2021 Acura TLX Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brake & electrical system issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The touring luxury executive car, Acura TLX, has been around since late 2014 when the original 2015 model was launched. Even though it has only had 4 recalls in 7 years, it’s accumulated a hefty 250 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) consumer complaints during this time.

Year by year, the NHTSA complaints have reduced, from 58 for the 2016 model to only 7 each for the 2020 and 2021 models. But, of course, complaints don’t stop in the year the cars are manufactured. For example, there were only 11 complaints about the 2016 model lodged in 2016.

Lemberg Law has published articles about the problems and top complaints about both the 2019 and 2020 Acura TLX models. Both highlight electrical system glitches. Electrical system problems are also top of the list for the original 2015 model, with 48 complaints. So, too, are the manufacturer communications about the electrical system. Out of a total of 397 documents sent to dealers alerting them about faults and malfunctions, 108 are electrical.

There have already been 50 manufacturer communications (or technical reports) for the 2021 Acura TLX, and 16 relate to the electrical system.

Additionally, the 2021 model has a reduced 4 out of 5 safety rating for the front passenger side in the NHTSA frontal crash test. This test simulates a head-on collision between two similar vehicles traveling at 35 mph.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019   2020

Most Common Problems with the 2021 Acura TLX

The 7 complaints about the 2021 model on record with NHTSA  cover a total of 12 problems. Of these, 3 are electrical, while another 3 relate to the brakes of the car. There are 2 problems that involve the fuel/propulsion system, and 1 each for the engine, forward-collision avoidance, the powertrain, and an unknown factor.

We are going to look more closely at the top 3 problem categories, electrical, brakes, and the fuel/propulsion system.

2021 Acura TLX Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Unknown Or Other
Air Bags
Fuel/propulsion System
Power Train
Back Over Prevention
Electrical System:12v/24v/48v Battery

Electrical Problems

Electrical problems reported are varied. One highlights a fault that results in the car “thinking” the door isn’t properly closed.

“If the car thinks the door is not fully closed, it will not allow the car to go into drive. My husband put the car into reverse and backed out onto a busy highway. He tried to put the car into drive and it would not go because the car’s electrical system thought the door was not fully shut (it was). He had to shut the car off completely and open/close the door again. This put him in a very dangerous situation and he could have been killed by oncoming traffic.”

Another states that the car wouldn’t start. The owner had it towed to the local dealer who couldn’t replicate the problem, so no repairs were carried out.

The third describes how the owner was forced to call for roadside assistance three times. On one occasion, the car wouldn’t unlock, even with the key.

The same complaint states that the warning light, Auto Idle Stop, comes on while driving and is a recurring problem. The dealer is “unable to find a reason for (the) warning lights.”

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Problems with the Brakes

Noise is the main issue with the car’s brakes.

One complaint states, “Whenever I press the brake pedal at low speeds (1-3 mph), I hear a loud spring/clicking sound. This is happening to multiple Acura TLX owners I know.”

Another describes a “loud cranking noise” coming from the front of the vehicle when the driver pushes down on the brake pedal. This first happened when the car had only 270 miles on the clock. The owner has taken the car back to the dealer at least twice, but at the time of the complaint, they hadn’t diagnosed or repaired the fault.

The third, most recent complaint describes “a loud abnormal, squealing noise” when the brake pedal is depressed. The dealer acknowledged the failure but didn’t have parts to repair it immediately. The owner was lent a 2021 Acura TLX. But the same thing happened with the loaner vehicle . He got a second loaner car.

The complaint tells how, after repair, the brake noise in his car stopped. But then the forward-collision avoidance brake light came on intermittently. This time, the dealer reset the electrical system. “However, once the system was reset, the original brake noise failure returned.”

This Acura TLX had only 11 miles on the clock. At the time of the complaint, it was still with the dealer and the manufacturer had been notified of the failure.

One of the 2 fuel/propulsion system complaints also mentions the brakes emitting an “extremely loud, high pitch squeal.” The complaint, made in January 2022, states that American Honda Motor Company (AHM) is aware of the problem (see below).

Manufacturer Communications about Brakes

There are 9 technical reports from the manufacturer, AHM, about Service Brakes, Hydraulic. Most deal with complaints about “a vibration/judder in the front brakes when applying the brakes.” They advise dealers to “collect specific parts from the vehicle” before attempting any repairs.

The most recent communication, dated 17 February 2022, warns that “the front brakes make a high-pitched squeal when lightly applied at 15 mph or less.”

Fuel System Problems

The first of the 2 fuel-related complaints reports multiple issues:

  • The fuel capless unit was adjusted once and replaced 3 times
  • The steering column drips grease from the steering shaft bolts “due to extreme heat”
  • Brakes squealing (as above)
  • Rotor rubs against other parts

According to the complaint, AHM is aware of these problems but doesn’t have a fix. “They will not label them as recalls because they do not put Acura owners at risk, according to them. But, they send service bulletins to the dealerships advising all Acura service departments that they know about these problems. The steps to fix the issue may or may not work per dealers.”

The second complaint may well put Acura owners at risk!

The complainant describes an incident in the rain. “I went to switch lanes and floor it to pass another car.” The check engine light came on, the power died, and the speed slowed dramatically. The driver wasn’t able to accelerate. The check engine light continued to flash. He was on the freeway but couldn’t reach a speed of 40 mph.

“This was a very dangerous situation. There were no warnings leading up to this catastrophic fuel/engine issue.” If he had been passing a car on a 2-lane road into oncoming traffic, the result may “have been deadly,” he said.

The dealer was aware of the issue and installed an update. The complainant was due to pick up the car that same day, “hoping the issue is resolved.”

What to do if your 2021 Acura TLX is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

If your Acura TLX has any recurring problems, you may have a lemon on your hands.

Lemberg Law specializes in lemon law cases and we have helped many clients reach settlement agreements with manufacturers.

Call our Helpline and we’ll evaluate your case. The law makes Honda pay the legal fees in lemon law cases, so you won’t have to pay.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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