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Matrix Transmission Problems



  • canonlawcanonlaw Posts: 20
    I just had the bearings go bad on my matrix 5-speed tranny as well. What were the symptoms for you guys? mine was a grinding sound when in gear and letting off the gas....I am wondering, is this gonna happen every 60,000miles or so? it is being fixed under warranty this time, but if it did this every 60,000 miles, whats the point in owning this car? I love it but....
  • joebeetsjoebeets Posts: 1
    I found a used 2003 Matrix XRS 6sp.manaul with only 34k miles. Not bad I thought, took it for a test drive and didn't notice at first the "noise" coming from the gears as you throttled down. I took it to a mechanic for a pre-sale check-out and of course he noticed the noise right away. He said, "Hmmm and the seller wants how much? No way dude!!" I offered her $4600 less than what she was asking (mid-KBB of $12600) to put into "escrow" for when I have to fix it. Now that I'm reading these posts, however, I'm thinking that isn't a matter of IF but a matter of WHEN. Bad transmissions seem to be endemic to the Matrix, especially 2003s. I'm going to withdraw my offer on this car. Thank goodness for this forum!!!
  • sales2010sales2010 Posts: 33
    Does automatic tranmissions have this problem too? Since the Corolla and the Matrix have a similar platform, does bad transmissions usual for the Corolla also? Thanks!
  • So it seems like I wasn't the only one who had this unpleasant experience with Toyota as they had indicated.

    Although, it happened over a year and half ago now it still makes me so mad. I have the culprit 'Made in Japan' bearing handy as a reminder. I battled with Toyota Canada and lost.

    If any one wants to continue with the battle, I will gladly join in. The following was my contact who I would encourage all of you to send a letter to detailing your experiences:

    Donna Gervais
    Consultant, Customer Interaction Center
    One Toyota Place,
    Scarborough, Ontario

    Please refer to my file:

    Stephen Harding
    Case #773648

    Just to be thorough, you may also want to send a copy to this guy:

    Mr. Kazunori Harada
    General Manager
    Overseas Operations Department
    Customer Relations Division
    Toyota Motor Corporation
    DAI-NI Toyota Building
    NAGOYA 450-0002, JAPAN

    Please refer to my file:


    I also can give you further information through standard email, including my correspondence with Toyota and the lab report on the defective bearing.

    Good luck.

    I recently replaced our family van. I had a choice. It's a Honda.
  • My impression is that the automatics do not have this problem, is that correct?

    I hope so because I just bought an 03 Matrix AWD automatic with over 100,000 miles. Need to get the transmission serviced but at this point, it seems to be fine.

    Certainly is disappointing to hear that Toyota is dodging the problem this way!
  • tuxristotuxristo Posts: 5
    From what I have read and from (painful) personal experience
    Here are the common transmission problems with the Matrix :sick:

    2003-2006 XRS 6-speed manual clutch failures at around 50,000km
    2003 5-speed manual - bearing failure at around 105,000km

    Like I posted earlier, My 2003 XR 5-speed failed at 108k km (about 68k miles)
    The output shaft bearing blew up killing some other parts in the tranny costing $2400 to fix. :cry:

    Summary of reported bearing failures right after the warranty ran out:

    1) mjustice - 2003 tranmission replaced at 62K miles
    2) crimson_steve - Exact same failure as mine at the exact same mileage (>1k km apart)
    3) jim19a - Not sure if 2003, but failed within 5k miles of mine, also bearings
    4) tuxristo - Mine, 2003 XR bearings failed at 68K miles
    5) ron99 - Not sure if bearings were the problem, but 2003 and failed within 5k miles of mine
    6) frustrated13 - 102,000 kms on a 2003 matrix 5sp and the tranny bearing exploded taking out the works. I.E. exactly the same failure as mine.
    7) pattih - Also bad bearings, but from the sounds of it it failed at 108k miles not km?
    She also had it checked just before warranty expired like I did. If the bearing was making a subtle whine like it was on mine, then why did the mechanic not notice it!? :mad: I noticed the whine after letting go of the clutch pedal and slowing down "with the gears", but thought it was coming from the engine or something :(
    8) madatmatrix - 2003 transmission trashed at 85K (miles or km? - guessing miles)
    9) canonlaw - Exact same symptoms as mine, at roughly the same mileage.

    You can't help but wonder how many more people are out there that don't use this forum!

    Will this happen to us again at another 60K miles?

    Since the new bearings are presumably not bad, it might not happen again at another 60K miles, but as pattih noted, the transmission design was changed for 2004, so maybe the transmission was flawed in the 2003 and it WILL keep happening! i.e. maybe there is some design flaw in the tranny that is CAUSING the bearings to fail. Then again, maybe it was a bad batch of bearings. Toyota really needs to stand up and own up to this problem and at the very least give us all some answers!

    - Will we be compensated for this design flaw/batch of defective parts?
    - How will this affect Toyota's Reliability reputation?
    - What can Toyota do to make sure we don't go around telling everyone to avoid Toyota based on our experience?

    It is interesting to see that people are starting to ask about 6-speeds, automatics and even the Corolla in this thread. To me these questions show that the 2003 Matrix 5-speed manual transmission problem is already starting to cast a shadow on Toyota's reliability reputation, and I think it would be in Toyota Motor Corporation's best interests to reassure people that the problem is isolated to a certain batch of 2003 Matrix 5-speeds, if in fact that is the case!
  • canonlawcanonlaw Posts: 20
    Hey tuxristo, could we swap email addresses? I don't know what will happen down the road with all of this, but it would be nice to have someone to contact if need be.

    I don't like posting my email address, so can you contact me through my website? Just fill out the contact form. Thanks.
  • I bought my 2003 matrix also in May of 2002. My transmission failed last Thurs. night at 118,000 miles. I'm in shock- I never expected this from a Toyota. It is the 3rd Toyota I have owned. I had noticed a noise and had it checked twice, but was thinking it might have been exhaust because it got worse when I stepped on the gas. Neither garage found anything. I don't know yet the extent of the damage. I had it towed to garage, and they pulled it yesterday, but hadn't torn it apart yet to see what went wrong and the extent of the damage. I called a Toyota dealer and of course they basically laughed when I told them it had 118,000 miles. I will call the customer serrvice hotline though. Clearly there is a problem with this transmission. I would be happy to join in any collective action. Toyota should stand behind this product and if they have a problem should step up and solve it.
  • emobemob Posts: 1
    COUNT ME IN!! Blown Transmission, extremely pissed off.

    2003 Matrix XR 5sp. 102,600 miles. Bought May 2003. Well maintained and serviced at regularly scheduled intervals by the Toyota dealer. Not a single mechanical problem until a slight grinding sound (coming from either the clutch and/or transmission, when in gears 1-5) popped up 2000 miles after my extended warranty expired at 100K. It sounds like this was in fact the bearing. Last night the tranny blew as I was driving it to get a second opinion after the local Toyota dealer offered only an entire transaxle replacement for $3500.
    I'm planning to do a dealer trade-in with them and work a deal on the price of a new Prius. I'd prefer to never buy Toyota again because of this, but it is my best option for salvaging the most value from the car.
    Toyota has not lived up to its reputation, and hasn't done anything to help me. Needless to say, I to am extremely dissapointed and would love to join the fight.
  • alikaalika Posts: 3
    I found this site after Toyota told my wife they wouldn't cover anything towards the replacement of her clutch and transmission, after 76k miles. It seems there's a real problem here, and Toyota needs to acknowledge it. so what do we do next? Any attorneys out there?
  • lilmaxxlilmaxx Posts: 2
    I also own a 2003 matrix xr, and as of today it also needs major transmission work. I replaced the gear oil @ 100,000 miles and it was as black as dirt. That seemed to calm the noise for a while and then it started to chirp, now it sits in the driveway and won't even go into gear. This will be the last toyota I ever buy.
  • kate18kate18 Posts: 1
    My '03 Matrix manual transmission went at 104k (km) .

    All the tramission need to be replaced. This job cost 4300$ at a Toyota Dealer.

    A failed to change transmission fluid which Toyota Canada said meant the warranty is over. They offered $2000 as a Goodwill gesture. So I still have to pay 2300$.

    I look to repair by independant transmission garage and the cost for a used one is 1500$.

    What do you think I should do : accept their offer (cost 2300$) or buy a used one (1500$)?

  • tuxristotuxristo Posts: 5
    Well, how many km would the used one have on it?

    Judging by the posts in this forum, it's pretty likely that a 5-speed manual transmission from a 2003 Matrix, will fail at about 107,000km (+/- 5000km)

    So, if the used transmission is less than 102,000 km old,
    you'll put it in and it will probably fail.

    As sad as it is, I'd just get it fixed, if I was you. :sick:

    I would also print out all the posts in this thread and talk to a manager and get them to cover the entire cost of the repairs based on the fact that these transmissions are bad. :lemon:
  • alikaalika Posts: 3
    The same thing just happened to my wife's 03 5 speed. 76k and the transmission and clutch blew out. So far Toyota has offered nothing, but we're starting to get our notes together. Maybe if enough of us got together and approached Toyota with one voice, they'd have to acknowledge that there is a problem.
  • canonlawcanonlaw Posts: 20
    I am working on a website about this. I am going to hopefully have it show up at the top of google searches and will include all the info on here, and hopefully it will get more responses from people.
  • alikaalika Posts: 3
    Keep me posted on that website. We're really steamed with this whole issue. Thanks
  • augureraugurer Posts: 1
    I don't own a Matrix, but my 2003 Corolla S's 5-speed manual transmission with 63k miles is displaying similar problems as described here.

    The car was making an abnormal noise when in all gears, with the noise level increasing with the RPMs. I wouldn't describe the noise as grinding, however. The noise was similar to the normal idling noise, but sounded like the rotations were off-balance - the noise had a cyclical/oscillating quality.

    I took it into the dealer, and they've indicated the transmission needs to be replaced. I haven't been told exactly what the problem is/was, but faulty/failing bearings seems plausible.

    Thankfully I purchased the extended warranty and the repair will be covered (~$3k US).
  • matrixyukmatrixyuk Posts: 1
    My 2003 Matrix transmission failed two days ago at 150,000kms. I was shocked to find this thread. It is still in the garage, no estimate until Monday as they are taking it apart. I am really pissed.
  • lilmaxxlilmaxx Posts: 2
    Got my 03 matrix back today $2100 poorer. They replaced the tranny with one from a 2007 that had 7000 miles on it. I'm saving my reciept from this in case it goes to a class action lawsuit. I also asked the owner of the transmission shop how often to change the gear oil inside the tranny and he said every year or 30,000 miles. As much money as i now have wrapped into this car i'll be joining Al Bundy in the million mile club.
  • pivofreakpivofreak Posts: 1
    Add me to the list. 2003 matrix with 91k miles, dealer wants $3200 for a new tranny, 2800 for a used. Both with only a 1yr warrenty! :-)
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