The Acura TLX is an affordable option for a midsize luxury car that has proven to be reliable throughout the years. With the TLX, you get many of the benefits you would get with a more expensive option for a lower price. However, the Acura TLX has a few common problems and issues you may want to look out for.
The most common problems for the Acura TLX are related to the transmission. Certain models are known to have several issues regarding the shifting of the transmission. In addition, you may run into problems with the fuel pump or issues with certain features such as the auto stop idle and stability control features.
However, these common problems are usually specific to certain models, leaving plenty of good options for a reliable vehicle. In this article, we will cover the most common problems of the Acura TLX as well as the solutions to these problems. We will also look closely at the reliability of the TLX.
Acura TLX Issues?
If you’re experiencing problems with your Acura TLX, chances are you could have one of the common problems that many other TLX owners have experienced. Luckily, we’ve researched these problems to find the best solutions for each of them.
We’ve also considered all the essential factors to determine the reliability of the Acura TLX.
How Reliable is the Acura TLX
Overall, the Acura TLX is known to be a reliable car. It has maintained good reliability ratings regardless of how the results are determined.
The TLX’s reliability ratings average well with those that rank based on consumer data, as well as those that rank based on the average costs of owning the car.
In addition, the TLX’s average ownership cost is significantly lower than the average for other cars in its class.
This lower ownership cost and above-average mileage expectancy make it a great option to consider if you want a sporty and reliable car.
Most Common Issues with the Acura TLX
1. Defective TRW Crash Sensors
One issue with the Acura tlx that is very concerning when considering the safety of the car is problems with the defective TRW Crash Sensors on 2015-2017 models. In addition to the TLX, TRW sensors are an issue for various other vehicles.
These sensors are responsible for detecting a crash and signaling the airbags to deploy. However, there have been numerous instances where these sensors have failed.
To make matters worse, these sensors also control the seatbelt pretensioners. So, when they fail, both the airbags and the seatbelts fail. This error has been responsible for a number of crash-related deaths.
Many have voiced their complaints, and several lawsuits have been filed. However, there has yet to be a recall for this problem.
To fix this problem, you must have these sensors replaced.
If you’re unsure if the sensors have been replaced on your tlx, a professional should inspect it to find out for sure.
Replacing these sensors on your TLX will cost between $250 and $300.
2. Transmission Slips
The TLX transmission problems can also significantly decrease the safety of the car.
2015 owners have reported many issues with the transmission slipping. For most, this issue caused the car to rev long before the transmission would shift. Many noticed that this issue was more severe in colder weather.
Some owners have also noted that the car seems to lunge when the car finally shifts to the correct gear.
This generally occurs simply because the transmission was not given time to warm up before it was driven. Because of the design of these transmissions, they will only operate well if they’re warmed up before you begin driving the car.
The first thing you should try to stop this problem is to let your car warm up to operating temperature before you start driving it.
If you continue to notice the problem after you’ve allowed the car to warm up, you may be able to have your transmission reprogrammed at the dealership, as this has resolved the issue in a few cases.
In some cases, this problem could be a more significant issue that may require replacing the transmission. In most cases, this requires replacing the transmission, which can cost up to $4000.
3. Fuel Pump Issues
Another common tlx problem that can cause the engine to stall is a bad fuel pump. However, this issue affects many 2015-2019 models with the v6 engine rather than just the 2015.
These models are known to have an issue with the fuel pump failing after driving the car for a while. In many cases, after the car stalls, owners would be able to restart the car after about an hour of the car sitting.
However, once the fuel pump had failed completely, the car would no longer start back.
2016-2018 TLX models were recalled because of this failure. For these models, it is usually because foreign particles build up in the pump and prevent the proper flow.
If you have one of these models and experience symptoms of this fuel pump issue, you should start by contacting your local dealer to see if your specific car is in this recall. If so, you may be able to have the fuel pump replaced for free.
For those not included in this recall, you can expect to pay between $330 and $400 for a new fuel pump. The average labor costs for this repair run between $150 and $200.
4. Shifting Into Park Issues
The 2015 model tlx was also widely known to have issues when trying to put the car in park.
Owners who have experienced this issue have reported the following:
- Not being able to put their car in park.
- The car continuing to roll forward after being put in park.
- They’re unable to shift into park.
- The engine randomly stalling while going down the highway.
Most reported issues are related to a common problem where the park lock fails to engage. In most cases, the car will appear to be in park when it isn’t. This can easily cause the car to roll away on its own.
This problem led to a recall for the 2015 Acura TLX. So, if this happens with your car that has been recalled, you can have the dealership inspect your transmission.
If they find that your transmission has the defect, they will replace it free of charge.
5. Auto Idle Stop Issues
Another frustrating issue owners of 2015-2020 TLX owners (and even Acura MDX owners) often run into is the auto idle stop feature not working correctly.
The auto idle stop feature is supposed to boost the car’s fuel economy by automatically shutting the car off while sitting still. However, this feature can cause more harm than they help.
Many owners have experienced problems with the car not starting back after they’ve come to a complete stop. Some also mention that they have to try to manually restart the car more than once before they start it back up.
The most common solution for this problem was a software update. Many owners no longer experienced problems with their idle stop feature after taking their car to the dealership and letting them update the car’s software.
Others have mentioned that replacing the battery or resetting the computer by unhooking the ground can provide a temporary solution.
Alternatively, some owners have opted to disable the feature altogether. While the process can be complex and time-consuming, many have found it worth the effort.
The video below will show you how you can disable this feature.
6. Stability Problems
Much like the idle stop feature, the “Vehicle Stability Assist” feature has also been an issue with many Acura TLX models. The VSA feature enhances your car’s traction control and can be especially helpful when driving in icy conditions when it is functioning as it should.
Stability assist problems are most common in 2015-2018 models. Symptoms of the problem include the VSA light staying on and/or seeing the “Vehicle Stability Assist: 61 – 12” error message.
Several owners have also mentioned having frightening experiences because of this issue. Some of these include the feeling that the driver has suddenly applied the brakes and then released them.
A bad battery can sometimes cause these VSA issues. So the best place to begin when trying to solve this problem is to replace the battery on your TLX.
Those who have not found a solution have disabled the system. The video below will show you how you can disable this feature.
7. Random Noises
Lastly, many TLX owners have noticed strange noises coming from different parts of their car.
These sounds include:
- A clicking sound when the brake pedal is released.
- A rattle comes from the center of the steering wheel near the horn.
- A beeping sound that seems to come from the dash.
While these sounds don’t have much effect on the way the vehicle drives, they can be quite an annoyance.
When it comes to the brake pedal, it’s not certain exactly what causes this issue, so speaking to the dealership about the problem would be your best bet. In the meantime, it’s not likely to affect how your brakes perform.
The rattle near the horn in the center of the steering wheel is most likely caused by loose components within the steering wheel. Again, this is not known to pose any risk to safety or the way the horn works. However, you may just be ready to get rid of the sound.
To fix this, you can try replacing the clock spring and trimming the airbag sits on. You may also have luck with replacing the steering rack.
If your car randomly beeps, usually several beeps at a time, it lets you know that the alarm system is not working. With this problem, it’s best to seek professional help.
What Years Did the Acura TLX Have Problems?
It can be overwhelming to look at all of the problems and figure out which year models were the best and worst. It makes it even more challenging when trying to account for the car’s age.
Luckily, carproblemzoo.com analyzes these things and comes up with a PPMY index, which makes it much easier to compare without older models appearing worse than they are in comparison to newer models.
With this index, a higher PPMY means the car is more problematic, while a lower PPMY means fewer problems.
According to this index, the most problematic years for the TLX are:
If you’re shopping for a used Acura TLX, it’s probably best to avoid these models if you want to purchase a reliable car.
And the least problematic years are:
Recent Recall Numbers
Taking recent recalls into consideration is very important when buying a car. You should know what things have been recalled and ensure that they have been addressed before you purchase the vehicle.
This way, you can avoid running into problems you’d rather avoid soon after buying the car.
Below you will find some of the most recent recalls for the Acura TLX.
|21V215000||Fuel system, gasoline: Delivery: Fuel pump|
|19V298000||Engine and engine cooling: Engine: Gasoline: Belts and associated pulleys|
|19V060000||Fuel system, other: Delivery: Fuel pump|
|16V640000||Power train: Automatic transmission: Control module (TCM, PCM)|
|14V779000||Power train: Automatic transmission|
|14V613000||Equipment: Other: Labels|
While this gives you a general idea of the things you should look out for, it’s essential that you find out which are relevant to your car or potential car.
To find specific information for your TLX, you can go to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls, enter your VIN, and click search.
You can also choose to enter the make, model, and year of your car if you don’t have the VIN on hand.
Once you hit search, you will be shown a list of open recalls that are relevant to your car.
How is it Compared to Similar Cars?
Comparing the Acura TLX to similar cars will also help you ensure that you’re choosing the most reliable option that meets your needs.
In J.D. Power’s “Best Midsize Premium Car” ranking for 2022, the Acura TLX was ranked at number 4 with an overall quality and reliability rating of 75, meaning that it’s average in terms of reliability.
The cars that outranked the TLX for 2022 were the Lexus ES, the Cadillac CTS, and the Kia Stinger. They base these ratings on data provided by verified owners of these cars.
On the other hand, Repair Pal looks at the cost, frequency, and severity of repairs required for each car over time to give them a rating.
In Repair Pal’s rating, the Acura TLX was rated 4.5 out of 5 and ranked as the top choice for midsize luxury cars.
In addition, the Acura TLX has significantly lower annual repair costs than other midsize luxury cars.
While these comparisons and ratings are important, it’s also important to consider how long the car will last.
What is the Life Expectancy and Mileage?
On average, you can expect an Acura TLX to last between 250,000 and 300,000 miles. Depending on how often you drive the car, this means that the vehicle is likely to last for up to 16 years.
Additionally, those that are very well-maintained are known to last well over 300,000 miles.
Is it Worth Buying Used?
Because of this long life expectancy and its consistently high-reliability rankings, the Acura TLX is where is buying a used one as long as you remain aware of a few things.
One of the most important things to consider is the price of the car in comparison to its condition of the car. Things like mileage, physical condition, and the trim selection of the car can all affect the value.
It’s also a good idea to consider any history that you may be able to review on the car, such as previous maintenance.
What is Good and Bad About the Car?
It can also be helpful to look at a civil breakdown of the good and bad things about the car.
Weighing the pros and cons can help you determine whether or not the good things outweigh the bad things.
Pros of the Acura TLX:
- It has a stylish and sporty design
- The interior is comfortable
- Newer models come with excellent technology and safety features
- Most models are known to drive smoothly
Cons of the Acura TLX:
- Some models do not get the best fuel economy
- It has several common problems that put your safety at risk.
“The car was extremely comfortable and rode well. It was well used, averaging close to 25K miles per year. Technical issues made overall reliability somewhat less than I would expect at this price range. I wanted to love this car but would withhold recommendations until the reliability of technical/electronic items improved.” (2015 Owner)
“I bought this new car. I love this car the design is perfect. It is perfect for my needs along with the style. The turbocharger has a small lag and I think Acura has imposed power restrictions. The back seat is very tight I think, it could have had more leg room. For the most part, I enjoy it. Perhaps the aftermarket sector could step up its power restrictions.” (2022 Owner)
“Smooth ride, comfortable seats, great features, fun to drive,. I would recommend this car to anyone looking for a solid mid-size sedan at a reasonable price.” (2018 Owner)
Over the years, the Acura has proven to be a reliable car. Just keep in mind which models are known to be problematic.
If you’re looking for a used Acura TLX, it’s best to avoid the 2007, 2015, and 2016 models. In terms of reliability, the 2018–2020 models make the best options for a used car that you can expect few problems from.
If you are interested in other common problems Acura has, such as the Acura RDX check out this post.