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Hi people. I'm possibly buying a 2005 Acura TSX with 114k supposedly owned by a doctor that looks like he took care of the car. I test drove this car yesterday and was amazed when I hit 70mph as I assumed I was still at 40mph because it's SO smooth and quiet on the highway. I worked the transmission in 'manual' mode and it feels tight without any slip or the dreaded 'whistling' noise I've heard about. My only reservations about buying this car (around the $3000 mark) is I've heard and read about the CVT transmission and to STAY AWAY from them. My figuring is that since it's already at 114k without any problems then hopefully it's got a good transmission.
I've always had domestic vehicles, and do my own repairs. A transmission is something I'm not equipped to do though...knock on wood I've never had an automatic go bad on me. This leads me to my other newbie questions-how expensive are parts for repairs? Do regular Honda parts cross over or will they be expensive Acura parts? Also, are these cars forgiving to DIY repairs? I'm just a little nervous about luxury cars because they're usually sold cheap because the owner wants to remove themselves from the blackholes of repairs and parts German ones seem to become? Just some opinions I'm asking for from owners here. Are there specific things I should check and look at before handing over the check? One thing I did notice was soot on the exhaust-however judging from the dust inside it looks like the car might have sat for a few months, and there are no 'Service' or error codes showing. What octane of gas do they like best? I'm full of questions because this will be my first foreign luxury brand and I'm a little nervous over whether I can turn a wrench or even afford the parts because I pay cash for my vehicles, which makes them older and I know repairs are a common factor. (At least with domestics-especially the downturn in GM's quality.) Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!
 

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Happy New Year! That seems like a good price for a car with that mileage and ownership history. Not handy, I can’t weigh in on the DIY questions but can tell you the automatic TSX is not a CVT. I can also tell you Acura recommends premium gas. Good luck on your search!
 

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It’s pretty common for pre-2007 models to have oil consumption issues. As long as that’s fine and all the service is up to date, it seems okay to me. You can’t get much better for a few grand
 

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It's hard to say whether it's using oil unless I keep track of it after a few weeks. I have used high mileage oil treatment successfully before in other vehicles, the stuff that's super gooey and more like a gel. I can live with a half quart every few weeks but it'll make me worry about fouling up the catalytic converter unless I add fuel treatment.
 

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I wanted to DIY the alternator last year after watching a YouTube video featuring the same engine in the Honda Accord. Nope, the A/C compressor hoses are in the way on the TSX. I had a mechanic do it. He had to disconnect the hoses and recharge the A/C to change the alternator.
My 2007 TSX had its steering pump and the whole dang steering rack go out about 2-3 years ago at about 100k mi. The dealer admitted it was a manufacturing flaw in the o-rings of the racks built at that time but there was no recall and Acura would offer no goodwill at all. (Contemporary TL's supposedly worse about steering racks, according to the dealer tech.) I was out two and a half grand but I considered it better than buying another unknown quantity used car. It is a very nice car. I had a few years' warning on the steering though: As I would back up from a parking space and turn, about when the steering wheel would get to the lock there would sometimes be a brief sigh, like R2D2 being sad/disappointed. Due to the design of the car, the steering system is under a lot of pressure and the pump seals ruptured when the rack went. No problems since the replacements though.
LIke I said that was a few years ago. Right now what is setting in are age related problems like starter and alternator, and radiator. Nothing major in a long time, knock on wood. I'd consider buying another same-generation TSX if my budget were 4,000 to 5,000. I'd sure like to see a service history first. An already done steering rack would be a definite plus. Get a prepurchase inspection and look for leaks and ooze about the steering system.
I had a 1993 Accord need a steering rack at about 200,000 mi, come to think of it. That was sometime before 2005. My Honda Acura independent mechanic says these Hondas and Acuras make a lot of sense to work on. They break down in straighforward ways, rather than, say, by wearing out a cheap plastic part with a short lifespan buried in the heart of your engine block under several thousands of dollars of labor. My parents '74 Audi was a madhouse of mystery noises and inexplicable design choices. But that is a story for another time.
 

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As already mentioned, the TSX never had a CVT in any generation for its automatic transmissions.

Hondas and Acuras have a reputation for low maintenance reliability, "just change fluids, tires, wipers, batteries, and go"; but that is when bought as new vehicles and over a 5-7 year ownership window. Any vehicle as old as the one you're talking about, 15+ years old with well over 100K miles on it, will have wear and tear and age related issues to deal with.

In particular,

My 2007 TSX had its steering pump and the whole dang steering rack go out about 2-3 years ago at about 100k mi. The dealer admitted it was a manufacturing flaw in the o-rings of the racks built at that time but there was no recall and Acura would offer no goodwill at all. (Contemporary TL's supposedly worse about steering racks, according to the dealer tech.) I was out two and a half grand but I considered it better than buying another unknown quantity used car.

...LIke I said that was a few years ago. Right now what is setting in are age related problems like starter and alternator, and radiator. Nothing major in a long time, knock on wood. I'd consider buying another same-generation TSX if my budget were 4,000 to 5,000. I'd sure like to see a service history first. An already done steering rack would be a definite plus. Get a prepurchase inspection and look for leaks and ooze about the steering system.
Yes, seeing that any of the following already happened and taken care of would be good.

I got a 2007 TSX back in 2016, with 134K miles on it, and since then have had to replace:

alternator
A/C compressor
PS pump
Suspension: shocks, tie rods, sway bars
steering rack (last year)

And I've been warned by my independent Honda mechanic that the radiator will probably need replacing in another year or two. (No problems with my starter, thank goodness, though I had a weird starting/cutting out problem for a while that was fixed by replacing extremely frayed grounding straps, apparently eaten by road salt from being parked outdoors in the Northeast for so many years.)

If you can do your own work then great, you can save yourself quite a bit.

Just saying that buying a 2005 TSX for $3K is likely to cost you at least that much in maintenance over the next 2-3 years if a lot of those things are outstanding.

Which isn't to say you shouldn't do it - these are very nice cars, and will probably keep running for quite some time, it's still a tight and smooth ride that still feels sporty in handling - and if you are experienced enough to do your own wrenching on cars you probably don't need to hear this, but occasionally people come on here (usually young ones) and talk like they think they can get a used first gen TSX with their $5000 in hand and have a low cost vehicle "because it's an Acura", who have to be warned to keep at least another $2000 if not $3000 in budget for the next few years unless they can see all those major issues have already happened and been fixed well.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I went ahead and bought it. Everyone I've talked to says 3k for an Acura with only 114k miles on it is a steal, granted it's an '05. After driving to and from work for the last 5 days I've noticed no problems. Everything works, and whoever had it before me took really good care of it inside and out. The fluids look good, no vibration or noise from engine, transmission is tight and shifts smoothly.
I've never owned a 'luxury' car with performance specs like this car has and it's pretty mind-blowing to be honest. I'm amazed at it's willingness to accelerate, how incredibly tight it handles, and oh my goodness the seat feels like it was made just for me. (My tweaked back loves the heated seat.) The overall feel of the car is incredible because I'm used to driving my old Blazer and Escort. I've been searching for a newer used vehicle for the last 2 years-and three grand for an Acura with low mileage was simply too good to pass up.

I can handle the general upkeep-like what you listed and I'm capable of replacing all of those items. My main concern is major things like the transmission or engine. Next time it warms up I'm going to change the oil and filter, and probably go ahead and change the transmission fluid and filter. I baby my vehicles (because I know it'll be me fixing anything) so I'm hoping my TLC will be repaid with Honda's excellent quality and reliability reputation. A friend of mine is super jealous I got the thing at that price and stated 'the way you drive that thing will last forever'. I hope he's right. Thanks for the replies-in the future it looks like I'll have an excellent source of information for repairs and regular upkeep here with fellow TSX fans/owners.
 

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I was going through the manual on fluids. Of course Honda like any manufacturer wants you to buy their line of fluids. Engine oil I'm not too worried about, but I would like to know if anyone has used transmission, brake, and power steering fluid other than Honda. Manual states Honda ATF-Z1 for the transmission, DOTIII brake fluid, and a non-silicate coolant. I'd like to use Honda's own brand but I'm sure it'll probably be a bit more. Right now I'm trying to figure out the center storage console that the PO took out for some reason or another because the bottom one catches on the top when I try opening it. (PO had a multi-port USB charger plugged into the 12V socket and wow was that thing jammed in! In the process I found some loose change that I was happy to remove before it fell into something it shouldn't underneath the radio.
To my surprise, I found the XM radio works with a few 'free' channels-nice. However I only received one key, manual stated originally 3 were issued. Are these chipped keys? I don't see one on the blade of the key so hopefully I can have some made instead of paying for a chip-which can really hurt price wise. I'm also not sure how old the spark plugs are but that'll be a warmer weather project.
 

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Definitely use Honda ATF for the transmission. ATF-Z1 was replaced by DW-1 so look for that. I also ONLY use Honda blue for coolant. Every other fluid other than ATF and coolant - I use things other than Honda/Acura branded stuff.
 

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Hi people. I'm possibly buying a 2005 Acura TSX with 114k supposedly owned by a doctor that looks like he took care of the car. I test drove this car yesterday and was amazed when I hit 70mph as I assumed I was still at 40mph because it's SO smooth and quiet on the highway. I worked the transmission in 'manual' mode and it feels tight without any slip or the dreaded 'whistling' noise I've heard about. My only reservations about buying this car (around the $3000 mark) is I've heard and read about the CVT transmission and to STAY AWAY from them. My figuring is that since it's already at 114k without any problems then hopefully it's got a good transmission.
I've always had domestic vehicles, and do my own repairs. A transmission is something I'm not equipped to do though...knock on wood I've never had an automatic go bad on me. This leads me to my other newbie questions-how expensive are parts for repairs? Do regular Honda parts cross over or will they be expensive Acura parts? Also, are these cars forgiving to DIY repairs? I'm just a little nervous about luxury cars because they're usually sold cheap because the owner wants to remove themselves from the blackholes of repairs and parts German ones seem to become? Just some opinions I'm asking for from owners here. Are there specific things I should check and look at before handing over the check? One thing I did notice was soot on the exhaust-however judging from the dust inside it looks like the car might have sat for a few months, and there are no 'Service' or error codes showing. What octane of gas do they like best? I'm full of questions because this will be my first foreign luxury brand and I'm a little nervous over whether I can turn a wrench or even afford the parts because I pay cash for my vehicles, which makes them older and I know repairs are a common factor. (At least with domestics-especially the downturn in GM's quality.) Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!
Welcome, you have the right decision
 

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Welcome, you have the right decision
I certainly hope I have dry cry! (So far it seems a good decision.)
Definitely use Honda ATF for the transmission. ATF-Z1 was replaced by DW-1 so look for that. I also ONLY use Honda blue for coolant. Every other fluid other than ATF and coolant - I use things other than Honda/Acura branded stuff.
Thanks for the info. Wow! 335k is something to be proud of, and something I'd wish to experience myself.
I'm loving the car so far but my ONLY regret, and it would have made the car perfect in my view was if it had the 6-speed manual transmission. The tight handling must be a total dream to drive coupled with the manual transmission that makes the driver so much more part of the driving experience.

I did find out why my center dash storage (under the radio) isn't quite fitting-it looks like the PO had a bluetooth device installed. Not totally sure if it is, but I suspect that's what it is as the USB charger has a 'phone' icon on it. I don't really need it as I'm happy with the CD/XM/Radio as it is. I'm rather new to low profile alloy wheels and tires-manual recommends 30 to 32 psi which seems low to me as I'm used to more conventional tires. (I really don't care for the valve stems that trigger an alarm if low. Seems more nuisance when they go bad that getting out with a tire gauge does just fine as I check all my vehicles once a week anyway. Another added bonus I found out today is my full coverage insurance is nice and low, and costing less than $80 a month.
 
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