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:
89,104 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Toyota Matrix Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #27

Jul 012011

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 63,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Matrix. The contact stated the bearings in the transmission failed, causing the vehicle to decelerate to a complete stop. The contact stated there were no warnings prior to the failure. The contact took the vehicle to a mechanic and was told that the transmission would need replacing. The failure and current mileage was 63,000. Updated 09/12/11

- Apo, CA, USA

problem #26

May 162009

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
Bearings failed in 5 speed manual transaxle on my 2004 Toyota Matrix with 135,000 kms.

- Utopia New Brunswick Canada, 00, USA

problem #25

Oct 012010

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
2004 manual Toyota Matrix xr 1. I was hearing a very slight tinkling sound when at low rpms in 2nd, 3rd and 5th gears. When the clutch was pressed the sound went away. The sound was occurring for about 2 weeks before the failure. 2. complete failure of the transmission. Driving in 5th gear and there was a whirring sound, a clunk, and the car jumped out of gear. Could not get into 1st, 2nd, 5th, or reverse. When car is neutral it is still in gear. We had significant trouble towing the car as I had to be inside the car with the clutch down as the tow truck driver pushed it. 3. replacement of transmission.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #24

Aug 152010


  • 120,000 miles


My 2004 Toyota Matrix xr with manual transmission has suddenly displayed severe mechanical noise from the engine/transmission area. Smog technicians wouldn't take liability to run engine for smog tests to register for the coming year, so is now registered as planned non-operation until I can get the car fixed. Googling "Toyota Matrix transmission noise" or "Toyota Matrix engine noise" leads to several sites in which too many owners are either experiencing complete engine loss due to "oil sludge problem" or total transmission loss due to "admitted transmission bearing design flaw". I will not drive this car again on the roadway due to the possibility of sudden and complete loss of transmission function at any time. This car is a great design for functionality, but I am totally dismayed and frustrated that at 120,000 miles, the car is off the road for serious engine and transmission flaws that appear to be very common, considering I bought Toyota for the reliability that we all know so much about. I have kept up on the oil changes since they were pre-purchased for 5 years when I bought the car, and have kept fresh after the 5 years expired. Very disappointed with the fate that this car has presented me, and the costs that I will have to incur to get it back on the road.

- Prunedale, CA, USA

problem #23

Feb 102010


  • 130,101 miles
The car has a continuous grumble from clutch area, Toyota says it has a input shaft bearing failure. Estimated repair $3500.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #22

Jun 152008


  • 20,000 miles
I purchased the vehicle used in 2007 with 15,000 miles on it. Within a year the transmission went out. Got this repaired by the dealership and within a year the transmission went out again. I have been doing research on this model year Matrix to see if it was just my car doing this, but it looks like there have been other people with 2004 Matrix that have the same problem. What happens is parts of the fly wheel or clutch dysfunction. It makes the car stop and it makes a grinding noise. It happened once while I was on a remote section of highway and the other time I was starting my car in the morning to leave for work. My car has close to 70,000 miles on it now, but as I stated previously, it happened at around 20,000 miles the first time, which is unusual for a Toyota, or any car for that matter. Parts were replaced by the dealership both times, but I'm scared it's going to happen again. I do not trust this vehicle to drive over extended periods or miles.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #21

May 032010


  • 107,000 miles


Heard rattling when car in gear. Our mechanic said it is the main bearing in the transmission and it would get louder and then seize up eventually. This car has been regularly and well maintained and has only 107 K on it. The clutch is still original and the trans needs replacing before it ? local dealer says there is nothing he do. We are going to put a new transmission in and drive it for another 40 K then dump it. Am completely disappointed in this car and in Toyota.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #20

Mar 092010


  • 74,000 miles
I own a 2004 Toyota Matrix 2wd base model with 5-speed manual transmission. I had 75,000 miles on it and very few issues until one day on the highway, the transmission seized up completely. The only recourse was to replace the entire transmission assembly.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #19

Jan 122010


  • 111,234 miles
2004 Matrix transmission failed while wife was driving on highway on a rainy night. Prior to this the transmission began to have noises which one might attribute to an auto at 110,000 miles. After this failure transmission would not shift except with great difficulty. I had the Matrix towed home and am in the process of determining solution. The rest of the car is flawless but this early failure of a manual transmission in a Toyota is discouraging. The situation was a dangerous one as failure of the transmission caused those vehicles around her to become aggressive towards the slowly moving Matrix. My wife was extremely fortunate to coax the car to safety. These unexpected repairs will cost me around $2500 to $3000 to resolve. The auto is of no value without the repair, and with the repair resale not much greater.

- Olalla, WA, USA

problem #18

Feb 142010


  • 114,000 miles
Manual transmission seized while driving Toyota Matrix. Car totally locked up and stopped on the freeway. Car only had 114,000 miles on it and was regularly serviced. Faulty equipment and dangerous.

- Beaufort, NC, USA

problem #17

Jan 042010


  • Manual transmission
  • 130,000 miles


Manual transmission failed on my 2004 Toyota Matrix. Started making clunking and grinding noises and fifth gear stopped providing forward movement. I was able to use lower gears.

- Owatonna, MN, USA

problem #16

Dec 292009


  • 111,250 miles
Transmission failure due to faulty bearings.

- Yorktown Heights, NY, USA

problem #15

Nov 262009


  • 98,000 miles
While on the highway, our 2004 Toyota Matrix, approx. 98K miles started to buck and make a terrible grinding noise. We then lost 4th and 5th gears. We were fortunate to be able to take control of the vehicle and get to the side however we were stuck at night on the highway. The transmission bearings shredded causing the clutch to fail. Replacement cost $3500. Since, we had read about hundreds of other similar complaints about this vehicle and were shocked that Toyota has not accepted responsibility for inferior parts and recalled the transmission. Toyota's reputation and thought of dependability and safety has faltered. It is sad because we have owned several other Toyota's in the past but will not consider purchasing another. We feel we were put knowingly into danger driving this vehicle as so many others unfortunately shared the same experience with same model/yr Toyota.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #14

Dec 282009


  • 143,000 miles
Driving home from work, heard a grinding noise drove to the mechanic we use and was told the transmission is bad and needs to be replaced.

- Dunn, NC, USA

problem #13

Dec 152009


  • 70,000 miles
Had to replace the transmission on my 2004 Matrix. The car has been making noise for the last several months. I did not take it to the shop to find the noise because it ran fine. The last time I started the car before it broke down the noise was really loud and did not drive very well. The transmission and clutch shifted fine. Car broke down on the interstate. Was able to get off the first exit. Took it the repair shop. They described it as a metal grinding noise and saw heavy vibrations from the transmission when the car was on the lift. Replaced the transmission for $2700. Got the car back, drives fine. No noise.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #12

Dec 062009


  • 41,500 miles
Toyota Matrix 2004 I have been noticing (what appeared to be) slippage in the clutch, especially at higher gears. This kept getting more problematic until 12-6-2009 the car would not go more than 20 mph and smelled hot. What appeared to be transmission oil was found on the driveway under the car. Note: Upon looking at this issue via the www, I see this is a ┐prevalent┐ issue with Toyota Matrix but the car dealerships do not acknowledge this. ??

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #11

Oct 102009


  • 84,500 miles
I have a 2004 Matrix (5 speed manual) with 85K and the throwout bearing has failed. I was driving home from a concert with a few youth kids on Saturday night. I was entering the 1-10E trying to merge in with traffic when the throwout bearing failed. I tried to shift into 3rd gear, but it was stuck in 2nd. I had to slam the gear into place to prevent getting run over by a SUV. This was my second near-death experience this year in my car due to the transmission. Earlier, when the car was at 74K, the front axle on the transmission broke. This broke in the middle of a busy intersection where I had to keep swaying my body forward until the car had enough momentum to roll across. After replacing the front axle, I really do not have the money to fix another transmission issue. Toyota needs to recall their transmissions on the 2004 Matrix, I don't know how many more times I can afford to cheat death.

- Hacienda Heights, CA, USA

problem #10

Oct 022009


  • 82,000 miles
Transmission went out on highway.

- Kill Devil Hills, NC, USA

problem #9

Nov 012007


  • 105,000 miles
My 2004 Toyota Matrix transmission failed. Not the clutch, bearings or pressure plate...the transmission. Had to have it replaced to the tune of $3800. Apparently I am not the only one with the problem...just do a google search for 2004 Toyota Matrix manual transmission failure and look at the 30+ pages of comments on edmunds site. Toyota needs to acknowledge this as a defect and refund our money. We need your help, please.

- Trenton, NC, USA

problem #8

Aug 192009


  • 52,811 miles
I have a 2004 Toyota Matrix with mileage of 52,811 and a standard transmission. I had to replace the clutch. The warranty covers 60,000 miles or five years, so I was under the mileage but six months over the years. I understand that people are having problems with clutch/transmission with the 2003-2006 matrixes. It seems very early to me for the clutch to have failed and it cost $1,295 to fix.

- Setauket, NY, USA

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