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Toyota Matrix Brake Questions

phil_bphil_b Posts: 2
OK, so I've done a VERY stupid thing. I put power steering fluid in my brake reservoir. The brakes seized up and now the dealer tells me that I have to have my entire brake system replaced.

Couple of questions:

1.) Does that sound reasonable? I mean, I know I have to replace the rotor on two of the wheels because they were really scratched, but the entire system?

2.) What should I expect to pay? They're telling me $3300, which includes a rental car for 3 days. That sounds like a lot, but I've never had anything like this done before and it's at the dealer instead of at a regular mechanic.


  • Just had to replace warped rotors and pads on 2005 Matrix at 39,200 miles. Dealer stated I had 60% of my pads left, but the rotors were warped. I recently had all 4 tires replaced and do not ride my brakes. Anyone else having brake problems?
  • scrappydscrappyd Posts: 27
    Yes, mine was at $28,7. Took it in when I first bought the "used" car. Mine were down almost 50%. Even though it was used - I'm very surprised "it" happened so quick. They had to replace rotors and pads. I didn't have to do this with my toyota camry until almost 143k - very odd. At least the warranty covered it 100% since I'm under 36k. While they did that I had them order (for free) the plastic covers (I didn't realize some were missing) that is above the tires. The body shop guy also notice that the rubber on all the windows was installed backwards. So they are replacing not redoing all of those tommorrow. (again for free). Still these odd events are making me wonder about the long term status. :confuse:
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 470
    Two questions, scrappyd. (1) What model year is your Matrix? (2) What do the plastic covers look like?
  • My Matrix is a 2005 (purchased in May, 2004) XR, AWD. I found it very disturbing that my brake problems happened very shortly after I had all four tires replaced (by the Toyota dealer). Ichecked with another mechanic who told me it was entirely possible that the lug nuts were overtightened when they replaced the tires, causing the rotors to warp. Toyota is denying any culpability, as usual. I am really sick and tired of dealing with their "Not Me" attitude. As soon as this car is paid for, I am replacing it with a non-Toyota car.
  • scrappydscrappyd Posts: 27
    Matrix 2005 Base Model. The plastic covers are under the inside top of the wheels. There is a clip that holds them in place. The mechanic yesterday said it is to cover something with the abs, and many people have reported their's missing. ???
  • scrappydscrappyd Posts: 27
    There is a tire problem recall with the 2005 Matrix. I found this on another site. I've asked this question before and I've had many different answers - if the tires have 44psi (I know that is the max) but the dealership says it's best to keep them at 32 psi - doesn't that hurt mileage and the tire itself? I'm gonna go to tirerack to see what the deal is. With gas at $3 plus around here - anything that can save gas$$ is something I'm gonna do.
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 470
    Are the plastic covers shaped like little tiny cups or water glasses? We have the 2003 AWD model (with ABS). When it was new I found one of those little black cups under the car in the driveway. Toyota technicians claimed it didn't come from the car, and that they had looked all over under the vehicle and found nothing like it. Then a couple months later I found another of the little black cups under the spot where the car had been parked. At that time people in this forum speculated that these were plastic pieces used when the cars were being transported and that they should have been removed prior to sale. I'm still wondering almost 40 thousand miles later ....
  • scrappydscrappyd Posts: 27
    Cups? The part that holds it may look like that. The part number they used to replace them is call a well housing liner 8.153 # 88969696. The mechanic said all matrix's with abs should have 4 in total.
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    44 psi is the maximum the tire can withstand, no matter what vehicle you put them on. 32 psi is what Toyota found gives the best ride/mpg/contact patch for that car. Putting it at 44 psi will increase your mpg, ruin your ride and give you an awful contact patch, compromising your handling ability.
  • scrappydscrappyd Posts: 27
    Thank you redmaxx. This is the most technically concise data :) I've received.
  • sgmsgm Posts: 23
    Not saying it was the cause, but if when you had your tires replaced they over tightned the lug nuts or tighten them the improper way, that can easily do it. I always ask the tech to hand tighten them with a tourqe wrench. Since I have begun doing that have had no more warped rotors. Also, when it comes time to rotate the tires, I do it myself!

  • gmanpumpsgmanpumps Posts: 1
    I have to replace the front brake pads on 2003 Matrix. Done many others but my first on the Matrix. Any suggestions/tips appreciated. Can I use ceramic pads? Are the rotors tough to take off if I have to turn them. Thanks
  • Hi, I bought a 2005 Matrix XR in Dec 2004. Right after I drove it off the lot, the gas pedal started making a creaking sound when it was depressed. Think of like a sort of dry plastic sound. The next day I took it back to the dealership, they said the gas pedal wasn't properly lubricated on the assembly line.. and they properly lubricated it, and that has been the end of the issue. Now, fast forward to around November 2005. Suddenly, the Brake Pedal starts making the same creaking sound when you press down on it. and it mostly is heard at mph 5-15, esp when coming to a stop or when full stopped and releasing the brake to begin moving. I know the ABS can create a Clicking sound, but that is not the sound i'm hearing/ experiencing. I have several friends with matrix's ranging 2003-2005 model year, and none of them have experienced this problem. I've taken it to two different service centers and both said "they could not find and/or replicate problem".. "funny" because all three visits, as i was driving away, it started up again. I've done a lot of research, and based on what I have found, It would seem it could be one of 2 things...
    either the return spring is bone dry and desperately needs lubrication OR it could have something to do with some sort of plastic clips associated with the brake pedal that i've also seen discussed quite a bit (not sure what that is..could that be what are referred to as the bushings?). I've seen other people talk about this problem in a Toyota Tundra, but not the matrix. am i the only one!? does any one know what can be done? thanks for your help :) till then i'm just driving around moderately annoyed...
  • My new matrix which is less than 500 miles is giving squeek sounds when brakes r pressed. Looks like the brake pads r worn Out!!!!

    Will take it dealer soon.
  • not 100% sure of the rotors but from experience with brakes int he last 10 or so years the rotor are getting thinner and made of softer material that you really can not cut them. I did a brake job on my 99 Quest , early so no damage to rotors only to get a bad pulsation so I waited and replaced the pads again but replaced the rotors. $15-20 to cut rotor yet to purchase the "cheap rotors" $30. Do the math, change brakes due to pulsation and go for another $20.00 for pads or do the rotors when you do the brakes. My father has a 2002 Impala that recently needed brakes and the shop that did it said they will not waste their or the customers time cutting rotors just repalce them as the metal seems soft and not too strong.
  • I have a 2003 base model. Have had no real problems of any kind with it, had to replace the tires last spring at about 55k, but that's it.

    One thing is freaking me out a little bit though. Whenever I brake moderately hard-(thankfully I have never had to make a full out panic stop), I get a slight rattle from the middle of the dashboard. It sounds like BB's inside a tube or jar. It only lasts as long as I am braking, a second or two.

    Any ideas what it could be?

  • My Matrix is an 06 XR...from day One, I notice when I hit the brakes, it's like they "apply" in 2 can Feel the rear ones engage a moment after the front does. It isn't an every time thing but, it is most of the time. They recently told me the pads were at 70% in front and 80% in rear...which is ok, they said. That was at just over 10K miles on car.
    My tires, when 10K miles on them, were wearing weirdly. I had them rotated at 10K and when I drove away, got on highway, I felt the vibrations. I called them the next day, scheduled Another appt to see what's happening. Was told they would align front end (free) as it was just to the one-year date of purchase that very day! They re-rotated the tires, stating they puyt the "best" ones back on the front. What was now, again, on the rear has worn on the inside row of tread. I am now getting a louder tire noise than before. Now, I will not be told it's my imagination....I know a thing or 3 about cars and this isn't right. Tires should not wear like this on a ($22K)car this "young" unless there is a Problem with manufacture. Back to the dealer....again.
  • I have a question related to this. I just had my right front brake totally replaced, calipers, pads, and rotors due to the piston in the caliper failing. What I am told is that the piston for some reason stopped retracting all the way putting constant pressure on brake until it heated up so much that is cause the caliper to seize up and I had to have the whole system replaced (an $850.00 job!). This is on a 04 matrix with only 67K miles on it. I too just had the tires replaced by Les Schwab. Has anyone heard of something like this happening before? Could it have been the new tires that affected this?

  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Sure, very common in all makes.

    Brake fluid absorbs moisture, and if you don't have the brake fluid flushed every couple years what happens is the moisture collects in the caliper and actually rusts the inside of the piston cylinder. As long as the brake pads are wearing the piston continually moves outward, and isn't effected by the sludge. At some point the pads need replaced, and when you do that you push the piston back into the cylinder (to make room for the added lining thickness of the new pad). When that occurs, the piston now sticks. Putting on the brakes creates sooo much pressure that it forces the piston out (and puts on the brakes), but the piston is not free to float back when you take your foot off the brake. The result is the brake is continually on, you wear out the brake pad real quick, the rotor becomes overheated and/or warped, and everything needs replaced.

    You should have had your other front caliper replaced at the same time, I suspect you will have problems shortly with that.

    I normally just replace the front calipers every 2nd brake pad change as a maintenance item. They're cheap and relatively easy to do (for someone who works on their own vehicles).
  • I highly recommend the ceramic pads. I put them on all of my toyotas including the matrix. Better braking and vurtally no brake dust. I would also recommend replacing the stock rotors with a better rotor slotted or cross-drilled. That will really give you some braking power and you'll find they last longer.
  • Replacing rotors is easy. Remove the wheel, pull off the caliper (two bolts), slide the old one off and the new one on. It took me about an hour to do both front wheels. Replace with quality rotors. Spend a little extra and get a pair of quality slotted and/or cross-drilled rotors. Then replace the brake pads with a good semi-metallic or even better ceramic. You'll really notice the difference.
  • Welcome to my 2003 Matrix world. I have always been a Toyota man, but this Matrix is proving to be a piece of engineering crap. At 85K miles my catalytic converter went south. Of course it was only warranted for 75K. Now, I have the same problem as you, my right front caliper is frozen. One day I'm driving down the road and a loud roar from the right front tire followed by horrific shaking of the steering wheel. I pulled over immediately, checked the front tire and noticed the wheel was extremely hot. After a lot of checking, found the caliper frozen in place. It sucks too because I had just replaced the rotor and ceramic pads. Now in addition to a new caliper, I have to replace the pads and rotor again. The rotor got so hot it warped pretty good (tire dealer didn't do a good job of torquing lug nuts). Doing a little search on these types of blogs, I find the catalytic converter and calipers to be a common problem on the 2003 Matrix. Of course Toyota says they haven't really had any complaints. My next car will probably be a Subaru. (Funny how they stopped making the 4WD Matrix like I have. I wonder why?)
  • Good point about the brake fluid and need to bleed/replace on a regular basis. Based upon research on the web and talking to several mechanics, it's a bigger problem than you would think and can lead to costly repairs. One other issue that I found, the boot will sometime crack (with heat and age) and the salt from winter road treatment will get into the boot and corrode the piston from the other side. Also a good point about replacing both calipers at the same time.
  • So in addition to my brake going out the first time... I just got the car back from the dealership, with a new brake system, I had the car for less then 24 hours and it happened again to the same brake. This time though, I was driving for about 5 blocks when the right front brake seized up again and the rotor was extremely hot again. Any comments or suggestions on this one... I have brand new calipers, rotors, pads, the works and the problem is still not fixed. My next though was the master cylinder, but the dealership said that they checked that the first time and everything was fine. And I was under the impression that if the mast cylinder goes out, it affects both brakes.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Well this is simple, take it back. You paid to have it fixed, and they didn't fix it.

    This is a little hard to diagnose further without looking at it, but I'll give you my thoughts of what come to mind...hopefully others might chime in as well.
    - first thing that comes to mind, is that they didn't get the caliper and brake pads (or the wrong brake pads) put back correctly, and something is binding
    - second thing that comes to mind, is that you might actually have a frozen piston on the left side caliper (you didn't replace this, right?), which isn't doing any braking whatsover, in which case all of the front braking is done by the right side....and it is getting hot under what one might consider normal braking. If you let go of the steering wheel when you put on the brakes, will the car continue tracking straight? or does the wheel and car turn to the right?
    - might be a crimped brake tubing/hose in the front right.
    - starting to get less likely, but might have a blockage of some sort in the brake distribution circuit. I don't have the Matrix service manuals to know exactly what is included with the Matrix.
    - Assuming the master cylinder is like almost every other vehicle, you'd have a front and back fluid circuit. No problem there would effect only one wheel.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    Anyone know the torque on the front and rear caliper mounting bolts on an XRS? My son replaced his pads but didn't have a manual and I'm not sure if he even had a torque wrench. I would like to torque them to spec. Thanks.
  • Hello, I have a 2004 Toyo Matrix. I'm going to be replacing the rotors and brakes on it. Before i get started wanted to know if there is a special tool i need to take off the rotor when i first took tire off to inspect rotors i noticed a nut holding on the rotor which i suspect is connected to the half-shaft. Im asking because the new rotors i have seem different than the old ones. Any help would be great, thanks for the help in advance.
  • I have the same question, on the 4wd XR is there a special tool needed to replace the rotors? I took off the caliber and can still not get the rotor off. It looks like it is held to the shaft.
  • We have a 2005 Toyota Matrix and the ABS brakes have a terrible grinding noise which the dealer says is normal as the brakes have to pulsate and consquently a noise.
    However this is an excessive noise that grinds when the brakes are applied during snowy or icy conditions.
    Any suggestions to fix the problem.
  • Is this your first experience with ABS? ABS should kick in if you are skidding. There is pulsating, and you should hear a grinding sort of noise. Take a technician for a ride and put the car into an intentional skid. See if he/she says it's normal.
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