WRX Noob
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This is a discussion on WRX Noob within the Everyday Impreza Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Hi All, I have been eyeing the WRX for a number of years (6 to be exact) and have finally ...

  1. #1
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    WRX Noob

    Hi All,

    I have been eyeing the WRX for a number of years (6 to be exact) and have finally reached a point in my life where I can actually afford one. I am currently driving a 2009 Mazda 3 GT which gets pretty good mileage and is overall quite comfortable to drive. I'm looking for something a little more suited for all-weather for snow and mountainous driving, for both recreation and commute. I am looking at the 2013 WRX Limited 5-door and have a few questions...

    1. I try to be a DIYer as much as possible. How easy is it to change the oil, air filters, cabin air filter, spark plugs, etc. and other general maintenance (ie brakes)? The big ones are fluids and plugs IMO. What are the costs associated with this? Is it easy to climb under the car and do the oil change? I used to drive a Suzuki Sidekick and that was a breeze to do oil changes: 20 minutes start to finish with a beer in between. Now that I have a Mazda, it's cheaper and easier for me to bring the car in. How is the WRX? What are the OEM warranty requirements for regularly scheduled maintenance?

    2. I've heard mixed stories about whether synthetic or non-synthetic oil is to be used as well as the frequency of an oil change. Can anyone comment? There is a large cost difference associated with synthetic oil changes ($35 vs $70 to have someone do it). I don't know if those costs include an oil filter? Do you follow a 1:1 oil and filter change or 1:2?

    3. Around when is the first major maintenance and what are some common "issues" seen with the WRX? Any price estimates?

    4. I am tempted to go for the SPT performance exhaust system which is ~$1000. Is there any reason/need to go for this if I keep the rest of the car stock? While I love the sound of the Boxer engine, I don't know if I really care to spend 1000 just to sound good! The main reason why I would add the system in is because the original system is creating a bottleneck and should be replaced to increase flow. The budget is there, but I'd rather spend it on something better that might help improve the performance or efficiency of the car.

    5. There is an option to throw in a short throw shifter. I understand that it's not "necessary"...but is it NECESSARY?! Why would someone put it in? I don't really know how to compare the short throw with what is standard because I've never driven with either. My Mazda is nice - nicer than the other halfway sporty cars I've driven. Again, I like my mountain driving and zipping around the twisties, but this is more my fun commuter car so I'm not certain what options to go for and which to leave behind. I have a crotch rocket to really hammer, drag my knees and get tickets on

    6. What are the towing capabilities? The dealers have told me, "yeah, you should be able to tow", "I'd guess you could tow around 1800lbs". I want some concrete numbers and answers! Does anyone know for certain what the towing capabilities are? Will towing void any warranties? I wouldn't be towing anything large - probably just my motorcycle (combined trailer + bike weight of 1000 lbs) or maybe one of the smaller UHaul trailers.

    Thanks for your help

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    Registered User XRedJar's Avatar
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    1. Not sure of the DIY costs. For the time being, the dealer is doing the maint.

    2. Synthetic oil only. I believe the change interval is 3,750 miles. New filter every time.

    3. No idea, only 4500 miles on mine

    4. Cat back systems don't do much to increase flow. Anything that does increase flow will need to be tuned for with either an open source tuning set-up or Cobb AP. (Intake, downpipe...etc)

    5. I have the short throw shifter, and while I can't say what the WRX is like without...I've driven other Subarus...and for dealer installed options....I'd get both the short throw shifter and boost gauge.

    6. No towing....at least that is what the manual says.
    2013 Ice Silver Premium 5 door - Stage 1 E-Tune

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    Quote Originally Posted by XRedJar View Post

    4. Cat back systems don't do much to increase flow. Anything that does increase flow will need to be tuned for with either an open source tuning set-up or Cobb AP. (Intake, downpipe...etc)

    5. I have the short throw shifter, and while I can't say what the WRX is like without...I've driven other Subarus...and for dealer installed options....I'd get both the short throw shifter and boost gauge.

    6. No towing....at least that is what the manual says.
    What will the boost gauge help you do/understand? Is it just to give you a better indication of where you are in the HP range and when you should shift? I've never driven or owned a car with a turbo...

  5. #4
    Pro Manscaper Mikie13's Avatar
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    Synthetic every 3750 is the best bet, like Jar man said, replace filter every time. It's pretty easy to keep up the maintenance yourself. All you'd end up paying is for parts on the basics. Oil and filter/crush washer. DIY will mostly be cheaper for Oil changes and are easy. But talk to the dealer to see if they have any incentives or specials for oil changes...brake pads and rotors are are easy. Pads won't need to be changed til probably near 30k or later. Rotors, probably not til 50-60k even. Pads can be anywhere from $70-150+ for all 4 corners, depending on what performance you're looking at. Plugs are a bit of a pain to get to because of the boxer engine, but again, still not that bad. All in all maintenance is average and will be pretty cheap or on par with any other car if you do it yourself.

    I'd skip on the SPT exhaust from the dealer. For one, it's way too overpriced. For two, it's known to drone rather loud when cruising on the 5 door. You can find a lot of other aftermarket options down the road, for much cheaper. You will also be able to find used options in great condition for fractions of new cost. As for performance...there won't be any. CBEs on WRXs (of any year really) are just noise makers, or silencers. The real restriction comes with replacing the downpipe which is attached to the turbo, or the portion before the Catback (the dealer has no aftermarket option for this, unless they stock or sell other aftermarket parts, which is highly unlikely). Doing this will require a comparable Stage 2 tune to properly run the downpipe.

    OEM short shifter isn't a bad option, but it only shortens the throws by about 10% over stock. It achieves this by shortening the linkage to the transmission. It's not that overwhelming of a difference. Again, aftermarket options such as Kartboy, will be much cheaper and will shorten throws 20-25%, and shorten the lever itself which are better for performance.

    Boost gauge simply tells you how much boost the turbo is creating, and pushing into the engine. It really has nothing to do with when you should shift. It does give you an indication of your powerband though simply because more boost means you will be utilizing more power. You should shift based on the feel of the engine, rpms, and how you're driving at that particular moment.
    The Hawk-Eye Alliance #90|The Blobeye Syndicate #0|The Stink-Eye Mob #0|N.E.R.D. Founding Member & #3
    2012 Lightning Red WRX Sedan Stock...for now Soon to be OpenSource tuned by: Mattypants @ WTF Tuning
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    Registered User 11blackwrx's Avatar
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    1) most maintenance is fairly easy to do, ive heard spark plugs are a pain though
    2) ive always ran full synthetic oil and change it about every 3k miles
    3) maintenance schedules are in the manual. about every 30k miles is a big service and every 60k is as well
    4) spt is a nice exhaust but i prefer other aftermarket ones due to the spt being too quiet. i have an n1 race
    5) yes i would do a short throw shifter, i have the spt option with the spt bushing and im happy with it
    6) wouldnt know the towing capability, maybe 1000 lbs
    2011 Subaru WRX Premium
    1988 Ford Mustang GT
    2000 Jeep Wrangler TJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikie13 View Post
    Synthetic every 3750 is the best bet, like Jar man said, replace filter every time. It's pretty easy to keep up the maintenance yourself. All you'd end up paying is for parts on the basics. Oil and filter/crush washer. DIY will mostly be cheaper for Oil changes and are easy. But talk to the dealer to see if they have any incentives or specials for oil changes...brake pads and rotors are are easy. Pads won't need to be changed til probably near 30k or later. Rotors, probably not til 50-60k even. Pads can be anywhere from $70-150+ for all 4 corners, depending on what performance you're looking at. Plugs are a bit of a pain to get to because of the boxer engine, but again, still not that bad. All in all maintenance is average and will be pretty cheap or on par with any other car if you do it yourself.

    I'd skip on the SPT exhaust from the dealer. For one, it's way too overpriced. For two, it's known to drone rather loud when cruising on the 5 door. You can find a lot of other aftermarket options down the road, for much cheaper. You will also be able to find used options in great condition for fractions of new cost. As for performance...there won't be any. CBEs on WRXs (of any year really) are just noise makers, or silencers. The real restriction comes with replacing the downpipe which is attached to the turbo, or the portion before the Catback (the dealer has no aftermarket option for this, unless they stock or sell other aftermarket parts, which is highly unlikely). Doing this will require a comparable Stage 2 tune to properly run the downpipe.
    This is great feedback, so thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikie13 View Post
    Boost gauge simply tells you how much boost the turbo is creating, and pushing into the engine. It really has nothing to do with when you should shift. It does give you an indication of your powerband though simply because more boost means you will be utilizing more power. You should shift based on the feel of the engine, rpms, and how you're driving at that particular moment.
    Perfect, that is more or less what I was thinking. IMO, if you know the car well enough you can learn where those points are and when to shift just by feel - not much different than a bike.

  8. #7
    Registered User Pool Runner's Avatar
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    If you get a WRX and you drive in the snow, get dedicated snow tires. I made the mistake in taking my car on summer rubber to the slopes. When we were done it had snowed, even with AWD the summer tires made it feel like I had slicks. FWD cars & RWD trucks with snow tires were able to go up hills I couldn't with AWD and summer rubber. I don't ever want to do that again. Actually almost slid my brand new WRX with 2000 miles on it into a tree at just 5mph because the car couldn't make it up a slight hill that had frozen.
    Current vehicles:

    2013 WRX Sedan, Base, SWP, Wingless
    2011 Outback, Premium, 2.5i, CVT , SWP
    2011 Ford F-150, SuperCab, XLT, 5.0L, V8

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    Totally agree and have already priced out a set of Michelin X-Ice xi3s and rims: $800 delivered to my door, mounted and balanced. Just need to install myself. My fwd Mazda with 4 snows can manage pretty good in the snow except when there are some more serious hill climbs and that's when I have to break out the chains.

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    Pro Manscaper Mikie13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pretty Boy View Post
    Perfect, that is more or less what I was thinking. IMO, if you know the car well enough you can learn where those points are and when to shift just by feel - not much different than a bike.
    Well said. The principles are completely the same for shifting. You feel for the clutch engagement point, and go from there!

    Ugh...so much bike talk on this site over the last couple weeks. Makes me really miss my motorcycle!
    The Hawk-Eye Alliance #90|The Blobeye Syndicate #0|The Stink-Eye Mob #0|N.E.R.D. Founding Member & #3
    2012 Lightning Red WRX Sedan Stock...for now Soon to be OpenSource tuned by: Mattypants @ WTF Tuning
    "If I have 10 ice cubes and you have 11 giraffes, how many pancakes can fit on the roof? Purple, because aliens donít wear hats" -Ying

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    Everything that I've seen about oil change intervals indicates a 7,500 mile interval. For example:

    2012 Subaru maintenance schedule and new car break-in period

    Or here, on page 33, under Engine Oil:

    http://techinfo.subaru.com/proxy/669...XSTIQRGb_1.pdf

    If this is the interval that Subaru is publishing for full synthetic oil in recent model years, why change it sooner? Even my dealer recommends 7,500 miles for my car.

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    Registered User InsaneManiac's Avatar
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    For your first oil change it's recommended at around3750, get a used oil analysis on it and then consider switching out later.
    Last edited by InsaneManiac; 02-18-2013 at 07:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InsaneManiac View Post
    For your first oil change it's recommended at around3750, get a used oil analysis on it and then consider switching out later.
    Where does that recommendation come from?

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    Re: WRX Noob

    My dealership recommends a first change at 3750 strongly enough to do it for free separately from the maintenance plan. The manual also states that the oil should be changed every 3750 under difficult conditions and hard driving, which, according to my dealer, includes the sort of "spirited" driving that I bought the car for. So, it's every 3750 for me, YMMV (literally).
    2013 WRX Premium, 100% Stock (not even broken in yet)

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    OMG WTF MainFrame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ikana View Post
    Where does that recommendation come from?

    Subaru?

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    I just posted two sources that come from Subaru listing 7,500 miles. The first link has scans of the maintenance schedule.

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