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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First - I keep up with my maintenance - every 5,000 miles of moderate use I do oil change at a Subaru Dealership.

I have a 2015 WRX - now has 30,000 miles on it. Recently, went to get my snow tires on and oil change at a local dealership here in the Northeast..

Was told that I'm due for my 30,000 mile maintenance (switch out some filters, oil).... OK - this was ~ two weeks ago, early november.

So besides having an ECU error early in my cars history, which caused check engine light to go on -- it's also had a powersteering issue that needed to be swapped. This was all before the 20,000 mile mark. OTHER THEN THAT, it drives like a wrx beast.

However, since my 30,000 mile maintenance -- I've noticed when it's colder ( below 35 degrees Fahrenheit) - I can't down shift into 2nd, 4th, and sometimes not shift into 6th until about 20-30 minutes into drive, but also sometimes it will shift without issue. It's happened several times now within a week span here in November. Sometimes it'll happen even after the car has been warmed up and gently driven for 10 minutes, other times it seems ok - I tend to think it's related to temperature(?)... but usually after about 20-30 minutes in the cold - it'll be fine.

Oddly - it's only when shifting into 2nd 4th and 6th ---physically on the gear shifter, it's the bottom gears. And it's not grinding or hard to shift.. it simply won't go into that spot, like hitting a wall. But magically if I'm still holding clutch and go into a different spot into gear, it shifts smooth and as expected. Then after awhile, it'll shift again into that gear all fine and dandy. Also note - I've never had it grind when switching into gear. I'm very experienced manual shifting driver, on this car, I've never had issue where I accidentally grinded a gear by not being good with shifting. I've treated this car very well and haven't let inexperienced drivers ever drive it, just me and good.


For example it happened this morning
, it was hovering around 30 degrees F. Went out in the morning to warm up car, after driving fine all day yesterday. I give it 15 minutes, start driving. It's all good. Going from 1st to 2nd to 3rd to 4th no issue. Then about 5 minutes into my drive - I had to downshift into 2nd from 3rd. And it wouldn't let me, felt like it was completely blocked (I been driving manual stick shift Subaru cars for 20+ years, mostly WRX/Impreza). So basically I had to force riding in 3rd gear when I should've been in 2nd (joy)... Then I couldn't shift into 4th. So I went from 3rd to 5th as I got on Highway a few minutes later. Still couldn't shift to 6th, then about 3 minutes of highway driving at 60 mph in 5th - it let me shift to 6th. Then from here, all the shifting was working fine, going to any gear was smooth and as expected.

WTF. I love Subaru and WRX but the issues I've had with this car really gets me angry. This car has been well maintained, just hit 30,000 miles after 3 years of light use... What's going on with Transmission/Clutch/Electric? I've only noticed this issue past few days (week? In November) - been a week since my 30,000 mile maintenance.. also , it's just starting to get cooler this past week so I'm keeping an eye on it.

What should be looked at? It seems to be temperature related but also how long car been running and which gears I'm switching to and from. :mad::confused::unhappy:

Edit - Could it be electronics tied to the transmission getting finicky due to cold weather?? This car seems to always have issues relating to the electronics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
No not at all, or ever. Very occasionally when driving onto the highway I'll rev it up to about 45000 rpms in 5th to 6th (never when car is cold/ after car is fully warmed up for at least 10 minutes) but never higher and only very momentarily (it is a wrx afterall).. But I'm never doing it consistently or doing burnouts or any of that sorts. I drive it pretty easy as my wife is in the car most of the time too :rolleyes: I don't hammer on it at all , no mods, I'm not into that. In Northeast, handling and AWD is important hence why I got it - and the HP is nice but I don't abuse it by any stretch of the imagination.

It seemed to be only having these particular issues since the 30,000 mile maintenance the dealership did - and they said they were going to change parts in Transmission like the Filters (I have the exact changes at home but I remember the guy saying it revolves around Transmission fluids and filters). I'm just trying to grasp how majority of the time it shifts fine but on some days it's colder especially at night/mornings these issues have happened on a couple days- and how important to get it looked at immediately.. it's pretty inconvenient to always have to bring this car to Subaru and get a loaner car, I'm quite sick of it all to be quite frank. You buy a new car so you do not have to do this crap.

Edit - Could it be electronics tied to the transmission getting finicky due to cold weather?? This car seems to always have issues relating to the electronics.
 

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No not at all, or ever. Very occasionally when driving onto the highway I'll rev it up to about 45000 rpms in 5th to 6th but never higher and only very momentarily (it is a wrx afterall).. But I'm never doing it consistently or doing burnouts or any of that sorts. I drive it pretty easy as my wife is in the car most of the time too :rolleyes: I don't hammer on it at all , no mods, I'm not into that. In Northeast, handling and AWD is important hence why I got it - and the HP is nice but I don't abuse it by any stretch of the imagination.

It seemed to be only having these particular issues since the 30,000 mile maintenance the dealership did - and they said they were going to change parts in Transmission like the Filters (I have the exact changes at home but I remember the guy saying it revolves around Transmission fluids and filters). I'm just trying to grasp how majority of the time it shifts fine but on some days it's colder especially at night/mornings these issues have happened on a couple days- and how important to get it looked at immediately.. it's pretty inconvenient to always have to bring this car to Subaru and get a loaner car, I'm quite sick of it all to be quite frank. You buy a new car so you do not have to do this crap.

Edit - Could it be electronics tied to the transmission getting finicky due to cold weather?? This car seems to always have issues relating to the electronics.
You'll just be driving along and the revs will jump? Sounds like a clutch.

Also sounds like cold gear oil coupled with less than fresh synchros from poor down shift technique

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
You'll just be driving along and the revs will jump? Sounds like a clutch.

Also sounds like cold gear oil coupled with less than fresh synchros from poor down shift technique

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What???? I never said I'll just be driving along and suddenly revs will jump... nothing what I said. Please read my original post.

Poor downshift technique? Are you joking? I been driving WRX's since 2004 models stick shift and never had issues with my 'technique'.. driving stick isn't rocket science. I know what I'm doing. I've driven in the cold all my life and never had 'cold gear oil'... I'd assume the oil that is used by dealerships in the Northeast USA would consider such and it's freshly changed. Am I not suppose to drive around in the cold wtf

Anything with the electrical system that would affect when you can manually shift into gears.. that cold weather/car could affect? Cars now seem so heavily reliant on electrical equipment drives me nuts.

Before leaving work, I had it warmed up for a solid 20 minutes, was 35 degrees F out.. and no issues at all.

And to be clear, when I say before about issues shifting into 2nd 4th and 6th.. I mean it won't. Not that it's tough, it grinds.. it simply won't, feels like there's a wall there that won't let the shifter move into that spot.
 

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Very occasionally when driving onto the highway I'll rev it up to about 45000 rpms in 5th to 6th but never higher and only very momentarily
What do you mean by this


I'd assume the oil that is used by dealerships in the Northeast USA would prevent such especially since it's freshly changed.
It's the exact same they use in Arizona. Gear oil is super thick, and when it's cold it's even thicker. Lots of people have been driving a manual for a long time, that means precisely nothing about their good or bad habits.



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Random thoughts . . .

46,000+ miles and no issues . . .

Is it normal to change out the fluid in the transmission of a manual WRX at 30K? I mean to say if you look at the owner's manual I see it says to inspect fluids, but I don't see where it mentions the transmission fluid.

To answer your question . . . well questions really . . . no, it's not normal to have issues shifting in cold weather. Well, to back up, if it's been negative 15 all day and all night and I start the car at first it seems like I'm attempting to shift in a bucket of molasses, but to your original questions . . . no, cold weather has not affected the shifting (or not being able to easily shift) the car regardless of the temp of the car or outside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
What do you mean by this




It's the exact same they use in Arizona. Gear oil is super thick, and when it's cold it's even thicker. Lots of people have been driving a manual for a long time, that means precisely nothing about their good or bad habits.



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I respect you trying to help but I really don't think you're going in the right direction with this.

To answer, I was simply responding to another user who asked this "Are you gunning it and launching all the time? Just curious"

I sometimes rev it up to 4500 rpms going onto highway just to feel that sweet turbo... purposely, and well after the car/engine has been warmed up. But honestly don't do this much and shouldn't be quantified as relating to the issue. The user was probably wondering if I'm powering thru the gears as a power junky, as most kids do with wrx's. I'm not one - I enjoy the turbo occasionally but I'm not power whoring it at all or driving it like a rally car, etc. I repeat , I'm not.

I know there's different viscosities oils go through different temperatures. I get it. But this past week when I've noticed the issues a couple times- the temperature was roughly 25 degrees F overnight and around 35 in morning and 45 during day. So it's far from getting super cold - but I suppose it could have an affect though not to this extent. It's not making the changing gears difficult, I've experienced that on past cars.. but it just doesn't even move to that spot at all like it's hitting a firm wall.

My shifts are very gradual and fine. If you think it's a technique issue then please go away it isn't helping me or the actual issue. Car is 3 years young with barely 30,000 miles and not driven hard...
 

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I respect you trying to help but I really don't think you're going in the right direction with this.

To answer, I was simply responding to another user who asked this "Are you gunning it and launching all the time? Just curious"

I sometimes rev it up to 4500 rpms going onto highway just to feel that sweet turbo... purposely. But honestly don't do this much and shouldn't be quantified as relating to the issue. The user was probably wondering if I'm powering thru the gears as a power junky, as most kids do with wrx's. I'm not one - I enjoy the turbo occasionally but I'm not power whoring it at all or driving it like a rally car, etc. I repeat , I'm not.

I know there's different viscosities oils go through different temperatures. I get it. But this past week when I've noticed the issues a couple times- the temperature was roughly 25 degrees F overnight and around 35 in morning and 45 during day. So it's far from getting super cold - but I suppose it could have an affect though not to this extent. It's not making the changing gears difficult, I've experienced that on past cars.. but it just doesn't even move to that spot at all like it's hitting a firm wall.

My shifts are very gradual and fine. If you think it's a technique issue then please go away it isn't helping me or the actual issue. Car is 3 years young with barely 30,000 miles and not driven hard...
Well your problem is going to come down to a few things, mechanical problem, technique problem, or a combination of the two.

Since I've been driving long enough to know every single person had bad driving and shifting habbits it is most likely the second or 3rd option. I can tell you what to look at based off the symptoms you are describing but since you only want fluffed.

You are a perfect driver. It's absolutely only the car.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Random thoughts . . .

46,000+ miles and no issues . . .

Is it normal to change out the fluid in the transmission of a manual WRX at 30K? I mean to say if you look at the owner's manual I see it says to inspect fluids, but I don't see where it mentions the transmission fluid.

To answer your question . . . well questions really . . . no, it's not normal to have issues shifting in cold weather. Well, to back up, if it's been negative 15 all day and all night and I start the car at first it seems like I'm attempting to shift in a bucket of molasses, but to your original questions . . . no, cold weather has not affected the shifting (or not being able to easily shift) the car regardless of the temp of the car or outside.
Hey nice profile pic.

Alright, I have the receipt here so I'll list exactly what was done, this was about a $600 bill all said and done:

"Performed 30,000 mile service which includes engine oil and filter change, rotate tires, engine air filter replacement, cabin air filter replacement, crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve replacement, front and rear differential gear oil replacement, brake fluid reservoir fluid replacement, inspection of engine drive belts, engine coolant hoses, inspection of C/V axle boots, ignition components, steering components, exhaust system components, inspection and measurement of brake pad wear, tire wear, top off vehicle operating fluids, lubricate vehicle latches"

So maybe not Transmission stuff ? I'm not sure what the Gear Oil is about... Price list has a few gaskets, oil filter, gear oil and synthetic engine oil... Ahh I see something called "Valve Complete Control" and it's $28 .. ?

Just a bunch of checks but something is not quite right - I'll probably just take it into Subaru and see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Well your problem is going to come down to a few things, mechanical problem, technique problem, or a combination of the two.

Since I've been driving long enough to know every single person had bad driving and shifting habbits it is most likely the second or 3rd option. I can tell you what to look at based off the symptoms you are describing but since you only want fluffed.

You are a perfect driver. It's absolutely only the car.

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How do you even know how I drive? Just go away you aren't of any help.

Edit - Also I've had two other significant issues that were not related to my driving, ECU and Powersteering. Maybe this car is just a lemon, I love Subaru but this car has been nothing but pita.
 

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OK, play nice everyone.

XJMan has been exceedingly helpful here at the Club since he joined up - far more than most recent members. Far more than I have been in the same time.
 

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your best bet is to go back to the dealership and explain the issues.. and im assuming youre still under warranty so theres nothing to worry about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I'm leaning towards the electronics. I do have a bumper to bumper warranty up to 100,000 miles or 7 years because of the past two rather large issues for a new car that were not caused by my driving - they decided to give me this warranty for free.

I don't power drive this car, I've been driving manual stick all my life and never had transmission issues.. often when I have to stop, I'll use clutch to put it in neutral and gradually coast to a stop then put it in first. So I'm not even downshifting all that often but when I do, I never grind the gears or any of that - It always feels gradual and right. I've had plenty of experience driving stick.

Anyone confirm that electronics interact with manual stick shift? My old man seems to think so, these new cars have electronic systems for everything. Anyways- I drove this morning, it was a bit warmer then last morning.. around 35-40.. and no issues. So I'm still thinking it's cooler weather that's causing the issue. We'll see - hopefully Subaru dealership will have answers. Thanks
 

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im no means the best standard driver but i knw wrx transmission isnt the best out there. if your car is still bonestock like mine, 1st to 2nd gear isnt the smoothest. and when it comes to downshifting, im always having trouble downshifting from 3rd to 2nd even with revmatching.. minor issue that i can address down the road when i do start doing engine mods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
im no means the best standard driver but i knw wrx transmission isnt the best out there. if your car is still bonestock like mine, 1st to 2nd gear isnt the smoothest. and when it comes to downshifting, im always having trouble downshifting from 3rd to 2nd even with revmatching.. minor issue that i can address down the road when i do start doing engine mods.
Never had issues shifting gears with the car for all three years up until the last week or so and only happened momentarily for a few minutes then back to normal. The symptoms aren't grinding or tougher to shift because of cold and the oil hasn't warmed up yet. It's like the position for 2nd or 4th was completely blocked- no matter how precise I was at pushing the stick into that position.. it just wouldn't even slide. And yes the clutch was in completely, I made sure of that and was pushing the clutch to the floor thinking that may have been the issue but is not.

I've lived in cold weather all my life and I know how when a car is cold and it's much cooler weather, the shifting becomes SLIGHTLY tougher until car is warmed up but nothing that would prevent you from completely shifting into gear. This is completely different, and has happened momentarily a couple times when the car was warmed up for 10 minutes and weather wasn't too cold, around 25-30 degrees.

So yeah, it's bewildering. I've had two prior issues with the electronic systems, ECU and powersteering.. so I'm figuring it's related to this and the cold weather.
 

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There are no electronics aside from a sensor that tells it what gear it's in corner gear boost control strategy.

If the issue happened once or twice without being able to readily repeat it I'd say it's older gear oil, and the cooling weather. Have you changed it recently? The 75w90 is super heavy and will take a good while to get where it needs to be when the temps drop.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Some reason I can't quote with reply, but @XJman :

It's been two weeks since dealership changed gear oil, on receipt it says "LSD 80W-90 Gear Oil".. all the incidents have happened after this.

The strange thing about this situation is:
1) It's happened a few times about 5 minutes into drive and switching gears before those 5 minutes was fine the entire way.
2) It's happened 3 times in span of 2 weeks in November where temps are generally around 30-40 degrees, mornings/overnight a bit cooler. Each time it was a few minutes into the drive where shifting was working properly to that point.
3) Each time it's always been 2nd, 4th and 6th. During the time it doesn't shift into those gears, I can still shift into 1st, 3rd, and 5th without a problem.
4) The time I can't shift into these gears - will fix itself in a few minutes. Mind you, it's not grinding, it just won't even move past neurtral towards that gear position. Like hitting a wall. But about 3-5 minutes later, it will. And I'm trying to do it multiple times, shift into 2nd, or 4th, 6th. And it just won't even come close. But during this time, the other gears the shifter slides into fine like normal, with clutch of course -1st or 3rd or 5th.

I am monitoring it, today was fine... but warmer.. this coming week it's going be warmer and thus far I haven't had issue.
 

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The dealership should have used extra s at 75w90. Are you sure that's the weight?

I'm going to stay with could gear oil and worn synchros. Gear oil is super super thick when it's cold and doesn't flow well so a transmission will not shift as smoothly.

There is also a long shot of shifter linkage being a little loose and the cold oil exaggerating the problem. A lot of people upgrade shifter bushings for a better feel and tighter shift.

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