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Acura Transmissions

Holy Magoly…Today I was told my 2003 Acura TL (79,500 mi) needs a transmission and the estimate was $4,000! Extended warranty expired 12/29/09 - surprise. Does that seem a little high?

I was told that Acura might do some good faith thing where they don’t charge me full price but there’s a whole check list of things that needs to be satisfied first. One of the items referred to whether I was a good servicing customer - which, to me, means whether or not I have been paying their inflated prices for oil changes for the last several years. I’m so bummed! Should I just fix it and get rid of it? It’s not even paid for yet! ARGH!

Have you been servicing your transmission every 25-30k miles like it SHOULD be?? I’m taking it by the way you are posting that you have not taken care of your transmission. Dont feel too bad though, most people do not service their transmissions properly if at all. 95% of the transmissions crossing my bench are there due to lack of or improper servicing. You guys are making people like me rich. 79k is not a lot of miles at all. If its in good shape otherwise, I would fix it and keep it. Its a lot cheaper than having a new car payment. Just finish paying it off.


By good servicing customer they may also mean changing the transmission fluid on time. If you didn’t have it done at the dealer do you at least have receipts and/or records showing you had the services performed on time at another shop?

If you have changed the transmission fluid according to required intervals (typically 30k in 2003 vintage) you have a strong leg to stand on.

Keep the car irregardless, you will loose serious money selling it with a failed transmission.

The automatics in the early 2000’s Acura TL/Honda Accord/Odyssey ARE JUNK yet people recommend them away on this board as a good reliable cars.

You may find an independent who can do it much cheaper. When you call should have an answer on the tip of the tongue for cost, it is a very common repair.

Seven year old car with almost 80K? Acura would be NUTS to not charge full price. An “extended warranty” is an insurance policy (and not a very good one for the purchaser), not a factory warranty.

Shop around for price at an independent transmission shop. Stay away from chain stores seems to be the common advice from those on this board more experienced than myself.

Changing the oil and changing the transmission fluid are two entirely different operations. Read the owner’s manual.

Uh huh. My 2000 3.2TL’s got 124K miles on its original transmission. It’s been, and continues to be, a very reliable car for me.

117,000 miles on my 2002 Odyssey with zero problems of any kind.

Hey TRANSMAN, it’s usually the 3rd gear clutches that go bad on these 5 speed transmissions (2002 Odyssey) and result in bad 2-3 or 3-4 shifts, right? Do you think the pressure switches that control the timing of the 2-3 shift and 3-4 shift go bad over time and lead to the clutch packs wearing out? Do you think these 2 pressure switches should be replaced as preventative maintenance? What’s your theory about these transmissions? Other than frequent fluid changes what would you do if you owned a 2002 Odyssey?

On the other hand, when the Odyssey Fan Club has a poll of its members under the thread title “How Many Transmissions Has Your Odyssey Gone Through”, things really aren’t pretty. Their results?

60.29% - Hasn’t been replaced
8.09% - Replaced at less than 50,000 miles
22.21% - Replaced between 50k and 100k
5.74% - Replaced at > 100k
3.68% - Replaced more than once.

By modern standards, those are truly horrific numbers.

If I recall, this particular “extended warranty” was an original warranty extended by the factory because they knew of the transmission problems.

Probably so, I believe Honda extended the transmission warranty for 7y/100,000 miles.

The problem Honda was having with the transmissions they extended the warranties on was a lubrication problem which caused gear chipping and gear noise. In severe cases gear breakage which could result in the transmission locking up. If Acura is telling him he is past this warranty period and needs proof of service, I don’t think they are going to pick up this replacement. I have actually seen this failure on my bench once or twice.


I have come across quite a few different failures in the Hondas altogether. As far as the pressure switches go, I have yet to see one of them fail. I’ve seen them jammed up with trash and have just replaced them without even trying to clean them. No, I wouldnt just replace them under any kind of PM program. Like I posted in another post, this vintage trans had lubrication issues which caused gear chipping and gear breakage. All any owner can do is just service them on a regular basis. Honda’s are the simplest transmissions to service, its just drain and refill. There is no pan which means the filter can not be replaced unless the trans is dropped and disassembled. There should be no excuse for someone to NOT change their fluid. Remove drain plug, replace drain plug, refill.


If the transmission has not been serviced regularly then it’s highly unlikely that any extended warranty or good faith warranty (referred to as a Good Will warranty) would cover this.
Note that most owners manuals specify a “Severe Service” interval. In the real world and away from the marketing department just about every car on the road meets that severe service requirement.

Actually the 5 speed has the screw-on external filter. I’ve changed that.

I’ve also added an in-line Magnefine filter.