Toyota Nation Forum banner

'03 Matrix / Vibe, what usually goes bad?

2311 Views 6 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  snsrushing
Hi all,

I'm thinking of purchasing a used '03 Vibe, stick, 2WD, ~100k.

From reading forums, websites, etc it seems like the most common mechanical complaint is the slipping serpentine belt, that's fixed with a Gatorback brand.

I've also heard of a few people having their clutches go out.

1. Other than that, what are some of the more common failures on the '03 Matrix/Vibe?

Since the 1ZZ-FE has a timing chain, and given the mileage, this is the best list I could come up with for inspect/replace, given the mileage. Please feel free to add to the list if you can think of anything else:

- fluids (coolant, oil, gear oil, brake fluid, hydraulic fluid, PS fluid)
- serpentine belt
- belt tensioner (thanks mikered30)
- spark plugs
- thermostat
- water pump
- air filter
- pcv valve
- tires
- battery & alternator (possibly)
- O2 sensor (thanks dasspr)
- MAF sensor (cleaning; thanks dasspr)

- inspect and clean throttle body
- inspect CV boots
- inspect brakes
- check alignment
- check clutch
- inspect CAT (emissions check; thanks dasspr)

- camrydud3
See less See more
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
I think your pretty much covered!

dont forget the CAT + 02 sensor + MAF, cat & 02 usually go bad after 80,000 miles in any car
Not only are the serp belts bad, so is the tensioner.
Good post - I'm looking at an 03 as well, and this is helpful.

About the serpentine belt tensioner - is there a flawed design, or just bad build quality? Does it need to be replaced with a retrofit, DIY hack, or just an OEM replacement?
^^^ Probably a little of everything here - bad design, spotty build, bad luck. I've seen some "modified" tensioners that actually have removed the little "shock" and went to a solid design. Not a good idea IMO - since it was designed to be dynamic with belt tension.

Most of the time, the tensioner is OK - just slap on a new belt (Goodyear Gatorback) and for 90% of the folks out there - no more squeaky belt, noises under the hood.
I have a 03 with about 60k on it and so far so good. The only problem I did have, now that I think about it, is the drivers side caliper started to seize on me, but that was a relatively cheap fix, even for a shop to do it.

This is my 2nd 1st gen Matrix XR and I love it, just the look of the front end with the factory body kit did it for me.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.