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Acura TL 2005


I’ve gotten conflicting information from my mechanic on flushing the transmission fluid on my Acura TL. One said it needed to be done (fluid is dark brown) and the other said that the transmission is finicky and I’d be better off leaving as is until there’s an actual problem. The transmission has not had regular updates/flushes in the past 4 years but did receive maintenance until that point.


Dark brown fluid usually indicates problems have already occurred. I believe most mechanics refrain from flushes. Changing fluid twice about a month apart would probably serve you better.


Change the fluid, don’t flush it. Change it again in 10,000 miles if it lasts that long. Dark brown is a BAD color for trans fluid. Start saving your money and shopping around for a good transmission rebuilder.


I could be using the wrong language- it could be that one recommending changing fluid and one did not (rather than a “flush”) but thank you for the quick recommendations

Yep. Have the fluid exchanged. Do it again in 10,000 miles like @Mustangman said.

Your second mechanic was correct that the transmissions on the 2004-2006 TLs were more prone to failure than normal, but incorrect that it has anything to do with having replaced the fluid. It’s actually the 3rd and 4th clutch transmission fluid pressure switches that were problematic. Their job is to reduce line pressure momentarily during shifts to make the shifts smoother. But they tend to get worse over time and choke off fluid flow when they aren’t supposed to, which eventually wrecks the transmissions. A lot of owners of that era TL will replace them every 50,000 miles.

Don’t flush. I had an 08 and 12. It has a drain plug and no filter to change. Just drain and fill but you have to put in the exact amount you take out, plus new washers on the drain and fill plugs. This shoulda been done every 30K on this weak transmission so you may be heading for a new one. For now though drain and fill 3-4 times like every 5-10K or until the fluid looks good again.

It’s time to have the transmission fluid changed.

You want to have the transmission flushed to remove all the worn out fluid and replace it with new fluid.

Doing anything else will just cause damage to the transmission.


And this transmission does have a filter.,2005,tl,3.2l+v6,1430829,transmission-automatic,filter,8600


It looks like the same trans as my 08 was and in that case as noted “Filter Replacement Requires Transmission Disassembly”. The filter is normally not serviced. Just drain and fill.

Here’s the transmission for this vehicle.

Rotate the image until you see the four bolts with blue paint marks on them.

Those four bolts are the cover for the filter element. And the blue paint marks indicate that the bolts were torqued to spec.


@Bing they changed the transmission midway through gen 3. '07’s and '08’s got, if I remember right, the transmission out of the RL.

A proper transmission service will only help, not hurt. Doesn’t mean the transmission won’t develop problems after the service but if that happens it was gonna happen soon anyway. I suggest to go ahead with a transmission service.

As advised above, the pan drop/filter replacement method is usually a better choice than a flush, if your transmission is configured so that’s possible to do.

I have the factory service manual for the 07 TL. The factory manual simply says to drain and refill. No filter mentioned. No flushing mentioned. If someone has the factory manual for the 05 let’s see if that is different. The parts are the same though from 2000.

Still severe service calls for first drain at 60,000 and then every 30,000 after that. No mileage given for normal service which is not most people. I just do 30,000 period.

Okay @Bing.

Here’s an exploded view of this transmission.

What does item 7 look like to you?


FWIW, Toyota tech told me the transmission had to be “disassembled” to replace the filter on my wife’s highlander also. “Disassembly” is just dropping the pan, though.

May or may not not be the case here, of course.

Geez, I didn’t say it didn’t have a filter but it is normally not serviced. See page 14-245 of the Acura factory manual, not Rockauto.

Admittedly, that diagram looks a little more involved than the normal pan drop.

The transmission doesn’t have a pan.


Indeed, it does not appear to. My wife’s Highlander (that I was referencing Toyota tech advised needing disassembly for filter replacement) does.

The '07’s used an RL-derived transmission that was different from the '04-'06 cars, which is why you hear a lot about '04-'06 transmissions failing, and not nearly as much with the '07-'08 cars.

I have the same service manual as you, btw, and can confirm that it does indeed say to just drain and fill. That doesn’t, however, mean that @Tester is wrong, because it wouldn’t be the first time a factory was overly optimistic in transmission service requirements - how many times on here have we all told people to exchange transmission fluid even though the service schedule doesn’t call for it?

I’d be willing to bet the '04-'06 service manual doesn’t tell them to replace the pressure switches, either, but that’s something that should be done if you want the thing to last.