Acura TLX Problems: 4 Known Issues (Explained)

The Acura TLX is a luxury sedan that has gained popularity among car enthusiasts since its launch. 

However, like any other car, the TLX is not free of problems and some issues have been reported by owners. 

Understanding these problems can help current or potential Acura TLX owners make an informed decision about their purchase and how to address any issues that may arise.

In this article, we will discuss four known issues with the TLX that owners have reported and explain them in detail. 

1. Auto Idle Stop Problems

The Acura TLX is equipped with an Auto Idle Stop system that automatically shuts off the engine when the car is stopped at a traffic light or in heavy traffic. 

This system is designed to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, but it has been reported by some owners to have problems.

One of the most common issues with the Auto Idle Stop system is that it can be too sensitive and shut off the engine too frequently, causing the car to vibrate or shake when the engine restarts. 

This can be especially annoying in stop-and-go traffic or during short trips where the engine is turned off and on repeatedly.

For example, the engine may fail to restart when the driver takes their foot off the brake pedal, or the system may shut off the engine while the car is still in motion.

Another problem with the Auto Idle Stop system is that it can be difficult to turn off. While there is a button on the center console to disable the system, it must be manually turned off each time the car is started. 

If you’re experiencing issues with the Auto Idle Stop system, it’s recommended to have your car checked by a certified Acura technician to ensure proper functioning.

2. Defective Fuel Pump Over Time

The fuel pump in the Acura TLX is a critical component that is responsible for supplying fuel to the engine. However, over time, the fuel pump can become defective and cause several problems.

One common issue with a defective fuel pump is that the engine may struggle to start or may stall while driving. 

This is because a faulty fuel pump may not be able to supply enough fuel to the engine, leading to poor performance and reduced power.

Another symptom of a defective fuel pump is that the engine may hesitate or sputter during acceleration. This happens when the fuel pump is unable to supply the engine with the proper amount of fuel when it is needed.

In January 2021, Honda (Acura’s parent company) did issue a recall for several Acura and Honda models, including the Acura TLX from model years 2018-2020, due to a fuel pump issue. 

The recall was due to a manufacturing defect that could cause the fuel pump to fail prematurely, leading to engine stalling or failure to start. This affected over 600,000 vehicles in the United States.

If you are an Acura TLX owner and notice any fuel pump-related problems, it is advisable to take your vehicle to an authorized Acura technician for inspection and repair. 

If any official recall is issued for fuel pump issues, you may be eligible for a repair or replacement under warranty.

Related: 8 Honda Cars With The Most Recalls

3. Jerky Transmission Between Gears

The Acura TLX has also been reported by some owners to have a jerky transmission between gears, especially when shifting from first to second gear. This problem has been noted by both experts and consumers in the automotive industry.

According to experts, the Acura TLX’s jerky transmission can be caused by a few different factors. One of the main culprits is the transmission’s dual-clutch design. 

While this type of transmission can offer quicker and more precise shifts, it can also cause a jerky sensation when shifting gears, especially at low speeds.

Some owners have reported that the transmission can be hesitant to shift into gear or may slip out of gear unexpectedly.

While not all Acura TLXs have this issue, it has been reported frequently enough to prompt Acura to release a software update to address the problem. The update recalibrates the transmission’s shift points to reduce the jerkiness between gears.

If you’re experiencing a jerky transmission between gears in your Acura TLX, it’s recommended to take your car to an authorized Acura technician for an inspection. 

4. Stability Assist Issues

The stability assist system is a critical safety feature in modern cars, designed to help drivers maintain control in challenging road conditions. 

However, like any complex technology, the stability assist system can experience issues and malfunctions, which can compromise its effectiveness and pose a risk to drivers and passengers. 

Here are some of the stability assist issues that have plagued the Acura TLX:

  • Unintended Braking: This can occur when driving on uneven or bumpy roads, and the stability assist system mistakenly thinks that the vehicle is skidding or losing control.
  • Malfunctioning Sensors: If these sensors malfunction or fail, the stability assist system may not work correctly. This can lead to a loss of control of the vehicle, which can be dangerous.
  • Overly Sensitive System: This can be frustrating for drivers, especially when driving in challenging road conditions where the system may be triggered frequently.
  • System Failure: This can be a serious safety concern and can result in accidents or injuries.

To address this stability assist issue, Acura has issued several recalls and software updates to improve the system’s performance. 

Nonetheless, if you own an Acura TLX and experience any issues with the stability assist system, it’s essential to have it checked by a qualified technician to ensure that it’s working correctly.

General Pros and Cons of Acura TLX

The Acura TLX is a mid-size luxury car that offers a balance of performance, comfort, and technology features. While the TLX has its strengths, it also has some areas that could be improved. 

Below is a table outlining the pros and cons of the Acura TLX: 



Smooth and Comfortable Ride Lack of Sportiness Compared to Rivals
High-Quality Interior Materials Infotainment System Can Be Distracting
Strong Safety Features Limited Rear-Seat Space
Standard Front-Wheel Drive with Optional All-Wheel Drive Higher Price Than Some Competitors

As we can see, the Acura TLX’s smooth and comfortable ride is one of its most significant strengths. The suspension and sound insulation are well-tuned, making it a great car for long trips or daily commutes. 

Additionally, the TLX’s interior is packed with high-quality materials, making it a pleasant place to spend time. The TLX also boasts strong safety features, including:

  • Forward-collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane-departure warning. 

However, there are areas where the Acura TLX falls short compared to its rivals. 

For instance, the TLX may lack the sportiness and agility that some drivers are looking for in a luxury car. 

Additionally, the infotainment system can be distracting and unintuitive, detracting from the overall driving experience. 

In summary, the Acura TLX offers a comfortable and refined driving experience with solid safety features. While it has some areas that could be improved, its strengths may make it a good option for those in the market for a mid-size luxury car.

What Do the Reviews Say?

According to various automotive review sites, the Acura TLX has received mixed feedback since its introduction in 2015. 

Here are a few quotes from some of the most significant auto publications:

“The 2021 Acura TLX is a solid choice for those who value a comfortable ride and a refined cabin, but some rivals are more engaging to drive, offer more luxury, or both.”


This quote from acknowledges that the Acura TLX is a good option for those who prioritize interior aesthetics and overall rider comfort in their vehicle. 

However, it suggests that other luxury cars may be more engaging to drive or offer a higher level of luxury than the TLX.

“Despite the improvements made in this generation, the TLX is still not the sport sedan it should be, nor is it the luxury sedan it wants to be. In many ways, it’s still the car caught between two worlds.”


The above quote from Car and Driver suggests that while the Acura TLX has improved in this generation, it still falls short of being a true luxury or sport sedan, implying that the TLX  does not quite excel in either category.

Overall, while the Acura TLX receives praise for its comfortable ride, refined cabin, and safety features, some reviews criticize it for lacking sportiness and not living up to its full luxury potential.

What’s the Resale Value of Acura TLX?

The Acura TLX is known for being a reliable and long-lasting luxury car, which is reflected in its resale value. 

Industry experts typically rank the TLX as having above-average resale value, making it a good investment for those looking to buy a car that will hold its value over time.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the 2021 Acura TLX has an estimated resale value of 45.9% after three years and 32.4% after five years. 

This puts it ahead of competitors such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in terms of resale value.

Here’s a table showing the estimated resale value for the 2021 Acura TLX and some of its rivals after three and five years:

Car Model Estimated Resale Value After 3 Years Estimated Resale Value After 5 Years
2021 Acura TLX 45.9% 32.4%
2021 Audi A4 42.8% 28.7%
2021 BMW 3 Series 43.1% 28.9%
2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 41.3% 28.2%

Please also take a look at my article about the best and worst years for the Acura TLX.

As the table shows, the Acura TLX is estimated to have a higher resale value than its rivals after three and five years. This is likely due to its reputation for reliability and longevity, as well as its strong safety features and comfortable ride. 

For those looking to buy a luxury car that will hold its value over time, the Acura TLX is a solid option.

Check problems for all Acura models here.


KelleyBlueBook: 2021 Best Resale Value Awards

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.