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08 Subaru 2.5i Impreza Outback Sport, Trans won't shift to Reverse after parking

I have an 08 Subaru and until now I thought this was a fluke but it is happening more frequently this week.

When I park my car I engage the the parking brake and put the shifter into first gear, turn the car off … etc… When I go back to the car I depress the clutch, start the car, apply the brake and disengage the parking brake. I then proceed to shift to reverse to back out of my parking spot, here is where the problem lays. More often then not the car shifts to reverse and I am on my way but every so often the shifter refuses to go into reverse until I release and depress the clutch pedal. After that it drops into reverse and away I go. Any thoughts?


I don’t think it’s a problem. Might even be as simple as you’re not pulling up the parking break hard enough? Like you put the brake on and ever so slowly the car ‘settles’ in to first gear. So it might be time to check the brake pads and perhaps just have the parking brake adjusted.

One thing you might also try is before starting with the parking brake on… depress the clutch and go from 1st. gear to second. Back to first then in reverse (or what ever is opposite to reverse and see if it slips in. Now you might check with subaru on the miles on the transmission fluid. You have synchromesh gears that could be getting worn and manual transmissions gets hot, too. And there maybe a special transmission oil that subaru uses for it’s trannys (and rear end gear boxes) Even some domestic cars have fluids that can’t use off the shelf gear fluids.

Again this is pretty minor.

Ok. So I checked the oil level and it is at full and is a transparent golden tint. I started the car and with the clutch depressed I went from first to reverse, no dice. I then dropped the brake and let the car roll forward a bit, then applied the brake and shifted into reverse from neutral. I backed the car up, shifted to first and pulled forward, nothing out of the ordinary.

So I sat there for a bit, foot on the clutch and brake then started shifting through the gear position’s. I tried various different patterns and all of them eventually lead to the reverse position being “locked out” to which I would cycle though the gears again in order for it to “unlock”. During this the car did not roll or move at all and everything seemed to be synchronized before I started this.

Could my linkage be loose? and if so would that cause a binding to occur on occasion thus preventing me from shifting into reverse?

Basically I have an extended maintenance warranty on the car and I wish to head off any hiccups from becoming major issues when the warranty is expired, so I may be a little paranoid given my sorted history with automobiles and their desire to do my wallet harm.


Hey ! This Isn't "Rusty The Roo" After A Slight Make-Over And Different Car, Is It ?


5 speed manual? It’s hi performance regardless. I wouldn’t worry about it. The reverse gear is not synchro’d it’s just a gear to get into reverse and not related to forward gearing. You have 5 forward speeds:

1) I love you for not grinding me and burning up the clutch.
2) Oh that is so nice… my dealer can’t even shift a manual. nor my mother…
3) screw the phone I’m having fun shifting…
4) Go ahead make my day… a little power?? zoom…
5) I wish you were here I’m cruising…

Downshifting…fast?? keep it down to third to second… no first gear downshifting.

Reverse: Stepping into a cow pie on a moonless night… naked with a screw driver a flat tire and no car.

You have a good transmission… just reverse is a common gear… I had a Fiat spider 130 mph… and I avoided parking to get into reverse… hi performance transmission.

Please understand… reverse gear is usually the first one to go. Just nudge it in as you have been "a little clutch in 1st? and shifting into reverse?? AVOID backing up parking. Btw… you have mastered hi perf 5 speeds!! You could go to a Ferrari where reverse is almost extinct… NEVER GET INTO ANYTHING YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF… …