Buying a sports or performance car doesn’t have to be that great of a hit on the budget. Japanese imports are affordable, reliable and usually rather good in performance part as well. They aren’t your only option, however. Although luxury brands like Cadillac, Lexus, Acura and their German counterparts cost a lot, shopping for a used car gives us the opportunity to come out on the better side of the bargain.
But how reliable are they actually? Especially after taking their age into equation. While every car demands some repairs here and there, some of them are known to do that on a regular basis. Sports and performance cars are somewhat unique in that respect, so they usually require more attention than others. That’s another potential pitfall when buying a used sports car. You never know who drove it before you and how they treated the car. While that’s something we can’t help you with, here’s something we can do for you. The list of cars and their model year runs you should probably avoid given their reputation and set of well documented issues.
Acura TL Automatic
Although Acura TL suffers from “standard” Honda transmission issues, it seems that 2003 is the worst year by far. Whether it’s the conventional 225-hp 3.2L V6 or 260-hp Type-S model, TL’s 4-speed automatic simply doesn’t match the overall quality of the car itself. It can happen after 50k miles or anywhere deep in 100k’s, but you can bet it’ll happen. The transmission failure, that is. Poor transmission design on Honda’s part lead to improper fluid flow, which in turn lead to transmission overheat. Add time and wear into that equation, and you’ll easily figure out why 2003 TL’s auto trans usually ended its journey long before it was supposed to. If used Acura TL is on your radar, better avoid 2003 models. Or better yet, buy one with the manual. It’s a performance car after all, and tall gear ratio of TL’s automatic doesn’t help it perform better either.