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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
86,794 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Toyota Matrix Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #13

Feb 232009


  • 98,000 miles


Own a Toyota Matrix 2003 xr have been hearing odd sounds for about 6 months. Had mechanic do a check and couldn't find anything. Never stopped to think it could be the transmission on a manual transmission with less than 100K miles. A week later, driving on highway in the middle of the night, heard a loud explosion type sound and swerved off the road. Mechanic said its a bad bearing in the transmission. Toyota has yet to respond to my complaint. The entire transmission needs to be replaced.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #12

Jul 242008


  • Manual transmission
  • 101,600 miles
Our son's 2003 Toyota Matrix had it's transmission completely fail 2 nights ago. He had an extended warranty ( 100,000 miles). Unbelievably he was 1600 miles over his warranty. I looked on the internet and found dozens and dozens of complaints about 2003 and 2004 Matrix transmissions. Our son is a rather poor college graduate who can't afford the $3300 it will take to replace the transmission and clutch. I would like some advise on how to pursue some action against Toyota. There should be a way to pursue "consideration" for this type of situation something is wrong here! please respond if you can...

- Preston, CT, USA

problem #11

Jan 192008


  • Manual transmission
  • 63,050 miles
My 2003 Toyota Matrix xr with a 5 speed manual transmission had a complete transmission failure. I was traveling on interstate I-565 in light traffic. The car was in fifth gear and cruise control was set at about 70 mph. After being on the interstate for about 3-4 minutes, the car started decelerating. So I responded by canceling cruise control and pressing the accelerator to the floor with no effect. The car continued to decelerate. So I downshifted to fourth gear and pressed the accelerator to the floor. Again the car continued to decelerate. So I pulled over and stopped the car on the shoulder of the interstate. I turned the car off and started it back on. The engine started normally, but I could not put the gear shifter into any gear. I pressed the accelerator to rev the engine up and the engine made a high pitched, weaning sound. So I turned the car off and tried to push the gear shifter into gear with the car off and was not able to get it into any gear. I had the car towed to a transmission shop and they inspected it and determined that the transmission had completely failed. The odometer reading on the car when this incident occurred was approximately 63,050 miles. Toyota's powertrain warranty on this car is 60,000 miles. I contacted Toyota to ask for goodwill assistance because it is so unusual for a manual transmission in a Toyota to completely fail at such a low mileage. However Toyota was unwilling to provide any assistance. I purchased a new transmission from the local Toyota dealer and had it installed by an independent transmission shop. The cost of the transmission was $2,343.17 (including tax) and installation costs were $450. So this failure cost me a total of $2,793.17.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #10

Jun 062008


  • 57,000 miles


2003 Toyota Matrix transmission failure after 57,000 miles. Extended warranty company replaced it with a used rebuilt transmission. I've seen many complaints online about this same thing happening on the manual transmissions of the 2003/2004 models.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #9

Jul 302007

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 105,000 miles
I own a 2003 Toyota Matrix that on July 30, 2007, had a little over 105,000 miles on it. Driving either in town or on the highway a clinkiing sound was noticed by drivers and passengers along with an intermittent increased difficulty in shifting gears. On July 30, 2007, driving on the highway the clinking noise become more pronounced. I parked my vehicle to do some errands and came back the car would start, but would not enter into any gear. The car was locked in a gear that was not neutral. I was stranded about 30 miles from my home and had to call a towing company to come and tow the vehicle to the Iowa city Toyota company. From there, Toyota inspected my 2003 Toyota matix and found that the gear teeth in the manual transmission has completely eroded and broke off. Toyota had to replace the full transmission and clutch costing close to $3000.

- Iowa City, IA, USA

problem #8

Mar 102008

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 72,900 miles
Transmission completely ruined at 72,000 miles 5 speed manual Toyota Matrix 2003.

- Elkton, MD, USA

problem #7

Jan 222008

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 70,000 miles


I have a 2002/03 Toyota Matrix that had the transmission replaced at 70K miles. It was covered under warranty. The car has 130K miles now and I am being told the bearing in the transmission is bad.

- Briarcliff, NY, USA

problem #6

Jan 052007

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 61,200 miles
Manual transmission bearing failure at approximately 61,200 miles. Warranty expired at 60,000 miles. Toyota would make no adjustment.

- Jefferson, GA, USA

problem #5

Jul 262007

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 80,000 miles
Was traveling from Illinois to Colorado, transmission began failing, grinding. Made it to Colorado, had to have entire transmission replaced around ($4300, out of warranty). No help from Toyota. Toyota transmission failure at 80,000 miles" C'mon, what's up with that"

- Aurora, IL, USA

problem #4

Oct 212007


  • Manual transmission
  • 50,650 miles
Main bearing in the manual transmission failed. Needed new transmission and clutch. Toyota Canada and my dealer covered 60% of cost 5mth past warranty.

- Halifax, 00, USA

problem #3

Oct 282006


  • Manual transmission
  • 92,000 miles


I am the second owner of mt Toyota xr and brought the car for the excellent reputation Toyota has as I knew I would be driving it a lot as a regular commuter. I have had the oil replaced frequently and took the car to the Toyota dealership for its services in the hope that this would mean it would last well. One week after my 90,000 service ($700) the transmission went out. I have driven a manual car all my life and know it was no due to bad driver habits. According to the garage a ball bearing dropped into the transmission and "shredded it" we have spent $3000 having the transmission replaced and feel let down by Toyota, a car that was meant to last a lifetime has malfunctioned despite our best efforts at care. After having the transmission replaced and the clutch to be safe we now have an error code P0121 indicating a problem with the throttle pedal position sensor. Feeling very frustrated with Toyota response that this has just been bad luck.

- Bloomington, IN, USA

problem #2

Apr 302005


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
I have an 2003 Toyota Matrix xrs. Clutch started slipping and you can smell it most of the time. Has 53,000 miles. I have driven many standards over the years and never had this much trouble with a manual transmission. The last clutch I had to replace was on a 1991 Suzuki swift that had over 220,000 miles. Toyota used to be a good vehicle. They really need to fix this issue. Have read lots of problems from other people on www.

- Hurst, TX, USA

problem #1

Aug 072003

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 13,000 miles
Toyota Matrix 2003 xrs on 2nd transmision and still having problems. Clutch is also nasty. Many others with same car having simmilar problems. has a forum with at least 30 people with probelms alone.

- Friendswood, TX, USA

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