Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
2000 Accord
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a 2002 Forester L five speed, and it is the first manual I have owned or driven much. I have some questions about how to drive it fuel efficiently and correctly so the transmission and clutch last as long as possible.
Right now I shift basically between 2500 and 3000 rpm and basically shift up to the highest gear I can because the lower rpms mean better mpg right? And when I come to a stop or corner I usually just shift it into neutral and coast and then shift into gear when necessary, I'd like to downshift because that seems like the correct way to use a manual but I feel like I'm too inexperienced and might cause damage to the clutch or transmission if it is not completely fluid. And when I start on a hill i let up on the the clutch until the engine strains, holds the car from rolling back, then take off is this bad for the clutch? should I use the hand brake? And at low speeds and backing up I feel like I have to hold the clutch in a lot, is this what they call riding the clutch which will wear it out quickly? if so what are the tricks to parking lot driving with out jerking or stalling?

Sorry for the long rambling post I guess what would really help me out would be speed range for each gear. And again is there anytime it is bad to be in a high gear when going slowly if you don't feel the car struggling?

And is there any maintenance specifically for manuals that I need to be doing?

thanks everyone, your always very helpful for my newbie questions
 

·
Premium Member
2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
Joined
·
10,784 Posts
Driving a manual is a skill that is perfected with practice. Now is a good time to avoid learning bad habits though. Although, what some (like me) consider bad habits is normal to others.

My ideas of bad habits:

Riding the clutch.
Coasting in neutral.
Shifting too early, trying to get to highest gear ASAP.
Downshifting every time you slow down.

There are lots of hills where I live, so using the hand brake while starting on a hill is something I do often. Forester has the hill holder feature though (yours may not), so that's very helpful.

It's okay to have the engine at 3K and above for periods of time. It's much better to be at higher revs than to lug the engine under load at lower RPM. It is also fine to coast in gear, you are not saving gas by putting it in neutral -- it's a very unsafe practice though. Taking a corner in neutral and off the gas is about the worst thing you can do, please don't do this. Correct way to execute a turn is:

1) do all of your breaking and downshifting before you enter the turn
2) make your turning move, point your head at where you want to be at the other side of the turn
3) smoothly get on the gas proceed safely and happily through a turn while accelerating.

With a manual, being smooth is key. Practice is only way to get smooth.

Stan
 

·
Registered
2016 Forester XT Touring
Joined
·
550 Posts
Don't worry so much

Your probably fine. Drive your clutch gently. Don't lug the engine, and don't ride the clutch. High RPMs are okay when you are starting. Generally speaking, get the car moving as quickly as possibly while still being smooth. By that, I mean, don't spend too much time in that area where the engine is holding the car but the car isn't moving. That is called riding the clutch and people do that to keep the car stationary on a hill. Use the brakes. That is what they are for. Don't engine brake too much. Brake pads are cheap, a new transmission isn't.

If you care a lot about fuel economy, look up hypermiling. They advocate for coasting in neutral to minimize consumption. It is okay when there isn't much traffic around, but when there are other cars around, driving in neutral is a hazard.
 

·
Registered
09 Forester 2.5X
Joined
·
704 Posts
Driving a manual is a skill that is perfected with practice. Now is a good time to avoid learning bad habits though. Although, what some (like me) consider bad habits is normal to others.

My ideas of bad habits:

Riding the clutch.
Coasting in neutral.
Shifting too early, trying to get to highest gear ASAP.
Downshifting every time you slow down.
.........
1) do all of your breaking and downshifting before you enter the turn
2) make your turning move, point your head at where you want to be at the other side of the turn
3) smoothly get on the gas proceed safely and happily through a turn while accelerating.

With a manual, being smooth is key. Practice is only way to get smooth.

Stan
Great post. Been driving 8+ years with manual expierence (off and on) and was still finding out new things a couple months ago. As far as making my driving more smooth and what not. Also, try to learn that point where the clutch engages. After a little while you will know the exact point. Then, from there, you won't really need a hill brake, you can start more smooth and now leave room to learn other things!

I believe the manual shows recommended gear changes, but 3000 rpms sounds decent. It doesn't need to be exact everytime and you can change it up depending on your mood (that's why I love non-auto cars :) ). As for any differences in maintainance, I believe you still have fluids to change. Again, consult the car manual.
 

·
Premium Member
2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
Joined
·
10,784 Posts
When teaching new manual drivers, I try to get them to learn starting from a stop without touching the gas pedal at all. Key there is being very slow and smooth with the clutch pedal, progressively getting slower the further the pedal is let out. That way a driver gets a good feel for sweet spot where the clutch starts to grabs.

Stan
 

·
Registered
1998 Cayenne GTS 6speed
Joined
·
1,751 Posts
Don't ride the clutch. Use handbrake if you need to (this need will diminish in time).

Get a better feeling for the clutch: try starting without touching accelerator (practice only); try keeping RPM consistent (usually ~1500 works well to begin with) while starting from dead stop, try making starting smooth and quick (no riding the clutch).

Rev-match while up-shifting (wait just the right time before engaging the next gear so that rpm fall in the right range).

When you get that, go on and practice double-clutch on all up-shifts (when safe, as it might be difficult at first).

Do not coast in neutral. Do downshift. Do rev-match all downshifts (blip the throttle just the right amount and at the right time). Practice double-clutching the downshifts (the only non-damaging way to downshift, but requires more concentration, so might not be appropriate in some emergency situations).

To execute rev-matched downshifts in any situation, you must learn heel-toe; it's not that difficult (unless you shoe size is extremely small).

Some things (starting/stopping) is best practiced in a big empty parking lot. Other stuff you can practice in everyday commute, provided you pay attention and not try highly-demanding new tricks in high density traffic.

During the initial practice phase, you most like will screw up many times, and cause some wear to the clutch and transmission. If you understand the principles and pay attention, you will not break anything, that extra wear will be minimal/negligible and compensated many times over in the following years as you drive more skillfully (and cause less wear).
 

·
Administrator
2016 & 2018 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
19,470 Posts
Can you tell us where 'NWA' is? Among other things, this might give us a clue as to whether driving in snow will be part of your upcoming experiences.
 

·
Registered
02 Forester L (sold) Manual
Joined
·
1,220 Posts
A little more advanced, but the OP indicated they wanted to learn proper rev-match downshifting so I'll link this. There are dozens of similar videos on You Tube also.
BTW, I offer instruction in this and most any other driving technique if you're in my area. :icon_biggrin:
 

·
Registered
2007 Forester X 4 EAT
Joined
·
132 Posts
Install a vacuum gauge...keeping the reading high uses less fuel.
 

·
Registered
2000 Accord
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the info, I'm getting more comfortable but occasionally still rev on take off. I'm going to practice taking off without gas then try to keep a constant rpm, 1500 as Tau suggested, when I take off with a better idea of where the clutch engages. I am still curious about how to know what rpm to rev the engine to match the transmission in up or down shifting, probably something learned with time, I am already getting quite a bit smoother. Oh and NWA is northwest arkansas, and yes we have snow and ice (mostly) dec-feb.
 

·
Administrator
2016 & 2018 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
19,470 Posts
Regarding snow or ice, it's wise to stay in a little bit higher gear than you'd normally be in for a similar situation with good traction. This gives you a little bit less torque and thus a lower probability of spinning.

We really do encourage people to provide honest-to-goodness locations in their profiles, and to put the vital info about their Foresters in their signatures. It helps us tune our advice to your situation. NWA? It used to mean Northwest Airlines, till they merged with Delta. You can get to both profile and signature via the Quick Links pulldown in the tan bar at the top of any page here.
 

·
Registered
1998 Cayenne GTS 6speed
Joined
·
1,751 Posts
Regarding snow or ice, it's wise to stay in a little bit higher gear than you'd normally be in for a similar situation with good traction. This gives you a little bit less torque and thus a lower probability of spinning.
That gives less chance of spinning tires (and possibly spinning out while on throttle (which is not very likely with stock suspension anyway), or spinning due to lift-off) , but also lot less chance of getting out of a bad situation (e.g., any sort of slide or spin) should you get into one; less braking, too.

Thus, with Subaru AWD I'd suggest staying in lower gear and learn better throttle control. Disclaimer - this approach assumes (requires) knowledge of basics principles of AWD car physics, as well as some practice.
 

·
The Modfather
2019 Impreza 5dr Sport - Manual
Joined
·
8,070 Posts
I don't see that anyone has mentioned proper parking so I'll give it a shot. The best way to park is to do it in this order.

When stopped keep your foot on the break and clutch in.

Set the parking break (foot still on break, clutch depressed)

release foot break

put car in first gear, release clutch.

If you are on a hill it's a good idea to turn you wheels towards the curb.

The reason you want to do this is to not have the transmission hold the car from moving but the e-bake. Keeps the stress off the gears and can prevent the car from moving. My dads Brat ended up in the woods once because we lived on a steep hill and the compression did not hold the car back. It slowly walked down the hill on it own.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top