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. 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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
28,777 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.

2008 Toyota Matrix electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 Toyota Matrix Owner Comments

problem #8

Mar 052012


  • 55,318 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Matrix. The contact stated that there was an internal electrical short that progressed intermittently for three years. In addition, the instrument cluster flickered, various internal and external lights randomly illuminated, and the power steering failed, which caused the steering wheel to be extremely tight. The contact also indicated that the vehicle stalled multiple times without warning. The first dealer diagnosed that the battery would not hold a charge. The dealer replaced the battery and the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the first dealer who then flushed the engine assembly, replaced the drive belt, and inspected the ECU for an internal failure. The first dealer replaced the ECU and restructured the main control plug on the body control module, but the vehicle continued to randomly stall without warning. The vehicle was towed to a second dealer where it was diagnosed that the junction control failed and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The approximate failure mileage was 55,318.

- Lithonia, GA, USA

problem #7

May 172015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Matrix. When the contact turned the key in the ignition, the engine started but some of the electrical components would not function. The engine warning light illuminated. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer, but no failures were found. As time went on, the vehicle would stall while driving at highway speeds. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the ECU needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who requested that the dealer perform another diagnostic before any repair decision could be made. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Lithonia, GA, USA

problem #6

Oct 102014

Matrix 4-cyl

  • miles
We bought the car used in ga August 2012, 3 months later the engine would come on but electrics wouldn't, move out of park. The dealer couldn't re create the problem to find out what was wrong so we delt with it for months until the power shut off on the hwy. It scared us. It quickly shut back on thank god but we been in touch with corporate and the dealership without any luck or help on fixing it. Finally July they said it was the ECM and tried to charge us to fix it. 3 weeks later the stalling continued. We were sent here by a friend and just now 2 years later find out about the recall. We also found out the same dealership where we took to fix it that couldn't identify the problem was the same one that fixed it initially for the recall. Now corporate and the dealership is denying that they fixed the ECM in July though I have an invoice stating so. Also, denying there was ever a recall. Its dangerous and terrifying to drive not knowing when and where the engine will stall. It was fixed 2012 a few months before we bought it, fixed again this passed July supposedly but is still stalling so its a recurring problem. Hopefully the proper procedure is followed to ensure the safety of my family and who ever the next owner will be.

- Lithonia, GA, USA

problem #5

May 212011

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 109,899 miles


Please see below. Dealership failed to install recalled part. Now I have a non-operating car. I feel this was done on purpose to save parts as it is now obvious that my part failed.2010 ECM recall [incident: [xxx]] I reviewed my paperwork and noticed that the ECM was ordered and never installed. The dealership fo whatever reason decided not to install it on 5/21/11 and now it has failed. The techs comments are" no action required/inspected ok". why would they order a part and not install. I feel I am owed this part and the install as I thought it was done and from comments on the dealer invoice it was not. Even if it was replaced it only lasted 2 years and a few months what gives? look at invoice tocs738578 moss bros. Moreno valley, ca I feel ripped off for a hard to get recalled part. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #4

Nov 012010

Matrix 4-cyl

  • miles
Safety recall letter received November 2010, part available March 2011 made appointment with dealer March 5th 2011 dealer said I need the replacement part for the ECM but no part available will call when part is available. No contact since. Received yet another recall letter August 15, 2011 starting the process all over again. I have complied but wasted my time already with no results. It is now August 2011.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #3

Jul 162010


  • 6,000 miles
Sudden acceleration in 2008 Matrix automatic: First known failure. Car brought new in September 2007; odometer: 6000 miles. While driving approximately 35 mph on even straight smooth roadway, there was a sudden acceleration to greater than 70 mph. When brakes were applied, they depressed to floor without any effect. Car continued to accelerate rapidly. Shifted to neutral without success. Car slowed after being placed in reverse. Coasted to a stop. Placed gear in 2 and drove slowly home - approximately 1/2 mile. Floor mats were not near either pedal and were kept stationary by hooks designed to keep mats from shifting. Called Toyota service department: Told that floor mats were the problem; talked to service managers who stated that the sequence of events described were impossible, no problems were known to exist for Matrix and greater than 99% of sudden acceleration problems were due to driver error. After a discussion, the car was evaluated by the service department. The following was reported: Floor mats held in proper place no objects on floor normal brake pedal operation normal accelerator pedal operation health check - powertrain, chassis, electrical, network systems - ok computer codes - no abnormalities found normal throttle body inspection tires with normal wear & function problem was not duplicated on test drive. Was told that the car is functioning normally in all areas and has no problems. Implied that my experience was a misperception or misrepresentation. Assessment: There was a significant malfunction in the Matrix which could have led to critical injuries or loss of life. Only due to the traffic flow at precisely that moment, no one was injured. The Toyota service departments denied that the problem exists. Recommendation: Sudden unexpected acceleration should be investigated until an answer /solution is found. The findings should be shared with the public. The cost for repairs should be paid by Toyota.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #2

Mar 112010

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 11,000 miles
Toyota Matrix xr 2008:bought new. One driver car. Twenty-two months of driving with 11,000 miles on it. Took to dealer on March 12, 2010 because leaking transmission fluid. Diagnosed as faulty harmonic equalizer on front axle which caused scaring on axle and inside transmission installed new axle and transmission. Ten minutes after picking up car after first problem corrected: Car lost power while I was driving. Nearly killed by semi-truck but avoided accident. Diagnosed as faulty computer. Dealer installing new computer now. Updated 03/29/10 updated 05/05/10.

- Lincoln, NE, USA

problem #1

Jun 152009


  • 48,000 miles
Several months ago I drove through a puddle of water in our parking lot at work. It was storming with the wind blowing as well. When I drove through the puddle, my battery light came on and I lost steering. Then engine never stopped. Once I traveled a few yards, the steering started working and the battery light went off. It happened another 3 more times before I ever left my work facility. I was able to drive to a Toyota dealership for them to check it out. They found nothing wrong with the car. I told them something makes me lose steering associated with water. The gentleman at Toyota told me not to drive through puddles. I did not think it was funny. It has happened a few more times with my husband driving. We live in Louisiana and it rains. I can not avoid going through water when it rains. I need help.

- Pearl River, LA, USA

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