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Matrix Transmission Problems



  • hiddot84hiddot84 Posts: 10
    Good News! The attorney's have been contacted and are currently reviewing data as we speak. I thank everyone here for all your contributions ,time, and stories. I hope we hear something soon that will be of good news. I will keep posting as information is available upon release.
  • hillhumhillhum Posts: 6
    My rear Differential in my 2006 Toyota Martix XR 4WD was making a whining noise that increased in volume as speed increased. I took it to the dealership and was informed that it was the Rear Diff. and would cost $2300 to replace. Car has 68K. Powertrain Warr. is 5 yrs. or 60K. Dealer quoted me price of $2388 to fix?? I said it should not have gone out as I have done EVERY maintenance on this car. They then offered me a measly 10% as a whiner/consolation fee. I then called the "customer center" of Toyota and was eventually told that they would up the "offer" to $600, and that was their final offer. They then called me the next day and told me that it was actually the Transmission Coupling Assy, and that it would cost another $400. Toyota said they would cover the difference of $400 since it was misdiagnosed. I said they should cover all of it since it was clearly defective. They refused. Then I found a Toyota Technical Service Bulletin on the internet describing the EXACT problem, dated August 23, 2007. So they knew about the problem, and did not notify me. I know this must have happened over a long time, and I could have brought the car in to be inspected, well within its warranty, but Toyota did nothing. I think Toyota is NOT standing behind their product. $2417 later, Toyota would not acknowledge that this was a defective part, and forced me to pay for it. I shudder to think what might have happened had this part seized up on me at 65 mph in traffic, or on one of our icy mountain roads in the winter.
  • Who do we send information to? Is this in Canada or the US? Sorry, been out of the country and haven't stayed up to date on things. I am definitely in on this, just had a second clutch replaced along with my transmission, fly wheel and starter..
  • chia6000chia6000 Posts: 1
    THIS IS EXACTLY what happened to me starting today. Interesting. I took it to the dealer. seems ok now. (cross fingers)
  • hillhumhillhum Posts: 6
    This is what my 2006 XR 4WD was doing as well. it was diagnosed as needing the Transmission Coupling and Bearing assy. needing replacement at 68K, Toyota would not eat the cost as it was out of warranty. However, they knew about this very problem because I found a Toyota Technical Service Bulletin dated August 23, 2007 DL002-07. I would bet it it is the same issue... I complained to Toyota and eventually I got $1000 off for the job. But I still ended up paying $2400. Good luck!
  • hiddot84hiddot84 Posts: 10
    If you have the information from the Toyota Report please post a link on here I will fwd this on to my attorneys. This info. will be very helpful.
  • hillhumhillhum Posts: 6
    I don't have a link, I have the actual Technical Service Bulletin. I would be happy to fax it to you or something...
  • cefynecefyne Posts: 3
    Any chance I could send you scanned info my email? Don't have a fax machine.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Solicitation is NOT permitted in the forums.

    kcram - Pickups/Wagons Host
  • 03matrixissue03matrixissue Posts: 1
    edited May 2010
    I really can't believe it!, it looks like you can add me to the list of the 03 Matrix transmission issue! My car (with only 85000 KM!!) fully dealer serviced since day 1 (I'm first owner), is experiencing the same symptoms of a bearing failure, low grinding noise (consistent) like something is rubbing (sounds like a bad rotor rub) last night and then driving home something felt like it scrapped on the pavement (a louder grinding sound - inconsistent), I pushed the clutch in and all noises went away (until release again). I drove maybe 8 Km, the louder of the two sounds happened 3 more times until I parked it in my driveway. Seemed to switch in and out of gear fine, clutch seemed fine (didn't try 4th or 5th). In retrospect, the low grinding noise may have been going on for a week now as it did sound a little strange but I attributed it to the brake work I just had done, not sure, just noticed it last night with windows open and no music. I really am still in shock at the moment, I am having it towed to Toyota for them to look at but based on what I read here, another case of this bearing issue! I am so mad\upset right now, I have babied this car and made sure it was Toyota serviced since day 1 (looks like that doesn't matter, as it's a matter on time with this bearing). Now I will hold off other comments until I see what Toyota has to say here on the East coast of Canada. They have always seemed to treat me well, and me them by taking my car to them for all service, even after regular warranty (plus referrals)! So here is where the true test happens, will they stand by me with "goodwill" after all that and due to low KM, in my mind this is not coincidence but a defect! ...I will definitly respond when I know more! I like many others am very concerned about this. Normal wear and tear I'm fine with, this, I'm not. Not on a Toyota, I've have told countless ppl how reliable this car was!!!!! I see all the next steps after I find out what's going on,,,, local media...I will see what Toyota has to say now, I can't afford (like many others) thousands of dollars for this repair! Just can't believe it on a 85K Toyota! Internal bearings like that should be made to last!

    Ps - on the only positive note I can think of at this moment, I am glad I found this forum last night, if not I may have tried to drive on the highway (110KM/hour) to get it to the dealership (instead of towing) to have them check it but could have endangered my own life, my girlfriends, and who knows who else if I would have lost control at 110KM/hour on the highway if it would have locked up!, so thank you for your posts (even years later),....TBCont.....
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    Hi. I'm also in East Coast Canada, Halifax. My Toyota died in 2007 with 85K as well. Just 6mths past warranty. They paid 60%, so I still had to spend $2000. Hopefully the age of yours won't make it harder for you. Had to fix mine in Fredericton since it happened while in Maine. Heard whining noises all the way to Boston and back, and made it to Maine before it died. Thought I had a muffler problem. I was one of the early posts on here at around message 83 or something. Sucks that there is nothing in the news about this one. Not enough of us I guess, and no one has died! I sold mine after the repair. My email is mhlaur at in case you'd like more info.
  • cefynecefyne Posts: 3
    After sending a message to Toyota to tell them about my transmission problems, they called me today. They recorded my issues and gave me a number. The number keeps track of the problems and can help me extend the warranty if needed. This can't be done through the dealers, the dealers will only tell me I am out of warranty. The warranty for the transmission is 60,000 miles and my 2006 Matrix just passed 60,000 miles. I appreciate their attention and tracking of this situation. My post 411 describes the information I sent to Toyota.
  • hunkymonhunkymon Posts: 12
    My check engine light comes on sometimes and will go back off after a coule of hundred miles. I had the scope put on it and it showed torque converter problem. Does anyone know what that involves? It started happening right after I bought the car in Nov. 2007. I took it back to dealer and they said it was a gas cap problem. I'm thinking they just didn't want to bother with the transmission on warranty.Thanks

  • jah61jah61 Posts: 2
    Add one more to the list of 03 matrix manual transmissions to fail at under 80,000 miles. Very frustrating. This car has been well cared for and serviced regularly. I've lost my faith in Toyota.
  • geekfelixgeekfelix Posts: 1
    Me too - 2004 Matrix 5 speed. Trans failed around 68,000 but began making noise long before. Total cost to date is around $3000 for transmission repairs. Toyota customer service offered $200 assistance since I did not use a Toyota dealer for repairs.

    I think our problem here is that we will never get Toyota to acknowledge this issue because this really isn't their car. Here in the USA this model was also sold as the Pontiac Vibe. There are reports of the Vibe having similar problems:

    The Vibe and Matrix appear to have been built at the NUMMI plant in Fremont, California:

    Here's a link to fascinating podcast about the history of the NUMMI plant:

    It is mentioned in the above podcast that NUMMI was a joint venture with GM and once Toyota phased out their production they took the parts quality control with them.
    I thought I had bought a Toyota product which was also being badged as a Vibe for Pontiac dealers. In the end it appears that I bought a Pontiac with a Toyota Matrix emblem stuck on it. :sick:
  • drgrumpusdrgrumpus Posts: 5
    First, the Matrix is a Toyota product. The Vibe was the rebadging. My 2005
    5-speed was built in Canada. The transmission is outsourced, however. Aisin, I believe.

    Now, here is a warning for those who have not had trouble: Don't continue to drive until the tranny self-destructs. This will cost you $3000+. When you first hear a strange sound-like a muffled rattle, get the transmission repaired. I did this with a reputeable local shop plus new clutch for about $1400. I've put 7000+ miles on it since with no problem.

    There is a fool-proof test for the suspect bearing. Start the car with the transmission in neutral and the parking brake set.. With the engine at idle, engage the clutch and listen for that muffled rattle. Then disengage the clutch and listen carefully. If the frequency of the rattle and sound level diminish to nothing, it is the countershaft bearing. It is not the throwout bearing, since that bearing is loaded and running at engine idle speed with the clutch pedal depressed.

    The problem is in the front countershaft bearing, not the input shaft bearing. The countershaft is constantly thrust loaded except in 4th gear. In all other gears, the torque goes from the input shaft into the countershaft, then to the output shaft. Helical gears in the box generate the thrust load in proportion to the torque being transmitted. In 4th gear, the torque goes straight through from input to output shaft, therefore no thrust load on the countershaft.

    The countershaft bearing is accessible without pulling the tranny, so you don't need to replace the clutch. Your mechanic can pull the driveshafts and remove the back cover. The contershaft, gear, and bearing can then be removed. The bearing will have to be pressed off. A new bearing is only about $50, so the parts are cheap. Labor is 2-3 hours. Make sure the mechanic puts new axle seals in before putting the whole thing back together.

    So, hopefully, this message will get to those who have the telltale noise, but no complete failure yet.

    A final suggestion: Drive in 4th gear as much as possible. Any speed between 40 and 65 is ok for that gear. This will prolong the life of the bearing.

    Good luck
  • indgomtrxindgomtrx Posts: 7
    The Matrix was/is built in Canada. If you look up Toyota Matrix in wikipedia, the information on the side will show that the assembly was/is Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.
  • jah61jah61 Posts: 2
    I heard the noise for over a year. Took the car to the dealership twice to have the noise evaluated. Service center assured me there was nothing to be concerned about. Yea, right...
  • starmoverstarmover Posts: 1
    Hi everyone. 2005 Matrix automatic with 85K miles. Transmission started jumping into gear, check engine light came on. My personal mechanic sent it so the transmission shop, he changed the fluid, but thinks the issue has something to do with a computer problem. Advised me to take it to the dealership. After reading this thread, I'm thinking I should ditch this car. :lemon:
  • skc3skc3 Posts: 2
    I recently noticed a strange extra noise in my engine as I shifted through my 5 speed manual transmission. My car is the 2003 model with 92500 miles on it. A brother -in-law happens to be a Honda mechanic at the local dealership and upon riding with me determined it was a bearing noise in the transmission. His buddy at Toyota across the street says local Toyota dealer has "replaced" 10 manual transmissions in this Matrix series in the past couple of years. A bigger dealership 40 miles away denied knowing of any problem in these Matrixes and offered a free diagnosis. After riding with their mechanic and demonstrating the noise (which he really couldn't "hear") and after looking at the car up on a lift they concluded my tranny is solid and that the clutch is showing wear. I have not noted any difficulty or change in ability to shift, but the noise is a low purring sound and at lower speeds in lower gears reminds me of a Peterbilt semi in idle...Initially, I thought it was an exhaust problem but brother mechanic says no way. After the clean bill of health I sought info on a trade at the same dealership and they offered me 5 grand for the old dog. I really enjoyed this car, but after reading the 400 some threads on matrix transmissions, I think I am going to jump on the trade and get out from under this car ASAP. Any more recent news on government intervention re: this tranny issue? BTW: neither Toyota dealer will offer any "help" with paying for the fix on the transmissions without an official bulletin or recall, they will take no responsibility for it. I was very surprised at the diagnosing dealership's high offer for my trade however...makes me wonder a bit. Are they that desperate to keep me as a customer or are they just that desperate to sell my trade and make money off of the poor schmo that buys this lemon freak car???
  • tubenuttubenut Posts: 4
    2003 XRS 6 speed.

    Clutch started slipping within the first 20K. Now at 75K it feels like 200. Brought it to the dealer several times. "No problem". Thanks Keyes Toyota. Y'all come back real soon!. If 75K sounds low, it is. We baby this thing.

    My wife and I have been driving sticks forever. Her last car - Tercel - had 190K on the original clutch which was still going strong when we sold it. Somehow our gross incompetence is to blame for this. I don't think so. I had a hunch the car was too heavy for the transmission.

    Now the wife hears a muffled rattle that I don't hear. Glad I found this forum, Will be calling Toyota today.

    PM me or respond here if you want more info or if there is really a class action to join.
  • jtma1jtma1 Posts: 1
    :lemon: Steve, I had the same problem. I had the 03 Matrix SR with Automatic Transmission and babied the bejeesum out of it, inclusive of tune ups, oil changes etc. Out of no where after 138K (94% highway) miles, the transmission SUDDENLY dropped out of use...I still had 4400K left on the loan to pay off. I ended up getting towed to the local Toyota dealer and they said it would cost 4800 to fix it. That being said, put the proverbial bullet into the entire engine and I ended up buying a new FJ Cruiser. I wonder if there is a way that considering all of the owners here having a consistency issue in the drive shaft/transmission might have a notion for a class action law suit towards Toyota. I have been a 18 year Toyota customer, but it seems that this "shafting" is wayyy to common for this owner to take. Get back to me if you have an opinion please.
    ~ JT
  • circuitsmithcircuitsmith Posts: 117
    edited July 2010
    How often did you get the transmission fluid changed?
    Every 30K miles is optimum.
    Steve (from 3 years ago) had a manual transmission with a failed bearing.
    What part(s) failed in your auto trans?
  • I just changed the trans oil in my '06 Matrix 5-speed at 21K miles.
    It was pretty dark, with a metallic sheen and a slightly gritty feel.
    Seemed in worse shape than the trans oil in my previous Hondas after 30K miles.
    In hindsight I would have changed it at 10K miles.
    I plan to change it every 30K from now on.
    I refilled with Valvoline 75W-90 (dino).
    I think it was $12 well spent.
  • manvee1manvee1 Posts: 3
    My 03 toyota matrix transmission went caput last friday.
    51k miles on the clock. bought it brand new from toyota in caldwell nj in 03.

    aamoco want $3900 to fix.

    Toyota and aamoco...steer clear of both companies if u know whats good 4 u
  • Automatic or manual?

    Yes, stay away from AAMCO (All Automatics Must Come Out)

    I'm curious, did you ever have the transmission oil/fluid changed?
  • Just had the bearings replaced along with a new clutch at 146,000 miles. The car has been regularly serviced with probably 90% or more commuter highway miles, and my wife is not an abusive driver. Independent trans shop stated that they found the same two problem bearings that they always find, so I question some previous comments that this problem is only found with 2003 or 2004 models. Kudos to my wife for noticing the noise in the early stages and bringing it to my attention, because I certainly would not have wanted to install a salvage unit with the same potential problems, or foot the bill for a Toyota unit. Given that my past Toyota Corolla's have gone past 250,000 miles without manual trans issues, the $1450 cost didn't exactly make me happy. On the other hand, no one is going to stand behind a 146,000 mile bearing. Both trans shop tech and QA folks at the parts facility where I work felt that the bearings were simply not strong enough for the load, because they were not burnt and the fluid looked okay.
  • Well I love my Matrix and really enjoy driving it. Recently at 133000kms I took it into the dealership because it has had some starting problems. it is a 6-speed manual transmission and its been getting stiffer as time goes on. I bought the vehicle back in '06 and have been told numerous times that the clutch needs to get redone but I'm not hard on my car at all. I see that the bearing problem is quite pervalent in these models but is there any start problems that anyone has noticed? was quoted by Toyota 6400, OEM transmission and clutch... I don't think so. Taking off the hoist and going to Wilson's to see what they can do, I only want to pay a grand tops. Looks like its going to be close to that just for the labour hours. Screwed over
  • Glad to hear you caught it before big damage was done. I also have a 2005 5-speed (only 72K miles) and was wondering what the noise was like so I'll know what to listen for.

    My car has so far been completely trouble free (knock on wood) and averages 34 to 38 MPG depending on the highway/city mix.
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