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:
20 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
9 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,045 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.

2009 Toyota Matrix engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Toyota Matrix Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #40

Jul 052012


  • 62,465 miles


The contact owned a 2009 Toyota Matrix. While driving approximately 55 mph, the accelerator pedal became stuck. Each time the brake pedal was applied, the vehicle accelerated. The contact drove over three curbs, a yield sign, and a stop sign. The contact sustained back pain and received medical attention. A police report was filed. The contact was treated and released the same day. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to an impound yard. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 62,465. Updated 01/21/16

- Townsend, DE, USA

problem #39

Feb 052015


  • miles
The contact owned a 2009 Toyota Corolla matrix. While driving 50 mph, the vehicle accelerated independently and crashed into a rail several times. The air bags failed to deploy. The contact sustained injuries to the neck, arm, and back that required medical attention. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown...updated 11/02/15 updated 12/03/15

- Rochester Hills , MI, USA

problem #38

May 012014

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
2009 Toyota Matrix first problem started stalling suddenly in traffic last year, but now very frequently stalls even on highways at high speeds. No warnings. When stalled all lights comes on in dash, including "check engine" light. Completely turn off ignition and restarting is the only way to fix this issue at that time. After restarting the check engine light goes out. Occurred several times in all sorts of weather, but more frequently in hot summer days. Yesterday stalled 4 times within 90 minutes drive. Restart cleared engine computer dealership had difficult time replicating failure. But, advised replacement of the engine control module at a cost of over $1000. Since this year model not recalled by Toyota yet. I do not know how or where to complain so that Toyota acknowledge that it is a safety issue and fix this at their expense.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #37

Feb 092014

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 54,000 miles


I was driving on the road around the neiborhood at the T intersection, I try to brake but my car was not stop.then I try to put on the brake all the time but my car still keep going and hit a stair brick in front of the house..

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #36

Aug 202013

Matrix 4-cyl

  • miles
I was driving on a secondary highway going between 80 and 100 kph with the cruise control engaged. I was traveling along in top gear at an RPM of 2000-2500 - when I noticed that I was entering a construction zone where traffic was halted. I had just begun to travel up a hill toward the halted traffic. As the car started up the hill, I noticed that the rpms had dropped and caused the gears to shift down into a lower gear with higher RPM to pull the car up the hill. Almost simultaneously of the car shifting gears, I pressed the brakes hard to begin stopping. I was alarmed as I felt the car struggling to accelerate hard against my braking. The braking had not disengaged the cruise control. I pressed the brakes harder. Then, thinking the car might be confused, I took my foot off the brakes before pressing the brakes hard again. I still felt the car struggling to accelerate hard against the hard braking. I had the presence of mind the turn off the cruise control by pressing the button on the end of the cruise control stick. Immediately, the unintended acceleration stopped and the braking was effective to stop the car. I have never again experienced this problem of cruise control not disengaging upon braking. I suspected that the sequence of braking beginning almost simultaneously to the gears shifting may have caused the confusion in the cruise control. That could make the issue a software problem in cruise control as opposed to a mechanical braking problem.

- Kanata, Ontario, Canada K2k1e8, AA, USA

problem #35

Dec 272012

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 63,085 miles
My daughter was driving home on a snowy night and suddenly the brakes became unresponsive, the ABS and brake lights came on, and luckily she didn't need to come to a full stop at that time. After that the brakes worked for the rest of the drive home, but were spongy and she needed to give additional time to stop. Toyota issued a tsb-0205-09 on 7/6/2009 about this - C0215. We spent $671.10 to repair the rear left and the mechanic said we will most likely need to do the rear right in the future. I called Toyota reimbursement dept. About this and they said they would do nothing since it's out of the warranty period of 36K. They said it's not a safety issue as well. My point to them was how can you issue a tsb in 2009 on a 2009 model and not back this problem up for the life of the car? they know the sensor is going to go bad most likely, it could cause a serious safety issue, but no recall was ever issued. This is a dangerous business practice! we already had 2 recalls (floor mat interference with accelerator pedal and accelerator pedal reinforcement bar) on this vehicle. This needs to be addressed and the consumer shouldn't need to bear the cost!

- Cambridge, NY, USA

problem #34

May 272012

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 65 miles


On May 30,2012 while driving my 2009 Toyota corolla with 27,000 miles, we are the original owners, down route one in peabody, Massachusetts in heavy fast lane traffic the auto, for no reason slowed to almost a stop and could not be accelerated. With the hazard lights on it was difficult to get to the side of the highway as no one seemed to recognize the meaning of hazard lights.I let the car rest and when I started it everything seemed fine and I drove to revere without a problem. I parked the car in the northgate shopping mall and when I returned a few hours later the auto was totally dead and I had to have it towed to winthrop. They could not diagnose the problem because of the dead battery that they replaced at a cost of $129. They told us to drive locally for a while. So far the problem has not recurred. What started out a $20,000 purchase for safety and reliability has become something else. We would like an explanation about this problem and we understand this is not an isolated incident. We are now in a situation of trading the 2009 corolla, (something we cannot afford) or selling it to some unsuspecting person, something we do not care to do. Even if it never happens again the seeds of fear have been planted.

- Winthrop, MA, USA

problem #33

Jan 292012


  • miles
Investigation results of report#-426903 given 2/12 of unintended acceler: Was investigated by spx Corp. Investigator hired from Toyota. At my apt. Setting, in my reserved parking spot because car could not be driven due to severe front end damage. I was given a memory stick with edr download info., telling me Toyota will respond. 22 pdf pages, 19 were bizarre math equations, never to be understood. My event showed when ignition turned on engine at 1600rpm, to 800rpm, as I began to move, then went to 2000rpm, in less then 60 seconds, within a small lane, plunging me into brick wall. Letter from Toyota administrator said no faults were found, sorry cannot be of assistance. In the 3rd paragraph was false info. Re: extensive test drive done to test brakes, etc. Everything working well. I called his direct # leaving a message in regard to I had serious questions "test drive"" leaving my name & #. he called next day to apologize, "I misstated the test drive", at the service center it was driven a short distance, I said service center? tm- yes!, I said street outside my apt. Door? tm- yes!. then said parking lot? tm- with hesitation, yes! asked if he was sure of the outcome, yes! next day via fax I wrote to him telling him that he made many misstatements! there is no street by my apt., car never went to a service center, have lo jack telling me the car was never moved since collision.which I knew since frame is severely bent, bumper rests on ground, all oil leaked out. If this is how a administrator of Toyota claims responds with outright lies, how many Toyota owners have been deceived. I told him; let's cut to the chase, I want a replacement car that is safe! 2000rpm- that is hwy. Speed, 1600rpm at startup with foot on break, Toyota calls this safe? he never knew the car could not be driven or where it was investigated, am I to trust his response" not at all!

- Copiague, NY, USA

problem #32

Feb 232012


  • 74,523 miles
While driving on the highway on February 23, 2012, I lost acceleration with no warning whatsoever. No other problems were encountered at that time. I was able to get off the highway and have my car towed to the dealership. Their diagnosis was as follows: "connected scan tool and found code P0121 throttle pedal position sensor switch a circuit range performance, performed inspection and found internal malfunction in throttle body sensor, replaced throttle body, retested working normal at this time" I am in possession of the defective throttle body. On February 24, 2012, I called Toyota and reported my incident. They provided me with the case number 1202242199. According to Toyota, they haven't heard of this issue in the past, but to me it is unreasonable that the throttle body should fail so soon. While my car is nearly 4 years old with just over 74,000 miles, most of those miles are from driving constant highway speeds because I have a 60 mile round trip commute to work. On September 17, 2011, the throttle body was serviced to remove carbon build up.

- Peoria, AZ, USA

problem #31

Jan 292012

Matrix 4-cyl

  • miles
From my apartment parking space I had to make a U turn. Gently put my foot on accelerator, approx. @2mph, turning right, matrix began to go faster, put my foot quickly on the brake, the car accelerated at a higher speed crashing me into a brick wall, all within parking area. Estimate of damage was $6,000, frame severely bent, bumper & hood destroyed. Side front fenders have to be replaced. Undercarriage damaged. The front impact was very fast, no air bag went off. Rear side panels popped off.

- Copiague, NY, USA

problem #30

Jun 152010

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles


While driving with the cruise control engaged and traveling in the right lane on an interstate, I applied the brakes to slow down from 65 to 55 as I approached a truck in front of me. This was done to allow a car in the passing lane to pass me. When that car had passed, I released the break to pass the truck ahead of me after having had the break applied for 5 or 6 seconds (far longer than necessary for the cruise control to have shut off.). when I released the break, the cruise control re-initiated itself and the vehicle returned to 65 mph without my touching any further pedals. My feet were on the floor and there were no floor mats near the pedals. The cruise control alone was accelerating the car.

- Hawley, PA, USA

problem #29

Mar 172011

Matrix 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Matrix. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph with the cruise control engaged, she came upon a large road grader. She braked to slow down, disengaging the cruise control. When she could safely pass, she accelerated quickly to get around another vehicle. After she passed the vehicle, the vehicle continued to accelerate very fast, after she removed her foot from the accelerator and applied the brakes to slow the vehicle down, it accelerated out of control. She responded by continuously pressing the brake pedal very hard and she also pressed the button to turn off the cruise control. Although the engine was fighting the brakes, she managed to slow the vehicle down and pulled to the side, put the vehicle in neutral, but the engine continued to roar. The contact was able to turn the vehicle off. The contact inspected the mat and it was not in any position to hold the accelerator down. The next day, the vehicle was inspected, but nothing was found. The failure and current mileage was 19,000. Updated 04/15/11 updated 11/28/11

- Lawrence, KS, USA

problem #28

Jul 282010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Matrix. While the contact was driving approximately 20 mph, entering a circle in the roadway, the brake pedal was engaged with no power response. The vehicle would not slow down and crashed into the passenger side rear of the proceeding vehicle. The vehicle continued to travel and then crashed into the stairway of a house. The front driver side tire was trapped in between the stairway and sidewalk. There were no injuries. A police report was filed for the incident. The vehicle sustained extensive front end damages. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer. The insurance company had not inspected or declared the damages to the vehicle at the time of the complaint. The failure mileage was approximately 10,000. Updated 11/9/10 updated 11/16/10

- Newton Center, MA, USA

problem #27

May 102010


  • 30 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Matrix. The contact stated when sitting idle at a complete stop, the engine would exhibit an unusual increase in engine rpms. In addition, the contact stated if the brakes were not firmly depressed when attempting to accelerate, the vehicle would not respond. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times yet the failure was unable to be duplicated. The contact was unable to confirm if there were any recalls on the vehicle. The failure mileage was 30 and the current mileage was 3,300.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #26

Apr 302010


  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Matrix. The contact was driving approximately 45 mph with a sudden increase in acceleration. The brake pedal was applied and the vehicle continued to accelerate and traveled off the roadway. The contact struck a reflector. The vehicle sustained moderate damages. There was no personal injury. A police report was filed of the incident. The vehicle was towed to an authorize dealer and remained at the facility for over a period of two and a half months under an investigation. The manufacturer had an independent engineer to perform further investigation regarding the acceleration failure. The authorized dealer was unable to locate the problem and informed the contact to pick up the vehicle. The vehicle was repaired for the body damages. The manufacturer was notified and advised that they would not compensate for any damages until the cause of failure had been determined. The contact expressed concern that the vehicle had not been repaired and the dealers advisement to release the unsafe vehicle to him. The failure mileage was approximately 22,000. Updated 11/29/10 updated 12/08/10

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #25

Feb 022009


  • 13,000 miles
February 09 I was driving in back of a truck and staying far in advance not close to the truck. The truck went to put his brakes on and my car accelerated and I went to put my brakes on and the car hit the truck from the back.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #24

Nov 152009


  • 4,000 miles
We have a 2009 Toyota Matrix that would not stop as my husband was driving down our long driveway. He went over a curb, hit some bushes, went down thru a field and almost into our pond--this happened twice before he finally got it stopped before hitting a large boulder. We want the scratches fixed.

- Old Lyme, CT, USA

problem #23

Nov 072009


  • 25,000 miles
Driving my 2009 Toyota Matrix - I was driving in back of a truck and he slammed his brakes on. I had to be driving one car away from him then all of a sudden he slammed on his brakes - I had to be going 25 mile per hour. My car accelerate up and by the time I put my brakes on I had slammed into his car gently. It was because of how slow I was going that saved me.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #22

May 132010


  • 13,800 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Matrix. The contact was driving approximately 65 mph with the cruise control activated, suddenly the vehicle accelerated to 80 mph or greater. The cruise.control was deactivated and the vehicle continued at the increased speed rate. There was pressure applied to the brake pedal twice before the vehicle slowed down. The vehicle was able to continue normal operation. An authorized dealer was notified, the technician stated that the failure was driver error and that the black box would determine the cause of failure. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The failure mileage was 13,800.

- Birdsboro, PA, USA

problem #21

Apr 022010


  • 37,000 miles
I was attempting a left turn and had begun to accelerate but then decided to not turn, I took my foot off the gas pedal and it continued to accelerate, I'm not sure if I was able to apply the brake and get any results or not because I was hit by oncoming traffic suddenly. I was very confused by the incident, because it was not my intent to drive forward and yet it did so. I was assuming that since I had the car serviced for the recall issues last month, the car was safe. We have also had issues with the gas pedal being non responsive when in cruise control mode. It had happened once when I had used it and once when my husband had used it, but we had no incidents from it and discontinued using cruise control. The car was towed to the Cherokee county (ga) Toyota collision center where I told them of the non intended acceleration. They assured me they would look into it, but only after repairing the body. After they had done so, they called me and told me to generate a case and gave me the number to Toyota. I did so on Friday, April 16th. I have not yet heard from the case manager, but am concerned and frightened of the vehicle at this point. I have a head injury; a concussion and a wrist injury as a result of the accident. The recall service work was done at Cherokee county Toyota in Georgia where I purchased the car. My insurance company was also informed of the issue and have assured me that they will look into the issue and seek repayment from Toyota if they are liable for the accident. The service manager and collision center guy who is handling my vehicle have told me that it is more likely that I would be "hit by lightening and mauled by a bear on the same day" than it is that my accident was caused by a problematic or unintentional acceleration that is a result of an issue with the car. They also told me that a computerized "test" was done and that my car is ok, but then told me to initiate a case with Toyota.

- Woodstock, GA, USA

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