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Stephen Dempsey
Stephen Dempsey, Auto Mechanic
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 652
Experience:  I am an top-notch diagnostician with 8+ years of experience managing auto repair shops, import, domestic, and collector cars.
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2003 tl type s: runs great..It had the recall kit installed at 40k

Resolved Question:

I am about to purchase a 2003 tl type s w/105k miles. This one runs great - now. It had the recall kit installed at 40k.
I have read there are problems w/pressure sensors that cause the 3/4 gear clutches to slip and burn too.
Is this tranny a bummer? Can some periodic maintenance keep it running? I love the car, but I'm afraid of that tranny.
Submitted: 5 years ago via CarComplaints.com.
Category: Car
Expert:  Stephen Dempsey replied 5 years ago.

Stephen Dempsey :

Hello, thank you for choosing Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will answer your Acura transmission question.

Stephen Dempsey :

It is true that some of these transmissions have had problems. However, I would not be any more concerned with this gearbox than any other automatic.

Stephen Dempsey :

Frankly, I find modern automatic transmissions to be sorely lacking in reliability across the board.

Stephen Dempsey :

If you have access to maintenance records that could go a long way to helping make the decision. If the fluid has been serviced at least once in its life that would make a difference in how long you can expect it to last.

Stephen Dempsey :

Also, simply pull the dipstick and look at the transmission. If the fluid is brown to black and smells burned, that would be a red flag.

Stephen Dempsey :

I always suggest having a mechanic do a pre-purchase inspection on any car you are considering. Checking the transmission fluid condition should be something they look at in the inspection.

Customer:

But the real question is whether this tranny year/make/model etc. is worse than most.

Stephen Dempsey :

In short. Any automatic transmission with 100K miles is suspect in my book. How the car has been driven and when it was serviced are more important than any particular fault a particular model has.

Stephen Dempsey :

I don't think it is worse than most. I would say it is in the middle of the pack for automatic transmission reliability.

Customer:

Honda has built a rep on reliability, and I don't trust the blogs.

Stephen Dempsey :

Few people get on the forums and blogs to talk about how great their transmission is. Many people take to the internet to complain about it when it fails.

Customer:

exactly, so no specific issues other than how it lived and was kept?

Stephen Dempsey :

With all of that said. No matter what car you buy, I suggest having a couple of thousand set aside for major problems (like a transmission) just in case.

Stephen Dempsey :

Yes. Like you said, the 3-4 clutches are what typically fails, but it is how it was treated that will determine when it fails.

Stephen Dempsey :

I have seen these do 150K+ on the original transmission.

Stephen Dempsey :

On the other hand. I have seen them fail in less than 80K.

Customer:

I am use to 200k+ on my hondas!

Stephen Dempsey :

In almost every case of early failure it was being driven hard and not maintained.

Stephen Dempsey :

If you are getting 200K in any automatic, you are the exception.

Customer:

OK! Thanks. My '91 Acura legend went 286k, and I retired it for skin cancer. Thanks.

Stephen Dempsey :

I actually will not buy a used car with an automatic because I got tired of changing transmissions. I will stick to shifting gears.

Stephen Dempsey :

WOW!

Stephen Dempsey :

You certainly take care of your vehicles!

Stephen Dempsey :

Although the Legend was an amazing car. Too bad they discontinued them.

Customer:

Oil, yes, but trannys less so. Gotta get better at that. Been lucky. change fluid baround 75k, '01crv w/ 190k, 95 legend gs w/206k.

Stephen Dempsey :

Yeah. I recommend 20K-30K as an interval.

Customer:

Thanks!

Stephen Dempsey :

Oil is cheap compared to a rebuild.

Stephen Dempsey :

You're welcome. Good luck with whatever vehicle you settle on.

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