NHTSA — Power Train: Clutch Assembly Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

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

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:
26,890 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 Pontiac Vibe clutch problems

clutch problem

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2003 Pontiac Vibe Owner Comments

problem #14

Jan 282006

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 39,980 miles


Clutch failure at 39,980 miles.

- Wallingford, PA, USA

problem #13

Nov 302005

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
2003 Pontiac Vibe GT - replaced clutch once and dealership after 25K miles they told me it was normal wear and tear. 10K miles later it needs to be replace again.

- Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #12

Oct 072005

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 47,000 miles
The clutch started to slip so I took it into the dealership and was informed I would need a new clutch and plate. Asked would not this be covered by the warranty because I have only 47,000 miles on the car. I was informed that the clutch is a wear and tear item so it would not cover it, even though the clutch should not of worn out this fast. The mechanic agreed with me on this issue. In order for this to be repaired it cost $1000 for the labor, clutch, and plate.

- St. John, MI, USA

problem #11

Aug 012005

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 53,000 miles


My clutch has been acting up with a strong burning odor since June 2004 around 32,000 miles. It now has 53,000 miles and it constantley slipping. On June 26th 2004 genvibe.com had a meet at joseph Pontiac in fenton, mi. Jeff strausser, the Vibe brand quality manager, came to the meet along with 7 other GM nummi engineers. I have photos to prove it, there posted at genvibe.com! jeff strausser admitted at the meet GM knew there is a problem with the clutch failing in the Vibe GT models and he was in contact with Toyota trying to resolve the issue. He also told me when my clutch goes out he would take care of it. I informed jeff strauser my warranty was running out, he stopped me and said don't worry about we knows there's a problem, I'll take care of it. Jeff strauser has been recently promoted to another model, and now GM refuses to admit to any issues, or to cover it the repair. But they'll fix it for $1,400. Many people are having the same issue or have had it replaced, many more people will have this same issue until they change there flawed designed parts. Why should the consumers have to pay to fix there defects. This is a safety issue and if something happens to anyone in my Vibe GT, we'll let a jury heard about it.

- Westland, MI, USA

problem #10

Sep 182004

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 26,000 miles
Bought car with 500 miles, could easily slip manual clutch and result in 'burning smell'. could easily slip clutch anytime after purchase. Around 24K miles clutch has hard time holding in gear, very easy to slip clutch. At 26K miles, clutch no longer holds uphill in high gear. On way to honeymoon the clutch slipped at speed with cruise control causing the car to jump to red-line on the tachometer for several seconds before I manually cleared the cruise control. Many other people have reported the clutch on this car (2003 Pontiac Vibe GT) to be highly problematic with a short life-span. GM would not cover the clutch and called it 'user wear and tear', even though many other people have this issue, and those same people have had cars whose clutches have lasted 100K+ (including myself). Dealer charged $600 to replace clutch (labor), and wanted another $800 in parts, which were found for around $150 elsewhere. GM knows the clutch in the vehicle is defective yet does nothing about it, and it continues to be a problem on newer models, as well.

- Conyers, GA, USA

problem #9

Aug 232005

Vibe 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
I have a 2003 Pontiac Vibe GT. I experienced clutch slippage/failure at 30,000 miles. I contacted GM (file number 1-357754321) and explained that I took the car to GM dealer and was shocked to find that a) my clutch needed to be replaced at 30,000 miles and B) it was not covered under warranty as it is considered to be normal "wear and tear". the cost of the replacement was roughly $1400 and when I complained to GM I was told, very nicely, that it was "up to my discretion as to whether or not I approve the diagnostic ($700) and subsequent repair". of course, not repairing the problem could result in a safety issue as the part becomes more worn. I have encountered several Vibe GT owners who have experienced similar problems... on your web site alone, 5 of the 15 postings regarding the Vibe complained of similar problems. Another site forums.genvibe.com/ has several postings that address the above problem. I firmly believe that this is flaw in the design of the Vibe clutch and could potentially become a safety issue if the clutch fails on an inexperienced and/or unaware driver... given the fact the GM markets the Vibe to college age students this scenario is very likely. I am an experienced manual transmission driver, having owned 3 (including the Vibe) and this is the first time that any of them have needed a clutch replacement before 80,000 + miles.

- West Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #8

Feb 272005

Vibe 4WD 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 29,000 miles


Clutch began slipping in fall 2004. I purchased vehicle in December 2002 with 325 miles on it. Sold to me as new with full bumper to bumper warranty, that of course excluded brake pads and clutch liner. I driver with almost 30 years experience of manual transmission. This is my 4th vehicle with manual transmission. Took vehicle to dealer after being advised in March 2005 that vehicle couldn't pass NY state inspection due to clutch problem. Inspector would not even hook it up to machine. Of course dealer service said they never heard a noise or any vehicle needing clutch replacement at 30000 miles. They would not absorb cost, and I had to replace to the tune of $1300 after their generous discount of 10%. after I complained about original quoted price of nearly $1500. I say this, without sarcasm, they were very nice, just wouldn't allow warranty coverage. It should be noted that when I first purchased this vehicle it was after having a different one overnight that I drove off the lot with less than 15 miles on odometer that exhibited problems shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear. Dealer tried to say it just needed an adjustment, but I refused to keep the car, and had service manager at that time check vehicle. He admitted that it was a defective transmission problem, and the dealership replaced the vehicle when I refused repair. That service manager is no longer with that dealership, so I had no way to collaborate this information without going back to sales. I am halfway through a four year lease. Did not drive much between November and February 2003 as I have another vehicle.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #7

Mar 192005

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 43,500 miles
Clutch slippage / failure -- at 43,000 miles (bought used certified at 30,000). Huge number of same problem listed on matrixowners.org and vibematrix sites. Drove 1984 Honda Accord 115,000 miles with no clutch replacement -- not an operator problem. Dealer wants to charge $1200 for replacement clutch.

- Monahans, TX, USA

problem #6

Mar 082005

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 12,000 miles
I'm filing a complaint about insufficiently engineered clutches in Pontiac Vibe gts/Toyota matrix xrs. My girlfriend (who's name the car is under) and I have a 2003 Pontiac Vibe GT that we purchased new. We're both experienced stick drivers, and have driven the car conservatively, but by 10,000 miles the clutch started slipping. Our dealer claimed that it wasn't possible that it was slipping. It started lightly, but the clutch was completely gone by 12,000 miles. Now in the shop for replacement, we've been inconvenienced by days of having only one car (no loaner car if they think it's your fault), and also have been informed that this repair will not be a warranty repair because it's our inability to drive a manual transmission properly that has resulted in the premature wear. I have many years with standard transmissions, and have never known an abused clutch to go as fast as this one did.

- Fords, NJ, USA

problem #5

Dec 282004

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 27,000 miles
Clutch slippage/ failure @ 27K miles especially when maneuvering difficult traffic and neighborhoods with the increasing instance of smelling clutch particularly in reverse into a driveway. Problem was rectified before critical failure with a center force dual friction clutch. There was some concern that my tempor may have over bought, but I could not have been happier.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #4

Aug 112004

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 31,000 miles


2003 Vibe with 33K miles. Clutch failed. Having new clutch assembly installed. Why would a car with only 32K miles need this? thank goodness my dealer is covering the repair.

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #3

Feb 062004

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 15,000 miles
Clutch slipping and is nearing failure. Vehicle only has 15000 miles. Appears many are experiencing premature clutch failure with the 6 speed transmission.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #2

Jan 262003

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 20,980 miles
Pontiac Vibe GT 6 speed transmission inferior or defective, from the show room to 20,000 mile the car shifted funny and rev. High service said it was fine and then I had to pay for a new clutch at 20,000 said that I burnt the clutch up and the warranty did not cover the clutch. You will see alot of customers with the GT with the same problem.

- Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #1

Jul 232003

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 32,000 miles
Hydraulic clutch failure on Vibe GT (6speed manual) at 32,000 miles. flywheel requires extensive resurfacing according to dealer. Dealer has declined to cover repair under warranty, claiming this is normal wear on a 15-month-old vehicle. Clutch began exhibiting symptoms of difficulty as early as 10,000 miles, but no one would believe us. I have driven manual (hydraulic and cable) for 20+ years, and this is not normal wear.

- Torrance, CA, USA

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