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Matrix Transmission Problems



  • Bryan,

    I would like to talk with you and will call you? Here is the message I recently posted which is closely related to what happened to you:

    #25 of 26Re: Matrix engine and steering failure [richardi1] by robincm Oct 09, 2009 (9:08 pm)Save | Reply

    Replying to: richardi1 (Feb 15, 2008 7:56 pm)

    "On October 7th, 2009, I experienced a very similar situation to what Richard described. In my case, my 2007 Matrix lost engine and steering power in the middle of the freeway while I was on my way to work. Thank God I was only traveling 40 or so miles per hour because of traffic; if I had been traveling faster, I have no doubt this incident could have resulted in injuries and/or fatalities. Did I mention there were four other vehicles involved? After investigating the incident, my insurance company told me I'm not at fault because the car stalled. The CHP and highway transportation personnel at the scene also told me it looked like a mechanical problem. My car was towed to the local Toyota dealership and they've had it since that date. I have received a phone message from Toyota service each day, near the end of the day, telling me they are testing my car, their computer reports aren't showing any problem codes, and they need to keep working on my car. Finally this afternoon, around 4:00 p.m., I received a call from the service manager who told me "there is nothing wrong with your car", "come and pick it up", and (by the way), the daily rental car fee clock is ticking. To top things off, I was told by service I would not be charged for a rental vehicle and have no intention of paying them one penny. Toyota is taking absolutely no responsibility whatsoever for this situation, and I have decided I will not drive the car again because I believe it is unsafe. This is a warning to other Toyota customers...Beware!"

    Here is an update on what I wrote above:

    We went back to the Toyota dealer and were told the car is in perfect condition and there is nothing wrong with it. This report was given to us by the assistant service manager. The person who was with me asked to see a report showing us what the dealership did to check the car and what the results were. We were given a copy and realized the only things Toyota did were 1). Ran a computer report which they claim showed nothing was wrong with the vehicle, and 2). Test drove the vehicle. They never even checked the transmission, fuel line, battery (whatever else) that may have caused the problem. Toyota did offer to let us leave the Matrix in their parking lot because I stated that I am not comfortable driving the car because I believe it is unsafe. I also will not take the car back to try and pass it off by selling it to someone else. I am looking into all of my rights. I believe this is a potentially very serious problem and people's lives are at stake. PS. We weren't charged for the rental car--Thanks so very much, Toyota!
  • I don't believe in joining the ranks of those threatening a lawsuit unless I have very valid concerns. Well, I do. I was in what could have been a potentially life-threatening accident when my Matrix stalled on a major freeway (please read my other posts for details). I am not only concerned about myself--I am also concerned about the others on our freeways who may be hurt or killed because of what appears to be a serious problem and a smoking gun for Toyota. Toyota is telling me nothing is wrong with my car and are washing their hands of the problem; this is based on their computer printout results. We all know computers can fail, and in the event of such a serous problem, my car should have been thoroughly and completely examined. I refused to drive it home, and it's still sitting in the Toyota parking lot. We are looking at a big loss because we spent $20,000 when we purchased it. I am interested in pursuing a class action lawsuit because I can't ethically or consciously sit back and do nothing. The money is important but warning others about the problem is much more important.
  • My manual 2003 transmission also went out but with about 72,000 miles. We took out the original and put in another used transmission. That one started to show signs of problems and we decided to take the original transmission to AAMCO to get it re-built. They found that one of the bearings was shot and replaced others that were showing signs of wear. Now we are at about 150,000 miles and are having the SAME EXACT problems all over again! If I had known that I would have to replace the transmission every 70,000 miles, I would never have bought this car! Of course, we were just outside the warantee when the first incident occurred and now we're out several grand in repairs.!make=Toyota&model=Matrix&e- d_makeindex=.f0d9b0e seems there is a class action suit in the making. Toyota should have taken care of this one before it came to that! I have always bought Toyotas because they have been so reliable . . . next time maybe I should consider a Honda or a Nissan... or... another make.
  • Hello,

    I'm sorry to hear about your ordeal...
    Did you read message #345?
    Apparently that's the way to go if we want results..

  • Mine is an automatic and at 115 thou miles its being replaced.My last Toyota.
  • No dont buy a sorry [non-permissible content removed] Matrix
  • Occasionally when going down hills, while applying brakes, the transmission will downshift and the rpms shoot up to 4 or 5 thousand, is this a feature in toyota's auto trans??
  • Another victim! I have a 2003 Vibe with 5 spd manual transmission that experienced catastrophic transmission failure while driving down the highway. 110,000 miles on the car. Mechanic said the bearings disintegrated causing extensive damage in the transmission. $3200 to replace it with a used one with 44K on it. After reading these posts I'm reluctant to get it fixed but feel like i have little choice. I filed complaints with, Toyota and Pontiac. If you have been victim of this faulty transmission, PLEASE take the time to file complaint at We could have easily been killed when the transmission blew. Toyota needs to step up and take responsibility for their inferior product.
  • Hello, I filled a complaint with Toyota and also tried to fill out the claim at that website. There seems to be some kind of technical problems with their site... when I hit "second page" or continue to second page, it doesn't go anywhere... thus never finalizing the claim...
    Have you had similar experience? Any suggestions?

  • hi everybody

    The 5 speed trans on my matrix 07 have the same trouble and I have only 140,000 km...
  • Hello, did you check message #345?
    If we all follow through, we might see some results....


  • Unfortunately we will add ourselves to the hundreds of others who are having similar transmission issues w/ our 2004 Matrix. With 98k we were told to replace the throwout bearing, clutch and pressure plate as we were on the highway when a horrific grinding noise occurred- the car grabbing & bucking, lost 5th & 4th gears.
    Now that this work has been completed, the car appears to be making the same noises indicating the tranny main bearing in need of replacement. Reading on line found hundreds of similar complaints and wanted to register ours as we firmly believe Toyota has produced an inferior product. We had owned a few other Toyota's in past years, Corolla, Celica and P/U trucks and kept through a couple hundred thousand miles with no major engine/tranny issues. NOW, we are surprised and disgusted that this once reliable car company has put safety and dependability as a LOW priority. It appears-Buyer Beware- and I am hoping all others with similar issues display their experiences in hopes Toyota will acknowledge and be accountable for such a disgraceful product and assist consumers with these extraordinary repair expenses. Should we decide to now replace this vehicle- not put good money to bad (and a hardship to replace a dead 5yr old vehicle), it will NOT be a Toyota as we are afraid they DO NOT stand behind their products. PLEASE write in, call and make your issues known to Toyota, the media and other resources so that perhaps our voices will be heard and perhaps reconsideration by Toyota be made to make good on this. :sick:
  • Hello
    Sorry to hear you're one more upset Matrix driver...
    Make sure you read and follow through with recommended actions on message#345
    Happy Holidays

  • Bryan: Hey, the phone number you gave is not good and I have no other way to contact you. I have a 2005 Matrix 5sp with 117k miles. Tranny going.

    I live right next door in NH.

    What are we going to do??


    [email protected]
  • I have a 2004 Toyota Matrix XR with about 90,000 miles. I took it in because my gears were slipping, specifically when I was getting up to speed on the freeway. Pretty scary and very unsafe to have gears slip! I couldn't believe that I would need a new clutch. I grew up driving manual cars, and I have never had a clutch problem. When I took it in, I found out that the transmission was the problem. The transmission was leaking fluid onto the clutch causing the clutch to be greasy...hence why my gears were slipping.
    I did purchase the extended warrantee with Toyota. Unfortunately, it expired on June 29th of this year. It was a year OR 100,000 mile warantee (their Gold Plan). I am very disappointed with Toyota. I have taken my car to get it service at the dealership since I took it off the lot. Its very discouraging to learn that other people are having the same (or general) transmission problems. I purchased a Toyota vehicle because I believed in their company and their cars. After this experience, I don't know if I would buy another one.
    Anyway, after learning that there is a widespread problem with the Matrix transmission, I would like to do something about it! Toyota needs to fix this and make their customers safe.
    Please let me know what I can do.
    [email protected]
  • Sorry to hear...
    did you read message #345?
    make sure to follow through to help build a case...

    Happy Holidays

  • I have a 2005 Matrix with the 5-speed manual that has been trouble-free to this point (63K miles). Before reading your post about problems with your 2007, I believed that the Matrix manual transmission problems were limited to the 2003 and 2004 model years. I've also read on this thread that the manual transmission design was changed for 2005 and subsequent years.

    I'm wondering if you can expand on the issues with your 2007 and whether or not it has been resolved?

    Has anyone else heard of Matrix manual transmission issues for 2005 and subsequent years? Up until now, I've been thinking I wouldn't be affected.
  • I just did a bearing change in my '05 Matrix 5 sp with 117k miles. There were two bearings inside the tranny that had started to fail. Not the bearing on the input shaft.

    the independent shop who did the work also changed out the clutch. the total bill was $1242 which is 1/3 what it would cost for a replacement (new) transmission.

    It turns out those bearings were accessible through the back of the tranny-after removing a housing.

    the symptom was a low but distinct growling sound anytime the clutch was engaged. It was especially noticeable when the car was stopped and the clutch engaged in neutral. Once we had diagnosed the problem, I babied it for 2 weeks until a window opend up at the shop.

    We'll see how it goes after another 10-15k miles.
  • Last night on my husband's way home from work the car starting to make a grinding noise. He drove the car to our mechanic's shop and we found out today that the transmission is shot and a new clutch should be installed. The car has about 144,000 miles on it and we have been having a hard time to find someone to rebuild the transmission - no one will touch it since it is a known conditiion and they don't want to warranty it. Found a transmission in FL but the cost is $2300 with another $900 to install.Have complained on the site and to Toyota. Sad part is we also own a 2009 Matrix 5 speed XRS which the book value is half of what I paid for it 18 months ago. Toyota vehicles have always held their value but I don't think this model is. I have had other issues with the new Matrix and found Toyota to not stand by their vehicles like they use to - no quality assurance in the vehicles anymore either.
  • Same issue here - grinding noise that is diagnosed as needing a new transmission for a cost of $3200. Car has about 115,000 miles. We've never had this happen to any of our cars, including Toyotas. I have emailed the person from message #345, but have not heard back. Has anyone else heard of any activity with a class action suit? In the meantime, I will add my vehicle to the site.
  • are you still collecting information?
  • This is happening to my '05 which I bought at nearly 58K and didn't start making that noise till probably 60K. I'm approaching 62K+/- and am concerned with the actual problem. I hear this grinding when i turn the car on a cool day and it slowly goes away. What is that?
  • marmacmarmac Posts: 1
  • As I write this my '04 Matrix with the 5 speed manual is getting it's transmission replaced. $3,000. About a year before it failed it crunched 4th to 5th or 3rd to 5th when passing a car or quickly accelerating. If you took your time shifting, it didn't do this. About a week before the failure it sounded a little loud, but I just blamed the sub zero weather. The failure sounded like filling your blender with rocks, and turning it on. 5th did not work. I will never buy a Toyota again. Duh! This car also had more squeaks and rattles than my 65 Corvair convertible!!!

    I'm following up with message 345.

    I have no idea about that car by my post!

  • Reply to Bryan, I just called Toyota, all I can say was they were polite. I filed a complaint with

  • Stop driving it now, take it to a trustworthy transmission shop and have it fixed before it massively self destructs. It's to last for me.
  • I have an 04 Matrix XRS 6 speed with 115,000 miles. So far it has been a wonderful car. I had the clutch changed a little less than a year ago. The car had about 108,000 when I changed the clutch maybe a little less. It was still on the OEM prior to the repair.

    Today something happened to the clutch. The car did not make any horrific noises or anything. I was simply unable to put it into gear while I was trying to get on the freeway. It didn't start to slip first or anything. I also could not press the clutch pedal all the way to the floor.
    When I changed the clutch several months ago, I knew it was coming because it had started to slip about a month prior.
    So now when I start the car it idles just fine. No noise. It's just as quiet as ever. It only made a noise when I tried to put it in gear. I was not able to get it into gear at all. It made a brief smell of clutch at the time, but it faded quickly.

    So I am reading here about all these people with transmission issues, and I am trying to get a clarification on what these other cars did when the transmissions went out?

    I am no car expert. I am just hoping it is just a clutch issue and not a "you need a new transmission issue". It seems in this thread that there are people with clutch issues and people with bad transmissions. Can anyone clarify their experiences with their Matrix? What happened exactly when the transmission went out? and when it made the grinding noise? Did it make the grinding noise while it was just idling?

    In checking other forums, it seems that if the transmission is going then the car would be making an awful noise. But my car is not doing that. It just wont go into gear?
    Since it's a weekend, I can't get it to my mechanic until Monday.

    so in the meantime, I am just sitting here worried...

    can anyone clarify for me?
  • Just unfortunately had this same problem!

    Thanks for the info about reporting to
    Hopefully there will be some recourse for us all!

    Below is my report:

    While driving down the highway one evening, an odd clicking sound was heard from the front end of our 2003 Toyota Matrix (manual transmission with 88,000 miles). The sound was louder with acceleration. After getting off the highway, the sound was noted to be louder in higher gears, and absent when the clutch was pressed down. The vehicle was brought in for service at our local Toyota dealer the next morning. After paying a $95 diagnostic fee, we were told the vehicle needed a new transmission at the estimated cost of $3300, with nothing being covered by any warranty or recall.
    We brought the car to a transmission specialist for a rebuild. The bearings, rings, and two transfer gears were replaced, along with the clutch, at a cost of $2100. It is noted that the mechanic had a delay in getting the parts due to a manufacturer back order, reportedly from a high demand due to many others with the same problem with this makek/model car!
    This is our first Toyota, which we bought due to their good reputation. It has been regularly maintained and subjected to only normal driving conditions. We have never had a vehicle with transmission problems and are shocked that this expensive repair was needed on such a young car. Toyota should be held responsible for covering the cost of what appears to be widespread transmission failure due to defective/inferior parts used on this vehicle!
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    I would tow it to the dealership before driving it any further. If the bearing is starting to fail you may need to just replace that. If you drive it and the bearing blows, the whole transmission and clutch is gone. Might be just a clutch problem as it seems to me from reading these that XRS has more clutch issues than transmission issues. Not sure if the parts are different than the non-XRS? Getting the clutch or bearing replaced is MUCH less expensive than the whole transmission obviously. Don't take the chance, get it looked at.

    Mine seemed fine on the highway expect for a high pitched whining noise. Prior to that it just sounded like a hole in the muffler. One the whining started, and I tried to shift down to stop, crunching noises started. After stopping and then starting again to continue driving to the nearest town, shifting was very difficult and crunchy sounding. Once I got into highway speed it went along fine, until of course I had to shift down again to stop. After that it would not shift again into any gear and I could not drive it at all. Horrible sounds when I tried to shift.
  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    By the way, this happened (message 378) Oct 2007 on a 5.5y old 2003 Matrix 5 spd. I bought mine within 3mths of them coming onto the market so mine was one of the earlier ones to die, back at message #86 or something on this board. I replaced the trans at a cost to me of $3000, Toyota paid the other $2000, and I sold the car immediately. I had an '84 Corolla from 1990-1998 that never gave me quite that much trouble until it was old. I'll never buy another Toyota the rest of my life and I tell everyone about my crappy experience.

    I can't believe that just the other day I saw a commercial from Toyota advertising their great reliability! Must be a reason why they all of sudden have to advertise that. Used to be a well known fact, but not anymore! I really want to see a news story about this issue, but no luck yet after 2.5y of cars falling apart one by one.
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