Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

CarComplaints.com Notes: The Toyota Matrix is the mechanical twin of the Pontiac Vibe.

Both models were a joint GM-Toyota venture, manufactured together at a NUMMI production facility in Fremont, CA. Only the heating & A/C systems are different.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
22,842 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Toyota Matrix miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2003 Toyota Matrix Owner Comments

problem #12

Jul 152011

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 132,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

At this mileage, my car started making a loud grinding noise in the transmission. It turns out the main bearing is shot. This despite all scheduled maintenance being meticulously performed, full transmission fluid, and the clutch still being fine. There is no way the transmission should have failed at this mileage, and getting a replacement is very difficult and expensive because working ones are so rare! apparently there is a very high failure rate on the 5-speed manual transmissions due to them being under-engineered. I want Toyota to do something about this.

- Verplanck, NY, USA

problem #11

Feb 192010

Matrix

  • 95,025 miles
I have a Toyota Matrix 2003. On February 19, 2010 I was driving North on highway 101 in California. I was driving at about 35 mph my distance from the car in front of me was about 1/2 a block. Suddenly the traffic slowed down and I immediately started slowing down, but the car would not stop and it felt like it was accelerating instead. I crash into the car in front of me with several damages to my car, total loss of the car in front of me and with body injuries to myself. This is not the first time it happened on a Toyota Matrix in 2006 I had another accident that put me out of work and with permanent disability problems. Both incidents due to similar circumstances. I will like to do farther investigation on this issue.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #10

Nov 092006

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
The plastic covering on the drivers side front interior door opening lever has split. This has caused development of a sharp edge which caused me to cut my finger when opening the door.

- Catonsville, MD, USA

problem #9

Jun 042005

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,079 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

While driving my car, it will start to miss out and then stall. Upon restarting, the engine light comes on. I took it to the dealer where they replaced the computer. That helped for about 6 months and then problem recurred. I took it back to the dealer and we then replaced the ignitors. Once that was complete the car ran fine for 2 months. Now it is happening again, and is very dangerous. It happened to me today for instance while I was in the middle of an interstection making a a turn. When the car stalls, I have limited steering. This also happens to me while I'm on the interstate. Clearly there is a severe problem with this car that goes beyond the computer and ignitors. It is very dangerous to drive, but I have no choice since it is the only car that I have.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #8

Sep 152003

Matrix

  • Manual transmission
  • 0 miles
The engine doesn't have enough compression to hold the car when parked in gear even on low inclines. It will slowly roll away on low inclines and rolls faster the steeper it is. Toyota say this is normal and the manuel says to use the E-brake. I do of course use the E-brake if it is steeply parked. But since E-brakes freeze in cold conditions, I have a real safety concern here. I have parked many other standard cars in the same locations the Matrix rolls away in and they don't move. At my dealer the maintenance manager agreed it was a problem on the test drive, as did his technician until it was found all Toyota Matrix did the same thing. Now Toyota Canada is involved and all say there isn't a problem now. Toyota need to warn people prior to a test drive when something as basic as parking is different from other standards.

- Rossland, UN, USA

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problem #7

Aug 252002

Matrix

  • miles
On a sunny trip from san diego to san francisco and another sunny trip from san diego to phoenix the dash board dials were unreadable. I found that when I could read them I was going 90 miles an hour which is not my usual highway speed. At night the lights to light up the gear shift do not light up until you have driven 10 to 20 feet, hopefully in the right direction.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #6

Nov 122002

(reported on)

Matrix

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Consumer has a complaint about the instrument panel in bright sunlight is blank.

- Port St. Lucie , FL, USA

problem #5

Aug 292002

Matrix

  • miles
This model is equipped with automatic headlights that dim the dash lights when they come on. Unfortunately, the design of the light sensor is defective, in that it is located so close to the a pillar that the lights flick on and off all day long. This car has gauges, meaning that they must be back lit in order to be visible, and when the headlights come on in the middle of the day (as they do quite often) the gauges are obscured, and it is impossible to tell what speed you are going, for instance. Despite two visits to the Toyota dealer to address this, I have been told the lights are functioning as they are supposed to. The lights flick on and off all day long, even at noon, depending on whether I am driving towards the sun or away from it, or whether it is to my left or right.

- Novato, CA, USA

problem #4

Oct 082002

Matrix

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer states the instrument panel has "red lights" and can not be seen in the sunlight. The consumer cannot view the odometer and other settings. The consumer also stated that the panel is recessed, making it even more difficult to view while driving. Mr the consumer stated that after they had taken possession of the vehicle, while driving on the highway in the bright sunlight, from the driver's seat, the numbers, dials, and the indicators on the instrument panel could not be seen. (and were blank as if the vehicle was in park) the consumer had taken the vehicle to the service manager and was told that the vehicle was operating properly, and that the entire vehicle would have to be re-engineered. Safety hazards exists on all 2003 Toyota Matrix.

- Port St. Lucie, FL, USA

problem #3

Jul 262002

(reported on)

Matrix 4WD

  • miles
The instrument panel is designed to appear "blacked out" when the vehicle is not running. This is accomplished trhough the use a dark plastic cover. When the vehicle is started the instruments become visable via back lighting. On a sunny day the lighting is just adequate to read the instruments. A major safety issue occurs when the light sensor (located next to the A-piller ) turns the lights on in sunny daylight conditions. I have observed this up to three hours after sunrise and three hours before sunset when the sun is to my left, left rear, left front, or back. When this undefeatable automated system turns on the lights it dims the instrument panel lighting to the nighttime setting, rendering the instruments illegable. This creates a situation which distracts the drivers attention for an inordinate amount of time, creating a potentially lethal situation should it occur upon entering a school zone or other pedestrian area that dictates a reduction in speed.

- Topeka, KS, USA

problem #2

May 162002

Matrix

  • miles
The air conditioning started to blow hot air, then the engine started stalling and the engine check sign came on. Toyota said it was a stone that got into the radiator and provoked a leaking. No signs of damage in the front bumper. How can a stone get there and how do they make such fragile cars? I had to pay for the damages although it is a brand new car.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #1

May 162002

Matrix

  • miles
The air conditioning started to blow hot air, then the engine started stalling and the engine check sign came on. Toyota said it was a stone that got into the radiator and provoked a leaking. No signs of damage in the front bumper. How can a stone get there and how do they make such fragile cars? I had to pay for the damages although it is a brand new car.

- Miami, FL, USA

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