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Matrix Transmission Problems



  • Really? They haven't corrected this problem yet? I've always purchased Toyotas becasue they were quality, dependable cars. I'm quite distraught to find that this may not be the case.
  • Bought this car brand new in in May 2003.

    In August, on a trip Upstate, I noticed a noise coming from the engine compartment of my car. I had about 61,000 miles on the car at that time. I this I first noticed this rattling noise because we had the windows up and the a/c on. Never noticed it before.

    The car shifted fine, just had this annoying noise that reminded me of a extended ping. Didn't imagine in my wildest dreams that this noise, which was inaudible with the windows down and the radio on, would be such a serious problem!

    Two weeks ago, I called the shop about looking into the noise and he mechanic asked me to check to see if I heard it when I stopped. No noise at a stop, but I did notice that when driving, if I pushed the clutch in the noise went away.

    When I brought the car into the shop last Monday 10/30/07, my mechanic said the noise was coming from the transmission. Drove the car approximately 100 miles since then, local driving. Called Toyota after reading the posts here and they said "no reported problems, nothing they can do." Case closed. Case #200710020501.

    En-route to Toyota Dealer to have the transmission looked at last night, the car died. I noticed that when I got onto the highway the rattling noise disappeared, and instead made high-pitched whirring noise. Weird, I thought,... got off the highway and took local route to the dealer.

    As I drove I heard all kinds of other intermittent noises: growls, squeals, squeaks and then the final noise which sounded like the transmission actually dropped out. I was surprised when I looked under the car to see that it hadn't. Luckily I was on the highway service road and not on the main section, or I would have been killed.

    I have driven every kind of manual car, rattle-traps included, and never have had a problem with a manual transmission.

    It's very convenient that Toyota claims they have no service bulletins on this issue, and that all of us are left with the bill for fixing what is obviously a defective transmission. I am ready scream! I will NEVER buy another Toyota again, but I am also not finished fighting.

    One person posted that "Unfortunately unless there is a safety issue, I don't think we are going to get lucky with a recall." There is most certainly a safety issue here when the powertrain of the car breaks down. I am going to report this to the National Transportation Safety Board, and I suggest everyone else do so as well.

    Their website is:
  • Good suggestion. The U.S. # is 1-800-331-4331.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    And the agreed to warranty on the transmission is how many miles? It's probably safe to assume that you didn't purchase the extended warranty package, correct?

    I think everyone has an expectation that it's going to run for 100's of thousands of miles, but legally Toyota appears covered. Whether they do anything out of 'good will', is a different subject.
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    Your noise descriptions are EXACTLY like mine. The initial rattling my friends I decided was probably a hole in the exhaust system. THen on the highway, suddenly changed to high pitched whine until we pulled off the highway and shifted down and the horrible clunking of metal started. Managed to make it to the next exit at Houlton and got it towed from there. I don't know how to get something to happen with all this. Clearly a problem that Toyota will not admit to. Many have complained even though they lie that no one has. Call the dealer you bought it from to try to get something through 'good will'. They will do it in an attempt to try to avoid losing customers - though I will unlikely buy another one. Going to Honda or Subaru next.
  • I guess I should be so lucky that my transmission lasted until 135,000 km's. or about 84,000 miles. I agree that this could be a safety issue.
    Transmissions fail unexpectantly. There is a faulty main bearing. Toyota is aware of the problem and currently has an update kit for the transmission but has failed to let consumers know. It is unknown whether the failure of this bearing could result in a catastrophic failure that may result in injuries to passengers?
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    certainly getting stuck in the middle of nowhere Maine without cell coverage is not too safe on the side of a highway.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    As much as I understand the reason to try and stretch the logic as to what is 'safety', my opinion is that is an argument that is going nowhere. If you think about it, there are more obvious items that would be a far worse safety exposure, that occur much sooner than an engine or transmission failure.

    - Tires wearing bald at 20-30K miles......why shouldn't a dealer have to maintain those? They certainly are a safety hazard if they get bald and explode. That's not covered by warranty.

    - Brake linings wearing down to nothing and cutting into the rotors, leaving no stopping capability. Certainly a safety hazard. That's not covered by warranty either.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd be trying every logic angle I could to try and get Toyota to repair it and avoid a 3K repair bill. It's just that they aren't legally required to do anything, and I'd be going after the "I'm a loyal repeat customer over the years with all service done at the dealer and please cut me a break" angle.
  • Agreed that my comment was a stretch and perhaps out of context. Just Venting! :)

    Worn tires and brakes are known maintenance and are easily visibly identified. And you are correct in that the Neon which was known to wear brakes and tires prematurely was not recalled to my knowledge?

    Hopefully the transmission casing on the matrix is strong enough should there be such a catastrophic event as described above. With the whole whopping 126 HP that the matrix produces a scatter shield is unnecessary and a failure this bad is probably not likely but possible. :)

    Toyota is flexing their reliability muscle and would never admit to a problem of this nature. When you purchase a bad toyota you are pretty much screwed.

    Its no different than toyota avoiding their previous oil "sludge" problem in their older cars.

    The bottom line is that Toyota is very good at turning a blind eye.

    The key to this problem is don't buy a Toyota. And if you do, do not expect them to stand behind their cars when there is an unexpected defect!

    Most Toyota's are good. Some are bad. And if you get a bad one, you are probably better off with any other manufacturer but Toyota because as far as Toyota is concerned their cars don't have problems.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    I was seriously considering a Matrix as a next potential vehicle, but have ruled it out primarily because of this transmission issue.

    Still thinks it's form factor is perfect for my daughters need, though.
  • I don't know that ALL matrix's have this problem. It seems like the first few years do. We bought our 2004 in 2003, not being a car designer, I don't know what those differences would include. I didn't see any such posts on 2005 and forward.

    I must say that the car was great in all other respects...we actually were able to get an apartment sized refrigerator in the thing, so flexible in terms of usage, but that little problem with Toyota not admitting to what seems to be a problem is the issue here.

    I can honestly say that the way people drive on Long Island, had I been on the highway side of the divider that I would have been creamed. Even the man who towed my vehicle said the same. Breaking down in a lane when everyone is doing 70+ miles an hour will at least put you in the position of being rear-ended and then who knows what!

    And, when I called Toyota last week, the rep on the phone said that a failing powertrain would be considered a safety hazard.

    All said, I don't think I will buy another Toyota, even though they have always served me well. As with most companies, I think there is a definite de-evolution of quality as they get larger. Think Enron, Xerox, and GM.
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    By the way, the repair bill for a new transmission is $5000. Luckily i only had to bay $2000 because I had mine serviced at Toyota and my dealer called Toyota Canada directly.
    The problem seems to exist only with 2003-4. The transmission and engine was changed for 2005. So if you want a Matrix get a 2005 or later and you may be ok. I probably still won't get one unless Toyota gives me an awesome trade-in value.
  • Well, I posted around Sept about my 2004 transmission and clutch going out. I paid $2700.00 for a rebuilt transmission and new clutch. Last week, my car began making a terrible rattling noise, which I thought was the throw out bearing. Took it back to the same guy to fix (under warranty). He tells me the next day that it is the transmission and he was only given 30 day warranty !!!!! Remember this was suppose to be rebuilt. He told me he never said that. I have the receipt where he wrote 'rebuilt transmission $1425.00". Evidently, he bought a used transmission and it was time for that one to go. After I get my car back, I am suing him for fraud and now I'm pissed off enough to do SOMETHING about toyota. This has really changed my opinion about toyota - I won't be buying another one. I am already car shopping.
  • Do you have your website up yet? My Matrix XRS 04 is in the shop for the SECOND clutch I have had to put in! the first one went at about 30,000 miles and I had the same deal with Toyota that everyone else has had. "It's my driving, it's normal wear and tear, it's not covered under warranty. I changed it, and wrote a letter and never got a response and didn't do anything else. Now there are 75,000 miles on the car and the transmission went again. Called them again and got all the same responses. I really loved Toyota before and was very loyal. I am very disappointed in them now and really want to do something. I KNOW this is not normal wear and tear and it's a problem in the design. I really want to get together and do something about this, b/c they keep saying I'm the ONLY one with this problem. Obviously, I'm not.
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    I would love to get involved somehow to spread the word about this. I thought about writing to the Canadian show W5 or something. I know nothing will happen quickly though and I don't want to wait to pay for a 2nd transmission. I have been test driving vehicles and am trading that junk in for only $7500 (bought for $16500 in 2002) to buy a Nissan Versa or Honda Fit. It sucks because I don't like the size and style of those cars as much as the Matrix and I can't afford a car payment. But I can't give Toyota any more of my money until they DO SOMETHING!
  • kev15kev15 Posts: 3
    I guess I'm transmission lasted 160K, I owned a '91 Camry until I bought this Matrix used a few months back...should have kept the Camry - even though it had 350K it had none of the problems the Matrix has. I was told that the last guy "must not have maintained it" - I'm sure thats the standard statement for second hand car problems.
    I got off easy though...cost about $1500 to replace a bearing. After reading everything here I'm afraid there's more to come.
    Don't these cars have the same trany as the Corola and/or Vibe? Do those cars have similar problems?
  • Hi Sue,

    I am in total agreement with you, with the number of postings on this website over the last 6 months it is quite obvious that there is an issue with the Matrix. I replaced my clutch at 113,000 km's plus all the maintenance - result is over $3500 in the last year including new tires. This car has turned out to be a money pit! I am all for going to the media. Here is my email if you want to get things started I am in for the long run if need be..:)
  • Kev15,
    I am scheduled for the bearing job for nextTuesday. I do not know this dealer and I wonder if they are using the right bearing. Would you be kind enough to review your bill and copy the bearing part number. They are talking about a $120 bearing and others say it is a $50 bearing - I looked it up on Carparts.cpm and it shows as a $10.65. - It is not the parts cost that I am concerned with as the bill will be 95% labour - but as the labour is being performed I want to make sure the right part will be used. thanks for the effort!
  • Add another 04 Matrix to the list. Story is typical of others posted on the board. I was just over 100K miles and started to hear the tell-tale grumble. Almost all the miles are highway and pretty mild conditions. I have to say that it had been a great small car up to this point. Of all the things to go wrong I would have never expected it to have been a manual transmission. Of course Toyota wants nothing to do with it although they readily admitted the parts had been upgraded and said they would be upset if it was their transmission that had gone out so soon. Especially a manual! Talk is cheap. Now staring at a $3625.00 decision for a new transmission. Rebuilt was offered, but was less than a $400.00 dollar difference.
  • I have an 03 Matrtix Xr 120,000 miles and the tranny/clutch is making noise. I have order a clutch kit but after reading some of these horror stories, I'm suprised mine lasted this long. In 04 Toyota rebuilt my tranny, it was explained to me that the 4th and 5th gears where in backwards and didn't have good oil flow. (right!!!!) This was covered by the warranty. I know I will never buy another Toyota again either. good luck to everyone against Toyota.
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