Pontiac Discrimination

General discussions about the Pontiac Vibe & Toyota Matrix. New members, introduce yourself here!
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puppywagon
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Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:54 am
Location: Tyler, TX

Pontiac Discrimination

Post by puppywagon » Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:32 pm

I had been looking for a vehicle for several months (to replace a slowly dying Chevy pickup). I started looking at Honda Elements, then discovered the Toyota Matrix. On the same day my finances finally came together, I saw an ad for a 2008 Pontiac Vibe with only 101k miles. Most other Matrixes in that price range had 180k miles. This one had a 5 speed, was my preferred color of white, and even had a sunroof. Cool.

It was at a dealer 4 hours away, but I arranged for them to deliver it to me (my old truck couldn't go 10 miles without overheating). I had originally planned for the dealer to deliver it to a local auto shop, so they could give it a quick inspection before I signed for it.

Now this was an independent shop that had been in business for over 30 years. They had done work for me before. They weren't the cheapest place in town, but had a reputation for doing quality work and getting the job done right.

So I went to the shop to ask if they could do a pre-buy inspection for me? But as soon as I said "Pontiac Vibe" the shop owner immediately said to forget it, those cars are complete junk! I said "But they're just a relabeled Toyota Matrix. They're mostly made out of Corolla parts." The shop owner told me that was complete nonsense, Toyota and Pontiac hated each other, there is no such thing as a Pontiac that has Toyota parts in it!"

He then proceeded to tell me the story of a friend of his, that teaches Auto Repair at a High School, who bought a Vibe for his daughter. That car was a disaster, because you couldn't order any parts for it. They couldn't even find a battery cable for it, so they had to fabricate one themselves.

He took me over to his computer and looked up Pontiac Vibe. He showed me where battery cables were no longer available. Common parts like power window motors were no longer available. He said that, even if the car supposedly had a Toyota engine in it, that didn't matter. The rest of the car was made by Pontiac, it had AC Delco parts that you couldn't get anymore because Pontiac was out of business. So, for example, if the Engine Control Unit died, I'd just have to throw the car away because I'd never be able to find an ECU to replace it.

Well, I left the shop wondering if my earlier research had been wrong and I should call off the deal? Stayed up half the night researching Vibes more carefully. This forum, in particular, showed that, yes, Toyota parts fit just fine on a Vibe. So thanks, everyone, for all your helpful posts.

I had the car delivered the next day. I hooked up my new OBD2 scanner to it and found no error codes. The car was exceptionally clean, no visible sign of replaced fenders or body damage (it had a clean Carfax report). I've had it a few weeks now and the only problem was failing to start one day (the battery was 6 1/2 years old, no problems since I put a new battery in it). I was pleasantly surprised to find that replacing the battery did not require unlocking the radio or having to take it to a dealer to get various and sundry electronics reprogrammed.

There was also a plastic fairing underneath the engine that was loose (only fastened down on one side). I took it to the local Toyota dealer and their parts guy gave me a couple of little plastic fasteners for free, and one of their techs popped them into place in about 30 seconds.

And the Vibe is a blast to drive! Much more fun than a Honda Fit I had some years back.
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Mark
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Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:26 am
Location: Cheyenne, WY

Re: Pontiac Discrimination

Post by Mark » Sun Sep 13, 2020 7:07 pm

Congrats on the new Vibe. My first Vibe was on 04 Frosty with Moon & Tune that I bought used in 2006 with 38k on it, it now has ~195k and still runs good as new. The only part I've replaced, besides brake parts etc, is the starter. It's my daughter's car now, and other than the grill it looks identical to this one. Awesome score. I started the same way, looking at the Matrix and found that the Vibe was the same car but averaged 1-2k less on the used market.
'04 Base Frosty, '08 Base Stealth, '05 Base Satellite

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SlammedNiss
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Re: Pontiac Discrimination

Post by SlammedNiss » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:00 pm

Good looking Vibe. Always liked white. When I started looking to replace my Matrix with a Rav4, I was looking for a white one, but ended up with Barcelona Red. Btw, I hope your mechanic guy never finds out that Chevy and Isuzu once partnered together on the S10/Hombre. It might blow his mind! :mrgreen:
2003 Matrix Xrs Automatic - SOLD :'(
2011 Rav4 Sport

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cptnsolo77
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Re: Pontiac Discrimination

Post by cptnsolo77 » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:10 pm

Congrats ! These are GREAT cars due to their toyota drivetrain. At 267K I just cannot see getting rid of it, it does what it supposed to do SO well. The vibe has been our only car for 13 years. I will be sad to see it go.
* 2003 Vibe Auto Satellite Silver w / Moons & Tunes
* Kenwood Excelon KDC-X597
* Polk DB651-Speakers
* Soundproofcow Roadblock R sound deadening in all doors
* Drop In K & N Filter
* NGK Iridium IX Plugs
* 27 MPG City/Highway with AC on

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tpollauf
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Re: Pontiac Discrimination

Post by tpollauf » Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:52 pm

puppywagon wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:32 pm
So I went to the shop to ask if they could do a pre-buy inspection for me? But as soon as I said "Pontiac Vibe" the shop owner immediately said to forget it, those cars are complete junk! I said "But they're just a relabeled Toyota Matrix. They're mostly made out of Corolla parts." The shop owner told me that was complete nonsense, Toyota and Pontiac hated each other, there is no such thing as a Pontiac that has Toyota parts in it!"
Any shop that is that arrogant about a certain car make/model needs to be put out of business! That's absurd for them to say that to a potential customer. Stay as far away from that shop and discourage anybody you know to NOT go there!
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2009 Vibe GT (manual), 2009 G8Gt, 2009 Vibe GT (auto)
2014 Silverado, 2004 Vibe GT, 2003 Vibe GT (project car)

"everything is modifiable"

zbyers
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Re: Pontiac Discrimination

Post by zbyers » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:42 am

tpollauf wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:52 pm
puppywagon wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:32 pm
So I went to the shop to ask if they could do a pre-buy inspection for me? But as soon as I said "Pontiac Vibe" the shop owner immediately said to forget it, those cars are complete junk! I said "But they're just a relabeled Toyota Matrix. They're mostly made out of Corolla parts." The shop owner told me that was complete nonsense, Toyota and Pontiac hated each other, there is no such thing as a Pontiac that has Toyota parts in it!"
Any shop that is that arrogant about a certain car make/model needs to be put out of business! That's absurd for them to say that to a potential customer. Stay as far away from that shop and discourage anybody you know to NOT go there!
Agreed with this statement. Stay as far away from that shop as possible.

Not finding a battery cable? Grab one off the shelf at a parts store. It's just wire. Window motors? Parts stores sell them. AC Delco? Still in business. Also, minus HVAC, radio, and body, nearly EVERYTHING else is Denso and/or Toyota OEM.
'74 Thing, '79 El Camino, '83 VW Vanagon DoKa '91 Vanagon,
'04 & '06 CRV, (2) '03 Base, '04 GT, '06 AWD, '07 Base, '17 Frontier CCLB

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joatmon
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Location: SMC MD

Re: Pontiac Discrimination

Post by joatmon » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:04 am

Frosty is a good color for a car that has to live in a Texas summer.

I agree that its time to switch to a different shop.

If at some point you do run into trouble finding a part for it, let us know so we can help.

puppywagon
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:54 am
Location: Tyler, TX

Re: Pontiac Discrimination

Post by puppywagon » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:58 am

joatmon wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:04 am

I agree that its time to switch to a different shop.

Yeah, I plan on taking it to the local Toyota dealer to have it thoroughly checked out, they know those engines best.

If at some point you do run into trouble finding a part for it, let us know so we can help.

Thanks. Is there a master list of which Vibe parts are interchangeable with other vehicles? I think a Corolla starter fits the Vibe, for example. I'd bet the GM HVAC system is probably shared with some other GM vehicles (but which ones?).

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vhoward1122
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Re: Pontiac Discrimination

Post by vhoward1122 » Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:19 am

Not finding parts? I would find a different repair shop. By law, GM must make parts for Pontiac cars for I think 25 years. Anyway, the Vibe and the Corolla were made in the NUMI plant if the SF Bay area before it shut down. I also happen to know the turnsignal is Toyota also. I had it fail. I can go to the local GM dealer and get an oil filter for my vibe. What they bring out is a filter in a Toyota box and they charge $10 for it. Go to the Toyota dealer and the same filter is $5.

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