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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,135 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 Toyota Matrix electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Toyota Matrix Owner Comments

problem #13

Aug 012015


  • miles


Recall incomplete. Parts are never available. Dealers always have them back-ordered.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #12

Apr 122016


  • 171,580 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Matrix. While driving approximately 65 mph, the vehicle lost power and stalled without warning. The vehicle failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. Prior to the failure, when the vehicle was started, an abnormal knocking sound emitted from under the hood of the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 171,580.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #11

Jun 102014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Matrix. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 15V013000 (electrical system) and 14V312000 (air bags); however, the part needed to do the repair was unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #10

Dec 252014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Matrix. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 15V043000 (air bags) and 14V312000 (electrical system); however, the parts needed to do the repairs were unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repairs. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Chicago , IL, USA

problem #9

Apr 302008

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
This is a very dangerous issue. Car engine randomly shuts off while driving. Check engine light will not go off. I cannot drive car because I cant pass smog either (due to check engine light). I have filed two formal complaints with Toyota. Toyota refuses to take responsibility for the manufacturing. Defect. I am expected to pay over $2000 to replace a catalytic converter that they know is defective. (excerpt from one complaint I filed) there was a recall on matrix and corolla: Toyota issued a recall for 2005 to 2008 model year corolla's and matrixes, equipped with the 1zz-fe engine and two-wheel drive. The recall notices states that an improperly manufactured engine control module (ECM) can develop a crack in its circuitry, potentially causing the "check engine" light to illuminate, harsh shifting, and stalling and/or failure of the engine to start. I have a 2003 matrix xrs with a 2zz-ge engine with a continuous check engine light, harsh shifting, stalling and random failure of the engine to start. I have had multiple diagnostics and repairs done on the vehicle to pass smog inspection over the past 5 or 6 year and have spent thousands of dollars. The light stays off just long enough to pass the smog test and is then returned to me with the light still on. I have paid a Toyota dealer $95 to run diagnostic also. They said the ECM is corrupt and can't be flashed and the cat has to be replaced for over 2K! I would like information from you're quality department as to why Toyota will not replace the ECM being replaced on the engines stated in your recall notice and not on my type of engine. Which has the exact same problem as detailed in the recall listed on your site. Toyota stated after both complaints that they cannot help me or fix the problem. I must pay for solution myself. Does someone need to die in a crash before this is addressed?

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #8

Dec 132010

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 299,999 miles
Odometer failure due to Toyota building and installing a defective piece of equipment.

- Forest, MS, USA

problem #7

Jul 292010


  • 135,000 miles


ABS, brake, & service engine lights came on. Took it to midas, they replaced speed sensors. When I got car back it shifted gears (automatic) funny & hesitated significantly shifting from 2nd to 3rd. Immediately returned car to midas. They re-diagnosed & suggested I take it to Toyota dealer (john elway's crown Toyota). They said it was speedometer cluster & replaced it which did not resolve my problem so declined to pay & asked them to put back my old speedometer cluster. They didn't & didn't charge me for the new one. Had car towed back to midas. They disconnected speed sensors & told me it was drivable. Got on freeway next day & car wouldn't shift from 3rd to 4th gear, engine revved to 6000 rpms, got off freeway & called midas corporate to complain. They said they would have franchise owner call me. He called but did not identify himself as the person I originated dealt with at midas shop, I know this because I called the number they called from & it was the midas shop. Went to midas, today (8/27/10), they asked me to bring car in tomorrow & they would put back old speed sensors & see what happens. They think it's the car's computer but in the meantime I'm out a thousand dollars.

- Guasti, CA, USA

problem #6

May 032010

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer believes he has the solution to the Toyota acceleration problem. The consumer stated his daughter drives a 2003 Toyota Matrix and she has been experiencing random dashboard light activity. The consumer stated he has reviewed the wiring diagrams and her dashboard lights are controlled by the integration relay otherwise known as the body control module. It appears that the lack of relay over-voltage suppression on any of the relays in the vehicle has caused damage to the integration relay and there was no way to tell how much damage has been done to the engine control module.

- Oneida, NY, USA

problem #5

Feb 052010


  • 80,000 miles
My 2003 Toyota Matrix xr sometimes accelerates uncontrollably. Usually when I am cruising at highway speeds, when I let off of the gas pedal, the car's throttle still feels like it's in the open position, causing the car to speed up instead of slowing down. It almost feels like if the cruise control is turned on and the car is trying to maintain speed. My cruise control was turned off during each of these incidents, and there was no indication that they were turned on at the time of the incidents. This problem occurs once every few months and I usually don't pay attention to them. The car will accelerate for a few seconds then eventually the throttle will close and the car will slow down and then I will apply the brakes gently. I have informed my Toyota dealer of this but they usually just brush the complaint off and say they couldn't find any problems. I personally think it's an electronics issue where the cruise control system override the manual system without the input of the driver.

- North Potomac, MD, USA

problem #4

Jan 172009


  • 60,000 miles
2003 Toyota Matrix, in extreme cold weather the running lights come on when the car is off, draining the battery. This has happened many times.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #3

Jun 042005

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,079 miles


While driving my car, it will start to miss out and then stall. Upon restarting, the engine light comes on. I took it to the dealer where they replaced the computer. That helped for about 6 months and then problem recurred. I took it back to the dealer and we then replaced the ignitors. Once that was complete the car ran fine for 2 months. Now it is happening again, and is very dangerous. It happened to me today for instance while I was in the middle of an interstection making a a turn. When the car stalls, I have limited steering. This also happens to me while I'm on the interstate. Clearly there is a severe problem with this car that goes beyond the computer and ignitors. It is very dangerous to drive, but I have no choice since it is the only car that I have.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #2

May 112004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles
Ltr on behalf of Mrs. Lola betancourt (va)re a electrical fire in her 2003 Toyota matric( VIN: 2R1K32E13co48258) originating at the driver side door near the power window and locks area, reply to the alexandria district ofc, dot/I#2004-5249.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #1

Apr 012003


  • 100 miles
The instrument panel light was dim, which caused impaired vision.

- Elmira, NY, USA

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