years boast advanced features, while older TLs boast a plethora of high-tech gear. Better yet, Acura TLs have average depreciation rates, according to an analysis by CarEdge.com.

Are Acura TLs Reliable Cars?

The Acura TL is considered highly reliable. RepairPal gives it a reliability rating of 4.0 out of .5, placing it in 6th out of the 31 luxury cars in its segment. Furthermore, the TL has excellent ownership costs. The frequency at which it develops problems is considered average, and the severity of repairs is low. The TL rarely develops major issues.

Acura TLs can hit 100,000 miles or more and still drive like they’re fresh from the Honda factory. If you want to extend your TL’s service life, just stick to its maintenance schedule and replace old or damaged parts immediately.

Common Acura TL Problems

Produced from 1996 to 2014, the Acura TL was one of the best-selling models of Honda’s luxury brand. While the TLX has replaced it in Acura’s lineup, the TL remains a viable vehicle for new and experienced drivers alike, especially its 2008 model year.

Even a vehicle as reliable as the Acura TL can develop various issues as it puts on the years and miles. A comparison by CarComplaints.com found that the 2006 model year drew the highest number of complaints, while the 2010 TL is considered the worst model year.

Here are the most common Acura TL problems that can show up in your sedan:

Engine Troubles

2010 Acura TL owners praise the vehicle’s engine for performing like its race car equivalents. However, many of them have also warned that the engine consumed oil rather quickly. They were forced to change the engine oil and keep the oil pan topped up frequently. When they inspected the engines, they found no signs of leaks or blowouts.

2010 Acura TL SH AWD Acura Newsroom
2010 Acura TL owners praise the vehicle’s engine for performing like its race car equivalents. However, many of them have also warned that the engine consumed oil rather quickly. Image source: Acura Newsroom.

If the drivers failed to replenish the oil in time, the engine’s parts wore out faster because of insufficient lubrication. These damaged parts may cause various engine problems that can wreck the engine. In at least one instance, the driver didn’t realize the engine was low on oil because of a bad oil sensor.

Electrical Problems

The Acura TL has many features that make driving more convenient. One of these devices is the odometer that keeps track of how many miles the luxury sedan has accumulated.

Unfortunately, the odometer in some 2000 TLs can die out fairly early. This problem didn’t disable the vehicle, but the flawed readings could mislead potential buyers. Drivers looking to sell their TL had to include a warning in the bill of sale that the odometer did not show the actual miles.

While the worst electrical problem (odometer failure) went to the 2000 Acura TL, it’s the 2006 model year that drew the most number of complaints. Many 2006 TL drivers have complained about battery drain issues that left the battery dead and the car unable to start. In some cases, the problem was caused by an electronic device drawing power even when it was turned off. Disconnecting this faulty part usually fixes the problem.

Some 2007 TL drivers reported a similar problem. Their battery drained overnight, preventing the engine from starting. In addition to devices constantly pulling power from the battery, a faulty relay could also cause this problem.

Interior Accessories Issues

Like any luxury vehicle worth its title, the 2006 Acura TL boasts high-quality interior accessories like a dashboard that accentuates the sedan’s sleek lines. Unfortunately, the dashboard can develop unsightly fractures that ruin the panel’s appearance.

In many cases, the first cracks show up around the passenger side airbag. Depending on their severity, they can disable the safety device. More fractures can show up across the rest of the dashboard.

2006 Acura TL Interior Acura Newsroom
Cracks can develop around the passenger side airbag of the 2006 Acura TL. Image source: Acura Newsroom.

This problem is not limited to the 2006 model year. Fractures can also form on the dashboards of some 2004 and 2005 Acura TL sedans. These cracks also tend to appear around the passenger side airbag.

Transmission Troubles

There’s plenty of laudable things about the 1st generation Acura TL. They are comfortable, look stylish, and have good acceleration. However, many of the vehicles built from 1999 to 2003 reportedly have a defective automatic transmission.

The 2003 Acura TL is considered the worst when it comes to transmission reliability. Known issues include shifting to lower gears, slipping between gears, and sticking when the driver shifts between gears. In the worst-case scenario, the transmission can fail outright and engage safety mode. The car can also jerk all over the road.

In most cases, the entire transmission needs replacement. This repair job can cost thousands of dollars at a dealership. There’s also no guarantee that the repaired transmission won’t develop the same problem again.

Despite its age and the end of its production, you can’t go wrong with this luxury sedan. Read up on the most common Acura TL problems for the model year you own or plan to get a better idea of its cost of ownership. Knowing the issues your TL may develop will also help you prevent costly repairs.

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