Though discontinued in 2014, the Acura TSX is a great option if you are in the market for a premium compact car that doesn’t break the bank.
However, before you run to the bank and purchase it, you should be aware of some of the pre-existing issues that might be worth keeping in mind.
In this article, we cover 7 of the most common issues that you should be aware of before you make your purchase.
Table of Contents
Electric Power Steering Failure
There have been many reports of the electric power steering system giving in while driving, making this far the most common problem with the TSX.
Some drivers commented that while driving the car suddenly lost power steering. Of course, this can be a frightening experience for some drivers.
Electronic power steering has one main job, and that is to assist the driver in making the steering of the car easier and not so heavy. This is especially helpful when driving slowly in town, or when looking for parking at a shopping center.
The system will calculate how much steering input you are giving, and will assist the motion by using a motor that helps you to turn the wheel using less force.
If you have ever driven a car without power steering, then you will know the amount of effort needed to turn the wheel at a standstill.
When searching for a used TSX, make sure to check with the previous owner whether they have ever had any problems with the power steering; if they have, then make sure they have the relevant paperwork to prove that they have replaced it.
When this problem occurs, you will need to take it to a dealer, they will then replace the power steering control module, which is usually the culprit.
This should cost you around $1,500 to $2,000 to repair. This problem was mostly found in models produced in 2006 and between 2011 to 2013.
When test-driving the vehicle:
- Look out for any warning lights popping up on the dashboard.
- Ensure the steering is smooth and easy to operate; this issue is known for locking up the steering wheel in some cases.
- If you hear any strange noises while turning the steering wheel, then good chance there is something wrong with it.
Transmissions are Faulty
Premature failure of the transmission has been known to occur in the TSX.
This issue was mostly linked to models produced between 2004 to 2005.
It is worth noting that in most cars, it is abnormal to experience any issues with the transmission below 200 000 miles – that is, if the car has been properly maintained with the transmission fluid being exchanged with fluid suited to the Acura.
In fact, most newer cars come with an automatic transmission.
A TSX with transmission problems will produce delays in shifting, grinding or whining noises while in gear. It will also become harder to select a gear as time goes on until. Eventually, you aren’t able to select gears at all.
Faults in the car’s transmission can also result in a loss of fuel efficiency.
If you are unlucky enough to experience this problem, then the only solution is to replace the whole transmission with a different one.
This could set you back $2,000 or more, but it is the only viable way to ensure the problem is fixed.
Power Steering Fluid is Leaking
This problem occurs in models produced between 2006 and 2008. However, other models are not completely safe from this issue.
Power steering fluid not only helps lubricate the power steering system but is also has an important role in assisting the system in functioning properly.
It acts as a hydraulic system, and the electronic control module will calculate how much assistance is needed when turning the steering wheel. It will use this fluid to make the steering feel lighter by pumping it into a series of pipes and hydraulic tubes, thus making the steering easier to use.
If there is no power steering fluid, then the system cannot build enough pressure to ensure proper function.
If you feel that your steering becomes significantly heavier while driving, then this could be one of the problems.
You will still be able to drive the car without power steering, it will just be uncomfortably difficult to steer the car, especially at lower speeds.
When inspecting and test-driving the car, make sure to check if the steering is light and easy to use. Other symptoms include smoke coming from the engine bay, and an unpleasant burning smell.
You can also check the power steering reservoir; this should be full at all times. It is easy to identify as the bottle will have marks indicating the maximum and minimum levels.
The main reason why this issue would occur is because of a cracked power steering hose. As there is a lot of pressure in the system, any small cut or opening will result in fluid being spilled.
The best way to fix it would be to replace these hoses with original hoses made by the manufacturer. In some cases, you would also need to replace the rack and pinion assembly, as this forms part of the whole system and could also have a leak.
This could be a costly exercise and should be avoided if at all possible by regularly checking the fluid level.
Be aware that the 2004-2008 Acura TSX was recalled due to power steering problems.
In fact, it was the issues with the power steering hose, mentioned above, that was the cause of the recall of up to 167,000 Acura TSX models.
The Vehicle Rattles on Start-up
Another common issue on the Acura, as well as its Honda relatives, is the frustrating rattling noise that occurs upon start-up.
This problem occurs mostly in the winter periods and usually lasts for a few seconds before settling down.
The main culprit is a faulty VTC system.
The Variable Timing Control system is responsible for advancing or holding back the timing on the intake camshaft. This is done through a hydraulic process.
The best solution for this is to take it to your nearest Acura dealership. They will replace the VTC actuator, which should sort out the problem.
In some cases, you would need to replace the timing chains and crank seal, too, depending on how bad the problem is.
The Brake Pedal is Stiff
This problem has been reported to occur in models produced between 2011 to 2014, and it also mostly occurs in the wintertime.
Owners have reported that the brake pedal becomes stiff and, in some cases, would freeze in place and not move at all, causing the car to have little to no braking at all.
This is obviously a safety hazard, as the last thing you want in an emergency is to have brakes that do not work properly on a vehicle.
In most cases, once the car was fully warmed up to operating temperature, the issue would go away, and normal braking would resume.
The cause of this problem is somewhat unclear, as some dealerships were hesitant in providing details as to why this occurred.
If you are experiencing any similar issues to this, you should immediately take your car to the closest Acura dealership.
In the event that they do not assist you with this problem, then there is a solution that could help eliminate this problem.
Performing a brake fluid flush could potentially fix this problem.
- A brake fluid flush basically removes all the old dirty fluid and replaces it with fresh fluid.
- This should be done on a car, regardless of make, every 30 000 miles, or two years, whichever comes first.
- This can be done at any reputable mechanic or could be done by yourself if you have the correct tools and knowledge.
Excessive Oil Consumption
Another common problem that is known about 2009 and 2010 Acura TSX vehicles is their excessive oil consumption.
Many of drivers don’t keep good records of oil checks and consumption, so this issue can be easily overlooked.
This is not only concerning regarding the car’s internal working and vehicle safety, but it is also one of those issues that can quietly eat into your monthly budget.
It is recommended to get the vehicle checked by a trusted service center. They may well recommend that the piston rings are replaced as faults in the pistons can cause the car to use more oil than necessary.
Signs of faulty pistons are:
- Excessive oil consumption
- Blue smoke
- Low acceleration
Infotainment System Faults
Illumination Error on the Infotainment Screen
This error occurs in models produced between 2004 to 2011.
This problem occurs when the screen light of the system seems to turn on and off intermittently. In some cases, the light does not turn on at all.
If this problem occurs in your car, take it to the nearest Acura dealership for repair.
If you are technically inclined and have the right equipment, then you could attempt the repair yourself, however, this should only be done if you are confident in your skills.
Infotainment Switches Glitch
Some owners have also reported that switches found on the infotainment/navigation system have also become faulty.
This fault is caused by a failed circuit board, and the only solution would be to replace the entire circuit board.
Acura has taken note of this problem and has extended the warranty on the audio display to 105 000 miles or 7 years, whichever comes first. However, this is only applicable to models produced in 2004, and not others.
CD Player Malfunctions
Some owners have complained that the CD player does not work as it should.
While some have complained about general faults when trying to insert, play or eject a CD, others have reported a more serious issue.
The CD player has reportedly turned on intermittently and even run while the car is turned off, thus draining the car’s battery while it is parked.
General Pros and Cons of the Acura TSX
- The Acura TSX is a good quality vehicle at an affordable price. The approximate resale value on a 2014 model is $15,380 – 19,457
- The vehicle comes with an optional v6 that packs a punch.
- It has great driving dynamics; it’s comfortable and generally performs very well.
- The TSX also comes in a station wagon for extra room, perfect for those looking for a comfortable family car.
- Electric power steering failure
- Faulty Transmissions
- Power steering leaking fluid
- Rattles on startup
- Stiff brake pedal
- Infotainment system faults
- Excessive oil consumption
What Do the Reviews Say?
The Acura TSX is a good car. It balances a solid performance with an upscale interior, which makes it an appealing choice for many.
The TSX has balanced handling and comes with front-wheel drive. For a model last manufactured in 2014, its interior is still considered attractive by those looking for well-maintained used vehicles.
The TSX goes about its business so smoothly and so silkily that precision could be its middle name.
Comfortably seating 5 in the cabin, the TSX offers plenty of room for all its passengers. The vehicle received a satisfying 4 out of 5 rating from J.D. Power for reliability as well as a safety rating of 8.8/10.
It’s no wonder this car is known for its “smooth business.”
What’s the Resale Value On the TSX?
|2010||82 804 miles||$ 12,990|
|2012||99 065 miles||$ 12,999|
|2013||93 880 miles||$ 16,495|
ⓘ 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.