The Subaru WRX has established its superiority with an affordable price tag and unforgettable all-around performance.

The WRX in stock trim can be a competitor almost anywhere it goes, whether it is rally or road racing; out of the box, this car disappoints many adversaries.

The five-speed transmission, however, is the topic of conversation for many enthusiasts on the street and many competitors at the track. The majority of the complaint list goes as follows:

Gear Set Symptoms
1)Hard launches break first gear
2) The car will not go back into first gear unless you come to a complete stop
3) Fifth gear is absolutely useless at the track
4) Constantly stuck between the top of first and the power in second
5) Transmission makes noise during deceleration

These aren't reflective of the opinions of the average WRX owner, but instead from those who push their WRXs to the very edge. Of course, as always, preventative maintenance is the name of the game for the WRX and its not-so-loved transmission.

Most of our testing was done with a few rally-prepped WRXs. Rallying is the ultimate test bed for any product because of its extreme conditions. A rule of thumb is, if it can stand up to rallying, it will stand up pretty much anywhere.

1)Hard Launches Break First Gear
Most complaints come from those who have admitted to revving pretty high before dumping the clutch. The AWD cars are great for getting power to the ground, offering astounding amounts of traction.

When you modify the 2.0 turbo engine, it's easy to find a lot of torque and horsepower quickly, but remember the rest of the car needs to be addressed to handle the power gains.

The number one suggestion is to be aware of potential weaknesses and don't side step the clutch. It is very possible to launch hard with a little clutch finesse; however, be prepared to regularly maintain the clutch linings.

The other option is going with an after market gear set. Most of the aftermarket gear sets are way stronger than stock, but hard launches can destroy way more than just first gear...trust us.

2) The Car Will Not Go Back Into First Gear Unless You Come To A Complete Stop
It always starts with a little synchro scratching going back to first gear. A new car is usually able to find first gear from 20 to 0 mph. Eventually, that speed lessens until all you get is an excruciating grinding noise unless you are at almost a complete stop.

This noise is very frustrating at the track, especially when the track has a lot of hairpins or very tight corners where first gear would be effective. First gear becomes useless as soon as you shift out of it until you come to a complete stop. The first thing to try is upgrading the transmission oil. The factory Subaru oil is not bad, but there are some very advanced lubricants on the market that can help with this problem.

We stumbled into the ultimate Subaru tranny oil info. We all know the basis for R&D on the WRX is rallying, so what does the World Rally Championship Subaru team run in their cars? Neo Synthetic lubricants, which are manufactured and distributed here in the United States.

We tried some Neo gear oil and eliminated a lot of the issues with the synchros going into first and fourth. The car was once again able to find first gear at around 20 mph. If you have been experiencing grinding issues, there's a chance that nothing short of replacing parts can remedy the problems.

3) Fifth Gear Is Absolutely Useless At The Track
A WRX with stock tires will do a little more than 120 mph in fourth gear. As best as we can tell, fifth gear is just for highway cruising and fuel economy. There aren't many venues for club racing that warrant or have the track for speeds of more than 120 mph.

Best option here is an aftermarket gear set that has ratios more inclined to keep the WRX in its powerband throughout every gear. A close ratio system is ideal.