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Squeaky Clutch or Brake Pedal on Your Subaru Impreza WRX/STI?

Find out if Your Spot Welds May be Going Bad on your Impreza

If your Subaru Impreza can’t get in and out of gear, your brake pedal moves when you shift, or your clutch is clicking or squeaking, it may not be the clutch itself, but the firewall of the clutch and brake assembly. This is a problem we regularly see at Suburb Service, Seattle’s Oldest Independent Subaru Service and Repair Center.

Check out the tips below on how to check your spot welds to see if they’re causing clutch problems and click here to schedule an appointment if you need a Subaru repair.

What Subaru models are affected by the spot weld issue?

If you drive a 2008 to 2014 GH/GR Impreza (2.5i/OBS/WRX/STI), you may have this problem. So far, the issue has not been linked to a specific batch of Imprezas and does not seem to be related geographically to certain climates or any specific year within the range listed. This issue has been noted in Subaru mechanics forums all over the world and in all models with the GH/GR chassis.

How to tell if you have a spot weld issue

There are three primary symptoms that are commonly seen with this spot weld problem:

1) Your clutch creaks and/or clicks when you push the pedal down.
2) You see a lot of movement of the clutch when the pedals are pushed..
3) When the push in the clutch, the brake pedal moves significantly to the left.

What is the cause and effect of the spot weld issue?

Because the firewall area is so thin, it flexes excessively every time you push the clutch or brake pedal. Not only is the firewall thin, but the clutch and brake assembly is secured by only six small spot welds. Over time, these rip off the firewall. The end result is that you can't get your Subaru in and out of gear and the clutch becomes useless.

Here’s how to check the spot welds

The best way to check your spot welds for wear and tear is to look under your windshield wiper cowl (that’s the area where your wipers are anchored and rest when “off”). It takes only about 20 minutes from start to finish. One tip is to take digital pics to make sure you put everything back where it belongs.

Even if you took your Subaru to the dealer and they told you they can’t find the source off the creak or click, you may want to do this self-check for your peace of mind.

#1 Mark the wiper locations with masking tape so you can reassemble them accurately.
#2 Remove the plastic wiper bolt covers and then pull up from the flat side.
#3 Remove the 14mm nuts from the wipers and then remove the wipers.
#4 Remove the plastic fasteners – there are seven – two on each side and three in the middle.
#5 Once this is done, remove only the center piece of the wiper cowl by unclipping the ends.
#6 Remove the wiper motor by disconnecting the harness and taking out the three 10 mm bolts.
#7 Life the motor assembly out carefully so you don’t scratch your paint.
#8 The spot welds are just below there on the driver’s side and the wear should be obvious.

How many miles or years before the spot weld problem occurs?

There is no simple answer to this. You can drive your Impreza off the Subaru dealer lot and hear the creak or it can be 100,000 miles before it happens. It can happen sooner, later, or never with no way to predict it. If you use your clutch excessively, you may see this problem sooner rather than later.

Highway driving wears the clutch less so if that’s your most common mode of operation, you may have less of a chance of the problem. If you have a stiffer clutch, and have to press harder to engage it, that might contribute to wear and tear on these spot welds sooner.

Is the spot weld repair covered under the Subaru warranty?

As of June 2015, Subaru extended the warranty for the 2008-2010 WRX and STI models but only by a year. It is now four years or 48,000 miles from the dealer sale date. If you had this work done previously and it would have been within this extended warranty period, you may be able to get reimbursement from Subaru. Also, sometimes you may have to fight for the fix even if you’re under warranty.

How to DIY fix the spot weld issue

If you have mechanical skills, you may want to try and make this repair yourself. You’ll have to pull out the interior dash assembly and secure the assembly using additional welds, bolts or rivets. However, unless you know how to weld, it’s not a good idea to try this since the metal there is thin and you could cause more damage than you fix.

Call Suburb Service for an expert fix on your spot weld issue

If you suspect you have a clutch assembly spot weld issue – or have confirmed it, but don’t want to try the fix yourself, come see the Subaru experts at Suburb Service. We only work on Subaru so this repair is easily done at either our Marysville or Seattle location. Call 206.364.8089 to reach our Seattle location or click here to schedule an appointment online.

Suburb Service is the Pacific Northwest’s Oldest Independent Subaru Service and Repair center. Subaru is all we do. Our customers love us and you will too. Call now for your clutch assembly repair, factory scheduled maintenance, warranty work, or routine service. We’ll love your Subaru as much as you do!