2003 Toyota Matrix Autoblog fleet upgrade



In December, I got a 2003 Toyota Matrix XRS to maintain as a highway-friendlier choice to day-to-day driving my 2011 Jeep Wrangler. While “day-to-day driving” is a little a misnomer under the existing scenarios (your Autoblog content group is functioning from residence), the truth of the issue is that investing any type of quantifiable quantity of time behind the wheel of a two-door oxcart with an umbrella for a roofing system is simply not excellent. Because I marketed my 2013 Dodge Opposition SRT8 over the summer season, the function of “freeway cars and truck” has actually continued to be uncast. You can describe the intro connected over for the lengthy variation, however the Matrix ports right into that function perfectly.

As I pointed out because item, this XRS invested practically its whole life in Texas and also New Mexico. Its undercarriage is essentially pristine. Yep, I imported a rust-free, high-mileage cars and truck to Michigan. You would certainly believe that would certainly be all upside? In truth, however, while a completely dry environment does marvels for stopping rust, a warm and also warm one created chaos in various other methods, particularly on autos saved outdoors, which is specifically where you’ll locate a traveler hatchback similar to this one.

I got it recognizing it required some things attended to, and also the drive residence from southerly New Mexico to Detroit alone made up virtually 2,00 0 miles (and also greater than 25 hrs when driving), throughout which I was familiar with my acquisition rather well. I have actually currently begun taking out old extra components from previous autos (such as the six-speed change handle over, which initially changed the OEM item in my 2008 Mazdaspeed3). Right here are the highlights and also lowlights up until now, and also what I have actually done to deal with several of them. Allow’s dive in.

The excellent!

The Good News Is, every one of the huge things appears to drop under this group. The shared-with-Celica engine draws solid, reveals no leakages and also heat up to a regular temperature level and also remains there. The transmission changes well, with the exemption of some light balkiness in 6th and also 5th equipments. The link is a little careless, to ensure that may be adding, and also I have no other way of recognizing when the equipment oil was last transformed. That is just one of the things on this cars and truck’s list. Every one of the underhood pipes and also rubber are likewise in remarkably good condition, particularly thinking about exactly how lacking those products are somewhere else on the cars and truck.

As you can most likely determine from my remarks over, the body is practically remarkable as well, in addition to regular wear-and-tear, like small door dings and also such. It likewise has a fresh layer of paint, however not an excellent one. It’s a strong 10- footer, and also they plainly drew a lot of the body cut off to do it (damaging some while doing so, I’ll keep in mind) however they did paint over the liftgate badges and also there are various other acnes and also noticeable runs almost all over you search for close. This cars and truck’s initial surface was most likely totally ravaged by UV, and also whoever took it know profession made a decision to toss a Maaco work at it.

Oh, and also the tires are brand-new. A lot more on that particular listed below.

The poor!

Sunlight does not simply penalize paint. Practically whatever in and also on this cars and truck has actually been embrittled by light and also warmth. Eliminating the manufacturing facility head system was an occasion, and also also taking extreme like manage it naturally, I still handled to shed an excellent third of the retention clips. The staying couple of still do the job, however it was however an untidy event. The light pipeline that lights up the air bag indication ruined right into items at the very first effort to eliminate it.

Practically every one of the outside trim has some kind of weathering, staining or damages, as well. Every one of the home window seals seem on their last legs, as does the single remaining rainfall rail insert (the vehicle driver’s side one currently being missing).

Every one of the indoor trim is also lovely haggard. The facility console cubby broke short totally eventually, however still relaxes nicely in between the seats merely since they hold it in position. A couple of components, such as the control panel electric panel cover, the dead pedal and also component of the indoor liftgate trim, were missing out on totally.

Likewise AWOL are numerous items of the front-end plastic underbody tray, especially where it attaches to the wheel well linings. At some time, the front bumper was changed inexpensively, as shown by this half-complete plastic job and also the missing out on reduced bumper trim. The openings where the clips for the reduced fascia would certainly place are there for the globe to see. It likewise just included one foglight.

Those tires? They’re crap. New crap, however crap. They’re Ironman iMove Gen2s– simply the kind of niche-cheap tire you would certainly anticipate to locate on a vehicle being marketed on an inexpensive pre-owned cars and truck great deal. A consumer testimonial on 1010 tires.com claims, “Do not drive with these tires in the wintertime if you like your household.” Appears around. They appear to be worried of rainfall, snow, chilly and also warmth– now I can not totally dismiss asphalt or concrete. They’re simply trash. They’ll be passed springtime.

The strange?

I have actually yet to acquire a vehicle greater than 10 years of ages that really did not show some strange manufacturing facility trait that need to have been attended to years prior to I took possession, however I need to confess, the Matrix tossed me among the gnarliest sliders I have actually ever before seen. The 3rd or 2nd evening after I brought it home, I obtained a 5: 00 a.m. message from my people stating that my lights got on. I had not also driven the cars and truck, to ensure that appeared weird. I went outside to examine, and also indeed, the discolored orange radiance of fronts lights long left on welcomed me as the driveway appeared. Still drowsy, I got to in and also adjusted the button till they shut off, after that avoided to begin my day.

My mind instantly mosted likely to every one of the common suspects: my more youthful bro out messing on a vape break, straying addicts trying to find a neglected budget, something out of “ Damaging Poor” (this was New Mexico, nevertheless), however regardless of which method my ideas wandered, the service appeared clear: A short drive the following day juiced the battery back up, and also I bore in mind to secure the damned point. That should be sufficient to stop any type of future quirkiness?

Ron Howard: “It had not been.”

The following evening, my bro came knocking on the door of the Recreational Vehicle to allow me recognize that the Matrix was once more lighting up the front lawn. Doors? Secured. Change? Off. Normally, my following quit was Google, where I discovered that 2003 Matrixes (and also Pontiac Feelings and also Toyota Corollas) delivered with a defective front lights button that can enable the front lights circuit to finish if subjected to significant temperature level swings. You recognize, like the ones you could locate in the desert. There’s a TSB for it and also whatever.

When I would certainly pawed at the button the previous early morning to transform them off, I ‘d in fact transformed the high light beams on, which opened up the reduced light beam circuit, closing them off. It had actually operated in the minute, however it had not been a long-term service. This paperwork made for an easy solution. I proceeded and also bought an utilized button from a later-production version, which dealt with the concern.

All-in, the Matrix appears like a strong get-around cars and truck; I’m also delighting in zooming around community in it. Gutless though that 1.8-liter might be, the tailoring greater than offsets it. With a little bit much more Tender Loving Care, I believe it’ll appreciate a good retired life job as a part-time traveler. Not a poor job.





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