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Matrix Transmission Problems



  • Ok, so after speaking with Toyota USA, the rep I was talking to said the best chance of making a recall happen for the crappy transmission issues is to file complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Toyota US does not accept complaints regarding mechanical failure after expiration of warranty, or so the guy told me. Lame.

    I filed a complaint. If you purchased your Matrix in the US, and your tranny blew on you at ANY point, you should file a complaint too. Once the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration receives enough complaints, they'll begin an investigation. If enough proof of faulty transmissions is found, then they'll either ask or force Toyota US to issue a recall.

    Here's the website:
  • Hello, just got a 2008 matrix automatic. Has 80 miles on it now. When I put the car into reverse, I sometimes hear a slight rattle/metal pinging coming from the engine area. This is when I just start to release the break and the engine starts to idle a bit higher right before moving. I am not sure what this is or if I just need to break the engine in? Anyone have a clue. It comes and goes.
  • I noticed that the noise will come and go. It is hard to duplicate. It sounds like muffler is making the rattle noise.Coming from center area right before the muffler bends into the engine ( I think). It will only hapen when the car is in reverse, e break down, with the break pressed and rpms drop to below 1000. I looked at the engine mounts that are within sight and they all look fine. Is this just me or has anyone else had this when the car was going thru the break in period. I can not imagine it is tranny either.
  • fllfll Posts: 1
    Like many others, I too have fallen victim to the manual transmission 03 Matrix.
    I bought mine in Oakland, California in April 2003. At 65,300 miles, the transmission broke down due to bearing failure, preceded by the now-infamous grinding sound when in gear and letting off the gas.

    Good news: dealer goodwilled all parts, which totaled roughly $2,000. Bad news: I paid for labor, which came to $2,300. From what I can tell, based on how many other people have posted here regarding the same problem, I paid $2,300 more than I should have. This is clearly a defect that Toyota is hoping to sweep under the rug, which is why I decided to add to the list of posts. Power in numbers.

    Will I ever buy another Toyota? Only if I get compensated for what is clearly an unjust cost. As noted by others, every car manufacturer is entitled to its share of mistakes, but to not accept responsibility for them is completely unacceptable.
    If Toyota follows through on its advertised promise of "Moving Forward", it will reimburse all costs to all Matrix owners. Short of this, I will forgo buying a Prius (my original intention) and buy Honda's soon-to-be released competitor hybrid.

    Toyota: wake up.
  • Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I'm "in." I have about 73,000 on an 'O3 Matrix XRS,
    6-speed. I've suspected something wrong with the clutch or transmission since I bought it (it had just enough miles on it to be considered "used"). It came with a "certified warranty." In other words I bought it from a dealer. I had a bunch of trouble with the dealer and stopped taking it there for service quite awhile back. I haven't had the problem officially diagnosed but am pretty sure that it's something with the clutch on it's last legs. Thanks for the info re: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
    Another Toyota? Not likely.
  • matrixixmatrixix Posts: 1
    Yet another blown clutch on a too-young Matrix. This is a 2004 XRS with only 52,000 EASY miles. I am definitely filing a complaint with NHTSA and with Toyota USA. Not sure how I'm going to react if TUSA tells me they have no record of this being a common problem. :sick: :lemon:
  • You can add my 2004 Toyota Matrix to the list of manual transmissions that "went out." Yes, I had 120K miles on the car, but I'm told by certified Toyota mechanics that the transmission (with mostly highway miles) should have lasted much longer. My mechanic has seen 2 bad transmissions now, one in a Corolla with only 45K miles. No more Toyotas for me.
  • My Matrix has 76K on it, which I bought used a little under a year ago. It's been making a squeaking noise every once in a while, but when I press the clutch in, it went away. And there were times it wouldn't do it for weeks. This week it got worse...quick. It's now making noise when the clutch IS pressed. And it definitely isn't the same noise. This is a horrible loud almost grinding noise, and it seems to shake when I try and drive in 1st gear. I just called the Toyota dealership in my area and they are going to look at it tomorrow. I'm afraid because I am a girl, they are going to try and take advantage of me. If this is a common problem with the 03 Matrix, I need to make sure I go about this the right way. I definitely do not have thousands of $$ to be putting into a car I'm still making payments on...especially being a single mom. Can someone give me some advice on what to do??
  • upset4upset4 Posts: 5
    It is more than likely your transmission. Print some off this forum and go in loaded with information. Once they say transmission, Tell them you KNOW the transmissions have faulty bearings. Hopefully they will show some compassion and give you a break. Toyota isn't owing up to this and I've replaced 2 transmissions in the last year. Good luck !!!
  • filepfilep Posts: 3
    Burn it or have it stolen
  • badvibesbadvibes Posts: 2
    On Christmas 'eve 2007, my family(myself, my husband and our 7mos old child) was traveling from Walnut Cove to Statesville, NC to visit our son's grandparents. It's an easy 81 mile trip we make frequently to spend holidays with family. We were driving our newly purchased '03 Pontiac Vibe with approximately 85k miles on the vehicle. On this day nearly 3/4ths into our trip, we were traveling at a steady 70 miles per hour when my husband, who was driving, asked if i heard "that noise"? That noise being a high-pitched whining sound. Before I could answer, a loud and heavy popping sound, followed by a violent rattling, clunking sound could be both heard and felt underneath us. We quickly pulled over to the emergency lane of Interstate-40 and attempted to see what had happened. My husband could see nothing wrong under the car or beneath the hood and attempts to move the car forward met with the worst grinding, clunky sound you could imagine. We had no choice but to call for a wrecker and wait for help. It was an awful feeling being stranded on the side of I-40 in holiday traffic with your newborn baby. After 30-40 minutes the wrecker came for us, towed our car to their garage and on Christmas day presented us with a 2000.00 estimate for repairing our transmission. The transmission was removed and taken to Cortran Inc. a specialist in rebuilding manual transmissions, where it was inspected, revealing a failure in the rear pinion shaft bearing which caused the 5th gear sets to break several teeth.

    The transmission was rebuilt and re-installed only to find that the 5th gear set sent by Toyota was defective and would need to be replaced. The second set of gears arrived and was installed. We were told that we could pick up our car. After a couple of days my husband drove the car and noticed that 4th and 5th gears were nearly the same. After much head scratching and a couple of calls to the repair-shop, it was discovered that Toyota had sent the 5th gear set from a 6 speed manual transmission not a 5 speed. Apparently the tech hadn't caught the lack of a difference in rpms during his test-drive. Back to the repair shop. It has been an exercise in patience.

    We purchased this car because of our needs as parents for a safe, reliable, functional vehicle. Through combined research and experience my husband and I decided on this American Pontiac brand because of it's design and it's use of the time tested, well proven reliable Toyota engine and transmission. We chose a manual transmission because of fuel efficiency and again, the proven reliability of a Toyota 5-speed transmission. We felt secure purchasing this used automobile because of its low mileage, quality construction and proven drive-train, its clean Carfax report and because it's a smart, roomy car.

    After the breakdown, we began researching the transmission failure and found that there are MANY complaints on various internet auto forums which mirror our failure. The transmission failure occurred in both the Pontiac Vibe and also it's sister car the Toyota Matrix at various points around 100k miles. The culprit each time is a failure in rear pinion shaft bearing, usually giving no warning before its failure usually damaging some of the gears as it spins apart.

    As per advice from our NC State Attorneys office, we have filed a formal complaint with the NC State Highway Patrol and are gathering interested participants in an inquiry to have the many failures examined for possible future recall. We feel that there is a safety risk with the defective transmission bearing and consider ourselves lucky to have not been injured in the incident. We are seeking compensation for the 1927.00 incurred in repair expenses only and believe there is precedence for such a request. We are not seeking lost wages or pain and suffering or anything other than what's right and fair.

    teresa blackburn :mad:
  • canonlawcanonlaw Posts: 20
    so you have had to replace the matrix transmission twice? or just two different toyotas? I had mine rebuilt and am nervous that maybe it may go out again. It was covered under the extended warranty the first time, but I don't want to pay for it if it goes out again. I am hoping they used the updated bearing when they rebuilt it
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    As mentioned many times, the transmission is exactly the same crap as the previous one that fell apart. They cannot change to a newer version without changing the entire engine.
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    You haven't read the posts clearly enough. The bad trans is in the 2003-04 models only.
  • An update on my XRS...I took it into the dealership and they told me they think it's the throwout bearing, and that nothing is wrong with the transmission, but they don't know for sure until they put the news parts in. They told me they were helping me out on parts and labor, but it was still going to cost me $700. That was just the bearing. So, I was going to have a friend who is a toyota tech do the work. He plans on putting a new clutch, plate, bearing and all seals in there since the tranny will be dropped. The problem is? The plate's on NATIONAL back order until at least the 17th. Unbelievable. How can Toyota claim they have no record of these problems when the entire nation is having problems getting these parts??
  • lseydaklseydak Posts: 2
    When I had to have the electronic passenger window repaired after only 2 1/2 months I thought, OK, it's minor. When the catalytic converter cracked at 70K miles I thought WHEW it's still under warranty. After being told by the dealership that it was a fairly common problem with the Matrix, I resigned myself to paying the $232.00 cost of replacing the heat sheilds on the converter and the exhaust and made an appointment for this morning to have the work done. A half mile from the dealership the car "snagged" hard while I was exiting the interstate, I was able to down shift to 4th, 3rd, then slowed enough to go into 1st as I waited for a traffic signal to change. Once it turned green I went nowhere. Couldn't get into neutral, TOTAL lockup! End result.......the dealership called a few hours after my mighty Matrix was towed in and told me there had been, in the service mgrs own words, "a catastrophic occurance". The transmission was in peices. Estimate to repair the catastrophic occurance? $3,149.00!!!!! This is the 6th Toyota I've purchased for either myself or my Corolla, one Celica, three Camrys, and now my mighty M. All were purchased because of the long standing reputation for safety and dependability. What happened? My Matrix is just NOT the caliber of Toyota I've come to know and expect. Has anyone else encountered so many problems with their Matrixes? Has anyone gained any financial assistance from Toyota? And, yes, the windows are going to have to be repaired again......thank heaven for the recall! :sick:
  • my 2003 matrix was making horrible noise, and went out I have less than 90,000 miles. I just got an estimate of 3700
  • canonlawcanonlaw Posts: 20
    I think you misunderstood my question. As I understand it, the problem with the transmission was the bearings, and Toyota has since come out with an updated bearing kit. So, if we got our transmissions fixed, and they put the new bearings in, then it shouldn't fail again.

    I was wondering if your transmission has actually failed twice.
  • How do these come off? Do I need a special tool?
    When I ordered the EBC replacement rotors they do not appear to be the same are the 4WD rotors different than the 2WD version?
  • zagy1zagy1 Posts: 1
    My 03 Matrix XR has a blown manual transmission at 63k miles (after only 6 months and 11 thousand miles after purchasing the car). Toyota didn't offer any help (even though it failed at only 3k beyond the power train warranty).

    Now I must decide how to repair. How can I find the best deal on a used or rebuilt transmission? Is there a website that has good transmission deals? I am concerned about finding a good price but also one that comes with a good warranty as well. Any ideas?

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    You could try a recycler like this one:

    If you can find a recent model car that was crashed, chances are very good that the transmission will be fine, and it's your cheapest price for sure. Of course, it's also not warrantied like a rebuild would be.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • badvibesbadvibes Posts: 2
    a used transmission is likely to have the same faulty bearing that has caused this ever growing thread. our used vibe's tranny main bearing failed at 85k taking 5th gear set with it...we came out just under 2 grand for a rebuild with only 6 mos warranty with new tranny parts. find my original post for all the gory details.
  • azureskyesazureskyes Posts: 1
    Man, I wish I would have found this forum sooner! I bought my 2004 Toyota Matrix XR back in 2003 brand new. I have been the only owner and only driver. I have an Automatic transmission. Back around 55,000 miles, my transmission started catching between 1st and 2nd gear. It was almost like it would stick between gears, shift hard and then any gears after that were fine when shifting. I took my car to the Toyota dealership and complained of the shifting/transmission issues. They said my transmission fluid was *dirty* and they flushed the fluid and gave it back to me. 1 week later I was driving home from work on Interstate 95 in 5 o'clock rush hour when my transmission completely went up. It locked up, hitting the gas pedal would do nothing except rev my engine. Shifting between gears made no difference. Had to get a tow to the Toyota dealer. This time they put in what they referred to as a *brand new transmission*. I was under 60K miles and therefore still under warrenty so no charges incurred. A few weeks later I was at a drive thru window when I heard a very loud noise under my hood. Took the Matrix back to Toyota dealer only for them to tell me that I had a bad bearing in my engine and they had to completely rebuild my engine. Still under 60K though and I was still under warranty. 1 year and 5 months later (2 days ago) I was driving home from work in rush hour again when my car just wouldn't shift again. I had to drive all the way home at 30 miles an hour revving out at 5,000 RPM's. Relying alot on my coasting of having an automatic and the grace of God to get me home. I made it to my condo parking lot before it burned. But it burned before I pulled into a spot. My husband had to push me in. Got another tow to the dealer. Now they are saying something *exploded* inside my transmission. I got an extended 1 year warranty when the transmission was replaced back in December of '06. 5 months out of the warranty and my tranny blew FOR A SECOND TIME. I have been fighting with the :mad: dealer for days about this!! Ahhhhhh! I too have owned Toyota's in the past and I have never had a single issue until I bought my Matrix XR
  • slowzukislowzuki Posts: 3
    2003 Matrix XR 5 speed

    The output bearing is going, at the 95,000 km mark I asked the dealer to check the noise in the transmission and the fluid level, they said nothing was wrong. Now at 130,000 km the noise is very very loud. I found this forum and starting asking the dealer questions, the parts guy admits there are alot of failures but the services guy act like they've never heard of it.

    I'm in Fredericton, NB, Canada

    Tried phoning around for used trannies but the yards say, yup very familiar with this problem, sorry all our vibe, corolla and matrix trannies are sold out.

    The dealer wants 600$ for the parts alone and no returns on unused pieces.

    I found one used tranny a distance away but its about the same milage as mine, no guarrantee the bearing has been done.

    Anyone have the updated bearing number? Anyone have an aftermarket cross number?

    I'm going to call the Toyota line this afternoon but I doubt I'll get anywhere.

    Sure wish I had bought the 1999 Tacoma that was next to it for the same price, would have 20,000$ in hand to spend instead.
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    My advice, sell it fast. If not, get that bearing changed before it blows apart. Funny that Fredericton Toyota doesn't admit problems. I had my Matrix transmission replaced there in Oct/07. THere's an older guy at the desk, can't remember his name, he must be the manager. Tell him that you know for a fact that a Ms Laurinolli had a tranny replaced there, only 60% paid for by Toyota. Cost me $2000. He seemed to be fully aware of the bearing problem because the first question he asked was if my car had sat unused for awhile, which it had for 2mths. The bearing seized up and didn't have proper oil apparently. I thought Toyota released a bearing upgrade package or something?? Someone on here said that.
  • doobiedwdoobiedw Posts: 1
    Add my 2003 Matrix to the long list of trans problems. I am just over the 5 year/60k mile warranty. I had the previously described grinding noises and the dealer just quoted me $3,200 to fix. When I told him about this forum, he looked it up on the Toyota website and said they show no problems. He said this sort of half-heartedly as if this is just the company line. We have had a long history of good relationship with our dealer and he is currently looking into doing something for us with the goodwill program. I'm hoping he comes through for us. Other than this problem, the matrix has been a perfect car for me.
  • slowzukislowzuki Posts: 3
    I wish I could sell, no one would buy a car with a bearing noise that loud. I'll look into it but I doubt they will help since they didn't sell me the car and the warrantee is up.

    Can't believe Toyota won't admit there is a problem!
  • aleonaleon Posts: 2
    Hi All, man I bought my toyota matrix from a coworker. In mint condition. 1 year later, I hear a spuddering or rattling sound everytime I press the gas after shifting. My heart dropped and knew it couldn't be anything simple to fix. After reading this blog I am so blown away from all this. I've had 3 toyotas in my past life and thought for sure this was going to last me a good while. I was wrong. I need either a new transmission or a rebuilt transmission. It is a bearing failure. Oh and throwing in extra cost for replacing the clutch, the price is very costly! Yeah I have over 60,000 miles on mine. I was shocked, now I'm shaking my head. BTW, Honda had a law suit against them for transmission failure between 1999-2001 or 2002.. I guess it could happen to even the most reliable vehicles!
  • dasheddashed Posts: 1
    It all started with service at a Toyota dealership 7 months ago.

    3 days after the service ($300 overall check of the vehicle) the engine seized-apparently the radiator drained instantly with no warning. "We've never seen anything like this happen before on a Matrix"

    4 days after the engine was replaced the transmission seized-apparently this was related to the engine failure. "We never see transmissions go on these vehicles."

    Replaced with a used transmission by the same dealership. "We'll put in a used one for you, as we never see problems with these transmissions."

    6 months later I hear a strange grinding noise. Told that my transmission needs to be replaced. "Sorry the used transmission only had 3 month warranty, we can't help you out. We never see any problems with these transmissions though. Just bad luck I guess."

    Have now battled it out with the dealership and Toyota Canada. Neither of which will admit to any problem or wrong-doing. Write it off to really bad luck I was such a good car until that fateful service. Very disappointing.

    Last bit of advice from the dealership "Vehicles do not become more valuable as they get older, or increase in value as their mileage increases, the cost of maintenance starts to sky-rocket and reliability and safety decreases. The point is the longer you keep your vehicle, the more it will start to cost you due to wear and tear."

    Thank you to Peace Arch Toyota in Vancouver, BC for the mind-blowing advice!
  • gmoregmore Posts: 11
    I am just experiencing the same problems. It is not acceptable for Toyota to have an issue with their manufacturing and not deal with it. I have just sent a link of this thread to Toyota Canada and my Local Dealership - Jim Pattison Toyota North Shore. They can't say its a one off problem.

    A recall must be started. To do this everyone must send an email or letter to the Ministry of Transportation. The link to his contact page is here -

    Everyone also needs to send a link of this thread to Toyota Canada and their local dealership. Toyota prides itself on reliability and low maintenance costs - we for us it was a lie. They are tarnishing their image and word of mouth.

    This is not a one off issue. This is Toyota have a known manufacturing issue and not being responsible for it.

    Good luck everyone.
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