Piston Slap: Drive It Like You Lease It. Then Don't.

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap drive it like you lease it then don t

Anthony writes:

I currently own a 2006 Acura TSX, 6-speed manual, with 32,000 miles. I’m also leasing a 2008 Mazda Miata for 2-years. I’m giving the Miata back in September of this year and it’s way under milage. I have two questions about my TSX:

1) Because of the mileage, I want to drive the leased Miata as much as possible. How little can I drive the Acura without it becoming detrimental to the car’s health? Is there anything I should be doing when I am driving it? Currently I drive it about 1 day every 2 weeks and make sure the A/C compressor is on.

2) How similar is the 6-speed transmission in the TSX to the 6-speed unit in the Civic Si. I’ve heard that’s a problematic transmission and that you should not skip-shift it. I’ve had no problems with the TSX’s transmission thus far. Your thoughts?

Sajeev Answers:

Combining the two questions into one (completely illogical) inference, I believe you need to rev and shift the living daylights out of your Miata to it all out of your system before the fragile transaxle in your TSX is your only mode of transport. That said, let’s answer your questions. Seriously this time.

Question 1: so the lease on the Miata runs out in about six months. You could easily put the TSX under a cover, let it sleep the entire period and have no problems after your final goodbye at the Mazda dealer. While I would continue your current TSX exercise regiment, extend the intervals to every 2 months. It’s nice to have the luxury of time to listen for trouble spots that might creep up after the Miata’s gone. Then again, I expect nothing will go wrong, especially if you garage it.

Question 2: Google is most inconclusive; hopefully the Best and Brightest can help. The trouble prone unit is used in the Accord and Civic, so it’s probably used in the TSX. If you haven’t joined a TSX owner’s forum yet, you really, really should. One universal truth: everyone treats manual transmissions differently, and most wrong-wheel drive transaxles start losing their integrity when people get stupid.

But I think you are fine. If you are a gear jammer at heart, find a car with a beefier driveline…something with a T-56 transmission for your right hand fits the bill nicely. And don’t lease it, either.

(Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com)

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2 of 26 comments
  • FrankyJ FrankyJ on Apr 13, 2010

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  • As per Toyondai92, GM Synchromesh is the answer to everything. Most of the horror stories I've heard regarding the six speed are due to idiots accidentally skip-shifting while down-shifting and and breaking something. Honda's six speeds have very narrow and tight gates (or it might just be me...) and it's easy to miss a gear if you're pushing too fast. Drive it gently and it should last forever.

  • Analoggrotto Too much of the exterior is shared with the Grand Highlander. Toyota/Lexus is clearly over extended here as this was rushed in direct response to the Kia Telluride which has decimated RX sales. Lexus was not such a major offender of just changing the front and rear end caps on a lesser Toyota model (this worked for LX / Land Cruiser as the latter is already expensive) but for such a mass market vehicle, buyers will notice and may just go to Toyota (or Kia) for their big SUV.
  • Crtfour I'm a BOF SUV fan. In my opinion it's certainly not a looker (but what is these days). But it does look the part and should be great off road. Plus kudos to Toyota for retaining actual shift levers. So I give it a thumbs up.
  • Theflyersfan UX Hybrid, NX, NX Hybrid, NX Plug-In Hybrid EV, RZ, RX, RX Hybrid, RX 500h, GX, LX, and now the TX. (source: the bloated section of the Lexus SUV site) It's looking like the Taco Bell menu over there - the same dozen ingredients mixed around to make a lineup. I'm waiting for something like the WX to compete with the Chevy Trax and maybe the LXXXL to compete with the Hummer EV and maybe a four row crossover in 2025 and a lower-cased line like the rx or nx to compete with the German CUV-"coupes" and their slashed tops and cargo areas. C'mon Lexus, there are more micro-niches to be filled! Gather your boardroom committees together and come up with another plan! And careless parent alert: shouldn't that kid be in a booster seat? I mean in my age, we sat in the way back of station wagons on the flat floor and bounced around with every curve, but these days you gotta deck your kid out in 50 pounds of pads and bubble wrap before they leave the driveway, so get that child seat in the way back right now!
  • 28-Cars-Later Nice minivan, just add the sliding doors and quit living in denial.
  • Zerofoo You will own nothing....