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#4626767 - 01/07/18 10:42 AM Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions
JimmyJohns Offline


Registered: 01/16/17
Posts: 72
Loc: Buffalo, New York
I live in WNY, but can travel if I find the right one. I'm focusing on Hondas, but recently came across Pontiac Vibes and the Toyota Matrix, with the 1.8 and 2.4 motors, from what I have read its a corolla drive train in a crossover/wagon body. Can anyone speak to the reliability of these, general maintenance or things that are common, anything bad to look out for on these?

I've got a budget of $3500, so I'm doing my best to find as rust free as possible with that amount. I'm not looking for anything too specific, but I really am trying to find a manual, and something with decent fuel mileage but isn't terribly sluggish either.

I hope this is the right section, seemed the most relevant.

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#4626773 - 01/07/18 10:45 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32635
Loc: ME
The stick shifts in the matrix blow up all the time.

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#4626774 - 01/07/18 10:47 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: eljefino]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 10974
Loc: Idaho
Originally Posted By: eljefino
The stick shifts in the matrix blow up all the time.
Is the trans blowing up from a defect or the ricers racing?
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#4626777 - 01/07/18 10:49 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
vintageant Offline


Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 427
Loc: Florida, USA
Subaru
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1925 Alvis HDEO 15W40
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1987 Porsche 924S HDEO 15W40

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#4626778 - 01/07/18 10:49 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
JimmyJohns Offline


Registered: 01/16/17
Posts: 72
Loc: Buffalo, New York
What blows up? Do they just not go into gear or what?

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#4626779 - 01/07/18 10:50 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
simple_gifts Offline


Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 11945
Loc: Middlesex County CT
Avoid the 2.4; i believe that is the one that consumes oil; a quick search indicates maybe 2009 is the year involved.
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#4626789 - 01/07/18 10:59 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
Rolla07 Offline


Registered: 11/05/11
Posts: 4737
Loc: MTL, CANADA
Maybe consider Corollas too? Pretty much same everything under the hood. Id go for the 1.8, the 2.4 is a bit more powerful but I dont think its worth the gas cost differential and I think the 1.8 is more reliable. These cars have a few TSBs/recalls to be aware of. Depends the model years you are considering. Are you handy? These cars Corolla/Matrixs are pretty easy to work on. I originally wanted a Matrix but decided on the Corolla instead. I can provide you more detailed info on the issues ive encountered thus far, re: engine etc and issues until now at 151k and things to ask and lookout for if you consider one. Send me a DM and Id be happy to go into much more detail. I have an automatic, no idea on the MTs.
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#4626790 - 01/07/18 11:00 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
JimmyJohns Offline


Registered: 01/16/17
Posts: 72
Loc: Buffalo, New York
After reading many forums, it does seem like they have many premature transmission failures. That is a [censored] shame, I was just starting to like it.

Any other suggestions?

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#4626801 - 01/07/18 11:10 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10580
Loc: Buffalo, NY
JJ, you've got your sights on good ones in terms of simplicity and reliability. I maintained my parent's 2008 Pontiac Vibe base model for the ~9yrs they owned it. It had the 1.8L and 4spd auto. This model had all your basic power options, but no ABS, rear drum brakes, plastic wheel covers, etc.

Very nice vehicle to work on as far as engine oil changes and ATF changes. It had a dipstick up top and drain plug on the trans pan. I did nothing to it in all those years other than oil, fluids, filters and brakes.

It did start having the intake manifold gasket leak problem during very cold weather that would throw a lean code, which would clear as soon as the ambient temps warmed. Common problem with this series engine AFAIK. What I didn't like about this car was it had a stiff, bouncy ride and had a weird throttle tip-in that I could never get used to. I didn't find the seats very comfortable either. All these things are subjective of course. Mom traded it in for a new Camry LE in 2016. A Camry feels like a $50K Cadillac in comparison IMO.


Edited by JTK (01/07/18 11:13 AM)
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#4626808 - 01/07/18 11:19 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
willbur Offline


Registered: 06/06/13
Posts: 287
Loc: sw ohio
In my experience, the vibe("poyota")/matrix are ultra reliable. Mine at 120k and only the washer pump broke at 15k. Other than that; only oil, tires etc.

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#4626815 - 01/07/18 11:24 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
javacontour Offline


Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 10306
Loc: Illinois
I believe the suspect 5 speed transmission problems were fixed by the 2006 model year. So if you can get a 2006 or newer Vibe or Matrix, you are less likely to experience problems with the transmission.
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#4626829 - 01/07/18 11:34 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
JimmyJohns Offline


Registered: 01/16/17
Posts: 72
Loc: Buffalo, New York
I'm really going for a manual, it seems as though the 6-speeds are more reliable due to the added gear needing a longer input shaft, thus an extra input shaft bearing. From all that I have read so far, and I am by no means an expert, the 5-speeds are just poorly designed, no matter how often you change the fluid, that bearing will inevitably seize up. I just have to find if it is limited to any years like you mentioned Java.

Thank you for your input JTK, it sounds like a good running motor, hopefully I can find some more information and find the right drivetrain combination

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#4626837 - 01/07/18 11:38 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
bubbatime Offline


Registered: 03/18/08
Posts: 5627
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: JimmyJohns
I've got a budget of $3500, so I'm doing my best to find as rust free as possible with that amount.


$99 plane trip to Florida, Alabama, SC, GA. As many rust free cars you can throw a stick at. Drive one home.

https://orlando.craigslist.org/cto/d/2010-pontiac-vibe-24l/6451081437.html
https://miami.craigslist.org/mdc/cto/d/pontiac-vibe-2006/6417391317.html
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06 GMC Sierra Nextgen 10W30



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#4626848 - 01/07/18 11:46 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
skyactiv Offline


Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4397
Loc: The Midwest
Go on Autotrader.com. Lots more is to be found their than craigslist. Also be careful about buying a flood vehicle.

If you find something out of state, research the emissions ordeal that may apply if say you brought a vehicle from Ohio to NY.

I would also research the Focus wagon with the DOHC engine and a 5 manual, not the valve seat dropping SOHC engine. That is a reliable combo and you wont pay the Toyota/Honda used car reliability tax.
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Me: 13' VW GTI 3 door 6 speed manual

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#4626850 - 01/07/18 11:46 AM Re: Looking to buy a used vehicle, could use opinions [Re: JimmyJohns]
surfstar Offline


Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 5998
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
Elantra GT

Avoid honda/toyota if you have a low budget. You can get newer, lower, mileage cars by avoiding those brands when shopping used.
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