6 Most Common Acura TLX Problems (Explained) - Engine Patrol (2023)

The TLX was born in 2014 when Acura made the bold move of combining two of its older models, the TSX and the TL.

The result? A premium, performance-focused sedan that is hard to look away from and offers class-leading reliability.

Like any vehicle though, it’s not without its quirks and issues – we’ll take a closer look at these in this article.

Table of Contents

6 Most Common Acura TLX Problems (Explained) - Engine Patrol (1)

1. Transmission Jerks Between Gears

The most commonly reported problem with the Acura TLX is related to its transmission, these issues were widespread on the 2015 models.

According to data from Car Complaints and Car Problem Zoo, two sites dedicated to collecting car owner feedback, the 2015 TLX was plagued by a clunky transmission issue that had a number of symptoms, including:

  • The car jerks and hesitates
  • Downshifts dramatically
  • Slams into gear when accelerating and when slowing down
  • Jolts all the time
  • Lurches forward

These symptoms have been reported when the car is cold and when warmed up.

Here’s what some unhappy owners had to say:

“The transmission jerks and hesitates between gears, especially after driving the car for more than 5/10 minutes. It doesn’t do it all the time, but enough to drive you crazy and occasionally make driving a challenge. I have been back to Acura 5 times and they have done the software updates and say they changed the transmission. Nothing has changed. I met with the regional rep who informed me that is how high gear transmissions shift because of all the gears. My previous car was an 8 speed auto and never, ever did this. Then he said the transmission was designed this way to meet government economy rates. You are kidding me? I felt like I got the complaint run-around and my only solution is arbitration.”

“Same issue as everybody – else transmission is a mystery and jerks from 1 to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd. Took the car to the dealer twice. They admit the issue. Better now after the second attempt, however don’t consider it resolved yet. Had a TL 2012, no problems with it. Very disappointed on this issue, however experience with the dealer has been exceptional. They are concerned and trying to resolve the issue. Perhaps the last time owning an Acura though as this is over a 45K car here in Canada, therefore not acceptable in my opinion.”


In some cases, owners have been able to have this problem resolved by having the transmission flushed and a software update of the transmission however this has not worked for everyone.

A lawsuit was filed over the 2015 TLX transmission problems, that alleges the transmission is unsafe and a hazard to driving. The lawsuit also alleges that the car is made with a defective transmission, which the automaker knew about and hid from its customers.

In 2014, the 2015 TLX was recalled to replace the transmission although this was for issues with shifting into park, a separate issue altogether – see below.


2. Shifting to Park Problems

The 2015 TLX model was also plagued by another transmission issue, owners reported that the car would shift to park whilst driving whilst other owners were unable to shift to park at all.

The following symptoms have been reported:

  • Car shifts to park whilst driving
  • Warning lights on the dash illuminated
  • Vehicle lost power and stalls
  • Car suddenly decelerates
  • When shifting into park the car rolls forward
  • Car can’t be shifted from park
  • Car can’t be shifted to park

Here’s one owners account:

“At 70 mph the vehicle lost power, all warning lights came on, I had to maneuver thru traffic and drift to the shoulder, the transmission was locked up and could not be shifted from park to any gear, the accelerator would not work. The car had to be towed. The dealership said the vehicle computer had to be re-flashed/programmed. This condition could have caused an accident for an inexperienced driver. There are no fault codes indicated as to why or what caused this issue. I did find through research that a wiring harness is causing these conditions in the make, model and year vehicle. Also the transmission is related to this problem.”


There have been two transmission recalls for the 2015 TLX, its always a good idea to run a VIN check on the NHTSA website to see if you have been affected. Here is a summary of the recalls:

  • 2015 TLX recalled for an automatic transmission parking pawl that may become contaminated or the park rod may become dislodged or broken. This may prevent the transmission from shifting into the Park position, therefore the vehicle might roll away.
  • 2015 TLX recalled as the wire harness connections may have insufficient crimps, and, as a result, the transmission may unexpectedly shift to neutral, increasing the risk of a crash.

3. Auto Idle Stop Problems

A commonly reported problem on the Acura TLX is due to its Auto Idle Stop feature or sometimes referred to as Idle Engine Stop, this has been reported on a number of model years including 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The features is designed tohelp maximize fuel efficiency by automatically shutting off the engine when not in use, and then automatically restarting the engine when it’s time to go. Every time the vehicle is started, idle stop is automatically enabled.

Owners have reported that the feature works fine most of the time but there have been occasions where the car didn’t turn itself back on again once they lifted their foot off the brake pedal.

Here’s a typical example:

“I stopped (stationary) at a light to make a left turn into the freeway. While stationary the engine went into automatic idle stop to save gas and once the light turned green the car was not able to turn on at all and had to call aaa. It was giving me error messages in regards to fuel pump and brake system etc. In the dash.”

Other owners have also reported the following:

  • Intermittent Idle Stop problems
  • Electronics freeze up
  • Car requires numerous presses of the start button to get the car to fully shut down and restart


Owners have been able to rectify this by simply replacing the battery, however in some instances the starter motor may need replacing too.

However, some owners have reported that after 3-4 months of being problem free following a battery swap – the Idle Stop problems returned, and so a battery swap might just be a quick fix for a deeper problem possibly related to the charging strategy of the car, potentially an incorrectly sized alternator.

One solution is to disable the Auto Idle Stop feature although this might be extremely difficult.

4. Vehicle Stability Assist Problems

A number of Acura TLX drivers have reported receiving error messages on the dash about the Vehicle Stability Assist, this is reported on models from 2015 – 2018.

Most commonly a warning message appears reading:

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“Vehicle Stability Assist: 61 – 12”

Across owner forums such as Acurazine.com and TLXForums.com this is a topic that’s been posted about many times.

Vehicle Stability Assist is a great safety feature in the winter when roads are slippery – should the system detect understeer or oversteer i.e. loss of control, it will stabilize the vehicle and correct its trajectory, the response is so quick that the instability may be corrected before you even know it’s occurring.


In most instances owners have been able to rectify this problem by replacing the battery.

If you are experiencing this problem the first thing you should do is get your battery tested and go from there.

5. Brake Pedal Noise

A number of 2021 Acura TLX owners have reported having problems with their brakes. Specifcially – when the brakes are depressed, their is a loud spring release / clicking noise.

Owners have reported the noise has got progressively louder as they accumulate more miles.


Despite this being a well knwon issue there isn’t currently solution, here what the owners have had to say:

“My dealer won’t try to fix it until Acura comes out with a fix. I think our best bet is that enough owners complain to Acura about it and hopefully they come up with a fix.”

“My dealership advised me to contact Acura, so I plan to write them an email soon.”

6. Horn Rattle / Clicking Noise

Across various Acura owners forums you can find a number of TLX owners complaining that their is a rattle noise coming from their horn.

Here’s how one owner describes it:

Anyone else have a little rattle in their horn? (center of steering wheel) I can get it to stop if I pull the top lip up towards me but that seems to last only about 30 minutes or so.

“The rattle is not very loud but clearly audible and consistent over moderately rough road. (vibrations to steering wheel create the rattle) I’m tempted to ask dealer to take a look next service.”


If you’re experieincg the horn rattle you may need a replacement clock spring and a replacement plastic trim for where the airbag sits on.

Other owners have had the issue resolved by having their steering rack replaced.

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Although here’s one owners DIY fix:

“I have a DIY fix that has solved 95% of the problem. Gently pull the horn button away from the back of the steering wheel, and inserted some felt tape at like the 2 o clock position just behind the horn button.”

6 Most Common Acura TLX Problems (Explained) - Engine Patrol (2)

Acura TLX Model Years With the Most Problems

To get a better idea of which Acura TLX has the most problems the fairest way is to compare models based on the number of vehicles sold in relation to the number of reported problems.

We’re using Car Complaints PPMY index which means problems reported per thousand vehicles per Year.

For example, newer cars will have fewer complaints simply because they’ve been around for less time.

Based on this index, the most problematic years are:

  1. 2015 – 0.84 PPMY
  2. 2016 – 0.46 PPMY
  3. 2007 – 0.45 PPMY

And the least problematic years are:

  1. 2020 – 0.17 PPMY
  2. 2018 – 0.29 PPMY
  3. 2019 – 0.37 PPMY
Acura TLX
Model Year
ProblemsSalesVehicle AgePPMY Index

Source: Car Problem Zoo

Acura TLX Pros and Cons

If you’re considering an Acura TLX as your next car you might be wondering what its strengths and weaknesses are…


  • Head turning aesthetics
  • Responsive driving characteristics
  • Solid value
  • Strong reliability ratings
  • Excellent build qulity
  • Plenty of standard equipment
  • Top notch optional audio systems


  • Small trunk
  • Cramped rear quarters for the sedans size
  • Not as engaging to drive as segments top choices
  • Hindered by significant curb weight
  • Not as luxurious as some alternatives


Acura TLX Reliability Compared to Similar Cars

Consumer Reports rankings detailed below is based on the model’s newest three years, the Acura TLX sits at second place, with a great score of 87/100.

Make & ModelConsumer Reports
Reliability Score
Infiniti Q5090
Acura TLX87
Audi A477
Tesla Model 359
BMW 3 Series58
Lexus IS58
Genesis G7055
Volkswagen Arteon49
Kia Stinger46
Volvo S6029
Polestar 228
Cadillac CT527
Alfa Romeo Giulia18

Source: Consumer Reports

Acura TLX Used Value

We’ve taken a look on Car Gurus to gauge the resale value of a Acura TLX, below are typical asking prices for each model year.

According to Car Edge, an Acura TLX will depreciate 34% after 5 years and have a 5 year resale value of $30,757.

Note: Used model prices will vary depending on trim level.

Model YearMileage (miles)Resale Price

Source: Car Gurus



What Do Owners Like and Dislike About the Acura TLX?

Based on owner feedback from the Kelley Blue Book site here are what real-life owners love and hate about the Acura TLX.


  1. Great handling
  2. Stylish
  3. Upscale interior
  4. Quiet ride
  5. Fun to drive
  6. Build quality
  7. Lots of features


  1. Limited colors
  2. Fuel economy
  3. Technology

Owners Reviews

“I drove the top of line Advance TLX and it was very comfy and comfortable. It had features like heated/ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, Apple CarPlay, BSM and Lane departure warning I would recommend this car”

Source: Kelley Blue Book

“I love my TLX, it’s beautiful inside out, very stylish, comfortable and reliable. I bought the advance pack and I love the audio system. Great value overall”

Source: Kelley Blue Book

“This car is fantastic!! Let me say to many who believe it to be just a “High end Accord” drive one, there is a world of difference between the two…”

Source: Edmunds

How Reliable Are Acura Cars?

According to a recent report from Consumer Reports, Acura are ranked the 8th most reliable car manufacturer out of 28 brands, with a score of 64/100.


Source: Consumer Reports








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How long do Acura engines last? ›

On average, Acuras can last between 250,000 and 300,000 miles.

How long does Acura TLX transmission last? ›

Both generations of the TLX are equipped with automatic transmissions that are expected to last 250,000 – 300,000 miles.

Is Acura TLX a reliable car? ›

The Acura TLX Reliability Rating is 4.5 out of 5.0, which ranks it 1st out of 31 for luxury midsize cars. The average annual repair cost is $440 which means it has excellent ownership costs.

Does the Acura TLX have a timing chain? ›

The 2021 Acura TLX 2.0L engine has a timing chain while the 3.0L engine has a timing belt.

What is high mileage for an Acura? ›

The Acura TL has an expected mileage of 265.000 and we have models that have recorded mileages as high as 330.000.
How Reliable Is Acura TL Compared To Its Competitors?
ModelAcura TL
Sample Size877
Expected Mileage265.000
Highest Mileage330.000
6 more columns
14 Sept 2022

How long does an Acura transmission last? ›

The transmission in an Acura can last anywhere from 10,000 miles to well over 200,000 miles. Specific models and model years are more prone to transmission issues than others, but aside from inherent vehicle malfunctions, regular vehicle maintenance is the best way to elongate a transmission's lifespan.

What car has the longest lasting engine? ›

These Are Some Of The Most Reliable Car Engines Ever Made
  • 10/10 Toyota 2AR-FE Engine.
  • 9/10 Toyota 1ZZ Engine.
  • 8/10 Honda B Series Engine.
  • 7/10 Honda K Series Engine.
  • 6/10 Lexus 1UZFE Engine.
  • 5/10 Lexus 2UR-GSE Engine.
  • 4/10 BMW M57 Diesel Engine.
  • 3/10 Nissan RB26DETT Engine.
5 Jan 2022

Is TLX expensive to maintain? ›

Overall - the Acura Tlx has yearly car maintenance costs total to $440 .

Is Acura TLX good in snow? ›

The Acura TLX can perform well in the winter and in snow, especially when equipped with SH-AWD which helps maximize traction. It has a respectable ground clearance of 5.3″ and features such as Vehicle Stability Assist, ABS, Traction Control and AcuraWatch make the TLX a safe choice for snow-covered roads.

Is Acura TLX fuel efficient? ›

The base TLX trim earns 22 city mpg and 31mpg on the highway. If a 4-cylinder TLX model is configured with All-Wheel Drive, its fuel economy will drop slightly to 21 city miles per gallon and 29 MPG highway.

What transmissions last the longest? ›

Manual transmission cars do tend to last longer than their automatic transmission counterparts. Why is that? Because in general, the ability to shift into the necessary gear makes it gentler on the vehicle overall. However, two things make this less likely to be true in certain cases.

How do I reset my Acura TLX transmission? ›

Here are the instructions for doing a transmission reset.
  1. Push the START/STOP button: press it twice without pressing the brake pedal. DO NOT START THE ENGINE. ...
  2. Your Acura dash lights should be on at this point. ...
  3. After the transmission has reset, the CEL will go off.
  4. Turn the car off and restart it.
25 Aug 2020

How often should I change my transmission? ›

The average recommended interval for manual transmissions is around 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

What does TLX stand for? ›

TLXTask Load Index
TLXT-Cell Leukemia, Homeobox
TLXThin Layer Explosive
TLXThermomyces lanuginosus xylanase
4 more rows

Are Acura expensive to fix? ›

Acura is a luxury brand, but the cost of the vehicles don't carry the higher luxury price tag. They are also not expensive to maintain. According to YourMechanic.com, Acura ranks 11th out of 30 on a list of the most and least expensive cars to maintain.

Does Acura TLX have CVT transmission? ›

Does Acura Have a CVT Transmission? Acura models do not utilize the CVT transmission, but you can find a variety of two different transmission across the Acura brand, with varying degrees of speeds.

How much is a timing belt for Acura? ›

Acura Major Service – Timing Belt Replacement Costs

Because of this, you can expect the Acura belt replacement service to cost anywhere from $500 to even $1,000 or more. Fortunately, the recommended replacement intervals for most timing belts are around 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

How much is it to change a timing belt? ›

The real cost is in the labor, because a lot of parts need to be disassembled to get to the belt. Shopping around to get a few quotes is your best bet to get the best deal, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $367 to $585.

Why does Acura use timing belts? ›

The timing belt works to synchronize the valves, pistons, and cylinders within the engine of your Acura. It helps draw fuel in and optimizes combustion. When your timing belt is working at its best, you'll enjoy swift acceleration and responsive steering. It will also help your engine run great for years to come.

Do acuras hold their value? ›

Depreciation. How well an Acura holds its value depends on the specific model. Many Acura models do not hold their value well, but some do.

Is the Acura TSX or TL better? ›

TL is a higher quality car. Compare to TL, TSX car quality is lower. TL's resale value is comparatively less.

Who has the best automatic transmission? ›

The 10 Best Automatic Transmission Cars Of 2020
  • Hyundai Santro (AMT) Hyundai Santro. ...
  • Maruti Suzuki Baleno (CVT) Maruti Suzuki Baleno | BS6 Cars you can buy right now. ...
  • Kia Sonet (DCT) ...
  • Ford Ecosport (Torque Converter) ...
  • Volkswagen Vento/Polo (Torque Converter) ...
  • Honda City (CVT) ...
  • Hyundai Creta (DCT) ...
  • Toyota Yaris (CVT)
24 Dec 2020

What should you not do with an automatic transmission? ›

Auto Advisory: 4 things you should never do in an automatic transmission vehicle
  • Never coast down a hill while in neutral. ...
  • Stop the vehicle completely before changing the gear. ...
  • Don't launch your vehicle. ...
  • Never put your car in neutral at a signal.
13 Jun 2017

How can I tell if my transmission is going bad? ›

What Are the Transmission Failure Symptoms?
  • Refusal to Switch Gears. If your vehicle refuses or struggles to change gears, you are more than likely facing a problem with your transmission system. ...
  • Burning Smell. ...
  • Noises When in Neutral. ...
  • Slipping Gears. ...
  • Dragging Clutch. ...
  • Leaking Fluid. ...
  • Check Engine Light. ...
  • Grinding or Shaking.
16 Mar 2017

What car breaks down the most? ›

Beyond the brands: The most and least reliable vehicles
RankMost ReliableLeast Reliable
1.Toyota PriusChevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500
2.Lexus NXSubaru Ascent
3.Buick EncoreVolkswagen Atlas
4.Lexus GXJeep Compass
6 more rows
22 Mar 2021

How can I make my car last 300000 miles? ›

Clean the throttle body and fuel injectors every 30,000 miles—unless a gas additive is used regularly. Change spark plugs every 60,000 miles. Replace plug wires, if applicable, every 100,000 to 120,000 miles.

Can a car last 500000 miles? ›

THERE is no one secret to getting your car to live to a ripe old odometer reading. Luck could get you there, but it is no surprise that many vehicles that have reached 200,000, 400,000 and even 500,000 miles have received extraordinary care and maintenance, often with the owners doing the routine work themselves.

Does the 2017 Acura TLX have transmission problems? ›

They're often easy to notice. 2017 Acura TLX transmission problems could include shifting delays, grinding when accelerating, the car shaking at any speed, or whistling noises and a burning smell coming from under the hood.

Does the 2015 Acura TLX have transmission problems? ›

Honda (American Honda Motor Co.) is recalling certain model year 2015 Acura TLX 2WD and 4WD vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the transmission wire harness connections may have insufficient crimps, and, as a result, the transmission may unexpectedly shift to neutral.

What year Acura TSX have transmission problems? ›

2. Transmission Failure. According to Car Complaints, one of the worst problems faced by TSX owners, is premature transmission failure. This has been reported on models from 2004 – 2005 and occurred at an average mileage of 100,000 miles with a repair cost of $2500.

Is a 2017 Acura TLX reliable? ›

The 2017 Acura TLX has a composed ride, a quiet interior, and an energetic available V6 engine. However it ranks toward the bottom of our luxury midsize car rankings due to its poor predicted reliability rating, below-average cargo space, and underwhelming base engine.

When should the transmission fluid be changed on a 2015 Acura TLX? ›

2015 Acura TLX Transmission Fluid

If you don't routinely change your fluids at least every 30,000 miles or so, you may find that your 2015 Acura TLX transmission will slip.

How do you check the transmission fluid on a 2015 Acura TLX? ›

How to Check the ATF Level 2015 Acura 9-speed A/T - YouTube

Is Acura TLX a CVT? ›

Does Acura Have a CVT Transmission? Acura models do not utilize the CVT transmission, but you can find a variety of two different transmission across the Acura brand, with varying degrees of speeds.

Why did Acura stop making the TSX? ›

Acura Canada said that they would eventually sell the TSX Sport Wagon, citing market conditions as the reason for the delay, but ultimately never marketed it there. While the CL-series Honda Accord Tourer was quite successful in its market of Europe, station wagons were less popular in the United States.

How many miles can an Acura TSX last? ›

The Acura TSX is a highly reliable and durable car that can last between 250,000 – 300,000 miles when properly maintained and driven conservatively. Based on driving 15,000 miles per year, you can expect the TSX to last 17 – 20 years before requiring uneconomical repairs or breaking down.

Do Acura ILX have transmission problems? ›

Then there are the technical issues. The 2013 ILX has suffered from suspension problems, electrical issues, and transmission failure, CarComplaints.com reports. Although these issues are common in old cars with high mileage, several problems occurred early on in the car's life.

Which Acura TL has transmission problems? ›

The second generation Acura 3.2TL was introduced for 1999, but this more powerful model was considerably more trouble prone. Common failures included the torque converter, 3rd gear clutch pack, and the entire transmission due to blocked oil passages, damage from debris and/or heat related internal damage.

Can I put regular gas in a 2015 Acura TLX? ›

Your Acura ILX, TLX, RLX, MDX, or RDX will run fine on regular gasoline, but using the recommended premium unleaded 91 octane fuel is sure to boost performance, increase longevity, and keep your Acura running as it should – providing you with the peace of mind you've been seeking.

Is Acura TLX good in snow? ›

The Acura TLX can perform well in the winter and in snow, especially when equipped with SH-AWD which helps maximize traction. It has a respectable ground clearance of 5.3″ and features such as Vehicle Stability Assist, ABS, Traction Control and AcuraWatch make the TLX a safe choice for snow-covered roads.


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