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Matrix Transmission Problems



  • My Matrix is a 2007 with 146,000 km. I'm located in Nova Scotia.
    The Transmission is ruined. I paid the $3000 for the super extended Warranty and I did all of the service that was communicated to me by Toyota and more.
    Toyota Will Not Honor the Warranty.
    Toyota will do nothing for me. They are Scum.
    I have two Toyotas, Both are for sale. I'm finished with Toyota.
    Some interesting Facts about my case:
    1. Toyota never gave me an Owners manual or an Owners manual supplement when I purchased the car New. They said they were out and that they would order one for me. I have never recieved either.
    2. If I lived in Maine or Alaska or Texas, I would never need to replace the oil in the Transmission as it is only required to check the level if the car is purchased in the states.
    3. Toyota knows this is a problem.
    4. They've been trying to hide it for 7 years.
    5. There is a recall against my Car which Toyota did not inform me of. I had to find it on the internet.
    6. There are 11 Technical Service Bullitens on my car, of which Toyota informed me of NONE.

    I say we launch a class action suit against Toyota. They deserve it. My new Hobby is causing problems for Toyota. I should have some time to commit to my new hobby as I no longer can drive anywhere.

    Here is my first Idea:
    All of you, Go to your local Toyota Dealer on Saturday. Hang around looking at cars, If a sales guy approaches, Tell him you're not decided yet, you're just thinking about trading up. If a Customer approaches you, Tell him your story and tell him to Run! We'll beat the buggers by Attrition. This won't help in making Toyota pay for your Tranny but it will be satisfying when you turn away a customer, or save some innocent consumer the trouble you suffered. If there are twenty of you at that dealer, Try not to congregate or form an angry Mob. That could look bad for our case.

    Don't get Mad, Don't get Even. Ruin Them!!!
    Hate Toyota!
  • Hi. I have an 04 matrix with the dreaded tranny death rattle. Dealer wants to put in a new one. This TSB would help me a great deal of you still have it. Thanks!
  • tubenuttubenut Posts: 4
    edited October 2010
    As posted earlier, I also have the 6 sp stick (75,000 miles). I bit the bullet last week and had the cutch replaced by an independent repair shop at a cost of $880. I really shopped around and the range of quotes from well regarded independent shops was $880-975. All of them said it would have been a $450 job if not for the need to hoist the engine.

    Mega A-Hole KEYES Toyota quoted $2400. Did I mention A-Hole KEYES? That's K-E-Y-E-S. AVOID!

    The shop that did the work did not adjust the freeplay properly and I pointed that out. They responded that it should be normal, but would be happy to hear a second opinion. I went to a Toyota dealer (NOT KEYES - I did mention them, rght?) and had them take a look. The dealer adjusted the freeplay for free and now all is well. The shop that did the replacement offered to pay for the adjustment.

    FYI the shop that did me right was Auto Stiegler in Reseda. Speak to Johnny.

  • I have a 2003 Matrix (automatic) and that has never happened to me, but at 163k miles, my SECOND transmission just gave out on me. Now, I am going to sell. Prior to the Matrix, I had a Paseo that went to 265k miles without these problems. I think older Toyotas are better than the newer ones.
  • Well my 2003 matrix 5speed just died with just under 93,000. It made some weird noises that vibrated the car at about 90,000, then took it into the dealer. They said they couldn't reproduce it and everything was fine.

    Later it came back and did it in every gear (previously only in 1 and 2, maybe 3). I was going to take it in but it went away. I had a dry-bearing/rattling sound I noticed in the past few weeks. Then today while driving on the highway in fifth, there was a high pitched whine which got worse as I drove. Finally stopped and the transmission lost a few gears and barely drives. Reverse is gone.

    I'll have to see how much it is going to cost to fix but looking at $3000+ with new clutch and flywheel (if I do it myself), which is really worth more than the car. I'll see how much the stealership wants to charge me tomorrow
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    Wow, can't believe the problem continues into 2007 models. Definitely cannot ever buy a Toyota again. Also might have to dump my boyfriend who works for Toyota since he claims to know nothing about this [non-permissible content removed]. Of course he has never driven a Matrix for more than 6mths, so doesn't have to worry about having his car die in the middle of a highway at 5y of age.
  • I had this same problem with my 2003 corolla s with 83k. The manual 5 speed went bad, making noise going down the road. It seemed like I only herd the noise when i let off the accelerator at any speed and in any gear also almost every gear would grind with full clutch petal. So..... I knew this was not normal, so I pulled the tranny out of my car and sent it to the shop to save labor. Well for some reason the clutch was shot, throw out bearing was ok. When the tranny was finished the guy told me the input and output shaft bearing were totally shot, which caused a domino effect throughout the whole tranny and jacked everything else up in there. So $870.00 Im scratching my head later.


  • So...we loved our 2004 matrix until we had to replace the tranny for about $3000. Before that happened, we bought a used 2003 matrix (we were under the impression from years of experience that Toyotas never die!), and just last week replaced that transmission for about $3400! I've been driving Toyotas for 40 years. Will never buy another one.
  • Dealers will not admit they know about this. If they did Toyota would have to admit they know there is a problem that that would trigger a recall. Dealers will tell you it's your fault or that it's normal wear and tear. Either make a lot of noise or have it fixed by an independent shop. The dealer will charge you upwards of $2200. Why reward their dishonesty? An independent will charge under $1000 if you shop around.
  • Everyone with transmission issues needs to call 1 800 331 4331. be prepared to file a report with toyota over the phone. with your name address and vin number. they told me on the phone if enough people actually file a case there could be a recall or a repair campaign. so worth a shot!
  • jon_ejon_e Posts: 2
    My transmission started making a low grinding noise. It is the failed bearing. After doing some research I realized that the 6 speed does not have this reliability issue. I talked to the guys at and they explained why this is. When toyota designed the 6 speed, they started with the 5 speed design and added an extra gear. The extra gear needs a longer shaft, the longer shaft needs an extra bearing, and that extra bearing tranfers alot of the load.

    I just bought a used 6 speed from them for about $1100. This is cheaper than available used 5 speeds because of the high rate of replacement. The connections to the engine and shifter are the same and there are no electronics so the installation should be identical to the 5 speed. With a clutch and labor this repair should be less than $2500 compared to toyota's $4000 for a brand new inferior 5 speed.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    I sympathize with your experience. (I have just staretd to read this thread)

    It is unfortunate you gave up your voice to Toyota Cda. They would have filled it out with all complimentary comments and mailed it out.

    I had an 03 AWD (auto) I guess i will find out if the autos were problematic, but i did deal my car while still under wty cuz i did not have confidence in the tranny. The car was used to pack a road down with fresh gravel on a hill. We assume this made the tranny too hot? But it had lots of rest between moving. It seemed to me to too easily smell hot. So i swapped out the tranny fluid right away (was way premature, only had 25k km on the car) But cuz i had put a hitch on the car to pull a very light utility trlr to the dump at times with never more than about 600 lb plus 225lb trlt weight, i thought i might have a problem with Toyota, so i dealt it while under lots of wty. To this day I would like to know if that tranny ever failed. I guess I could find out by paying the 20 bucks for the prev owners list, but don't want to bug them. Had a guy call me up one day that did that. he had bought my 2.5 year old F150 4x4 which was clean as awhistle with 50 k on it, from the young couple i sold it to a few years earlier. He said the door bottoms were rusting out and the 4x4 fr axle had cost him a small fortune etc etc. I told i felt bad for him, but that truck had a great start in life and was babied by me. The young couple obviously didn't care for it at all.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    Very interesting, and u end up with a 6 speed to boot!
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    only missed a couple pages, but darned if i can find out the page that describes the resolution even when i went back. Did Toyota recall all these trannys or what? And if they did, i think it is pretty darn poor it took them 6 years to finally get forced into it. And did they reimburse owners who paid out of pocket? Just how many times can they say: "Gee that is the first we have heard of this problem"?
  • tuxristotuxristo Posts: 5
    edited January 2011
    Hi all,

    I was one of the first to post in this thread. (Post #17 At the time I guessed more of this would crop up. There are now 460 posts in this thread and Toyota has yet to acknowledge a problem.

    I am sad and disheartened because I love the Matrix. I love its size, fuel economy, functionality, and Toyota's commitment to hybrids and less emissions.

    However, in the last three and a half years I drove my Matrix less and less (barely 60,000km, compared to 108,000km in first 3.5 years) because I feared the transmission would break down again. I didn't trust my car.

    I have told my story to anyone shopping for a car. A grown adult will only buy an average of what? 9 cars in their lifetime? Toyota decided that they would rather dismiss the problem than have me buy a Toyota ever again. Damage like this can't be undone.

    My Matrix was recently hail damaged beyond repair and I had to find a new car.
    I voted with my wallet and bought a 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring GLS Sport :shades:

    R.I.P. Matrix
    R.I.P. Toyota
  • krackermostkrackermost Posts: 1
    edited January 2011
    Wow! Had no idea that these manuals were so bad on these cars! To make a long story short bought my '04 matrix used with 110,000 miles on it. Previous owner took meticulous care of if and supplied all paperwork down the the oil changes. Had the transmission(manual) serviced 6 months ago. just normal routine stuff fluid exchange & filter. Never had any probs! I'm just way on top of maintaining a good running car as most of you are I'm sure. I hate car payments & leases...just need a A to B work car...
    On my way home today(during a blizzard mind you) It started making god awful noises from the gearbox I assume. got about 2 blocks from home & the thing totally seized up!(engine still purrs) can't even push the car with it in neutral!! this car only has 128k on it now. my first Toyota(my first foreign car actually) & I'm less than impressed so far. Pretty pissed actually. Was expecting at least 200k before sinking any $$ into it! I always heard Toyota quality was second to none? I drove rusty beat up escorts & oldsmobiles & always got 200k out of those with minamal maintenance. had the matrix towed to the tranny shop here in downtown Detroit Michigan. what is the average cost of a rebuild? is it even worth it? I really liked the car! it was pretty functional/useful & got a good 35mpg. Out of it... from what I am reading I guess this is a very common issue. and it's not a cheap fix I'm hearing..any suggestions?
  • Ouch! That is the worst I've heard. They usually make some growling noises before complete failure. I caught mine in time and got a local repair shop to replace a failed bearing inside plus install a new clutch for about $1100.

    Unfortunately, this transmission is not rebuildable. De3signed as a throw-away. You better find $3000=$3500 for a new one.

    Toyota says they have no knowledge of these failures. What a lie. Another reason not to buy another one.

    PS: My brother had a rod let go in his 2000 Camry last year at 80,000 miles. He is a very slow careful driver, so it was not his fault. Toyota blew him off. He just got another new one. I told him not to.
  • Attorney Update:::: Not good news! Just received a letter today, that they will no longer offer their services to represent everyone. I passed on all emails and notes from everyone (thanks for your support). They stated that they did not find enough evidence to have a good case (unfortunately). However, if anybody else has some attorneys that will go up against Toyota! Please let me know, because we do have rights and need to find someone who is willing to face them and let the world know about this problem just like the stuck pedals!!!
  • Hi all I have loved my Matrix 04 XR 5 speed :) ( bought in July 2003) No problems till after I was rear ended in 2007 ( 80,000 miles) where I noticed the growling noise that you all have been talking about. My mechanic told me it was the transmission and my heart sank :(..... The bearing needed to be replaced on the back end of the transmission and a new clutch ( just becasue it was all apart) . $2,200 ( the mechanic chalked it up to the accident... insurance paid).

    Lets move forward to 6 months ago

    The Car started making the same noise!!! I was concerned at 130,00 miles and brought it to the transmission guy that did the work. he siad that the bearing was probably starting to wear but no major concerns. If the noise gets louder than we can always open it up for $2500. :surprise:

    Last week I was driving home from VT and it felt like the transmission droped out of the car DOA in 1,2,3, gear, with bearly able to get it in to reverse. :sick:

    Many repair options , new trasmission, $4,00 rebuilt ( cant find it) or salvage $1500-$2000. The problem is after all the posts I have read I cant see spending the money to have the same problem happen again , and who knows how long it will last. :mad:

    My Family has been buying toyotas for years , my brother has an Avalon with 200,000 miles still going strong.

    I feel that I go screwed by toyota becuause I even mentioned it mult times to the dealer and they said that this is a very odd problem that could not be common, or blaimd it on the accident.

    Good luck everyone but I am going to buy a new car , it is sad that this car that I really enjoyed and loved has to come to an end by going to salvage. Thanks for Toyota not caring about their customers ! ]

  • We had our 2004 Matrix (standard) and loved it- maintained it- has 133,000 kilometers on it. We've both driven standards for over 25 years with no issues- no problems. So experienced drivers and experienced car owners.The past two months have been a disaster. First the right caliper seized in highway driving. And this month that "noise" started.. We took it into the 'stealership" and they had no problem identifying that it was the transmission and probably the clutch slipping as well - seems like they have seen that problem before. We decided to take it to an independent garage and they confirmed it was probably a bearing in the transmission. Just turning the wheels on the hoist they could hear it. They have given us a couple of options - none of them good - They drained the fluid added Lucus transmission additive to try and quiet the bearings. They started looking for a transmission at the salvage yard the the guy said he'd love to have a truck load of Standard Matrix transmissions - he could sell them all! So bottom line is likely a new transmission + 8 hours labour or just drive it til the trany falls out and NEVER buy a Toyota again.. A real shame. Like many on the forum we have loved our Matrix but the love affair has definitely ended.
  • Is it the same transmission in the 09 s?. I always want a manual and have never hear of a manual having more problems then a automatic
  • mantechmantech Posts: 28
    The 09 Matrix transmission is different, the shifter has longer throws than the previous model, that's why I got rid of it(07 Matrix) I might get same
    throw out bearing failure in the future. My 09 Matrix is doing fine so far, the only thing in manual compare to previuos model is the shifter has longer throws than the previous generation.
  • I have a 2004 Matrix XRS I bought 4 years ago. It was a lease return and has had all maintenance at the required times. I paid for the extended warranty which expired 2 months before 6th gear went out in my transmission. I was still UNDER mileage (100,000 miles) but was OVER in time for the warranty.
  • I have only begun to read posts about this problem. I cannot believe it. I bought a 2003 Toyota Matrix 5 speed new in Tennessee. My first Toyota. Bought it because "Toyotas will last forever" and I liked it. Have enjoyed driving it. But at about 60,000 miles I started hearing a "rattle" sound coming from somewhere in the area of the engine. Engine purred when idle but would hear the rattle when driving. Sometimes loud and sometimes not. Took it to dealership and ask them to please drive it, find it and fix it please. They kept it overnight, acknowledged that they heard the "noise" but assured me it was nothing to worry about. Told me that some of the Matrixes will make that noise after a while. I told him it was not normal. They told me it was. Suggested I have the fuel injection system cleaned and it MIGHT quieten it down. I did. It didn't. They still told me not to worry about it. Was absolutely NOTHING to worry about. All this time, sometimes I'd hear it, sometimes I would not. Otherwise, car seemed fine. Last week, at 72,000, as I was slowing down to turn off the main highway, the rattle got LOUD, my car didn't want to keep going. Took about a minute of jerking, stopping, then going, not wanting to shift properly, all the while the rattle getting LOUDER AND LOUDER until the car jerked to a stop as I heard a popping sound. Totally locked up. Couldn't even push it in neutral. At first Toyota told me it was the clutch burned out, quoted a price of almost $1500. Two days later they called to say the transmission was gone. I reminded them about the rattle which was dismissed. Tried to insinuate it was my driving. What BS! Been driving manuals for over 30 years. Don't think so. Then I started doing my homework and cannot believe all of the incidents with these transmissions. They all point to bad bearings. If I ever get this worked out I think I'll go with Honda. or maybe a Chevy!
  • Sure wish I had let someone else listen to my 2003 Matrix. Oh wait. Someone did. The DEALERSHIP! Started hearing a rattle at about 60,000, took it in and was told it was NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. NORMAL ENGINE SOUND FOR THESE MATRIXES. Last week at 72,000, the rattle got louder and the transmission is now shot along with the clutch which they said the transmission burned up. Just posted my story here a little earlier.
  • I'm with you!
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    Sorry to hear :(

    Too late now, but too bad u didn't see these posts back when you first heard the noise. At that point it is repairable from around 1500 bucks. But if you ignore it due to to getting dishonest advice, that figure becomes over 4500.
    And it is hard to find a used one because everyone else has already bought them up. And this part is what infuriates me about Toyota.

    Even if you pay the big bucks for a new trans, it will fail prematurely also. Apparently there is a bearing in a location that is difficult (impossible$) to properly lube. So they will wilfully take your money as many times as you are willing. People are getting (some) up to 100k or a bit more, but keep will find those too finally caved with that bad bearing about 10k mi after first hearing the sound.

    With all the documentation available, I would be tempted to sue your crooked dealer for outright lying to you.

    In the future, always get a second or third opinion. And never ever be ok with "oh, that's normal, they all do that".
    Right...and they all will fail too..
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    I like your attrition idea, but you have to be careful how you execute it. Check with your local by law office, because you might have to adhere to a minimum distance from the dealer's property boundaries when you protest or have 'your chat' with other prospective customers. You don't want to end up getting in even deeper with the buggers, and have the law on their side :sick:
  • Anyone know who you would contact in the US? What about the BBB?
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    Keep reading. I recommend starting at the very beginning of this thread. I have read the whole thing, only took a couple hours. There are answers to your question for the USA, includes some recommendations for the BBB, but with a caveat. Apparently there is some question as to just how straight-up the BBB is in some localities. Apparently they take 'donations' from low scoring businesses in the past, which naturally affects the grade score. It is a grey area to say the least, but check around, there are lots of opinions out there. I think a class action suit was tried, but i forget the outcome. You will find that your username was well chosen in this thread. I heard that the clutch issue was addressed in the 6 speed trns. And I also read that one of the posters here put that tran into his previous 5 sp Matrix, as a bolt in replacement. If it is true, that would be the action I would take in your shoes. I would source a rearended XRS, put the new type clutch in it, and put in your car. But confirm if there is truth to how easy it is to swap those trans.
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