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Q: Clutch squeaking in first gear in 2004 Subaru WRX Wagon

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2004 Subaru WRX Wagon. The clutch is making a squeaking noise in first. It sounds like someone is wiping the glass with Windex. Could it be a throw-out bearing? Never changed a clutch, since it's new.

A: You must be a very good driver, because it’...

You must be a very good driver, because it’s a 12-year-old Subaru and those are fast, little cars. Normally, those clutches are going to wear out a long time before that.

It could easily be a throw-out bearing. If it only happens when you push it in, especially when it’s colder, the grease a lot of times gets worn and throw it on throw-out bearing. So, if you step on it, it will make a little bit of noise until it heats up. So, it can very well be that.

The other thing is--if it only makes it in first, but it doesn’t make it in any other gear, sometimes, it’s the synchromesh in first gear that is starting to wear out. You want to pray that it’s not that, because that is a very expensive thing to repair. Rebuilding those transmissions is not something for the faint of heart. They are so expensive to buy remanufactured. Also, a new one is super expensive. A lot of guys gamble with the used one from the salvage yard, so you might have to look into that.

But I’d say pull the transmission off, because you’ve got to pull it off to do the clutching. Check out all the clutch parts, because odds are, your clutch plate is starting to get pretty thin. With that many years on the car it has to be somewhat worn. Buy a whole set when you do it, because that’s the best way to do it.

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