NHTSA — Power Train 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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
123,656 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Pontiac Vibe Owner Comments

problem #9

Dec 052012


  • 120,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. While driving at various speeds, the overdrive feature failed to disengage on command. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000.

- Saginaw, MI, USA

problem #8

Jan 302015


  • 173,334 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 20 mph, there was an abnormal noise coming from the front of the vehicle. In addition, the contact stated that the vehicle failed to accelerate above 30 mph without warning. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 173,334.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #7

Jan 302015

Vibe 4-cyl

  • 148,000 miles
The vehicle will not accelerate at all, working very hard to shift into any gears. It appears to be the accelerator pedal assembly that is the defective part. Car isn't drivable due to not being able to pick up and go. No indicator lights have appeared on the dashboard.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #6

Aug 172014


  • 199,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. While approaching a stop light, the front end of the vehicle made a loud noise. After accelerating, the vehicle seized without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic and the technician diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 199,000.

- Danville, IN, USA

problem #5

Nov 152013

Vibe 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
2003 Pontiac Vibe 5-speed manual transmission. Bearings failed resulting in grinding noise. Mechanic says this could've resulted in catastrophic lock-up of transmission leading to a serious accident at highway speeds. Please don't wait for someone to be killed before investigating this problem. It seems to be endemic to Pontiac Vibe and Toyota matrix 5-speed manual transmissions.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #4

Sep 122013

Vibe 4-cyl

  • 141,000 miles
Just leaving for a trip from Michigan to tenn. Driving 70 mph on I-75 South when coming down a steep over pass, I heard rattling in my engine and thumping. This is a very dangerous spot on I-75 with many trucks traveling at high speed coming down from this overpass. My first thought was, it was a flat tire. When I barely coasted to a semi-safe spot my daughter got out and said the tire is not flat. I shifted my manual transmission 6 speed Vibe GT into 1st gear let off the clutch only to find it didn't respond. Upset because I had just become unemployed 3 mos prior and voluntarily returned my 2012 Chevy sonic back to the credit union. Withdrew what I had in my 401K to purchase this vehicle to ensure transportation that was paid in full only 6 weeks ago. I have seen many complaints regarding transmission failure with this year Pontiac Vibe. I believe this needs to be investigated instead of allowing the consumer to absorb the cost of this repair which is an obvious flaw at the manufacturer level.

- Ferndale, MI, USA

problem #3

Apr 292006

Vibe 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles


My car currently has 225,000 miles on it. 3 times at approximately 70,000, 140,000, and 215,000 miles, my car stalled while driving. The first time was on a mountain road going downhill at 40mph. The second time I had just made a right hand turn at @ 20mph to get on the freeway, the third time I was going straight down a city street at 10mph. In each case, the car just stops while driving and I lose control of the car and steering wheel. The car can be started up after without a problem. My mechanic believes it is a computer issue, outside of that, he can't come up with anything else. No error gets logged on the computer system in the car. This car has a manual transmission and has been maintained over the years very well. I am concerned because I drive a lot of freeway miles and if this occurs while I am in traffic I am sure a traffic accident will occur.

- La Crescenta, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 152008


  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. The contact stated that while coming a stop, the vehicle suddenly stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostics. The technician stated that the power train control module would have to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated the VIN was not included in the manufacturer's recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 65,000.

- Orangevale, CA, USA

problem #1

Oct 012011

Vibe 4-cyl

  • 134,567 miles
While leaving a stoplight, the transmission broke and locked up both front wheels/axles completely stopping the car and making it not movable except by a wrecker truck.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

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