Author Topic: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners  (Read 11848 times)

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« on: July 17, 2013, 09:03:36 AM »

I've had my 05 Matrix for a couple of months now.  One thing I've noticed is that the handling on wet streets is ... well, it's far from superior.  If' I am doing 55+ on a wet highway uphill on a straight track, my drive wheels will occasionally slip.  An acquaintance recently sold her Vibe for similar reasons.  (But... in her Vibe's defense, I'm fairly suspicious it the reason really was "I want a new car.")

Now there's enough of these things on the road that I really can't fathom that these things are designed so poorly that this is normal.  My first guess is that the cheap Chinese tires that came with it are junk and that a good set of tires will fix this.  I wouldn't say the tires are worn to the "replace me" point, but they're not by any means new.  And the sidewalls are looking a little sad and cracked anyway.

I'm just curious for some feedback on others wet road handling to support my theory.  I'm probably going to replace the tires anyway, I guess I'm just looking for some feel good feedback.

daverobev

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3394
  • Location: France
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2013, 09:37:28 AM »
Guessing you don't have a load of weight in the boot/trunk - ie, giving the drive wheels less traction?

Sounds like bad tyres. That's all it can be - if the wheels are slipping. Hydroplaning is pretty cool but pretty dangerous, I'd change the tires (damnit.. am I British or Canadian, argh) ASAP. Because if they are slipping when moving, it's sure they'll slip if you try to stop in a hurry...

Do the depth test I guess. See if one side is wearing more - in which case, only part of the tire might be gripping properly. And/or when you get the new tires on, get the shop to do a tracking/alignment check. Don't bother if the tires are wearing evenly though.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 10:02:10 AM »
Guessing you don't have a load of weight in the boot/trunk - ie, giving the drive wheels less traction?

Sounds like bad tyres. That's all it can be - if the wheels are slipping. Hydroplaning is pretty cool but pretty dangerous, I'd change the tires (damnit.. am I British or Canadian, argh) ASAP. Because if they are slipping when moving, it's sure they'll slip if you try to stop in a hurry...

Do the depth test I guess. See if one side is wearing more - in which case, only part of the tire might be gripping properly. And/or when you get the new tires on, get the shop to do a tracking/alignment check. Don't bother if the tires are wearing evenly though.

No dead bodies or lead weight transport in the boot.  ;)

I was sort of fishing to see if it was a general design issue... In other words, to see if the car was engineered with the weight too far aft.  I'm still guessing it's the cheap Chinese t[iy]res.

BlueMR2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2008
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2013, 10:14:56 AM »
My Dad has one and on the occasions I drove it in the wet I noticed the same thing.  It was very much prone to wheel slippage.  I don't know why, it's built like any other FWD car (same balance, etc).  Must be the tires...

Forcus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 714
  • Location: Central Illinois
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2013, 10:19:38 AM »
While it's possible it is a quirk of the Matrix / Vibe twins, more likely it's the tires. They don't have to be worn out to get "interesting". The main two components are tread depth / design (for channeling water) and tread hardness. Rock hard tires usually wear like iron and stay quiet, but may not conform to the road very well when you hit patches of water (which act like bumps or wedges).

Not specifically related to your issue, suspensions with active toe in/out for better handling can become quite squirly when the bushings get worn. Since the late 90's there are a lot of cars that have this. If you hit a bump (or in this case, varying levels of water that act like a bump) it can give an unpredictable sideways "jig" to the rear of the car. It doesn't make it lose traction but does make it uncomfortable, like you are momentarily hydroplaning.

grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4826
  • Age: 27
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 11:14:17 AM »
Now there's enough of these things on the road that I really can't fathom that these things are designed so poorly that this is normal.  My first guess is that the cheap Chinese tires that came with it are junk and that a good set of tires will fix this.  I wouldn't say the tires are worn to the "replace me" point, but they're not by any means new.  And the sidewalls are looking a little sad and cracked anyway.

I'm just curious for some feedback on others wet road handling to support my theory.  I'm probably going to replace the tires anyway, I guess I'm just looking for some feel good feedback.
Here ya go: SWMBO drives a vibe with nice tires and I've never experienced a problem with wet roads in a lot of driving time.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2013, 06:29:35 PM »
Followup:  I've finally been through the first real rain since I bought grippy tires.  As expected, this seems to have fixed the issue.  I probably went slightly overboard.  I probably could have gotten by with slightly less grippy tires, but basically picked the ones with the highest wet road rating.  They were about 10% of what I paid for the car (and right after the JoeT expensive tire thread).  Now that I know it has reasonable wet road handling, the next set will probably be a little less pricey.

Another Reader

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5104
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2013, 06:46:16 PM »
It never makes sense to buy cheap, poorly designed tires.  Get the best tires for your particular car that you can afford.  Wear is important, but your safety and the safety of others on the road is paramount.  Best does not mean the most expensive, but the best match for your car's handling characteristics and your driving.

kimmarg

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 750
  • Location: Northern New England
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2013, 09:13:34 PM »
Are you happy with the vibe/matrix overall? A 2007 vibe is my current top pick for next car.

scamutz

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Age: 47
  • Location: SC
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2013, 09:26:11 PM »
We have an '04 Vibe GT and it handles beautifully - bought it a few years ago with 85k for 4600 - it now has 135k and still runs like a top.  We'll be keeping this one for the duration. 

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6956
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2013, 09:26:19 PM »
We have an 06 Matrix, love it.  No problem with slipping.

oldladystache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 695
  • Age: 74
  • Location: coastal southern california
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2013, 09:39:06 PM »
I'm happy with my '06 Vibe. It does slip a little at the nearby intersection where I go through a deep dip that has water in it, then accelerate as I turn.

It doesn't rain much here in Southern Calif, and when it does I usually try to stay home or drive extra cautiously. I don't think it's a problem.

I can carry an amazing amount of stuff in it.

Deano

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 213
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2013, 10:07:59 PM »
05 Vibe...with the original tires, super slippy. I have new tires now that are really solid, no complaints. I use winter tires as well, the Vibe rolls like a tank with them. I love the car, had it since 08 and plan on another 5 years.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Question for Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe owners
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2013, 07:56:11 AM »
So far I've been very pleased with my Matrix.  I more than doubled my mpg (yes, it was that bad before).  I bought it used off of Craigslist with extremely low miles from a guy that could no longer drive a stick.  We've considered buying a second one as a replacement for the wife's car.