NHTSA — Power Train: Manual Transmission Problems

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:
104,667 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.

2004 Pontiac Vibe transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Pontiac Vibe Owner Comments

problem #3

Jan 112010


  • 140,000 miles


The manual transmission on my 2004 Pontiac Vibe seized up at about 140,000 miles. At first it made a high pitch whirring noise then almost immediately failed as I was on the freeway thus slowing my speed down considerably to the point where the wheels became locked at one point (transmission froze while engaged). Even when I fully depressed the clutch it stayed engaged. I have read from others (after this occurred to me) that the transmission has a faulty design. It uses a plastic master ball bearing that can shatter and cause the transmission to suddenly seize. A plastic ball bearing is used instead of using a more durable one like a metallic ball bearing that would only cost of few bucks more. This apparently has to do with manufacture profit. This is happened about a week after christmas 2009 and I have been the original owner of the car. This is dangerous for myself and for others on the road. For the safety of others, a total recall of the Pontiac Vibe's manual transmission should occur.

- Plymouth, MI, USA

problem #2

Dec 162009


  • 97,000 miles
1. clattering/grinding noise coming from 5-sp. Manual transmission, slowly growing louder. Sudden change in sound and 35 miles later... 2.... transmission locks up at intersection. Vehicle could not be pushed; had to be towed. 3. new transmission and clutch installed. Old parts still available.

- Port Washington, WI, USA

problem #1

Jun 042006

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 77,000 miles
The transmission on our 2004 Pontiac Vibe went out. We had the vehicle towed and they found that the transmission had such severe damage that it could not be rebuilt. The cost $2500 on a car that we thought we could depend on. Our 2003 Honda civic has twice as many miles on it without any costly repairs. Pontiac told us to bring the vehicle to them. When we told them that it was in the process of being fixed they basically told us there was nothing they could do for us because we did not bring the vehicle to them first. We immediately had the process stopped, until we could find out more information. We contacted GM to register our complaint. After a few more conversations with GM and elhart Pontiac, holland Michigan, we were told to continue to move forward with having the car repaired and to bring the transmission out to elhart. Customer service, at elhart, found that a clip or a bearing had come loose and that is what caused the damage. This is not suppose to happen on vehicles with 78,000 miles on them. We were then told that we would have a three way conversation with GM, elhart and ourselves to talk about what they discovered and see if we were eligible for any assistance. This conversation never happened. We simply received a phone call saying that we were denied of any assistance. This decision came from the district manager, whose name we were denied, and we are also being denied access to any and all of the records that General Motors was given. When we asked to speak with someone higher up, we were told that we could not speak with anyone and if we wanted to proceed we needed to write a letter. So basically we bought a GM car and after we purchased it, General Motors could care less about our, the customers, satisfaction or standing behind their product. We simply feel that when you invest in a vehicle, you should be able to expect it to not incur such costly damages.

- Jenison, MI, USA

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