How to Shift a Subaru WRX: A Comprehensive Guide

If you own a Subaru WRX or you’re planning to get one, you’re probably aware of the car’s impressive capabilities. The WRX is well-known for its speed, responsiveness, and overall performance. However, to fully enjoy the WRX experience, you need to know how to shift gears properly. This guide is here to help you do just that.

Key Takeaways

  • Shifting gears in a Subaru WRX requires patience, practice, and a good understanding of the car’s transmission system.
  • The WRX’s manual transmission is designed for high-performance driving, which means you need to be careful when shifting gears.
  • Proper gear shifting technique requires you to match the RPM of the engine with the speed of the car and the gear you’re shifting into.
  • If you’re new to driving a manual transmission car, it’s best to practice in a safe and open area to avoid any accidents.

Understanding the Subaru WRX’s Manual Transmission

Before we get into the specifics of how to shift gears in a Subaru WRX, let’s take a quick look at the car’s manual transmission. The WRX’s transmission system is a six-speed manual gearbox that is designed to handle high-performance driving. It’s important to note that the WRX is only available with a manual transmission. There is no automatic option.

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The WRX’s gearbox features a short-throw clutch and a close-ratio gearset. This means that the distance you need to move the gear lever to change gears is short, and the gears are closely spaced for better acceleration. Additionally, the WRX’s transmission has a limited-slip differential, which helps distribute power evenly to the wheels for better traction.

Steps for Shifting Gears in a Subaru WRX

Now that you have a basic understanding of the WRX’s transmission system, let’s get into the steps for shifting gears in a Subaru WRX.

Step 1: Get Comfortable

Before you start driving, make sure you’re comfortable in the driver’s seat. Adjust the seat and steering wheel to your liking, and make sure you can easily reach the gear lever and pedals.

Step 2: Engage the Clutch

To shift gears in a manual transmission car, you need to engage the clutch pedal. The clutch pedal is the pedal on the far left side of the driver’s footwell. Press the clutch pedal all the way to the floor with your left foot.

Step 3: Shift into First Gear

With the clutch pedal engaged, move the gear lever to the left and up, then release the clutch pedal slowly. This will engage first gear. Note that the WRX’s first gear is a "granny gear," which means it has a very low gear ratio. Use first gear only when you need to start from a complete stop.

Step 4: Accelerate and Shift

With the car in first gear, slowly release the clutch pedal while pressing the gas pedal with your right foot. As the RPM of the engine increases, shift into second gear by moving the gear lever to the left and up. Repeat this process for each subsequent gear. Remember to match the RPM of the engine with the speed of the car and the gear you’re shifting into.

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Step 5: Downshifting

Downshifting is the process of shifting to a lower gear to slow down the car. To downshift in a Subaru WRX, follow these steps:

  • Press the clutch pedal all the way to the floor.
  • Move the gear lever to the left and down to the next lower gear.
  • Release the clutch pedal slowly while pressing the gas pedal.

It’s important to note that downshifting should only be done at lower speeds. Shifting to a lower gear at high speeds can damage the engine and transmission.

Tips for Shifting Gears in a Subaru WRX

Here are some additional tips to help you shift gears smoothly in a Subaru WRX:

  • Practice shifting in a safe and open area before driving on public roads.
  • Always engage the clutch when shifting gears. Failure to do so can damage the transmission.
  • Don’t rush the shifting process. Take your time and make sure you’re matching the RPM of the engine with the speed of the car and the gear you’re shifting into.
  • Avoid shifting to a higher gear at low speeds, as this can cause the engine to stall.
  • Use the WRX’s close-ratio gearset to your advantage. The gears are closely spaced, which means you can shift quickly and accelerate faster.

FAQs

Q: Is it difficult to learn how to shift gears in a Subaru WRX?

A: Shifting gears in any manual transmission car requires practice and patience. However, with some practice, you should be able to shift gears smoothly in a Subaru WRX.

Q: Can I shift gears without using the clutch pedal?

A: While it is possible to "power shift" a manual transmission car without using the clutch, we don’t recommend it. Using the clutch pedal ensures a smooth and safe shifting process.

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Q: Can I shift to a higher gear at low speeds?

A: No, shifting to a higher gear at low speeds can cause the engine to stall. Make sure you’re matching the RPM of the engine with the speed of the car and the gear you’re shifting into.

Conclusion

Shifting gears in a Subaru WRX requires patience, practice, and a good understanding of the car’s transmission system. Remember to engage the clutch when shifting gears, match the RPM of the engine with the speed of the car and the gear you’re shifting into, and take your time. With some practice and these tips, you should be able to shift gears smoothly in a Subaru WRX.

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Alton Brobst

As a longtime Subaru enthusiast, Alton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our blog. From his early days of tinkering with engines to his current role as a certified Subaru technician, Alton has seen it all when it comes to Subarus. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors.

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