Transmission Failure Seal Of This Might Hurt 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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
123,500 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. replace transmission (3 reports)
2003 Pontiac Vibe transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Pontiac Vibe Owner Comments

problem #6

Mar 262019

Vibe 1.8L

  • Manual transmission
  • 197,800 miles


Third transmission - catastrophic failure March 2019 @ 198000mi

Goodbye, Vibe. We loved you in the good days.

- Jon W., Aurora, US

problem #5

Nov 282013

Vibe 1.8L

  • Manual transmission
  • 120,000 miles

We loved this car, didn't want to get rid of it, but three dead transmissions later, we can't take it anymore.

First transmission - catastrophic failure/rebuild Nov 2013 @ 120000mi

Second transmission - bearing noise, diagnosis and rebuild Dec 2015 @ 155000mi

Third transmission - catastrophic failure March 2019 @ 198000mi

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; fool me thrice - I'm an idiot for having kept it this long.

- Jon W., Aurora, US

problem #4

Feb 142013


  • Manual transmission
  • 222,000 miles

I have had this car since it was new. 3 times it has completely died on me while driving, at about 70k intervals.

Once time I was driving down a mountain road and it shut off. Second time I was making a right turn to get onto the highway. Third time driving down a random street.

Whether it's an ignition switch or transmission problem, I don't know. It just completely cuts out. No harsh grinding sounds other people complain about, I'm just worried it will happen at the wrong time since I drive on the freeway a lot.

Update from Jul 13, 2014: When I contacted GM they forwarded it to a local dealer. Service Manager didn't sound confident he could pin point. he said he'd ask people and get back to me, and never did.

- Joe E., la Crescenta, CA, US

problem #3

Dec 152003

Vibe GT 1.8L

  • Manual transmission
  • 12,000 miles


I had to back date this one since I just found this site. I tryed to sue pontiac over this terrible little car. Had problem with it not even 200 miles , clutch didn't like to go into gear ,not just one but randomly any gear. I would alway have to double clutch. Let Me say I owned five manual vehicles before this piece of crap and never burned up a clutch. Any way after the mechanic's said it is a new clutch and needs to be broken in a little,it will smooth out. YA RIGHT!! With a new baby in the car and driving to bethesda MAryand we run into a snow storm and become stranded on the highway. After a hour I finally flag down a off duty police man and he calls a tow truck, we were in a dead zone and cell did not work, incase you were wondering. long story short, I had to pay for the tow,rental and new clutch at 12000 miles on a 1/12 year old brand new car. They said it was operator error and we did not know how to drive a manual. Found a different website that said toyota gave pontiac a generic version of the matrix and that is why the clutched failed, and yes the vibe under neathe says toyota all over it.

- Mike P., Virginia Beach, VA, US

problem #2

Mar 122010


  • Manual transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Having to repair my transmission AGAIN!! Had all new bearings put in two years ago. Started back with the noisy bearings about a week ago, now so bad I won't drive it. Told I need a new transmission- about $2600.

- jljones 123, Harvest, AL, US

problem #1

Apr 222005

(reported on)


  • 49,000 miles

broke down on side of road- tow costed 137.00 to dealer- dealer said that pontiac refused to cover anything cause out of warranty, but be real, how many tranmissions go completely out after 0nly 49000 miles? Dealer not offering much in the way of relief. Wants me to buy a new car and only give me blue book minus the cost of the replacement of transmisssion.

- mad as heck, Bemidji, MN, US

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