Why Won’t My Toyota Matrix Start?

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The Toyota Matrix was around for a long time and had a great period from 2003 to 2013. The Matrix is a great hatchback for people who love to drive but also need to carry things around.

It’s got plenty of space for passengers and cargo alike, and it’s even good on gas! It was a great hatchback of its time, and there is no denying that.

Regarding the issues, there is no denying that there were a few present in this one. The one discussed here today led to many people asking, “Why won’t my Toyota Matrix start?”.

Let’s take a look at some of the possible reasons:

  1. Weak Or Dead Battery
  2. Malfunctioning Starter Motor
  3. Rodent Damage
  4. Faulty Fuel Pump
  5. Complete Engine Failure

Although the hatchback has been out of commission for nearly a decade now, this does not mean people are still not using it.

If you are reading this article, there is a good chance that you are still rocking the Toyota Matrix. So, I would suggest that you read it in its entirety.

What Would Cause A Toyota Matrix To Not Start?

What are the common starting issues of the Toyota Matrix? Let's find out

The introduction informed you about five of the most common reasons which lead to starting issues, and this section will discuss them in detail.

1: Weak or Dead Battery

If your battery is older than three years, it’s probably time for it to reach the end of its lifespan.

However, if your battery is new, but you’re still having problems getting your hatchback started, there are a few other things to check before you call a mechanic.

Hook up a voltmeter to confirm if the battery is all right. If it emits less than 12V, it either has no charge or is completely dead.

A unique clicking sound can identify a weak battery. It can originate due to the failure of any electrical part of the starting system, but the battery is the most likely culprit.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If you find that your Toyota Matrix has a weak or dead battery, don’t fret! You can do a few things to get back up and run in no time.
  • First, try charging the battery. It is likely dead if it does not charge and must be replaced.
  • With so many options available on the market today, there’s no need to worry about finding the right one for your vehicle.
  • I recommend using an AGM battery instead of a standard lead-acid one.
  • These batteries are more durable and less susceptible to damage from sulfation or corrosion than regular lead-acid batteries.

2: Malfunctioning Starter Motor

The starter motor is what starts the engine by turning the engine’s crankshaft.

It uses electricity from the battery to power an electromagnetic solenoid that engages with a gear attached to the flywheel. This causes the engine to turn over, which starts it up.

As you can see, it is one of the engine’s major parts responsible for turning over the engine.

If it fails, you will not be able to go anywhere. This problem is not too common and is mostly seen in older models.

A common symptom of a faulty starter motor is smoke being emitted from the engine. You may also hear a clicking sound, indicating the starter is faulty.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If your starter motor is malfunctioning, it’s time to replace it.
  • Starter motors can be very difficult to replace yourself, and if you’re not an expert mechanic, it’s better to bring in a professional to give you a hand.
  • Toyota Matrix starter motors are small and delicate, and they are placed in a position where reaching can be difficult, especially if you don’t have the right tools.
  • If you attempt this at home, ensure you have all the necessary tools and safety equipment before getting started!

3: Rodent Damage

Rodent damage can be a real problem for your Toyota Matrix, especially in the summer when rats and mice are looking for places to nest.

They’ll chew through wiring, which can lead to problems with your ignition system or fuel pump.

If you’re having trouble starting your hatchback and suspect rodent damage, check for signs of chewed wiring, such as frayed wires or a loose connection.

If you find evidence of rodent damage, you must get your hatchback checked as soon as possible. This is an extremely frustrating issue.

There is a solution present, but you will not like it. Continue reading to find the only way to fix rodent damage.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If you’re experiencing rodent damage, there are a few things to do immediately.
  • First, get the electrical system professionally checked. Rodents can penetrate the wiring and cause an electrical fire.
  • If this happens, it’s best to replace the electrical system completely. Second, don’t try to drive the hatchback.
  • It may be tempting, but if you have rodents in your Toyota Matrix and you start driving it around, they’ll continue to chew through wires and cause problems with your car’s performance.
  • Instead of risking a breakdown or getting stuck somewhere far from home, park your vehicle in a safe place until you can have it repaired by an experienced mechanic who knows how to deal with rodent damage on Toyotas.

4: Faulty Fuel Pump

There are many reasons why your Toyota Matrix is having starting issues and one of them could be a faulty fuel pump.

The fuel pump is responsible for pumping gasoline from the car’s gas tank to its combustion chamber, where it mixes with air and ignites.

If you are hearing a cranking sound from the engine while starting, then there is a good chance that the fuel pump on your Matrix has gone faulty.

The cranking sound is produced when the engine cannot complete the combustion process properly.

If the pump is faulty, then there is also the risk of the engine stopping when you are in the middle of the road.

This is incredibly dangerous and can lead to serious accidents, especially if traveling on a highway.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If you’re experiencing trouble with your fuel pump, I recommend that you have it replaced by a mechanic.
  • While it is possible to replace the fuel pump yourself, it is recommended that you get this done by someone with experience in such repairs.
  • Before replacing the fuel pump, match the serial number of the one going in with the one being replaced.
  • This ensures that you have a new fuel pump that will work properly. Or else you may run into some serious issues.
  • A new fuel pump will set you back by around $500. That is a bit steep, and there is no other way to fix the pump.

5: Complete Engine Failure

Complete engine failure is the least likely reason your Toyota Matrix can cause you starting problems.

Now, there have been reports of engine failure on vehicles, so this is something that cannot be excluded from consideration.

When it comes to complete engine failure, you simply cannot miss it. Apart from the electrical system, everything stops working.

There will be no cranking or clicking sound, and there will be no CEL light on the instrument cluster.

The problem is the most serious there is, and the solution for it is also the most expensive out of all.

Let’s look at what can be done if the engine is dead.

What Should You Do About It?

  • You have a choice if your engine has failed. You can rebuild the engine or replace it with a new one.
  • Both options have pros and cons, but they are different enough that they cannot be compared in any meaningful way.
  • If you choose to rebuild the engine, you will spend less money than if you choose to replace it with a new one—but the result won’t be as good as what you would get from replacing the engine with a new one.
  • In the case of the Toyota Matrix, a replacement is an almost impossible option.
  • As the hatchback has been out for almost a decade, there is very little chance you can get your hands on a new or slightly used option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why Won’t My Toyota Matrix Start With New Battery?

The new battery may not have a charge. If it was on the shelf for many months and hasn’t been charged, this can be a problem.

You can try jump-starting your hatchback with another vehicle to get it started, but if it doesn’t start after that, then you should take it to a mechanic to have them check the battery and charging system.

Q2. Why Won’t My Toyota Matrix Start Even With A Jump?

Batteries can get corroded on the terminals, or cables that connect them to other parts of the Toyota Matrix can get frayed, preventing them from providing power effectively.

This can cause your hatchback not to start even after being jump-started by another vehicle’s battery–you’ll need to examine the cables and terminals if this happens to you.

Q3. Why Won’t My Toyota Matrix Start But Lights Work?

This one’s pretty simple! If the lights work, then it means that at least one part of your electrical system is working—and most likely, it’s just a fuse/fuse box issue.

The next step is checking fuses and replacing any that might be blown out or broken (you can find these at any auto parts store).

Q4. Why Won’t My Toyota Matrix Start But Cranks?

The fuel pump and the spark plugs are the most common reasons if your Toyota Matrix cranks while starting.

This is because the fuel pump provides fuel to the engine; without it, your hatchback will not run. The same goes for the plugs.

If you suspect this is your problem, check the fuel filter and spark plugs—these parts can also go bad if there’s an electrical issue with your vehicle.

Q5. Why Won’t My Toyota Matrix Start Just Clicks?

If your Toyota Matrix just clicks when you try to start it, it has an electrical issue.

Check the battery and fuses first—these parts can wear out over time or become damaged due to electrical issues.

Don’t rule out the starter motor. It could be faulty, resulting in a clicking sound being produced.

Q6. Why Won’t My Toyota Matrix Start In The Cold Weather?

The battery needs at least 800 CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) to work properly in cold weather. If you have a weak battery, it may not have enough power to turn over.

Also, the spark plugs may be too old and cannot work in such conditions. Check both and make appropriate replacements.

Q7. Why Won’t My Toyota Matrix Start After I Get Gas?

This common problem can be caused by a faulty fuel pump or clogged fuel filter. Check both of these before you begin to diagnose the problem further.

Replace either one, so you can rest assured that it will not result in starting issues with your engine in the future.

Q8. Why Won’t My Toyota Matrix Start But Radio Works?

This is typically because the battery is low on charge, either due to being old or having been left sitting in your hatchback for an extended period.

Either jump-start the engine or use a battery charger to get things working again. This will allow you to start the engine.

Related: What Are The Worst Years For The Toyota Matrix?


The Toyota Matrix is a great car, but sometimes it can be a little finicky.

If you’ve been having trouble getting your car to start, you need to check and diagnose what could be preventing it from turning over.

Apart from common fixes and checks, there could be something serious going on with your hatchback.

So, instead of wondering, “Why won’t my Toyota Matrix start?” you may need to call a professional for help.

However, I would recommend reading through this article, so you can hopefully fix your hatchback without leaving your home and without paying those pesky labor charges!