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2010 Forester Prem. 5 spd
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For as long as I've had cars with manual transmissions I've downshifted (rear wheel drive, or front wheel drive) when I've needed to come to a controlled stop.

Recently my wife took the new 2010 Foz into the dealership for an oil change and was told the following:

* No need to downshift in 2010. Just brake the car in gear. Downshifting could cause more problems down the road for the manual transmission. She understood that there are more parts in AWD which means more things to go wrong.

* Brakes on a new Forester are good for 60,000 miles before a change.

This being said my wife often coasts and brakes to a stop. Sometimes at 60 mph. This cannot be good for the brakes. :evilatyou:

Your mechanical thoughts appreciated as the wife burned out the brakes on the VW a while ago by coasting around and braking to a stop.

CapeAnn
 

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I just keep the car in whatever gear I am in and then push the clutch in and shift to neutral before the engine starts to lug. For me at least this technique is not hard on the brakes, as I feel I use the brakes less often than on the wife's automatic Accord. This makes for a much smoother ride since I'm not shifting as much. (wifes hates the sensation whenever a manual car is shifted) In an automatic, you want to slow down you use the brakes, so I don't think this tecnique is going to "burn up the brakes". If it did, every automatic car would burn their brakes!.

Even if it where harder on the brakes its most certainly easier on the clutch. I can replace front brake pads myself in no time, but a clutch job would be slightly more difficult.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5X Premiu
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AT driver here, but I have read more than once: would you rather replace a clutch from using the engine to brake, or replace brake pads?
 

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2010 Forester Prem. 5 spd
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies. Appreciate it. AT is pretty easy to brake. You just brake. Manual (IMO) requires a bit more nuance to find the optimal gear/ traction (?) range while slowing down and not lugging the engine. I was taught to downshift some odd thirty years ago and maybe it's no longer applicable these days as car braking systems are far more advanced than drums, and early caliper/disc brakes.

That being said the - $ for the last brake job on the VW was in excess of $ 700. The one before that for the front calipers was $800.00. I don't know what a clutch job is $...however, we have some add-on repair policy which Subaru sold us which is supposed to cover all these surprises. :shrug:

If I had a more informed idea about mechanics I am having some difficulty understanding the mechanics thoughts on it being bad to downshift on a AWD drive car. :icon_confused:

Cheers,

CapeAnn
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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VW was in excess of $ 700. The one before that for the front calipers was $800.00. I don't know what a clutch job is $...however, we have some add-on repair policy which Subaru sold us which is supposed to cover all these surprises. :shrug:
Dad always said that brakes are cheaper than clutches/trannies. (as mentioned above)He told me that 50 years ago.

Your $$$ numbers for brakes are totally insane. Pads/resurfacing rotors shouldn't cost more than a couple hundred. Just not necessary in normal driving (IMHO)
 

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2010 Forester 2.5X SE
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I did pads in my wifes mazda 6 for $40. A cluch or tranny is gonna be a crap ton more than that. I too was taught to down shift but after being asked if i would rather pay for breaks or a clutch/tranny i decided to ease up on the downshifting. I only do it if i need to stop faster or if i am coming up to a light that should change soon (keep clutch in and shift as if i were downshifting so i am in the correct gear when the light changes)
 

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t was told once that motor helps slow the car along with the brakes by using the compression to slow the car and clutch to neutrual. before the car stalls.
 

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1998 Cayenne GTS 6speed
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* No need to downshift in 2010. Just brake the car in gear. Downshifting could cause more problems down the road for the manual transmission. She understood that there are more parts in AWD which means more things to go wrong.
Total bull. Downshifting with a manual transmission is a necessity for safe driving/driver. The only concern here is for people who do not understand how/why to do this properly, and therefore can indeed break something (and thus imnsho should not be behind the wheel in the first place, OR should devote some time to learning the required skills).

With that in mind, I personally do not always downshift when stopping at a light that just turned yellow/red. In any other case I will want to be at least over 2000rpm or better yet in 3-5k range, depending on situation and required reaction time. This will save gas, will save brakes' life (which is irrelevant, really, considering low cost of replacement), will not harm engine/transmission/drivetrain when done properly (slight to no increase is clutch wear is to be expected), and, most importantly, may save lives by a) increase braking force, especially is low-traction condition, and b) providing the ability to accelerate (important for swerving/turning, too) nearly instantly, without having to spend time down-shifting (an rev-matching, ideally) in an emergency.

Oh, an important side note: the above logic assumes (1) rev-matching with (2) double-clutching, otherwise (1) clutch and (2) transmission (synchronizes') wear may be expected. I do not know how big of an issue it is for new Subaru transmissions, but I'd assume even then it should last for over 100K+ mile.

* Brakes on a new Forester are good for 60,000 miles before a change.
True for a low-to-medium density suburban traffic.
 

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2010 Forester Prem. 5 spd
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks fellas. Appreciate the information.

It seems I got hosed on the brake jobs. That being said I am often on the job + traveling so I cannot oversee or talk to the F%$%$ rep's who job the project to my wife. Seems VW dealer and Meinecke are only too happy to take the dollar. My fault for not being there, or doing the job myself.

Tau - thanks for the primer on what I have been doing instinctively (and through manny tranny friends) for years. I think the Subie Mechanic was giving the wife "easy" info. If anything, I have some more study to do and devote some time to understanding how AWD trannys work in a Subie.

Cheers,

CapeAnn
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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Total bull. Downshifting with a manual transmission is a necessity for safe driving/driver. .
Why is is safer? Especially when you hahe FWD or bias to FWD. With brakes 4 wheels are braking. and coupled with ABS keeps vehicle controlled better. Might have been a good thing 25+ years ago with RWD and no ABS..times have changed ... again MHO.

50 years driving with manuals and one accident that was my fault would disagree with you.

I agree there are "some" conditions where downshifting is indicated.
 

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* No need to downshift in 2010. Just brake the car in gear. Downshifting could cause more problems down the road for the manual transmission. She understood that there are more parts in AWD which means more things to go wrong.

* Brakes on a new Forester are good for 60,000 miles before a change.

CapeAnn
I also call Bull**** on this. Yes, I brake while in gear... but downshift is necessary too. No need to over do it. My wife can grind thru front pads and rotors in 25K miles.....she's my x-wife now. How about air pollution from brake pad dust?
 

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2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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1) Downshifting doesn't put any additional wear on the clutch, engine, or transmission. Period. Now, if you just push the clutch in, put the car in neutral, let the revs fall to idle, then try to put in a lower gear, that is bad. But proper downshifting causes absolutely no harm to anything. The clutch isn't slipping, so that point is invalid. Engines are perfectly happy operating like this (the ECU even optimizes this, and things are more efficient).

2) Downshifting with a manual transmission is a safety thing. You should ALWAYS be in a position where, in an emergency, you can apply power and get the car out of the way. Coasting in neutral to a stop is a terrible idea. Stay in gear, downshift so that you are able to make a reasonable amount of power on-demand if necessary.

3) Practice downshifting. Shift to neutral, release clutch, blip throttle, engage clutch, select lower gear. Do this until you are comfortable doing it quickly and smoothly. This is the proper way to downshift/rev-match. Everything other method just wastes fuel.
 

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Why is is safer? Especially when you hahe FWD or bias to FWD. With brakes 4 wheels are braking. and coupled with ABS keeps vehicle controlled better. Might have been a good thing 25+ years ago with RWD and no ABS..times have changed ... again MHO.

50 years driving with manuals and one accident that was my fault would disagree with you.

I agree there are "some" conditions where downshifting is indicated.
I'm not following your logic. It seems to me that a FWD car should be better at stopping than a RWD car, mostly because the front tires have to stop a LOT more weight during hard braking than the rear tires, because of the dynamics of a quickly decelerating vehicle. This can be seen in how the front springs compress and rear springs decompress during braking. (Hooke's law states that the amount (distance) a spring is compressed is directly (linearly) related to how much force is on it. Shocks may take away some of the linearity, but it's still approximatable.)

However, that's for FWD or Front-biased cars, which doesn't apply here. While the Auto is front biased, the Manual is 50/50, so it's even to all 4 tires anyway.

But I think that tau137 was talking about it being safer overall because the engine is lending a hand to help stop the car. Instead of the brakes being the sole source of stopping, both the brakes and engine are working together to stop the car. In times of a lot of repeated braking (i.e. down a mountain, or in stop and go traffic), brakes can heat up and fade. Engine braking helps reduce the amount of overall heating and fading.
 

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1) Downshifting doesn't put any additional wear on the clutch, engine, or transmission. Period. Now, if you just push the clutch in, put the car in neutral, let the revs fall to idle, then try to put in a lower gear, that is bad. But proper downshifting causes absolutely no harm to anything. The clutch isn't slipping, so that point is invalid. Engines are perfectly happy operating like this (the ECU even optimizes this, and things are more efficient).

2) Downshifting with a manual transmission is a safety thing. You should ALWAYS be in a position where, in an emergency, you can apply power and get the car out of the way. Coasting in neutral to a stop is a terrible idea. Stay in gear, downshift so that you are able to make a reasonable amount of power on-demand if necessary.

3) Practice downshifting. Shift to neutral, release clutch, blip throttle, engage clutch, select lower gear. Do this until you are comfortable doing it quickly and smoothly. This is the proper way to downshift/rev-match. Everything other method just wastes fuel.
In 12+ years of driving I have yet to be in any situation where I needed immediate power to get out of the way of something while braking. That said, when I downshift while slowing down, i think I have the clutch pushed in physically switching gears for more time than I am in gear. When I downshift through each gear, it seems that as soon as I am done letting out the clutch I have to push it back in again to go down to the next gear. I used to drive that way with my Mustang when I first got it and it was maddening. Shifting through 4 gears in the space of a few hundred or so feet doesn't sound efficient.

Not trying to be a PIA about this, just trying to understand....

I'll try some downshifting tomorrow.
 

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In 12+ years of driving I have yet to be in any situation where I needed immediate power to get out of the way of something while braking. That said, when I downshift while slowing down, i think I have the clutch pushed in physically switching gears for more time than I am in gear.
Then you're doing it wrong (no or slow double-clutching, or wrong rpm range selection, or lack of forethought/anticipation).
 

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In 12+ years of driving I have yet to be in any situation where I needed immediate power to get out of the way of something while braking. That said, when I downshift while slowing down, i think I have the clutch pushed in physically switching gears for more time than I am in gear. When I downshift through each gear, it seems that as soon as I am done letting out the clutch I have to push it back in again to go down to the next gear. I used to drive that way with my Mustang when I first got it and it was maddening. Shifting through 4 gears in the space of a few hundred or so feet doesn't sound efficient.

Not trying to be a PIA about this, just trying to understand....

I'll try some downshifting tomorrow.
This post gives me some insight (I think) into a key difference between driving styles.
I drive, anticipating things. I'll leave a bit of space between myself and the car in front of me (more than most people). I'll also watch what's happening in front of them, as far as I see. I also watch the traffic lights down the road and try to anticipate their timing. If the cars down the road start slowing down, I'll downshift without braking to increase my distance to the car in front of me. This way, I stop using gas sooner, and also don't have to brake and lose all my momentum while everybody else is braking to slow quickly. Also, for traffic lights, I'll try to slow myself down gradually, far enough ahead so I don't have to stop at the light. It doesn't always work, but is a continual improvement process.

However, if you're a person who immediately reacts to the car in front of them, and stops for lights once they get to the light, then I can understand the feeling of having to shift again once you get into a gear. My wife drives that way, but then again, she prefers the automatic.

One other thing this brings to mind, is that with modern ECU-controlled engines, the gas is sometimes cut off while engine braking, but while in neutral gas is being used to keep the engine idling. So by anticipating early and engine braking, better fuel economy can be achieved.
 

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In 12+ years of driving I have yet to be in any situation where I needed immediate power to get out of the way of something while braking. That said, when I downshift while slowing down, i think I have the clutch pushed in physically switching gears for more time than I am in gear. When I downshift through each gear, it seems that as soon as I am done letting out the clutch I have to push it back in again to go down to the next gear. I used to drive that way with my Mustang when I first got it and it was maddening. Shifting through 4 gears in the space of a few hundred or so feet doesn't sound efficient.

Not trying to be a PIA about this, just trying to understand....

I'll try some downshifting tomorrow.
Try it the way I said.
 

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The Australian Army taught us guys to double clutch the Landrovers and International Trucks that we had back in the 70's.

I double clutch the Forester occasionally ie when towing a laden trailer, I also rev match and change down when I want that Subaru burble :biggrin: and also when slowing to a stop I touch the the brakes 3 x times gently on the way to the stop and I only just changed the original pads over at 125,000kms.

Listen to your engine - use commonsense and the seat of your pants when driving and it will stand you in good stead.
 
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