Cold Weather Shifting
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This is a discussion on Cold Weather Shifting within the North Central States forums, part of the Regional Discussion category; Alright, I need your expertise again. I've asked this question to others who have manual transmissions, but don't know anyone ...

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    Cold Weather Shifting

    Alright, I need your expertise again. I've asked this question to others who have manual transmissions, but don't know anyone else with a WRX outside of this forum that I can ask.

    I let my car warm up in the mornings for a few minutes, but when I go to leave work in the evenings, my car all but refuses to shift back into first. It goes into second fine, then third feels gritty. As the car warms up, the problem seems to go away. My work has a long driveway, and when I leave I usually get into second gear before having to try to get it back into first when I stop at the end of the drive. It's embarrassing sitting there fighting the damn thing to get it into first. I have noticed if I go into 3rd, then back to 1st it will help sometimes. It will keep doing this until I've driven it for about 10 minutes. On another thread I read that you don't need to let the car warm up for 10 minutes like I did with older vehicles. Was that thread wrong? I let it warm up for a couple minutes, but nothing near as long as I have in the past with older vehicles because I've read over and over that I'm just "wasting fuel".

    Is this normal in the cold? Should I take it in and have Subaru look at it since it's under warranty? This is my first manual and my first Subaru, so I'm not really sure what to expect.

    Thanks for any information and/or advice in advance!

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Runnikee View Post
    I let my car warm up in the mornings for a few minutes, but when I go to leave work in the evenings, my car all but refuses to shift back into first.
    Usually 1st is a challenge unless you are at a full stop.

    On another thread I read that you don't need to let the car warm up for 10 minutes like I did with older vehicles. Was that thread wrong?
    No, at least that part sounds correct. You don't need to warm ti up for 10 minutes.

    Is this normal in the cold?
    Probably, yes.

    Should I take it in and have Subaru look at it since it's under warranty?
    Probably, yes.

    Balking into 1st when moving isn't unusual at all, and balking when cold isn't unusual either.

    There is no way to actually warm up the gearbox without driving the car, so no matter how much fuel you waste waiting all you'll do is warm the coolant and engine oil, but not the gear oil, so it'd be surprising if your gearbox felt appreciably better anyway.

    Since it's new have the dealer look at it but I'd not worry.
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    Village Idiot McBill's Avatar
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    My 2011 does the same thing when the temp is lower than about 20F. Once I'm on the road for a few minutes it goes away as the transmission begins to warm up. So this seems entirely normal to me.

    Technically, you don't need to "warm up" a car. However, I do it because I'll be damned if I'm going to sit in that cold box for 15 minutes while driving waiting for the icicles to melt from my eyebrows. Now, keep in mind you are driving a turbo charged car. This means that you should really try to not get on it too hard until the oil is up to operating temperatures. The rule of thumb is to wait double the amount of time it takes for your coolant to get to operating temperature before you start running the car really hard.
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    Thanks, guys. I appreciate the quick responses. That's why I enjoy this forum so much. I don't drive my WRX hard that often (I know, I baby it too much) and I definitely never go over 3,000 RPM when it's not totally warmed up.

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    Don't worry. Its normal. Just start your car, scrape off the windows, grab your bag, lock door, get back in car and drive off. Nothing special about it.

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    Same thing happens to me, no matter the temp, at anything over 15 mph. 1st is tough to get into. I like that it does that so if you mis-shift, it won't go directly into 1st and you blow everything up. Haha.
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    Registered User Soobvirgin's Avatar
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    My gearbox is actually much better in cold temperatures. Not 20f cold (it doesn't get quite that cold where I live), but in the 30s it's fine. It's when the temperatures get high that I start having problems. When it gets up into the 90s, my gearbox becomes an absolute pig. It becomes more notch and every gear is harder to get into. Sadly, that's a very large part of the year here.

    But yes, 1st gear is designed to pull you away from a stop. So, as with almost every other car I've driven, it's not going to be happy about going in at anything over about 5mph.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soobvirgin View Post
    When it gets up into the 90s, my gearbox becomes an absolute pig. It becomes more notch and every gear is harder to get into. Sadly, that's a very large part of the year here.
    I'll trade your 90s for my sub-zero in the mornings when I'm driving in to work. I guess I didn't realize San Diego got that hot when I was out there. It was 75 every day and 64 every night when I was out there. I thought I was in paradise!

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    Registered User Soobvirgin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Runnikee View Post
    I'll trade your 90s for my sub-zero in the mornings when I'm driving in to work. I guess I didn't realize San Diego got that hot when I was out there. It was 75 every day and 64 every night when I was out there. I thought I was in paradise!
    I actually live in a valley about an hour inland of San Diego. It's in the 90s from June to October and hits 110 for a few days each year. But also gets down to about 25 for a little while in winter. I find it very difficult to grow anything in my yard with those extremes I dream of moving north, somewhere that gets more than 6" of rain a year. 55 is my comfortable temp... my car's too!

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    Haha, we get 100 degrees here in the summer a few times usually and in the winters it goes below zero. I haven't even had my car for a year yet, but I've found it gets better the worse the weather gets. I think it likes snow more than my dog does.

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