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Matrix Transmission Problems



  • I just took my 2006 5 speed (65K miles) in to Toyota due to transmission noises. Their $100 diagnosis confirmed that the noises were from the transmission and now they want $300 to take the transmission apart. I will go ahead with the repair and see if I can recover the cost from Toyota. I'll file a complaint with if Toyota is not forthcoming. My 96 Tacoma is still running on the same clutch and transmission after 235K.
  • In Message 380 I noted the failure of the manual transaxle in my 2006 Matrix at 65K miles. Today I heard from Classic Toyota in Waukegan, IL where I took it for diagnosis and repair that Toyota would spring for a new transmission. Didn't even have to ask! I still will have to pay about $1000 for the installation but it seemed to me to be a fair resolution of the issue. If the new tranny makes it to the 200K miles or so I expect from a Toyota I'll be a happy camper. Otherwise I'll let you know.

    Thanks to those of you who have brought the problems with this transmission to Toyota's attention. I hope that you reach acceptable resolutions of your problems with Toyota as well.

  • I have had the same occurrence with my '07 Matrix. The popping noise happens during drive and reverse. ALSO when I step into the car the idle revs up a tad bit and even when I am at a stop light. I dont know if this is typical car behaviour but removed my floor mats for 2 weeks and nothing changed. It has me concerned.
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    I would take it to the dealer or call them at least. I think they've recalled a lot of cars for a problem unrelated to most of the ones posted here. Cars have been accelerating suddenly and uncontrollably or something like that. They've put a stop to ALL sales of many models and recalled them also. I hope Toyota goes down hard on this latest fiasco!!!
  • xrszone1xrszone1 Posts: 1
    edited February 2010
    yups i got a 2003 toyota matrix xrs 6speed and when i first bought the car i had to change my clutch at 23xxx miles then after that my clutch started slipping again so had it redone again that was at 40xxx miles.then i had my car sit for a while so i dont have to keep spending money to change my clutch then i finally drove it after like 1 year or so driving it then it started slipping again as of now its gona get a new tranny and clutch and axles so when thats done ill just give up on this car and trade it in did not do a good job on there transmission.tried calling toyota but they wont do nothing because my car lost its warranty just because i dropped the car and put on a intake thats stupid if you ask me just because i dropped it and put a intake thats doesnt mean i lose my warranty but fxcx it already time for get another car the way this is in hawaii,honolulu,
  • The thought of contacting the New York Times journalist covering the Toyota recalls has been in my mind lately....
    I know that we "stick-shifters" are a minority in this country....however, shouldn't we be giving it a shot?

    If enough of you support this idea, it would be probably necessary to gather phone numbers/emails of "victims" to raise awareness....?

    Any thoughts?

  • Hi,

    I actually sent an e-mail to the NYTimes & National Public Radio a few weeks back when the Prius' problems started to come to light.

    I agree, we should all voice this concern and maybe we'll get some response. My '04 Matrix died at 62,000 K.

    the e-mail addresses I used are:

    Here it what I wrote:

    I have been reading and listening with great interest about Toyota and the latest design flaws with their newer models.

    As a owner of a 2004 Toyota Matrix, with a failed manual transmission at 62,000 miles, I was disgusted and disappointed with the response I received from Toyota when I reported my problem. Manual transmissions last forever, and being a driver of "manuals" since the tender age of 16, I have never had a single one malfunction.

    When I called to report the problem, representatives at Toyota Motor Company stated to me (and it seems others) that they had no record of a widespread problem.

    When my particular issue cropped up, I turned to the internet forums to see if I was alone. I was shocked to find that I was not, and that Toyota dished the same story to my fellow 2003 and 2004 Matrix owners with their manual transmission problems.

    My transmission died on the side of the road as I went to have Toyota take a look at the noise it was making. Had I been on a busy road at rush-hour I am sure I would have had a serious accident. Foot pedals that stick and brakes that don't work are major safety issues, to be sure, but I also believe that the transmission issues can pose serious risks to drivers as well and hat Toyota has not adequately acknowledged the problem.

    For further reading about others with me in this bad transmission boat, please see:

    There are many posts on this site, some of which are related to clutches, but many of them are posts from owners with defunct manual transmissions.

    I hope you will help to shed light on what seems to be a long-term and serious problem for Toyota.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Edmunds has a policy regarding direct solicitation in the forums, as noted in the Membership Agreement that everyone accepts when they register - unless you have written permission from Edmunds, such solicitation is not allowed for any purpose.

    We also STRONGLY remind members to NEVER post their personal contact information in a forum message. These forums are viewable to the entire internet, and can be searched by every engine - Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. - we have no control over who may choose to record and use such information for malicious purposes.

    Thanks for your cooperation.
    kcram - Pickups/Wagons Host
  • Well, I have been following all the emails on here for quite some time as I was one of the first people to post on here with regards to having my clutch replaced at 113,000 kms on my 2004 Matrix XRS 6 Speed. I have been in and out of garages, talking to several mechanics about the noises coming from my car, having to change my battery 3 times in 1 year and everyone telling me they didn't know what was wrong. I talked to my dad, who is a heavy duty mechanic and he told me to drive the car until the transmission fell out.....GUESS WHAT?....this past Monday my car started on fire!...yes, it finally happened but I wasn't surprised at clutch blew out and took my transmission and starter with it and started a fire under the is going to cost over $3500 to fix it... maybe more...

    So, Monday morning I am going to contact a lawyer with information in hand..I appreciate everyone posting information on here...ds
  • psknapppsknapp Posts: 1
    We have a 2003 Matrix XR with a manual transmission. Up until this past week, it's been great and I'd always say (when people asked if I liked it), "I'd buy it again, knowing what I know now." Then at a hair under 100k, the transmission goes. And then we find all these accounts of exactly the same thing happening to 2003 (and, to a lesser degree, 2004) Matrix pointing to a design defect. The fact that Toyota redesigned the manual transmission shortly after (I see comments referring to a minor change for 2004 and another for 2005) supports that. But Toyota has not and apparently will not acknowledge there is a problem (as has proven to be the norm for them recently).

    I may sound like a whiner as we got almost 100,000 miles on this car, but who here bought their car hoping for 100k? Who here bought a manual transmission expecting it's reliability would not even match a good automatic? I also have a '94 Toyota pickup with 204k miles and have only replaced the clutch once and it still goes about it's business with nary a complaint (Though, with a single cab and us having two kids, we were hoping to trade it in soon).

    I've only bought 3 cars and all 3 had been Toyotas. Up until this past week, our 4th car would probably also have been a Toyota (I like the RAV4, my wife prefers the Highlander). Now, I don't know that I trust Toyota enough to trust my family with them anymore.
  • mbealesmbeales Posts: 6
    I'm not sure Toyota has fixed the problem in later models since the transmission in my 2006 Matrix failed at a little over 65,000 miles. It might just be that later models have not yet reached the critical mileage. Toyota was forthcoming with a new transmission though I had to pay the labor (almost $1000). I would suggest that you seek similar treatment without insisting that they admit to a design problem. They seem pretty eager to please right now. This would probably be facilitated by taking it to a Toyota dealer for repair.

    I have liked my Matrix pretty well although it seems that the ratio in first gear may be too low. This can make it difficult to get under way without spinning the tires, particularly on wet or slippery pavement. That could also explain some of the clutch problems reported here if people ride the clutch to avoid spinning the wheels. It could also explain rather poor performance in the snow. Perhaps the transmission is the same as in the Corolla but, with more weight in the rear end of the Matrix, traction in the front end is reduced resulting in spinning wheels. I'm not sure if this could contribute to the failures that have been reported but I would be interested in the thought of others regarding this issue.

    I also bought a Tacoma new in 96 which is still being driven by my son at 240,000+ miles with the original clutch and transmission. My wife and I both laughed when we looked at a Ford Ranger at that time and the dealer mentioned that people had traded them in with over 100,000 miles on them. I'm hoping the new transmission in my Matrix holds up half as well. Then I might consider another Toyota. My fear is that Toyota's collaboration with GM has helped them to design products that fail as soon as the warranty expires rather than teaching GM the importance of building a reliable product!
  • pongeponge Posts: 2
    I just signed on and was surprised to find so many Matrix owners with similar problems.

    I just experienced the same problem with my 2004 Matrix, with 115,000 miles. The car was making a strange noise, not loud, it just sounded like a loose shield of some type, just a slight rattle. I wasn't particularly concerned, but made an appointment for the dealer to take a look. Just as I was entering the Dealers driveway, the car let out a horrible screech and started bucking. I stopped and then tried putting it in gear. Just like previously described, it sounded like someone had tossed a handful of nuts and bolts into a blender.

    I walked to the service department and told them what had happened. They towed my car into the shop and then came back and told me the car needed a new transmission and that the transmission failure had also destroyed the clutch. The repair would cost $3475.00. I was speechless.

    I have been driving stick shift since I was 15 yrs ols, now 62 (47 years) I have never experienced a failure like this.

    To add insult they told me the book value was only $3500.00. Didn't seem worth it to repair.

    I traded the car in when they told me they would only sell it for salvage.

    I just check my vehicle records on the toyota owners site and sse that they have repaired to car and have had it inspected. They are obviously going to re-sell it. I feel that everything they told me was a complete lie.
  • That is outrageous! I definitely empathize. Good luck with your next car (hopefully, not a Toyota!)
  • pongeponge Posts: 2
    I had the same problem. My 2004 Matrix, 115,000 died just as I pulled into the dealers driveway. As on user here described it sounded like someone had thrown a handfull of nuts and bolts into a blender. They gave me a repair estimate of $3475.00 and never mentioned anyone else having problems. Told me the Blue Book Value was $3500.00. It didn't seem worth repairing. I, now I think, stupidly, traded it on a 2010 Camry. They told me they were going to scrap the Matrix.

    I checked back on the Toyota owners site and saw they repaired the car and had it inspected, so I guess they lies and are going to re-sell it.
  • Just to let you know what you may be in for...

    Please see my original posts #14 (Feb/07) and #27 (Jun/07). I had the car repaired in Dec/2005.

    Since then I have put 200,000 additional km on the car (commuter) without incident. You should all know that at 299,999 km the odometer stops working (stuck at this value). Known glitch apparently.

    Recently though, the car started making the same sound as it did back in late 2005 prior to the repair.

    The local transmission place confirmed my suspicion, and it was time to repair the transmission again. The rest of the car is great shape otherwise. At the same time I had the original clutch changed, and to save some coin ($Cdn 600)chose not to replace the cables. Syncros were also changed out this time. Total cost $Cdn 2850. Ouch.

    I had a look at the parts, and the same culprit bearing replaced in 2005 was the culprit again in 2010.

    The fact that I have now rebuilt the manual transmission twice is quite disappointing.

    I was not at all impressed by the way that Toyota handled this problem, and judging by the number of posts on this forum, continues to handle the problem.

    On principle, this will be my last Toyota.

    Steve H.
  • gnashgnash Posts: 3
    Sorry it happened to you again, Steve. Personally, I won't let my Matrix get past 100,000km again before unloading it. When my tranny went a couple of years ago and I found a rebuilt out of a tranny shop in California, the mechanic told me that the replaced bearing was identical to the one that blew up and that I should "expect the same thing to happen, eventually.
    Another interesting point was explained to me by my local transmission shop that did the install for me. The owner said that changes to components in anything automotive happen all the time and it's all based on cost and/or weight. He said something as simple as a bolt weighing 1 ounce less than a previous bolt can mean savings that add up to the hundreds of thousands or even millions. He said it was likely that something similar happened in this case ... a decision way down the line, by some bean-counter back in 2002-3 ("Hey, this bearing weighs 3 ounces less!") has resulted in grief for a large number of Matrix/Corolla owners. Not a justification, but a bit of an explanation.
  • Interesting comment. However, I believe the Matrix transmission is outsourced. The supplier installed marginal bearings not for less weight, but for lower cost. The vendor gets to pocket the cost savings which will amount to many thousands of dollars over the years he gets away with it.
    The transmission was "redesigned" for my 2005, but the bearings were still marginal. As mentioned previously, mine let go at 117k miles. The replaced bearings have been ok for the past 4000 miles, but who knows how long they will last.
    I doubt Toyota will ever stand behind this discrepant product. :(
  • saltzpsaltzp Posts: 6
    I have been dealing with this same problem can check my early posts.
    I just got this from Toyota today.

    Dear Mr. Saltzman:

    We apologize for the concerns with your 2004 Matrix, and regret to advise we would not be in a position to offer further financial support of the vehicle.

    Regarding any purported research of a technical issue, we would not have any information to share unless a Special Service Campaign or recall is released. If such an item is released, the vehicle owner and the dealership will be notified.

    At this time, the Matrix is far out of the warranty which is for 5 years or 60, 000 miles from the vehicle's in-service date, whichever occurs first., and we do not show any Special Service Campaigns or recalls on this vehicle for the condition described. Once a vehicle is beyond the warranty parameters, responsibility for the cost of repair falls upon the vehicle owner. We apologize we are unable to further assist you in this matter.

    It is because of comments such as yours that we are able to review our products and improve them.

    We regret you are dissatisfied and comments have been documented at our National Headquarters under file#XXXXXXXXXXXXX.
    If you require further clarification on Toyota's position, please contact our offices by responding to this email or contacting us by phone at 800-331-4331.
    Anita Mouton
    Toyota Customer Experience

    What a crock. I have referred them to this site and they still won't do anything. I have filed with NTHSB...Written to my congressman....someone tell me some good news.
  • maturcomaturco Posts: 3
    See my post (#228) on Aug. 1, 2008. Repaired transmission and clutch at 87k miles. Paid only (!) $845.

    I decided to trade the car in at 117k. I couldn't wait for the bearing to go again. Bought a Certified Pre-Owned 2007 BMW X-3 3.0si. M-badged Sport Pkg, premium package, heated seats, leather everything, panoramic two-piece sunroof, etc. Solid as a rock, 260 hp from an in-line 6, and corners like a sports car. LOVE IT! Extended warranty and maintenance program. They treated me like I was special. First time ever (that's 40 years) in a dealer that I didn't feel (or know) I was trying to be had.

    Save your sheckles and move up. It's cheaper than a lawyer.
  • I find almost no mention of Matrix manual trans problems anywhere on the web other than this forum.

    I also wonder if more frequent trans oil changes would make a difference. Most failures seem to happen ~100K miles. I suspect most of those failed trannys had their original oil in them. I changed the trans oil in my '88 Accord every 30K miles and I plan to do that in my '06 Matrix.
  • I take care of my car. The transmission was kept up. Defective bearings in the transmission broke down, causing the shift plates to grate against each other, ultimately destroying the transmission. This was not user error.

    When people google "Matrix transmission problems" this thread is one of the first things to pop up. It makes sense that this thread generates most if all of the complaints since another forum is not readily available to click on in google results.

    I hope that the knowledge that you changed your '88 Accord's oil every 30K miles brings you comfort when you are replacing your Matrix's transmission at 100K to 130K miles.

    There are a lot of very angry people on this forum who paid an exorbitant amount of money to replace a defective part on their Toyotas. We've all heard from Toyota that it must be our fault that the transmission broke, but most of us also heard from our mechanics what the real reason was. It is frustrating to read someone, with no knowledge of the individual circumstances everyone went through, try to suggest that it must be our own fault that the transmission broke down at 100K.

    Perhaps the reason that there aren't many complaints yet is that it typically takes about ten years for people to drive 100K miles and the '03 and '04 Matrices are just now hitting that mark... I haven't heard anything about the '06 Matrix, but you'll have to let us all know how that turns out for you.

    Enjoy your Matrix!
  • mbealesmbeales Posts: 6
    The manual transmission in my 2006 Matrix failed at about 65,000 miles, just out of warranty. If you look carefully you will notice that many of the posts here report failures at 100,000 km, not 100,000 miles, again just out of warranty. My Matrix was taken to the dealer for maintenance and all recommended procedures were performed. I do not believe that the failure was due to poor maintenance or abuse since the transmission in my 1996 Tacoma is still going strong after more than 240,000 miles

    If the posts on this forum represent all the failures in these transmissions that's really not a bad record considering the number of these cars sold. The transmission failure was not what I expected of my Toyota but I believe Toyota was reasonably fair in providing a new transmission for installation costs only. If the new transmission performs as my other Toyotas have I will have no qualms about buying Toyotas in the future. If it fails at <100,000 miles I will probably look elsewhere for my next car.

    If and when you hear "the noise" in your Matrix I suggest you have it towed to a dealer for diagnosis and repair. The dealer is in the best position to, and has the greatest interest in, providing some cost adjustment on the repair. It looks like many of those who posted here had their cars repaired by independent mechanics and then tried to get Toyota to cover the cost. Good luck with your Matrix!
  • circuitsmithcircuitsmith Posts: 117
    edited April 2010
    > I take care of my car. ... This was not user error.

    I didn't say it was. Don't put words in my mouth. My 'Scheduled Maintenance Guide' calls for no trans oil change in 120K miles, except under 'Special Operating Conditions'.

    > There are a lot of very angry people on this forum...

    Well, don't be angry at me. OK?

    > It is frustrating to read someone, with no knowledge of the individual circumstances everyone went through, try to suggest that it must be our own fault that the transmission broke down at 100K.

    Again, that's not what I said. I read pretty much this whole thread. I have some knowledge of what people went through. This conversation ends here. If I wanted to be browbeaten I would have gone to USENET.
  • I came off very rude and I apologize. I've re-read your post and I still infer that you were not too subtly implying a lack of maintenance as the reason behind the defective transmission. If that is not what you intended, then accept my apology. I am struggling to see what else you could have meant?

    Anyway, this is just an internet forum and should not be a day ruiner, so sorry for any strife.
  • lukeb1lukeb1 Posts: 2
    Add me to the list:

    Symptom: rattling when accelerating at low RPMs.
    Current mileage: 99262km

    Toyota on Front: "Sounds like it might be coming from the
    transmission, don't see anything else wrong. We can replace it for $3800."

    I have since found this forum.

    I plan to take it to an independent mechanic to have a look.

    In the meantime I am considering alternatives to advocate for our plight...
  • A few months ago, I call the APA (Association de Protection des Automobilistes, in Quebec) and explained my problems with my Matrix transmission (see posts by Simonotaylor). They have been in contact with Toyota Canada since then. And their work helped a lot: Toyota Canada finally offered me a refund for half the bill for my transmission repair, which I accepted.

    They think it has to do with recent Toyota difficulties that they decided to refund APA members that complained about their Matrix (I am not the only that has been refunded).

    That $750 refund was welcome and I think the company is heading the good direction.

    So if your are in Quebec, contact APA, they may help you!
  • mbealesmbeales Posts: 6
    You don't say what year your Matrix is. Toyota told me something similar when I brought my 2006 in. I shopped around a bit and the independent mechanic I consulted didn't offer to do the job much cheaper. I decided to let Toyota go ahead and was pleasantly surprised when they installed a new transmission for the cost of labor only (about $1000). This was right around the time the big recall was announced. Good luck!
  • lukeb1lukeb1 Posts: 2
    it's a 2003.
    I doubt that my dealer will give me the part for free, they are always trying to get me to pay for a bunch of unneeded services when I go in for regular oil changes. Once they tried to get me to go for and "Engine Shampoo". No, really.
    I'm pretty sure they aren't going to spring for a $2000 tranny without a fight...
  • I have a 2003 Matrix 4wd XR. It's been making funny rattling noises for a year. I guess it's the bearings. Yesterday, it felt like the transmission was starting to slip. You know that jerking action when the car is having trouble shifting gears, but then doesn't shift? It took a few seconds, but finally shifted. I am at 103K miles. I am going in for service Wednesday. The check engine light came on at about 2 weeks ago. I'm concerned that the transmission might be bad... Is this the time to buy a new car?
  • cefynecefyne Posts: 3
    6 months after purchasing my new 2006 Matrix the transmission quit, period. Stopped while on the freeway. Toyota replaced the transmission with no argument. However, this year the car jumps while climbing hills. It jumps so badly it startles myself and/or any passengers. One Toyota dealer said they would look at it for about $174, no guarantee they could fix it. Another dealer took the vehicle ran it through the computer took it for a test drive and claimed there was no problem. The car still jumps. I have to stay very conscious of my accelerator to keep it from happening and am not always successful. If I take it out of Over Drive it does better but still no guarantee it will not jump. I'm not a happy camper.
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