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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,871 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2009 Toyota Matrix Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #25

Oct 122016


  • 75,000 miles


I started my car, and the power steering light was on. I tried to tun the wheel, and noted the power steering stopped working. I got the car home, and called for service at my local dealerships. They wouldn't give me an appointment". researched the web, and noted this issue was a wide spread complaint. I checked the fuses (noted them okay), the steering resumed.... however, this is a real concern, being that the steering appears to be an issue for these cars. What can I do to get this repaired?

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #24

May 242016


  • 61,559 miles
Front of vehicle shook when I applied the brakes and came to a stop.

- Shelby Township, MI, USA

problem #23

Nov 032015


  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Corolla matrix. When the vehicle was started, the electronic power steering indicator illuminated and the steering ability seized. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering shaft computer needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 84,000.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #22

May 242015


  • 103,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Matrix. Immediately after the vehicle was started, the warning lights illuminated and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The contact stated that the failure recurred several times. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 103,000.

- El Pasco , TX, USA

problem #21

Jun 012015


  • 51,033 miles
My car would not start after I had stopped to get a hair cut. I cleaned the battery terminals and was able to get it to start. When I tried to turn the steering wheel it was very hard to turn the wheel. I managed to drive it a half block to a Napa dealer so I could replace the battery and I was going to buy some power steering fluid. I was surprised I could not even find the power steering reservoir. After I replaced the battery the steering returned to normal. Really scary now after I researched and found out than many others have had the steering go out when they were driving at high speeds. Not sure why there is no recall on this.

- Barrigada, GU, USA

problem #20

Jan 062015


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Matrix. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, the steering wheel seized and excessive force on the steering wheel was required. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the power steering electronic control unit needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000.

- New Bedford, MA, USA

problem #19

Mar 162014


  • 74,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Matrix. While driving 35 mph, the power steering seized without warning. As a result, the contact lost control of the vehicle, drove over a road retainer, and landed in a ditch. A police report was not filed. The contact did not sustain any injuries. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 74,000. The VIN was not available.

- Manbel, TX, USA

problem #18

Dec 192013

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Car was parked. When I returned to the car, the power steering had ceased to function and warning lights were lit for the power steering, ABS and brakes. I understand there is a technical service bulletin on the power steering unit for this vehicle for issues related to the power steering locking up. Luckily I was not driving the car at the time.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #17

Nov 062013

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 44,500 miles
Power steering malfunction occurred and warning light (on the dashboard) was on. Steering wheel became very hard to turn. Luckily this happened on the parking lot, and not on my way back home (trip on the highway) which for sure would resulted in car accident with serious consequences. I have contact Toyota however at this point they are not concerned in this matter as safety issue and will not cover any expenses for such repair (power steering electrical unit/ relay was replaced_parts~ 900$ and labor ~500$).

- Bedminster, NJ, USA

problem #16

May 252013


  • 81,900 miles
Warning light for electronic power steering came on, and I lost power steering. Dealer says car too hazardous to drive and I need a new electric power steering motor with cost of installation in excess of $800 - not covered by warranty, outrageous on a four year old, well-maintained vehicle. Now waiting for parts.

- Schenectady, NY, USA

problem #15

Nov 012010

Matrix 4-cyl

  • miles


2009 Matrix xrs certified vehicle purchased with 33,000 miles around 2010, currently 48,000 miles and has 5 yr, 100,000 mile extended warranty. This vehicle is difficult to drive on the highway. The vehicle wanders into the left or right lanes and driver must fight to keep the vehicle in a straight line. The local chantilly Toyota dealership denies the issue and any tsb. The steering on this vehicle is dangerous and warrants further review by ntsb if Toyota continues to stonewall its customers regarding safety issues. I will follow up with Toyota national.

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #14

Nov 032011

Matrix 4-cyl

  • 34,585 miles
I was traveling on interstate when vehicle drifted from right lane to left lane, unable to control - this discontinued, appx 4 - 5 miles later the vehicle drifted from right lane to left lane & hit shoulder. When brake vehicle went into spin & ended up crossing left & right lanes, ending on interstate roadside @ tree line. Damage to front driver's side - I am sore on left side (shoulder, lower back & left knee - also have pain across stomach I guess from seatbelt engaging. This was terrifying, and I am also afraid to drive this vehicle again. Accident occurred on Thursday am, first chance to research Friday night, I was appalled to learn that while Toyota was aware of this issue never received first communication regarding possible danger. I could have been killed had there been traffic around me on the interstate, as was the case when the 1st drifing happened.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #13

Sep 222010


  • 19,400 miles
I have a 2009 Toyota Matrix that has multiple issues including a steering issue that almost caused my family their life, now I am being told I need new brakes at 19,800 miles. The rear brakes are not adjusting at all which may be causing the steering issues. Car is having interment issues going into 1st and reverse, reported multiple times, Toyota says they cannot duplicate. Car is still under warranty. Also, one tire is wearing on one side which is a known issue. The steering issues has been reported along with the one tire wearing issue by over 500 people but Toyota will not recognize it. I am scared to take my car on the interstate due to the steering issue and this is a new car with low miles. My family is at risk of break failure, or worse due to the defects. When I called Toyota, M they said if I ride my breaks a lot, that could be the cause. I do no such thing. This car is only driven to work and back everyday and has been serviced on a regular basis only by Toyota dealer in rivergate. I have also reported defects in the gas gauge. When I fill the car up, it registers on empty for at least 2 hours before moving to F. it does not happen every time and since Toyota cannot see it, they said they cannot fix it.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #12

Sep 092010


  • 26,500 miles
Steering wheel pulls to the right/left. Purchased car used from Toyota dealer noticed the steering pull during test drive. Dealer aligned car, but still pulls to the right & left.

- Carbondale, PA, USA

problem #11

Jan 012010


  • 40,000 miles
Ongoing steering problems on 2009 Matrix cause it to over steer when car hits bumps or when there is a wind of any kind. The faster the speed, the worse the problem. It is dangerous to drive in windy conditions. The car badly over steers and I am afraid it will roll in windy conditions.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #10

Apr 102010


  • 28,101 miles
When accelerating, the car veers sharply to the right. It's not an alignment issue but feels like the torque steering. I must have my hands firmly on the wheel to correct it. This happens at least twice weekly. According to my Toyota dealer there is no recall on this issue.

- Fayetteville, TN, USA

problem #9

Sep 232009


  • 1,900 miles
I have a 2009 Toyota Matrix with 5000 miles on it. It will be moving down the road fine and start moving to the left into the nest lane on the highway. Upon trying to correct it will glide to the other lane on the right. It seems like a real struggle trying to keep the car in the lane. I have had this happen several times and my husband has also experienced this. We tried to blame it on the wind and the shape of the car, but it has not been windy every time this has happened. We live in a snow belt and are concerned if this would happen on snow or ice we would not be able to correct as normal.

- Birch Run, MI, USA

problem #8

Mar 072010


  • 20,000 miles
Bought 2009 Toyota Matrix S new. I commute approximately 45 miles one way to work on freeway, normally with cruise control on. I have experienced several occasions of acceleration "surge"(relatively minor increases in acceleration without touching accelerator). My wife also experienced unintended acceleration while taking our son to school under normal street speed. I would also experience several situations of difficult vehicle control on freeway due to steering issues. I thought at the time it was just wind pushing against the car until I read other drivers experiencing the same thing.

- Valencia, CA, USA

problem #7

Feb 062010


  • 29,000 miles
At 12:30 P.M. I was heading North on oh-25 in bowling green, Ohio. My car began shaking, but I was not overly concerned as we often have windy days. I turned right onto oh-582 and became slightly more concerned when the shaking in the cabin did not cease. I noticed that the car did not shake below about 45 mph but again attributed the shaking I experienced to my car fighting against winds. I turned left onto I-75 N and accelerated to merge with traffic. After merging safely into the right-hand lane, I continued accelerating until I reached 55-60 mph and merged into the left hand lane. Shortly, I reached 65 mph. When the shaking, which I had supposed to be due to strong winds, did not cease, I attempted to decelerate. I pressed lightly on the brakes to begin a slow deceleration, with the intention of merging into the right hand lane and putting on my hazard lights until I could come to a safe place to pull over. Instead, when I began to put light pressure on the brakes, the car veered unexpectedly to the left. Surprised, but not overly alarmed, I let off the brakes and attempted to correct the trajectory of the vehicle, which I did not judge to be a difficult maneuver. Instead of coming back into the middle of the lane as expected, the car overcorrected and spun perpendicular to the following traffic and the semi beside me in the right hand lane. The car then slid toward the semi, partially under the bed of the truck and as my car slowed, the front right end of the car made contact with the back left wheels of the truck. On impact, the force of impact pushed my car back out through the left-hand lane and into the grassy median where it came to a halt.

- Bowling Green, Oh, OH, USA

problem #6

Jan 042010


  • 11,721 miles
While driving to and from work I have experienced a problem with the steering of my 2009 Toyota Matrix. This generally happens when I am driving on the highway going over 40 mph. The car will suddenly veer and I have to compensate by steering in the opposite direction to bring it back onto the road. At first I thought it was the wind blowing my car to the side but even on calm days it has happened. I have had other people drive my car who have had it happen to them. It does not happen ever day but at least once or twice a week I experience the problem.

- West Lafayette, IN, USA

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