Common Toyota Matrix Problems: 1st Generation 2003 to 2008

Toyota Matrix Problems

Many generations of different car models have their common problems that owners run into. Here are the most common Toyota Matrix problems of the 1st generation, years 2003 to 2008.

Top 5 1st Gen Toyota Matrix Problems (2003 to 2008)

1. Faulty MAF Sensor

Symptoms of a Faulty MAF Sensor

A bad MAF sensor can cause problems with the engine and transmission on the 1st gen Matrix, like:

  • Lack of engine power
  • Rough running engine
  • Problems shifting
  • Check engine light for code P0171

How to Fix a Faulty MAF Sensor

  1. Before replacing the MAF sensor, check the hoses for rips or tears
  2. Listen for air leaks at the intake gasket
  3. Clean the MAF sensor with MAF sensor cleaner

2. Loose/Unsecure/Falling Windows

Symptoms of Loose Windows

  • Windows are loose and fall into the door
  • Rattling sounds from inside the door

Causes of Loose Windows

The screws that hold the window to the window regulator can loosen

How to Fix Loose Windows

Steps for fixing a falling window

  1. Remove the Door Panel

    Remove the door panel to access the window

  2. Tighten the Loose Screws

    If the window screws are loose, tighten them. To secure them tightly, skip to step 3.

  3. Secure the Window with Painter’ Tape

    Loosen the screws from the window, raise it up from the door, and secure it in the window frame with painter’s tape.

  4. Reinstall the Screws with Thread Locker

    Apply thread locker to the screws to help secure them long-term and tighten the screws back to the window

3. EVAP Codes

Causes of EVAP Codes

If your check engine light turns on and the scan tool reads for an EVAP code, check the gas cap first. If the code is related to the gas cap, the EVAP canister is usually leaking on the 03-08 Matrix and catches fuel vapors so they don’t enter the atmosphere

How to Fix EVAP Codes

First, follow these steps to check the gas cap

  1. Pull the gas cap back and straight out, checking for looseness
  2. Check the gas cap gasket for torn or broken pieces
  3. Tighten the gas cap and check its ratcheting ability

To replace the EVAP canister, steps include disconnecting the electrical connector, removing the bolts, and removing the canister. Reverse these steps to reinstall the canister.

Fix problems on your 2003 to 2008 Toyota Matrix yourself with quality auto parts at

4. Catalytic Convertor Failure

Symptoms of a Faulty Catalytic Convertor

  • Lack of engine power
  • Slow acceleration
  • Check engine light for code P0420

Causes of Catalytic Convertor Failure on the 2003 to 2008 Toyota Matrix

The catalytic convertors tend to fail on the 2003 to 2008 Toyota Matrix, causing a check engine light or engine performance problems.

How to Prevent Catalytic Convertor Failure

If the catalytic convertor is faulty, it needs to be replaced.

To help prevent catalytic convertor failure, change the spark plugs, air filter, and oil regularly according to the recommended intervals in the owner’s manual.

5. Bad Engine and Transmission Mounts

Symptoms of Bad Engine and Transmission Mounts

  • Clunking noise when shifting in and out of different gears
  • Excessive vibrations when in gear, like when sitting at a stop sign

Causes of Bad Motor Mounts on the 1st Gen Toyota Matrix

These engines tend to vibrate in general, which can loosen the engine mounts over time. Excessive vibrations indicate there is probably a problem with the motor mounts.

How to Fix Engine Mounts

Replacing the engine mounts is not an easy job for inexperienced mechanics.

The engine mount is located at the front of the vehicle and at the front of the engine. A transmission mount is located behind the battery/underneath the air filter, and another transmission mount is located at the backside of the transmission and close to the firewall.

Fix Your Own 1st Gen Toyota Matrix

Save on parts and repairs. Fix your own 2003 to 2008 Toyota Matrix with many how-to videos in 1A Auto’s video library for this generation, such as control arms, headlights, axles, struts, brakes, and more.

Shop 1st Gen Toyota Matrix Parts

Related Content

1st Generation Toyota Matrix Model Years

Top 5 Common Toyota Matrix Problems | 1st Gen (2003-2008)
Article Name
Top 5 Common Toyota Matrix Problems | 1st Gen (2003-2008)
Here are the most common Toyota Matrix problems of the 1st generation, years 2003 to 2008.
Publisher Name
1A Auto
Publisher Logo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *