What kind of problems does an Acura TLX have? In this blog, we’ve outlined all the most important things you should watch for when you’re in the market for a TLX. However, let’s first start with a quick answer.
Acura TLXs have problems with a leaking fuel pump causing loss of power or engine stalling. Furthermore, the electrical system causes the illumination of warning lights due to a corroding fuse box. Finally, TLXs suffer from loss of braking power and problematic shifting.
That was the most straightforward answer possible. In the article below, we’ll discuss every problem in detail. This includes identifying it, fixing it, and discussing how much it costs to repair. Read on!
Want to save money on gasoline? earn up to $0.25/gallon every time you fill up? GetUpside is a free-to-use cashback app for US gas stations. Use coupon code “THEDRIVERADVISER25” and earn an additional $0.25/gallon the first time! Click here to download the app for Android or iOS.
1. Problems With The Fuel Pump Cause Stalling
One of the first problems we need to discuss is the problems several model years of the luxurious TLX have had with their fuel pumps. Specifically, the fuel pump would develop a defect over time, resulting in a loss of engine power or complete stalling of the vehicle.
In March of 2019, Honda (owner of Acura) issued a recall under number 19V060000 for the 2015 – 2019 model year of the TLX that had a V6 engine. It turned out that these vehicles were susceptible to gasoline with high sodium content.
The high sodium levels would contaminate the internal components of the fuel pump and reduce fuel flow to the engine.
The recall was issued so that dealers could update the software of the engine control unit. This programming stopped the contamination of the fuel pump and was a relatively easy fix. Furthermore, dealers would perform a diagnostic scan to see if the vehicle had experienced engine stalling. The fuel pump was replaced free of charge if this was the case.
Problems with the fuel pump continued when the 2019 – 2020 model years of the TLX were recalled. This time, Honda had found that the impeller in the low-pressure fuel pumps was susceptible to swelling. This would reduce the flow of gasoline, which, in turn, decreased power or caused engine stalling. In affected models, the fuel pump assembly was replaced free of charge.
2. Electrical System
Easily the most complained about problem of the 2015 Acura TLX is its electrical system. Owners had reported numerous times that all the lights on the dashboard illuminated when they experienced this problem. Furthermore, the flickering of the exterior and interior lights and malfunctioning of the keyfob are also known issues.
Not only that, but owners have had to replace their batteries multiple times in the span of 1-3 years which is highly abnormal.
Even though the 2015 model year of the TLX had the most problems with this, 2016, 2018, and 2019 model years also have reports of owners complaining about the electrical system and dashboard lights coming on.
What’s even more problematic here is that Acura never issued a recall for this problem. Therefore owners have had to solve this problem by themselves. On some forums, owners have had luck finding the problem and corresponding solution, as explained by one owner below:
Yes, mine was the fuse box all corroded.
It’s good to note here that the owner was talking about the fuse box that’s located at the drivers’ feet on the left side. When talking about solving the issue, this owner reported the following:
It has been a long time, but I think I had to take it out of the car, separate it and clean all the terminals. From what I remember,it is a pain fighting the wire bundles to get it out.
Mine has not done it since, 5 years now.Source
For many owners, the fuse box did seem to be the problem. Cleaning the terminals solved most of the electrical issues. Some owners also reported cleaning the battery terminals as an extra tip since these were also susceptible to corrosion.
3. Loss Of Braking Power Or Warped Rotors
Different model years of the TLX have had various problems with the brakes. Early model TLXs have had issues with the car’s brake pedal being completely unresponsive. This is mainly the case for the 2015 model year, although there are some individual cases in which older model years have also had this problem.
A formal recall was never issued, and there are very few reports about the problem being appropriately diagnosed. However, an unresponsive brake pedal in which the brake pedal goes all the way to the floor is almost always the cause of a master cylinder that’s leaking.
Checking the brake fluid to see if levels are still normal is the first thing to do. If fluid levels are normal, there could be air in the braking system (which happens when work was done previously on the brake system and the system wasn’t appropriately bled).
Later models of the TLX, made between 2017 – 2020, have had few complaints about warped brake rotors that cause vibrations during braking. The consensus seems to be that Honda/Acura uses questionable quality brake rotors on its vehicles that warp if the car owner consistently brakes slightly harder than average.
4. Terrible Transmissions
Let’s continue with the transmission, a vital part of the powertrain that has been a culprit for early model TLXs. It’s good to know there are two different transmissions used in the TLX: an 8-speed DCT and a 9-speed automatic (also known as 9HP) made by ZF. Both these transmissions have had problems but let’s start with the 9-speed automatic.
Acura issued two different recalls for the ZF 9HP transmission connected to the V6 models of the TLX. Specifically, we’re talking about a recall for the 2015 model years with 2WD and those with AWD.
The first recall was issued in December 2014 under recall number 14V779000. The 2015 model years equipped with the ZF 9HP had an increased rollaway risk because the parking pawl may have become contaminated, or the park rod may have become dislodged or broken. This could prevent the transmission from shifting into the park position.
In September 2016, 2WD versions of the 2015 model year with the ZF 9HP were recalled under recall number 16V640000. These vehicles were recalled because they tended to shift into neutral while driving, which meant drivers ended up in dangerous situations (something that they widely complained about). ZF admitted the problem was their fault and explained it as follows:
Due to a manufacturing error, some transmission wire harnesses contained in transmission assemblies supplied to Acura may have been insufficiently crimped and could cause the transmission to malfunction.Source
Acura TLX equipped with an inline-4 engine are fitted with an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. Acura has never recalled these transmissions, but to this day, it’s problematic for the 2015 – 2017 TLXs.
Owners have reported several problems with this transmission. First, there’s the transmission slipping into neutral while driving (a similar situation to the one experienced with the ZF 9HP transmission). Furthermore, owners have complained about rough downshifting and the car jerking forward when performing a stop-and-go maneuver.
What’s even more problematic here is that the 8-speed DCT was never recalled. Therefore, dissatisfied owners of the TLX started a class-action lawsuit listing the many problems the car has had.
5. Non-Start Because Of Auto Idle Stop
Another problem Acura TLXs have had was the car failing to start when sitting in front of a traffic light. This seemed to be a recurring problem for the 2015 – 2019 model years, and an official recall was never issued.
Due to this, owners have had to find and fix the problem by themselves with help from their dealers. It turned out that TLX had a function named ‘auto idle stop’, which is supposed to stop the car from idling in front of a traffic light. This function would turn on automatically every time the car was started.
In the end, it turned out that a weak battery was the problem, as reported by one of many owners that were able to fix it with help from online forums:
Like you said, they gave me a new battery. It tested only 100 CCA instead of 650! I am amazed the TLX even started in cold mornings. Never had such a poor battery in any of my cars. I have even thrown out batteries with 350 CCA when they were 5 years old!Source
6. Failing Timing Belt
In 2019, Acura issued a recall under number 19V298000 because it had received a handful of claims related to a failing timing belt. For the TLX, the models equipped with this timing belt were all part of the 2019 model year.
After research, the supplier of the timing belt found that the teeth from the timing belt separated and that this was because the timing belt wasn’t appropriately hardened. Further investigation resulted in the supplier finding the origin of the problem.
A mold used from 2018 onwards didn’t allow the timing belt to vulcanize and harden as expected. The reason for this was that this mold didn’t let excess moisture sip out during the production process, thereby negatively affecting the vulcanization process.
Affected timing belts were replaced free of charge.
A final issue 2015 owners of the Acura TLX had was that the paint job was of terrible quality. This specifically seemed to happen with vehicles painted with ‘B-588P Obsidian Blue Pearl’, ‘Fathom Blue Pearl’, or ‘Bellanova White Pearl’.
Specifically, the problem was that the paint started chipping within a year around the rear windows and that this would become worse and worse rather quickly. Acura did issue a warranty extension of up to 8 years after the date of purchase for the earlier mentioned Blue Pearl variations, but they never did this for the White Pearl variation, leaving owners of this vehicle with a terrible paint job.
Also read: The Complete Cost Of Maintaining An Acura
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!