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Matrix Transmission Problems



  • labambalabamba Posts: 3
    2004 xrs clutch went out at 4,000 miles, toyota paid. clutch went out again at 23,000 miles, toyota said I ride the clutch and I had to pay. 27,000 miles today and the clutch is slipping. The car is a piece of crap. I had a 92 Honda Civic si Hatchback 5 speed with 320,000 of MY miles on it and replaced that clutch once!!! SUDDENLY I CAN'T DRIVE A STICK! Toyota says that I am the only one they ever heard of with this problem. The clutch is under engineered and there is NO class action lawsuit that I know of. OUCH WHAT A FEELING! Should have bought a Honda!
  • labambalabamba Posts: 3
    This is for Canadians! I can't even get lemon law action since I live in a different state from where I bought this piece of JUNK. I just tried to trade it in today and guess what, IT'S WORTH NOTHING!
  • handershanders Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 XRS manual six speed and my clutch is slipping. Dealership says that it is normal wear and tear therfore not covered by the 60K powertrain warranty. Now if it is were an automatic it would have been covered. But apparently b/c I am an idiot and don't know how to drive a stick...and being a girl....I must not be driving it right and need to cough up $1200 to have it replaced. This is crap...too many people are having the same problem...Count me in on what ever action needs to be taken. I also keep having a problem with my alignment...anyone out there have the same issue? :confuse:
  • dave145dave145 Posts: 1
    I am considering an 08 Matrix but have read about all the problems with 03 & 04 models.

    Does anone know if the problems have been solved in later models (such as 07 or 08s)? I also don't find mention of these problems at sites other than Edmunds. Any consumer reports or other mentioning these transmission & clutch problems?

    Any help would be appreciated


  • labambalabamba Posts: 3
    Hi Dave,

    I've also put in my 2 cents at The real problem is with the dealers and the company itself. They are the ones that have decided, in spite of numerous complaints, that there is no problem. Three years later and my top of the line Matrix xrs is worth less than 1/2 of what I paid for it. 27,000 miles and my 3rd clutch is slipping. I'll NEVER buy a Toyota product again! My advice, buy a Honda!

    Good luck
  • i have 2003 5 speed with 180 k
    the main bearing is going getting louder daily
    did anybody have any luck with toyota with this problem
  • is an update..i took my car into a mechanic and he swears it is not the i agreed to let him take it apart. Turns out it is a clutch throw bearing?? haven't received the final bill yet however i will keep everyone up to date. considering it is about 10-12 hours to get the transmission in and out I don't anticipate that it will be an inexpensive repair but still less expensive then 1800-3000 which is the quotes that I was previously getting. There is no doubt a defect on this transmission and I believe that this problem has caused my clutch to wear prematurely. As another side, I had a seized caliper on my matrix just the other day. You can get a rebuilt caliper from NAPA cost is $80.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    The clutch throw out bearing, normally only becomes engaged and spinning when your depress the clutch pedal. The face of the bearing is what actually presses against the fingers of the pressure plate, which when the fingers are pressed release the grip on the clutch plate (allowing the clutch plate which is connected to main shaft of the transmission to stop spinning).

    Normally when there are throw out bearing failures, you'll find that the driver rests their foot on the clutch (thereby keeping the bearing spinning), or the clutch is improperly adjusted and the bearing doesn't release far enough away from the pressure plate.

    That's a cheaper and easier parts fix compared to a transmission bearing where you have to take the transmission actually apart. In this case, you just are unbolting the transmission from the engine. The throwout bearing and clutch are in between the engine and transmission.
  • Updated to the 2003 matrix with transmission problems. It turns out it was the main bearing just as with all of the other people that have made the claim here. It was not the clutch throw bearings after all :( Bottom line is that I needed a completely rebuilt tranny due to the main bearing failure. The Mr. Transmission that ended up doing the repair said that he is working on these quite often. There was a Pontiac Vibe in the shop while I was there with the same problem. Makes you say hmmm....oh and btw there is an updated kit for the transmission, not sure if that means that there was a problem identified and it has since been fixed or what?
  • With less than 100,000 miles on my 5 speed manual, I began hearing a funny noise in June. I ignored it thinking it was a fan and wanted to see what would come of it. Yesterday, Sept. 27, 2007, my car suddenly hardly made it to work. I dropped it off at the mechanic and had him take me to work. Guess what? Yup, to my shock and surprise, it's the transmission. I thought I had a reliable car and how often to manual's have transmission problems???? My wife is due to have a baby this next week. Great timing. Thanks Toyota for going cheap on something that is so important. Next time cut cost on windshield wipers. They're easier to replace. Until I can get it fixed, I'm grinding my bearings and I can't shift into 2nd anymore. Please, somebody offer some advice. I'd be in on the lawsuit, just tell me what I need to do.
    - tbrane
  • New transmission required, changed fluid at 75 k. Made sure we used synthetic 75w90 just to be on the safe side. Mostly highway driven to 170 k. Compared to the other complainants we were lucky. Started making sounds except when clutch was depressed. Cost quoted by Toyota $3995 plus tax to replace it. They said they never heard of this problem. We need a lawyer. I used to swear by these cars, had many with a standard and not even need a clutch change, the Celica up to 450 k. If they don't do something to alleviate this, our family will never buy a Toyota again.
  • The cost for my transmission rebuild at mr. transmission was 1295...had to pay someone to remove it and install it which was another 450...Total cost including taxes was $2,000. Complete overhaul. My transmission guy had 2 other pontiac vibes he was working on! this is definitely a defective transmission. It is a defective bearing from Japan. The rebuild kit is updated so if you get it fixed it probably won't happen again???fingers crossed! oh, BTW, quote in the US for a complete rebuild was only 2900???
  • I just picked up my 2004 matrix from my local garage. They heard the noises it made and decided that it was something major from the transmission. I was shocked to hear that there was something significant from a manual transmission other than the clutch. So I browsed this forum and was equally as shocked to read of so many problems with the tranny. I called the shop back to see if they can replace the tranny with a newer used model (2005-2007)if they can find one. Does any one know if the problems have been resolved for the later years or if I can even replace my 2004 with a 2005 or 2006 transmission?
  • I just wanted to note that I visited this forum about 2 months ago when I first started hearing the noises from the transmission. There were a lot of talk about a pully tensioner and loose alternator pullies that people thought was making a lot of rattling and grinding noises from the engine compartment. I am willing to bet that they are actually having problems with their transmissions and that this really is a defective product from the invincible Toyota! Unfortunately unless there is a safety issue, I don't think we are going to get lucky with a recall.
  • tbranetbrane Posts: 2
    I called Toyota and pretty much got nowhere. They said that they haven't heard any complaints. However, I told him about all the complaints that I've read about on this message board. I would encourage everyone to call Toyota, even if you have already done it and make them write up a case report. If we get enough complaints, then they will either recall the transmissions or could reimburse us if we've had to get it fixed already. We should keep calling every week and bug them. If enough people bug them, they may decide to listen. It certainly can't hurt. In the meantime, my 2003 matrix is at shop. :cry:
  • jarviejarvie Posts: 1
    My mechanic told me that the growl from my 2003 Matrix XR at 132,000km was a transmission bearing. After finding out through these posts that 2003 and 2004 Matrix do indeed have a problem, I found out from a Toyota mechanic that the bearings had been upgraded on 2005 models onwards. Armed with a printout of these posts, my service records stating that the fluid had been changed per the service manual, and the information on the upgraded bearings, I visited the Toyota dealer where I bought the car 5 years ago. After some (pleasant) discussions with the owner, and a few delays while Toyota head office got back to them, they agreed to rebuild the transmission for free, as a goodwill gesture. I have no idea how they did it, no idea who paid for it, all I know is that I now have a good vehicle. Oh, and the dealer recommended a new clutch, which he supplied and installed at his cost of $275 CDN plus tax. And I have to say the dealership owner was really helpful, offering me a good trade-in value and a good price if I had decided to trade in the Matrix for another vehicle. In my opinion, while the transmission should not have failed at 132,000km, I am very obviously very pleased with the outcome, especially the way the dealership treated me. All I can say is, here's a story with a happy ending, please feel free to use this as a precedent with Toyota and get them to do the same thing for you! Good luck!!
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    I just had my manaul transmission completely fail halfway home from Boston to Halifax. The car had to be towed back to Canada and left at a Toyota dealer in Fredericton. Needs a new transmission due to a failed bearing. It's 5.5y old with 80K. I serviced it on schedule at Toyota and they have only agreed to cover 60%. Is the new transmission they put in going to be like those in the 2005 and later or the same junk it originally had? I am planning to sell asap if anyone wants it! They did not offer me a good trade-in value, only about half what it should be worth.
    Should I buy a Nissan Versa or Toyota Fit or try the newer Matrix??
  • The manual transmission just went out on my Matrix yesterday. The car has less than 60.000 miles, so this should be covered by the powertrain warranty, correct?
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    Should be, especially if less than 5y old. They should put in a new transmission, but unfortunately it will be exactly the same design as the first one. I'm selling my car because I think it could fail again in 5y and only got 12mth warranty on the new transmission.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Not sure that it necessarily has to be a "new" transmission. You may end up with a Toyota factory rebuilt unit.
  • 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.
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