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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
57,667 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 Toyota Matrix engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Toyota Matrix Owner Comments

problem #3

Jul 092009


  • 70,000 miles


The engine had "sludged" at about 70,000 miles (2004 Toyota Matrix). The Toyota dealership had done the oil changes routinely since I purchased the car certified. The engine was rebuilt using an extended warranty I had purchased from a private company (not Toyota). The car was knocking when I was driving home from Michigan to Florida. I checked the oil, it was dry, so I bought more oil and filled it (2 quarts). By the time I got home, the oil stick again read empty, so I again filled it. I did not see any oil burning (the smoke cloud). Another day passed and the oil was empty again, so I took it into the shop and they determined the oil had been clogged.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #2

May 282010


  • 103,000 miles
I have never had mechanical issues with my 2004 Toyota Matrix. Last weekend while trying to merge onto interstate highway 10 in AZ for a weekend camping trip without warning my engine seized while I was trying to merge onto the highway. The engine stopped and thankfully I was able to drive off onto the shoulder before the semi behind me rear ended me. I am thankful to be alive as well as the infant I had with me in the car. When we towed the car to a mechanic he accused me of driving the car without oil because the engine was full of sludge. Thankfully my father was with me and he explained to the mechanic that I regularly have my car serviced and we had oil in the car at the time of the incident. After some searching on the internet I have found that this is a common problem with Toyota. I can not understand if this is a known issue why Toyota has not informed their customers so that we can protect ourselves and the passengers in our cars.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #1

Dec 022006

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
After last oil change, oil was gel-like, engine made tapping noise...took to dealer with a list of other problems, ac not cold, heater not blowing hot, window jumping when rolling down, and tires making funny noise. Was told engine noise was normal, fixed ac again, 3rd time, heater had loose part tighten, window part ordered, tire had flat spot, last time was water in wheel. Crash did not damage engine, or windows, or tires.

- Bonaire, GA, USA

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