Acura TL 2004-2008: common problems and fixes, reliability, fuel economy, specs

Overall rating:4.5 Star Rating: Recommended
March 31, 2018
2005 Acura TL
2005 Acura TL

The 2004-2008 Acura TL is one of the best sporty sedans. It offers a strong V6 engine, sharp handling and upscale interior.

The list of available features includes HID headlights, Bluetooth and Navigation System with Voice Recognition. The TL scored well in the NHTSA frontal crash tests. The reliability is not bad, but there are a few things to watch out for, read further.

Acura TL 2005 interior
Acura TL interior. Click for larger view

Inside: The TL interior is a blend of sportiness and luxury. The fit and finish is excellent. The driver's seat is supportive, the instrument panel looks sharp. The premium audio system sounds great.

Engine: The 2004-2008 TL comes with the 258-hp 3.2L SOHC VTEC V6. The sporty Acura TL Type-S added for 2007, offers the 286-hp 3.5L V6. With good maintenance, either engine is known to last for over 200K.

Fuel Economy: The 2004-2008 Acura TL 3.2L auto gets 18/26 mpg (13.1/9.0 L/100 km) city/highway on premium gasoline.
On one 17.1-gallon (64.7 liters) tank, the 3.2L TL can go up to 408 miles (657 km) with mostly highway driving. The 2007-2008 3.5L TL Type-S is rated at 17/26 mpg (13.8/9.0 L/100 km) on premium gasoline.

Mechanical: The TL has front-wheel drive. Transmission choices included a 6-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic. The front suspension is a double-wishbone, the rear suspension has an independent multi-link layout. All four wheels have disk brakes. The Anti-lock brakes (ABS) and the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control are standard.

2005 Acura TL V6 engine
2005 Acura TL V6 engine

Timing belt or chain: Both the 3.2L and 3.5L V6 engines have a timing belt that must be replaced in recommended intervals.

Handling and ride: On the road, Acura TL offers sporty handling with precise responsive steering. The ride is firm, but road bumps are absorbed well. The car feels stable and comfortable on the highway. The cabin is quiet, except for a sporty grunt of the engine.

Safety: In the NHTSA frontal crash tests, the 2004-2008 Acura TL scored five stars for both the driver and the front passenger. In the NHTSA side-impact crash tests, the 2004-2008 Acura TL received four stars for the front and five stars for the rear seat protection. For more details, visit Safercar.gov. The 2004-2008 Acura TL also received "Good" overall rating in the frontal offset crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS).

Pros: Safety ratings, strong V6, sporty look, handling, premium sound system.

Cons: Requires premium gasoline, the rear seat doesn't fold down, the rims scratch easy when parking by the curb, parts are expensive, large turning radius

Similar cars:

Reliability and common problems: The engine oil pump seal can cause an oil leak in the oil filter area. The repair costs $450-$500. It's a good idea to combine this repair with timing belt and water pump replacement, as part of the labor overlaps.
Several owners mentioned cracks in the dash. It looks like this problem is more common in southern states. The dash replacement is expensive. See this thread of the Acurazine forum discusses the issue.
Problems with Hands free link staying on and draining the battery are mentioned often. The Acura Service Bulletin 08-057 for the 05-08 TL describes the problem and advises to replace the HFL control unit. The repair costs around $360-$400.
Engine mounts may go bad. The replacement of three most common engine mounts may cost up to $1500.
The side mirror actuator may fail, causing it not to reset properly on memory seating. The part is not very expensive, but removing the mirror glass is a delicate task. There are several Youtube videos on the subject.
Overall, the TL is one of the best choices for a sporty sedan. As of 2018, Consumer Reports rates the 2004-2008 TL 4 out of 5 for the reliability. That's even better than 2011-2012 TL (3 out of 5). In-car electronics got the worse scores. The engine and transmission are rated well.

Guides for used car buyers:

Maintenance: Regular oil changes will help keep your engine in good shape. Change the transmission fluid in recommended intervals; use only the fluid type listed in your owner's manual. The owner's manual for 2007 Acura TL says

Always use Honda ATF-Z1 (automatic transmission fluid)

If you hear a whining noise from the steering when the car is started cold, there was a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) on this issue describing a problem with the air entering the power steering fluid through a bad O-ring at the steering pump; the repair is fairly simple: replace the O-ring. To keep you car safe, have it inspected at least once a year in a repair shop on the lift. Keep all the fluids clean and topped up.

You might also be interested:

Resources:
Recalls: Safety Recalls - NHTSA or Transport Canada - Motor Vehicle Safety Recalls.
Acura Owner's Manuals and Warranty - read an owner's manual online, check what's covered by the warranty.
Acura owners Maintenance Minders - check the maintenance schedule online.
Honda-tech.com - Honda enthusiasts forum.

2007 Acura TL specifications

Dimensions:
Overall length:
TL:
TL Type-S:
Overall width:
Overall height:
Wheelbase:

189.3 in (4,809 mm)
189.8 (4,822 mm)
75.4 in (1,916 mm)
56.7 in (1,441 mm)
107.9 in (2,740 mm)

Turning circle (curb to curb): 39.7 ft (12.1 m)
Engines:
TL:



TL Type-S:


3.2-liter SOHC 24-valve VTEC V6
258 hp @ 6200 rpm,
233 lbs-ft @ 5000 rpm

3.5-liter SOHC 24-valve VTEC V6
286 hp @ 6200 rpm,
256 lbs-ft @ 5000 rpm
Recommended Fuel:
Premium Unleaded
Fuel Tank Capacity:

17.1 US Gal. (64.7 L)

Engine oil capacity with filter:
3.2L V6, 3.5L V6, including filter: 4.5 US qt (4.3L)