The Ultimate Guide to Driving a Manual Subaru: Tips and Tricks

Welcome to the ultimate guide to driving a manual Subaru! Whether you’re a first-time driver or looking to brush up on your skills, this guide will provide you with all the tips and tricks you need to confidently shift gears on the road. Subaru is known for its reliability and performance, and driving a manual Subaru is a unique and engaging experience. So buckle up and let’s hit the road!

The Ultimate Guide to Driving a Manual Subaru

Driving a manual Subaru is all about precision, control, and mastering the art of shifting gears. Unlike an automatic transmission, where the car does all the work for you, a manual transmission requires you to engage with the car on a deeper level. Many people find that once they learn to drive a manual car, they feel more connected to the vehicle and the road. So whether you’re looking to explore new driving experiences or just want to improve your driving skills, this guide has got you covered. Let’s get started!

The Manual Subaru: A Guide to Everything You Need to Know

If you’re a fan of Subarus, you might have heard of a manual transmission. But what exactly is a manual Subaru, and how does it differ from an automatic transmission?

What is a Manual Subaru?

Simply put, a manual Subaru is a car that uses a manual transmission instead of an automatic one. In a manual transmission, the driver is responsible for shifting gears using a clutch pedal and a gearstick. In an automatic transmission, the gears shift automatically based on the car’s speed and the driver’s input.

One of the main differences between a manual and automatic Subaru is the level of control the driver has over the vehicle. With a manual transmission, the driver can choose the gear they want to be in at any given moment. This allows for more precise control, especially in situations where maximum acceleration or deceleration is important, such as performance driving or navigating steep hills. Additionally, manual transmissions are often known for their better fuel efficiency compared to automatic transmissions.

Advantages of a Manual Transmission

Manual transmissions come with their own set of advantages. As mentioned earlier, they offer more control over the vehicle and better fuel efficiency. They also tend to be less expensive than their automatic counterparts, both in the initial cost of the car and in ongoing maintenance and repair costs. Since they have fewer moving parts and less complicated technology, manual transmissions tend to have a longer lifespan and can endure more wear and tear over time.

Another advantage of a manual Subaru is that it can be a more engaging and enjoyable driving experience for some drivers. Shifting gears manually can provide a sense of connection to the car and the road, making the driving experience more immersive. Many enthusiasts argue that this is part of the reason why manual transmissions are becoming less common in modern cars, as manufacturers are focusing more on driver-assist technology and automated features.

Disadvantages of a Manual Transmission

Despite their many advantages, manual Subarus come with their own set of drawbacks. One of the biggest downsides to a manual transmission is the learning curve. Shifting gears manually takes practice and skill, and it can be difficult to master at first. This can make the driving experience frustrating and tiring for some drivers, especially if they live in areas with a lot of stop-and-go traffic.

Another disadvantage of manual transmissions is that they can be more physically demanding to drive. Since the driver is responsible for the clutch and gearstick, they need to be on high alert and use more physical effort to operate the car smoothly. This can be taxing on the body over long periods of time, especially for people who are not used to driving manual cars.

In conclusion, manual Subarus are an excellent choice for drivers who prioritize control, fuel efficiency, and an engaging driving experience. However, they come with a steep learning curve and can be physically demanding to drive. If you’re considering a manual Subaru, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully and make sure it’s the right fit for you and your driving needs.

How to Drive a Manual Subaru

Driving a manual Subaru can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it does require some practice and skill. If you’re new to driving a manual transmission or just need some tips for mastering the techniques specific to a Subaru, read on.

Practice Makes Perfect

The first step to becoming proficient in driving a manual Subaru is to practice. Familiarize yourself with the gears and clutch by driving in a low-traffic area such as an empty parking lot or a quiet neighborhood street. Start by shifting between first and second gears and then progress to higher gears as you become more comfortable with the process.

It’s important to note that each manual Subaru may shift slightly differently. Spend some time getting a feel for the car and its unique characteristics so that you can shift smoothly and accurately.

Another great way to hone your skills is to find a knowledgeable and experienced friend or family member who can coach you through the process. Having someone in the passenger seat to offer tips and guidance can be incredibly helpful in your learning journey.

Starting and Stopping

The most daunting task for new manual drivers is often starting and stopping smoothly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

1. Press the clutch pedal all the way to the floor while pressing down on the brake pedal with your right foot.

2. Put the car into first gear.

3. Gradually release the clutch pedal while simultaneously pressing the accelerator pedal. The car should start moving forward smoothly.

To stop, simply press the clutch pedal all the way to the floor while pressing down on the brake pedal to bring the car to a complete stop.

Remember, starting and stopping smoothly is a skill that requires practice. Be patient with yourself and keep practicing until it becomes second nature.

Shifting Gears

Once you’re comfortable starting and stopping, it’s time to move on to shifting gears. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you shift smoothly:

1. Press the clutch pedal all the way to the floor.

2. Release the accelerator pedal.

3. Shift into the next gear.

4. Slowly release the clutch pedal while pushing down on the accelerator pedal at the same time.

5. Repeat as necessary for each gear.

It’s essential to shift smoothly to prevent stalling or jerky movements. Some helpful tips for smoother shifting include:

– Listen to the sound of the engine and shift when the sound becomes higher-pitched.
– Use the clutch pedal smoothly and consistently.
– Don’t rush the process; take your time between shifts to ensure a smooth transition.

With these tips and some practice, you’ll be shifting gears like a pro in no time.

In conclusion, driving a manual Subaru requires some practice and skill, but it can be a fun and rewarding driving experience. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the unique characteristics of your car, practice starting and stopping smoothly, and shift gears with confidence and ease. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Maintenance and Care for Your Manual Subaru

Subaru is one of the most popular automotive brands, and for good reason. The company produces high-quality vehicles that are both reliable and fun to drive. For manual Subaru drivers, proper maintenance and care are essential to keeping your car running smoothly for years to come.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial for any vehicle, but it’s especially important for manual Subarus. Proper maintenance can extend the life of your car and save you money on repairs in the long run. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Oil Changes: Regularly changing the oil in your car is one of the most important things you can do to keep it running smoothly. Your car’s manual will give you guidelines on how frequently you should change your oil, but it’s typically between 5,000 and 10,000 miles.
  • Transmission Fluid Checks: Keeping an eye on your transmission fluid is another important part of maintaining your car. Your transmission fluid should be checked regularly and changed as needed per your car manual’s guidelines.
  • Battery and Brakes: Make sure to keep your battery and brakes in good condition. Regularly check and replace brake pads as necessary, and test your battery periodically to ensure it’s holding a charge.
  • Tire Pressure: Finally, make sure to check your tire pressure at least once a month and keep it within the recommended range.

Driving Habits

The way you drive your manual Subaru can also have a big impact on its longevity. Here are some tips to help you keep your car in good shape:

  • Avoid Excessive Idling: Idling your car for extended periods can put unnecessary stress on the engine. If you’ll be stopped for more than a minute or two, it’s best to turn off your engine.
  • Shifting at Appropriate Speeds: Make sure to shift gears at appropriate speeds and RPMs to avoid putting too much strain on the transmission.
  • Temperature Control: Finally, make sure to keep an eye on your car’s temperature gauge and avoid driving at high speeds if your car is overheating.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Despite your best efforts, you may still encounter some issues with your manual Subaru’s transmission. Here are some common problems and how to troubleshoot them:

  • Grinding Gears: Grinding gears is a common issue when shifting gears. Make sure to fully depress the clutch pedal before shifting, and try changing gears at a slower speed.
  • Slipping Clutch: If your clutch is slipping, it may be time for a replacement. Other issues such as low fluid levels or a worn-out clutch plate could also be the cause.
  • Strange Noises: If you notice unusual noises coming from your transmission, it’s best to get it checked out by a mechanic to identify the source of the problem.

By following these maintenance and care tips, you can ensure that your manual Subaru stays running smoothly for years to come. If you do encounter any issues, it’s important to address them right away to avoid further damage and costly repairs.

Happy Driving!

We hope this ultimate guide has given you the confidence to hit the road with your manual Subaru. Remember to start slow, practice regularly, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Driving a manual can be challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, it can be a truly rewarding experience.

Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you again soon for more tips and tricks on driving a manual Subaru. Don’t forget to share this article with any friends or family members who might also be interested in learning to drive stick. Happy shifting!


1. Is driving a manual Subaru hard?

Driving a manual Subaru can be challenging at first, but with practice and patience, anyone can learn to do it.

2. What type of transmission does a Subaru have?

Subaru offers both manual and automatic transmission options for their vehicles.

3. How do I shift gears smoothly?

To shift gears smoothly in a manual Subaru, you need to match the RPM of the new gear to the RPM of the current gear before engaging the clutch and shifting.

4. Can I switch from automatic to manual on a Subaru?

Some Subaru models come with a manual mode option on their automatic transmission, allowing you to manually shift gears using steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.

5. Do I need to use the clutch every time I shift gears?

Yes, you need to use the clutch every time you shift gears in a manual Subaru.

6. Can I roll back on a hill when driving a manual Subaru?

Yes, you can roll back on a hill when driving a manual Subaru if you don’t apply enough gas or release the clutch too quickly.

7. What is the best way to stop a manual Subaru?

To stop a manual Subaru, press the brake pedal and engage the clutch while coming to a complete stop.

8. Do I need a special driver’s license to drive a manual Subaru?

No, you don’t need a special driver’s license to drive a manual Subaru.

9. What happens if I shift gears too quickly?

If you shift gears too quickly in a manual Subaru, you might grind the gears or stall the engine.

10. How can I prevent stalling my manual Subaru?

To prevent stalling your manual Subaru, make sure to engage the clutch fully before releasing the brake and applying the gas when starting from a stop.