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Toyota Matrix - Dashboard Lights Flash and Car Dies (No Electrical)

Last night, I started up the Matrix as usual, and it ran a touch rough for about three seconds. Then the dashboard lights flashed, and after that, the whole car died. The car is now totally unresponsive (no electrical at all). Brand new battery. Any thoughts?

Check all fuses under the hood and dash.

Check the battery connections. Whoever put on the new battery may not have cleaned and/or tightened them.

Bill: I should add some more info. The battery was put in two weeks ago (or so), and it’s been running ok since then. That said, I took your advice and I checked the battery connections and they look solid to me. I also tried jumping it, just on the very off chance that would help. Nada. I’m pretty sure the battery connection isn’t the problem since the car died after it started (when I think the battery is no longer so important). So any other thoughts would be most welcome! Thanks.

Kurt, I took your advice and checked the owner’s manual and found the fuse box under the hood (can’t seem to find the one under the dash where the manual seems to say it should be). None of the type C fuses under the hood look blown. I pulled a couple of the type A fuses under the hood just to spot check, and they seemed fine.

More relevantly, I have reviewed the owner’s manual listing of what each of the fuses do, and I can’t see any fuse that would cause the whole car to be inert. No lights. No sounds. It’s not one system that’s gone: the whole thing is dead. So any other thoughts would be welcome!


Do you have a voltmeter? I’d check the 12 volts at various points between the battery and the starter.

There is a fusible link in the battery cable that could be blown. Also check the battery cables at the other end.

It might help if you were to let us know what year your Matrix is.

For all we know, there may be a TSB that addresses this issue?


When you say there’s no electrical response at all, do you mean if you press on the brake pedal, the brake light doesn’t come on? When you turn the headlights on, there’s no light? When you turn the key to “start”, there’s no rrr rrr rrr sound, not even a click? You turn the dome light on, no light? No dashboard lights at all with the key in “on”? If so, that sounds like either the battery has suffered some kind of major internal fault, or it is no longer connected to the + wire that supplies power to the electrical system, or perhaps it is the - wire from the battery to the car’s chassis that has become disconnected.

First thing I’d do if I had that problem is remove the battery and do a battery load test. Another idea, on my Corolla which I think is similar to a Matrix, there’s three big-current fuses, one is 100 amps, one is 40 amps, and the other is 30 amps, right next to the battery, actually on the positive battery connector, I can see them through their transparent plastic cases. If the blow it is usually pretty easy to see the little wire segment has burned out. Suggest to avoid jump-starts, that’s more likely to introduce more problems than solve this one.

Looking solid means nothing. Even wiggling them tells you nothing.

Battery connections are the first place to begin when you have a “No Crank” situation. Even
if you have a new battery, if the connections are loose, dirty or corroded, you will not be
allowing the full flow of current to pass thru the connections. The connection may be
enough to turn on the lights, but not enough for the huge flow that is needed to operate the
starter. This is where many people say that they know the battery is good….”because the
lights come on”. This is no more a battery test than licking a 9volt battery. It only tells you that there is electricity…not how many volts or the amperage that flows from the battery.
Jump starting may have wiggled the terminal just enough to allow the current to pass and start the engine, but tomorrow you have the same problem.

First remove the cables from the battery and use a wire brush to remove any corrosion and dirt from the battery posts and the cable terminals. There is a tool with a round wire brush for this purpose, found at any auto parts store for less than $10
Before connecting the cables, apply a coating of di-electric grease to the battery posts this will keep oxygen away from the connection so that it will not corrode as fast.

It is just as important that the other end of the cables also have a clean connection. Remove the positive cable from the battery again so that you do not short anything out. Follow both cables to their far ends, remove this connection and wire brush the connection and the cable terminal clean and retighten these connections.

If there was work done recently, there may have been an “engine to body” ground that was not installed following the work. These grounds normally run from the rear of the engine to the firewall and are uninsulated and most are a braided wire. If any of these are found unattached…reattach them.
Remember….this is not a “Sherman Tank” don’t over tighten the connections.
Tight…tight………………too tight…broke!!!


My guess ignition switch, since everything is dead, and you have a new battery. Can you check the batter voltage?

It’s always safer to remove the negative cable.