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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
7 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,644 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Toyota Matrix Owner Comments (Page 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #9

Aug 032013

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 153,760 miles


Air bag warning light started flashing, received (airbag) recall notice as well from Toyota and made appointment for airbag recall fix. Toyota dealership said they fixed recall, but airbag light came back on shortly after recall fix. Took to dealer second time, dealer said there was a short to drivers side seat belt squib? squib works with air bag deployment and seat belt tensioner deployment. Dealer wanted to replace unit at my expense but I argued that this should be covered under a recall since it is part of a faulty air bag issue. Today I found an article on a consumer recall site that states that Toyota has acknowledged faulty circuits on 2003 -04 corolla and Matrix that are susceptible to shoring in airbag / tensioner wiring harness. The resulting heat could damage the components and cause the airbags and or seat belt pretensioners to malfunction, increasing risk of injury. The seat belt pretensioners are what is causing our airbag warning light according to Toyota dealership diagnostics. In the past I have gotten the run around by Toyota dealerships on this matter as well as our car will not pass upcoming state safety inspection. I am greatly concerned for my families safety concerning possible faulty deployment of the airbags or seat belt pretensioners not working in an accident. Please investigate and hold Toyota accountable to fix this very extremely important airbag / tensioner safety issue. Thank you

- Newbrighton, PA, USA

problem #8

Jul 232013

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
I have my Toyota matrix about 5 or 6 years. Had 4 or 5 times recall on the different parts. I don't feel safe any more with this car. How should I trust for another parts are ok. I have a kid with me when I'm driving. They should get the car back and pay for it. I worked so hard to pay for this car. Shame on Toyota.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #7

Nov 092012

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 95,163 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Matrix. The contact stated that the air bag warning light remained illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where a diagnostic was performed, which located the failure at the air bag spiral cable. The air bag spiral cable was replaced however, the failure was not corrected. The air bag warning light remained illuminated. The vehicle was taken back to dealer where a second diagnostic was performed. The failure was located at the air bag wiring harness. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 95,163 and the current mileage was 95,311. Updated 01/09/13 updated 1/22/2013 status update. 01/24/13 updated 01/30/13

- Algonquin , IL, USA

problem #6

Jan 292012

Matrix 4-cyl

  • miles


The car was parked in the carport. I put my keys and powered on. The air bags exploded for no reason, breaking the windshield and dash. There was not any kind of accident with the car before or during this incident.

- San Juan, PR, USA

problem #5

Aug 172010


  • 175,000 miles
While I was sitting at a drive thru window at mcdonald's the teller was reaching me my order and all of a sudden she and I heard a loud popping sound she said what was that, I said I don't know she said it came from your car she said madam it came from inside your car, your car is smoking so I turned my head and noticed the seat belt over my shoulder was smoking and as I turned my head around the seat belt on the passenger side of the car popped open and it started smoking so I said what is going on with this car, and when I turned my head forward the airbag on the passenger side popped out so I said I don't know what is happening with this car but I need to get out of it. I noticed that there were cars behind me in the drive-thru so I pulled the car out from under the window to the middle of the parking lot so that the cars behind me would be able to get out and as I turned the wheel the driver side air bag popped out in from of me and hit me in the chest and bruised my left arm then the car started filling up with smoke so I didn't know if the car was catching on fire or what I just knew that I needed to get out of the car. I turned off the engine in the middle of the parking lot grabbed my purse and jumped out of the car. All the customers and workers at mcdonald's ran out when the car started smoking and no one could believe what was happening because all these things popped out and there was no other car there the manager at mcdonald's came to me and said he was calling the fire department since the car was smoking and we didn't know what was going to happen next. The fire dept. Came and said madam what happened I told them what happened and they asked if I had hit anything and I told them no I was just sitting at the drive-thru when all of these things just started popping out of my car. The windshield also shattered when the airbag hit it. The firemen told me to stand in front of mcdonald's and they opened the hood to check for fire and disabled to battery.

- Missouri City, TX, USA

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problem #4

Oct 222009


  • 88,208 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Matrix. While driving approximately 65 mph, the brakes were applied and the vehicle failed to stop which resulted in a crash. The air bags did not deploy upon impact. The contact sustained unknown injuries. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to by the insurance company. A representative with the manufacturer also inspected the vehicle and was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure and current mileages were 88,208.

- Hesperia, CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 062009


  • 1 miles


I have A2003 Matrix since new, the airbag warning light on the dash has remained on for years, because of limited funds can not go to dealership and pay $$$$ for service fee, diagnostic fee, and parts and labor for someone to "work" their way through the problem over several visits. I now however after several years of state inspections, have to spend this money in order to pass inspection. I was informed that airbag warning lights now have to operate properly in order for a vehicle to pass inspection. Upon googling any recall information online I discovered hundreds of postings of similar complaints, as well as two complaints on this website of airbags that did not deploy during crashes. Did they have similar dash lighting malfunctions as mine??

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #2

Feb 112009


  • 93,000 miles
I was involved in an automobile accident and my airbag did not deploy causing me more injury to my neck.

- Ronkonkoma, NY, USA

problem #1

Sep 052003

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles
The 2003 Toyota Matrix I was driving hit the back of a pick-up truck when the brakes locked up and the vehicle began to skid. The Matrix went partially under the truck, causing severe damage to the front end of the Matrix. None of the airbags in the 2003 Toyota Matrix deployed. Thanks to the fact that I was wearing my seatbelt, I received only minor injuries.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

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