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Pontiac Vibe Transmission Troubles

whitematrixwhitematrix Member Posts: 6
edited January 2015 in Pontiac
After my 2003 manual trans. matrix has been sitting overnight or for a long time in the day, there is this hum, for about 4 seconds,(which was quite loud today) when I first take off in first or reverse. I don't hear it in any other gears. Since it has gotten louder, I am getting a little concerned. My son mentioned something about gear bearings??


  • schnurmacschnurmac Member Posts: 2
    This is my first post. My wife Vibe had to go in to the body shop at the dealer. While it was there I asked them how much it would be to change filter and fluid. They told me $110.00 for everything. The filter is $71.85. I found the fiter on the internet for around $30.00. But the dealer or the online parts people dont know if it comes with the pan gasket. Does anyone know if the pan gasket is rubber and can be re used. The dealer list the gasket separate for $29.16. They in service cannot even tell me if I have to buy the gasket. The dealer say I should change it every 30,000 mile. We have 60,000 on it.

    I noticed alot of post on the topic of engine racing and stalling no problems with ours.

    I will note we had a strange problem with the air vents. The first time my wife was hit in the rear two days later we had a loud thumping noise coming from the dash. The dealer had to replace the actuator or what ever you call it. It changes the flow of air for your heat and ac. They had to tear the entire dash off. They said another dealer reported one incident. It would open and close open and close. The dealer said it was not accident related.
    The car has been a great car so far. Its safe as far as Im concerned my wife has been hit twice. The one in the rear was at 40 mph. Only did bumper damage and bent exhaust tip.
    No body damage. I will gripe about the emergency brake. It can be engaged to easily. There is no resistance in pulling it up. We drove awhile at 80+ on I-95. On a trip. I began to hear a loud thumping from rear. I pulled over The left rear brake drum smelled like they were burning and were red hot but not smoking. Well I said enough. I would like to know about the pan gasket. :confuse:
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    Wow, $110 seems unlikely. My dealer quoted us $165. Once the work was done, the bill ended up being $440. We complained, and got it for the $165. I seriously doubt that your price will hold up. If the service manager quoted you the price, get in in writing, and hold him/her to it.
  • schnurmacschnurmac Member Posts: 2
    No that was the price. Why did it end up being $440? :surprise:
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    Sorry schnurmac, but this will be a second hand answer since my wife brought the car in: after receiving the quote from the manager, the price turned out to be over $400 since "they had trouble opening up the side of the transmission to get the filter out. It took them over 2 hours to do so." I got all the fluid replaced, new filter, and new gasket for the quoted $165 after we complained. I have been told that there are 3 different tranmissions for the Vibe. I can understand a difference between the base and GT model, but I can't understand why there would be 3. I wonder if one of the non-GT models has a filter, and the other a metal screen? Anyway, now that it has been flushed at 60k, I don't plan on EVER repeating that recommended service again. I'm sure a deer, or an asteroid will have taken care of the car before the car is due again.
  • sgmsgm Member Posts: 23
    If your Matrix is earlier than an 2005,is a manual transmission or four wheel drive, then maybe that service needs to done; otherwise it should not be touched for a 100-125 thousand miles. Another exception would be if you tow a lot.

    On our didpsticks on our two Matrix it even says something to the effect of not needing changing.

    As long as the color is good I would never change the transmission fluid in a newer auto transmission.

  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    wow, if you have a sponge filter in the tranny, I totally disagree. The Vibe manual for automatics says 60k. We have no highway miles on the car, which is why I did it at 60k. I don't believe towing is recommended on a car which is essentially a Corolla, so I don't think that is a factor. Perhaps those people driving in heavy mountainous areas should also consider service at 60k. My fluid was no longer "pink" at 60k. I could see some greying to the fluid. I also knew $165 was a great price given the 4 quotes I got elsewhere. Nonetheless, GM HQ told me that I had a replaceable filter on the car. As such, it was holding dirt, and in city conditions I believe I did the right thing. Let me assure you; I am one who does not believe in following a regular service interval, because as you elude to sgm, the posted intervals in the manual are only there for dealers to make money. Now, as to changing tranny fluid in a car which has never had it done, and is WAY over the recommended time, I tend to agree with you sgm. Flushing burt varnish and risking even more particulates flowing through the tranny is a very valid concern.
  • nick2006matrixnick2006matrix Member Posts: 42
    After reading the transmission posts I figured I would ask the dealer about trans service when I had my 06 Matrix there for an oil change today. The service advisor recommended trans. service at 45,000 miles. A drain and refill will cost 49.99 while a flush will cost 150. I asked about changing the filter and dropping the pan and she replied that the filter is "self cleaning" and gets cleaned during the purge process. I don't think I will have this dealer service my trans after that statement. She also recommended changing the coolant, brake fluid and power steering fluid at 30,000miles. The coolant maybe, but brake and p.s. fluid changes are a joke. Anyone else ever heard statements like this?
  • mikey00mikey00 Member Posts: 462
    You have to remember just who the service advisor actually is. He or she is a commissioned salesperson out to sell you as many services as you will buy. Use your owner’s manual to determine what services Toyota recommends, not some commissioned salesperson.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    What? A dealer trying to sell you more than you need? What a suprise (for those who think otherwise). I certainly would not do a drain and fill. Unlike some experts here, I called GM for my information. Not only did GM tell me I have a filter (not a metal screen) in my Vibe AWD tranny, my dealer AND one transmission guy believed so too. According to GM, the info on the tranny type is embedded in the VIN. Since you own a Matrix, I would call Toyota customer service. Let us know if you do. My manual says to change the fluid at 60,000 not 45,000. Best wishes Nick.
  • nick2006matrixnick2006matrix Member Posts: 42
    I will check with Toyota customer service concerning the transmission filter. The dealer is convenient for oil changes, they have a no appointment type quick lube service there. The rest of the service seems like highway robbery to me. Thanks for the reply.
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Member Posts: 470
    I'm going to go through the owner's manual tomorrow for our 2003 Matrix. My wife made an appointment for 30,000 mile service and was told it will cost $450.00. I know the oil needs to be changed, tires rotated, air filter changed, and I think the coolant should be flushed (never been done yet). But this seems awfully high unless there's a lot of other stuff that needs to be done that I haven't though of.
  • nick2006matrixnick2006matrix Member Posts: 42
    Usually the dealer will provide a list of services they want to perform at specific intervals. Look closely, most of the items are "inspect this and inspect that". The only real services performed may only be an oil change, air filter change, and tire rotation. This amounts to about $75.00 if performed by a quality mechanic in a reputable service garage.
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Member Posts: 470
    Thanks for the input. The dealer told my wife that we could look on their website and learn exactly what was included. If the information is there, I can't find it. So I think it's worth a call.

    Based on what the service schedule booklet that came with the car says, we should expect them to change the air filter, flush and replace the coolant, change the engine oil and filter, rotate the tires, and replace the AC filter. And then there's a long list of stuff to inspect -- ball joints and dust coverrs, brake lines and hoses, brake linings/drims and pads/disks, etc.

    Two things that are listed for inspection are the differential oil and transmission fluid. Both were changed at about 17,000 even though the recommendation at that time, too, was just to inspect. My wife's commute to work is about four and a half miles each way, so technically that would fall into the "special driving conditions" category because it's under five miles. Is there really any reason to change these two fluids again at 32,000 miles?
  • ducnutducnut Member Posts: 1
    I have had my vibe trans service by a friend as all of my vehichles have been. I asked him to drop the filter and change it and flush the trans. He told me that the filter is of a new style that need only to be flush until it runs clean fluid out of the flush screw hole and then plug the drain screw back in and fill the trans until it is full. I also asked my cousin that works at the service dept at the pontiac dealer where I bought my car about this and he told me the same thing. It is true.
  • fostoyfostoy Member Posts: 1
    HELP! I have a problem that the certified mechanics can't fix without major work. Everytime I push the clutch in, my car trys to re-start. The ignition switch has been replaced. I suggested that maybe it's bad and another one has to go in, but they insist that isn't the problem and that the only way to find it is to rip the dashboard out and do it that way. The car has been hooked up to the computer with no results. It has 50,000 highway miles on it and has had regular oil changes etc. There is no reason that this should be happening and I am sad. I still owe $6,000.00 on the thing and now this!! I was going to trade it in on Sat. but it broke on Thursday. Just my luck. Anyone out there know about this problem?????????
  • hal517hal517 Member Posts: 8
    2006 Vibe , Just changed oil and wondering since oil change light wasn't on how do I reset the miles for next change ?

  • gasman1gasman1 Member Posts: 321
    The same way you would reset if it were on. It comes on approximately 500 miles before you hit 5,000 miles from it's last reset. The precedure was recently provided.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    Read your manual on how to check your transmission fluid level, and then check it to make sure you're not low. That could lead to serious transmission wear if it went on too long.
  • nhollinsnhollins Member Posts: 4
    My new 06 Vibe replaced a 94 Sunbird with 330,000kms. I changed the tranny filter & fluid every 50,000 & cleaned the pan-magnets each time. I placed 3 magnets in the pan to catch more filings out of the fluid. What a mess to drop the pan it was! The Vibe has a drainplug on the tranny pan ! All cars used to have these normal servicing a drainplug.

    Brake fluid absorbs moisture over time, & it collects at each wheels brakeline connection. Water in the Dot 3 causes brake fading & higher temperatures.
    Its best to bleed the lines at each wheel every 2 yrs. Or just have the system flushed.

    P/S fluid changes every 3 years might have prevented a $1000 rusted out steering rack replacement bill on the Sunbird.

    I will get a new Vibe in 2009, the Lord willing !
  • steine13steine13 Member Posts: 2,801
    Just make sure the Vibe will be still around in '09. I'm keeping my ear to the ground, and my guess -- just a guess, no special inside info -- my guess is that the Vibe will die a quick death before the '08 or '09s come out.

    IF there is a next-generation Vibe, count me in. I'll get a 2nd year one, to get past any teething problems.

  • dlufkindlufkin Member Posts: 1
    I'm driving a 2005 Vibe in Germany and can't get my hands on T-IV transmission fluid. Does anyone know of a suitable replacement? Also, where's the best spot to order a transmission filter kit for the same car? Thanks.
  • berthasberthas Member Posts: 1
    I accidentally drained my trans fluid instead of my iol what is the replacement fluid for t-IV?
  • mikey00mikey00 Member Posts: 462
    Let the car sit until Monday. Then go to a Toyota parts dept and get 4 qts of Toyota Type T-IV trans fluid. Don't overfill, watch the dipstick.
  • rmooorermooore Member Posts: 1
    I just had my clutch go out on my 03 vibe and had it replaced only one week ago - it broke down! For a better description "it was like it was in park". I started hearing some noise from the trans. and then this. I pulled off on a exit and finally was able to push it but there was my vibe was smokin' - any ideas - just hoping that it's not the trans. and I may of got a bad clutch.
  • 08charger08charger Member Posts: 1
    I'm on my 2nd clutch at 85,000 miles. The first one went out at 45k miles. I'm buying an after market full faced Kevlar Clutch... $400+ but from what I read, it should last 4-5 times longer than a standard clutch.
  • bzribeebzribee Member Posts: 27
    Sorry--I accidentally put this on the wrong forum first...

    Question: I've noticed that when I initially go in reverse (rolling backwards out of driveway)--as I shift into 1st there's a single clunk sound that I hear from the back. That's it--just one clunk. I will bring this up at 5000 mile check-up--but any thoughts from anyone?
  • vibelovervibelover Member Posts: 2
    can anyone tell me why there are so many pontiac vibes broken flywheels complaints and when you call main office there are no recalls or complaints looked on to site found many complaints of brkn flywheels-we need to call the main office open a file let the marketing team and pontiac back up their product had 2 vibes love car but had master cylinder replaced -tramission went and now flywheel and car is not even 4 yrs old
  • renatelrenatel Member Posts: 9
    When I brought my G in for a steering problem it had 29447 miles on it, and the dealer had a board on the wall with recommendations for 30,000 miles to flush all the fluids except the gas tank,for about 500.00Of course they said they would do it in sections so it would cost so much all on one day,but they were going to do a power steering flush until they found out I had electronic steering, and there was no power steering fluid.At least they were honest,because I would have never known.
  • greenbeans7greenbeans7 Member Posts: 2
    I was just looking up this problem online to see if anyone else experienced what I have with my vibe and saw your posting. I just brought my '03 vibe in due to this metallic sound every time I shifted that continued to get worse and became constant. It was the flywheel and I needed to replace the transmission as well! $3,000 later and just over the warrenty I'm a bit frustrated. Plus, it's again making the initial noise and I brought it back, but they can't hear it! I too love the vibe, but this seems to be an issue that needs to be brought to their attention if so many are having like problems. I will be putting in my complaint!
  • vibelovervibelover Member Posts: 2
  • lalswiftlalswift Member Posts: 14
    We have had major Pontiac Vibe transmission problems. Our check engine light came on and the car started to slam into gears. We were told that the torque converter was bad therefore causing metal fragments to get into the solenoid?! It cost $3000 to fix. Yes, we did have the autotransmission service at 48000 miles. Has anyone else experienced this probelm? :sick:
  • nathansvibenathansvibe Member Posts: 1
    Hello i have a 03 vibe with 87000 miles and the check engine light on constantly the code is described as "shift solenoid E" The car drives and shifts fine though. I just hate the light glaring at me. Any thoughts or knowledge please
  • NaviJenNaviJen Member Posts: 1
    Hi Forum,

    I am a 2003 vibe (base model) owner, purchased in late 2002.

    At 55k (Mar 06), the transmission literally ground to a halt on the highway. Dealer & GM family first worked together to replace my transmission (new one, not remanufactured) at no cost. Worked fine until recently (currently at 80k).

    Current issue
    Starting a couple of months ago, only when cold, I occaisonally would hear a grinding noise when shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear. When car was warm, or if I shifted very slow (to 'feel' the gear engage), no noise. Local shop (non dealer) changed the tranny fluid (used synthetic, don't know what kind).

    However, it's still happening. And, starting yesterday, tranny is becoming more finicky. When warm, once it did not downshift from 5th to 4th (no noise, just pressure when trying to downshift). And, I haven't been able to get it into 1st (at a dead stop) once or twice today.

    Can anyone tell me what the problem might be? I am taking to the dealer on Wednesday and am trying to formulate approach beforehand. (particularly since I am coming up on the 3 year/30k warranty for the replaced transmission).

    This is my first US car, and honestly, I'm not impressed. Instead of keeping this until it drops, I'm seriously contemplating getting the transmission working, selling this, and going back to Asian cars.

    Thanks in advance!

    Boston Jen
  • badvibe1badvibe1 Member Posts: 2
    I too had to replace my 2003 Vibe's transmission at 58,000 miles although I had to pay for it since I was a third owner. I got NO satisfaction from GM. Also my first American car but, I thought I was getting Toyota quality. It's a problem. I've seen it in many in different places on the internet, both Matrixes and Vibes, manual 2003-04. I am now at 76,000 and one year and two month from getting the new, not rebuilt, $3000 transmission (one year warranty) and it's starting to make noises like yours, bad shifting. I would dump this car in a minute, but I owe $5000 more on it than it is worth. So I have no help, just wanted to commiserate. I have filed complaints and they say there are no recalls or service bulletins. BS!
  • hatevibeshatevibes Member Posts: 3
  • hatevibeshatevibes Member Posts: 3
    After buying American made cars for 30+ years I thought I would try a Toyota with an American name (vibe). Never again. I have a 2005 I bought new and now with 55,000 miles I had to put a $2500 tranny in and after 2 days it went bad again. They put another tranny in and now they say it needs a new computer. Buyers beware.
  • hatevibeshatevibes Member Posts: 3
    It's caused by the on board computer which is under warranty to 80,000 miles. I'm talking to a lawyer about a class action lawsuit. I had to replace my tranny because of the problem. Should be a recall. GM is hiding the problem.
  • zbadrexzbadrex Member Posts: 4
    Re: Post #40, Boston Jen: I also posted this info on the Matrix forum, as I have seen many more 5-speed complaints there. I have been dealing with 5-speed tranny issues on my 2003 Pontiac Vibe (same lovely Toyota drivetrain). I only had trouble shifting into 3rd gear when cold, but a noise started that sounded like the throwout bearing - hubby said drive it until we change the clutch. Well, advice to anyone else - don't do it! I had a bearing disintegrate the week after Christmas at 124,000mi that wallowed out my housing to the point of replace rather than fix. I believe that bearing could have allowed enough slop to let the gears bind a little, making it difficult to shift between them. I have been researching other replacement options, and just yesterday purchased a used 6-speed Matrix tranny. The castings are identical except for the end one that houses 6th gear, and I have found only that my Vibe speedo gear will need to be used - I haven't swapped it yet, and will post if there are any problems. From what I have seen, and what I have been told, the 6-speed is a direct replacement. I am including the website where I found my info and purchased my clutch kit: They were very helpful to answer my many questions. I will post again if I run into any problems installing. Thanks, April
  • pennyp55pennyp55 Member Posts: 1
    Can you please provide more information on the 80,000 mile warranty on Vibe computer system. My transmission is gone (2005), under 40,000 miles and just over 4 years old.
    The service mgr. said he would take care of parts but I would have to pay for labor.
    Any suggestions? Still is going to be over $500.00 to fix.
    Thanks for any additional info....GM no help!
  • zbadrexzbadrex Member Posts: 4
    Just a quick update - no snags at all. Dropped my 5-speed speedo gear into the 6-speed's bell housing, new clutch assembly(ordered for 6-speed), same old axles, a wire loom holder from the old tranny(not necessary, just picky), and buttoned it all back up. Added synthetic gear lube as recommended, and an oil change too from sitting since December. After charging the dead battery, runs and drives great again!
  • revrbluerevrblue Member Posts: 1
    Yes I did. What I did was just change my tranny fluid using Castrol Import Oil rated for a Toyota t-IV at 44000 miles. At 54000 miles my engine light came on and the trouble code point to a pressure switch in the tranny. The tranny would shift hard once in a while. So I changed the fluid and screen and drop the tranny pan and cleaned the pan. I found no metal chips just normal band wear black residue. But then I put in Coastal ( autozone ) semi synth. oil again rated for a Toyota t-IV fluid. Well the transmission started shifting hard on all 4 shifts. So I changed the fluid two more times but I used Fluid FROM TOYOTA their T-IV Fluid and the problem was solved and the check engine light went out. To summarize in the Vibe ONLY use Toyota T-IV Fluid or you will have this problem. Sorry to here you paid $3000 on this as I believe it was just the fluid. At a Toyota dealer you could have had the tranny fluid completely changed for $189 which would have fixed the hard shifting. I hope this helps others that like to do preventive maintenance on their car.
  • bob275bob275 Member Posts: 1
    April, I am curious, did the shifter need any modification? I am assuming the cables hooked right up and bracket to the trans. Thanks Bob
  • akjenny1akjenny1 Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a 2004 Vibe with 26,000 miles on it. Are the transmission problems confined to manual transmissions, or is there something I should be doing now to prevent major repairs?
  • Chuckles37Chuckles37 Member Posts: 16
    03 Base Vibe 106K miles.

    I have had no problems with the auto trans. Did the tranny flush at 60K and 90K.
  • lmstlmst Member Posts: 2
    This mid October I experienced the engine light coming on in my 2005 Vibe. I had purchased the vehicle new. I dealt with the light coming on and off for a week thinking it might be the gas cap. I even had a free diagnostic check done at an auto parts store which indicated everything was okay. However, the next day I felt a slight jar with the car's automatic shifting. I took it in to the dealer who did a diagnostic test (a more thorough one than the free one) and he indicated the PCM[module] needed replacing. With over 78,000 miles on the vehicle, I just made the "8/80 Federal Emissions Warranty."
  • vandy22vandy22 Member Posts: 2
    The manual transmission on my 2003 vibe (110000 miles) experienced "catastrophic failure" while I was driving downing the highway nearly causing a serious accident. $3200 to replace. Apparently 2003 Vibes and Matrix have faulty manual transmissions. There are numerous stories of this transmission failing yet Toyota and GM take no responsibility. Please report your transmission problem to
  • bmccarsbmccars Member Posts: 1
    My 2005 will drive for about 30 minutes then it quits like the transmission is gone. Let it set for 5 to 10 minutes and it is fine. the check engine light is on. The car has 215,000 miles and general maintaince is all I have done? Any ideas? If the transmission needs to be replaced do you recommend replacing the computer at the same time since from previous posting this seems to cause problems.
  • beavispkpbeavispkp Member Posts: 1
    Vibe manual transmission problems: My 2003 Vibe had serious transmission issues and I urge everyone who can hear bearing noises to get them taken care of ASAP. My manual transmission went out 100 miles over the warranty. Here's wha failed:

    The main drive shaft of the transmission has a small ball bearing. The inner race of the ball bearing was phenolic (plastic) and it shattered. When it shattered it took out the shaft with it. I work at an electric motor repair shop where we replace countless bearings in a month. We aren't allowed to use bearings with phenolic inner races becuase they are very poor quality and a good, all metal ball bearing of that size only costs a dollar or two more.

    Classic example of the automotive industry cutting corners to save cost and forgeting quality. If you have bearing noise get it taken care of immediately!
  • greenbeans7greenbeans7 Member Posts: 2
    This is EXACTLY what happened to my 2003 Vibe right after the warranty was up...of course! I also had to replace my clutch which I'm not sure if that was related to the transmission issue or not. I looked at my warranty and on further inspection, I saw that I had purchased an extended warranty, but didn't have paperwork to tell me exactly what it covered. Neither my dealership or GM was very helpful in telling me about the warranty since it was three yrs. after I had purchased the car and the dealership had all their records in the Pod out back and it was "too cold" to go check it out. What a joke. I'm still fighting it 2 yrs. later.
  • badvibe1badvibe1 Member Posts: 2
    I urge everyone who has had Vibe or Matrix manual transmission problems to contact the National Transportation Safety Administration. They will lean on GM to issue a bulletin or recall or something and then maybe we can get this crap reimbursed somehow. They sent me a letter saying they have no other reports of problems. I had to replace my 2003 Vibe's transmission at 58000 miles (two years ago); I complained everywhere I could and I follow all these threads. I KNOW it's a problem. I now owe so much more on this BAD VIBE than it is worth-and I can't get rid of it.
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