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Old 05-30-2013, 04:54 PM   #1
subaru604
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Default When do I use the L gear on my 2013 Impreza CVT?

I was letting my friend drive my car and every time he steps on it and passes someone he shifts to the L gear and steps on the gas. He tells me this is what the L gear is for, use more RPM to power the engine to pass someone. Is this true or he's just full of it?

Every time he does this my teeth cringes and it feels like he's ******g up my brand new subie.

What is the L gear for and when do I ever use it? I never used it, I let my friend drove it and he kept shifting to the L gear and steps on the gas more to pass someone.
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:01 PM   #2
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The "L" stands for lowering. The car gets lower, thus more aerodynamic which allows it to go faster. Next time he does it, jump out of the car, and notice how much lower it is.





Ok, it's Low gear, mainly used for going up steep inclines at a slow speed. It will stay at the same gear ratio. This allows you to have more "power" to climb the hill. Now, being that your car is a CVT, the computer is most likely not going to allow the car to do anything bad to itself. It's not a great practice to do, and it sounds like he's ****ing up your brand new subie, cause he's most likely near redline. With a CVT, all you have to do is floor it to pass someone, and it will find the best gear ratio for power,for your given speed at the time the pass is needed.

Freinds shouldn't let friends drive thieir brand new car.
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexspeedworthy View Post
The "L" stands for lowering. The car gets lower, thus more aerodynamic which allows it to go faster. Next time he does it, jump out of the car, and notice how much lower it is.





Ok, it's Low gear, mainly used for going up steep inclines at a slow speed. It will stay at the same gear ratio. This allows you to have more "power" to climb the hill. Now, being that your car is a CVT, the computer is most likely not going to allow the car to do anything bad to itself. It's not a great practice to do, and it sounds like he's ****ing up your brand new subie, cause he's most likely near redline. With a CVT, all you have to do is floor it to pass someone, and it will find the best gear ratio for power,for your given speed at the time the pass is needed.

Freinds shouldn't let friends drive thieir brand new car.
So when the gear is shift to L, what's the best speed to go at? Since it's climbing uphill I assume speed should not be more than 40mph or else it can damage the engine. Right?
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Old 05-30-2013, 08:18 PM   #4
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Just put it in low, and take off, watch the tach and you will see about what speed it is at when approaching redline. Now this prob changes like post above says due to comp correction, but it'll give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:27 PM   #5
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How do I get into L? I have a 2012 CVT Impreza...
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanta20 View Post
How do I get into L? I have a 2012 CVT Impreza...
You either have an M if you have paddles, or an L. It's to the left of D in shift pattern. I'm assuming its the same on the 2012 as it is on my 2013 SP, I have Manual mode so I don't have low.
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Old 05-31-2013, 08:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanta20 View Post
How do I get into L? I have a 2012 CVT Impreza...
If you have a limited then you have paddle shifters, which means no "L".

Instead you have "M" meaning manual mode. Its basically a simplified manual transmission. You can shift up and down when you want while in manual mode, the cvt wont let you do anything harmful.

To OP, I doubt its hurting your car however it could be burning a little oil at high rpm, and obviously wasting gas. Why would you let him abuse your car like that when it obviously bothered you? (rightfully so)
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:44 AM   #8
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I usually use the "L" on my base 2.0i (or any automatic car) on a steep downhill for engine breaking. This would put less demand on the breaking pads and keep them cooler. However, I fall in love with the snapping feeling of shifting between L and D, so I started recently to use it before sharp cornering at high speed. This provides more satisfying control when driving on a curvy road, and I use my shift stick almost as often as I would on a manual transmission in this scenario. Is it okay to shift CVT this often?

And to OP, the gear ratio would be lower anyway if you put a heavy foot on the throttle in D. Shifting to L before slamming the throttle puts the timing of lowering under control, and is more fun. The point is do not abusively rev up the engine to the red line.

Last edited by wawacoffee; 10-08-2013 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subaru604 View Post
So when the gear is shift to L, what's the best speed to go at? Since it's climbing uphill I assume speed should not be more than 40mph or else it can damage the engine. Right?
You can go whatever speed you want to in L. It will keep the gear ratio lower, which will keep the RPMs higher. It doesn't matter if you're driving around at 5,000 RPM at 40 mph or 80 mph, it's all the same to the engine.

That being said, in the long term, it's not good to keep the engine in the high RPM range more than necessary. Additionally, if you're still breaking in your car (first 1000 miles), the manual says to keep it under 4,000 RPM, which effectively means to keep it out of L.

As someone else pointed out, there are legitimate reasons to use L. If you're driving down a mountain, you may be able to avoid putting a lot of wear on your brakes by using L mode. Passing and driving up steep hills are not legitimate reasons to use L, because in those situations the CVT will automatically adjust itself to an appropriate point.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by soobie doo View Post
...driving up steep hills are not legitimate reasons to use L, because in those situations the CVT will automatically adjust itself to an appropriate point.
I a going to have to disagree with that to an extent. If the transmission is hunting around for the best ratio while climbing a steep grade, it may be better to keep it locked in a certain ratio at an ideal power band.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:47 AM   #11
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I a going to have to disagree with that to an extent. If the transmission is hunting around for the best ratio while climbing a steep grade, it may be better to keep it locked in a certain ratio at an ideal power band.
Fair enough. I have not driven a Subaru with a CVT. I have driven other CVT cars that have had no trouble figuring out how to pull themselves up a hill, so I was basing my comments on that.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:56 AM   #12
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It can be interesting. On my recent trip through a lot of the Rockies, it should have been perfectly happy to stay in 5th (CVT manual mode) and keep the speed or slightly lose speed, and drop to 4th on steeper parts. It wasn't, often it would drop it down to 3rd for short bursts to get the speed back up.

The CVT is pretty good, but it has a few quirks that the manual mode is useful for.
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:33 AM   #13
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I've not driven a cvt in base trim to know the difference between L and D, vs what I use on sport with paddles in m mode. I just assumed L would be 1-2 gear lock in. I just never gave it much thought since I do not have one.
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:40 AM   #14
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Section 7-22 of your owners manual.

"“L”is used when power is needed for rapid
acceleration or for uphill driving. To select
this mode, move the selector lever from
the “D” position to the “L” position."

http://techinfo.subaru.com/proxy/695...213Ball_16.pdf
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Old 10-08-2013, 12:44 PM   #15
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I use it to slow down sometimes when I don't want to use my brakes. Probably shouldn't do that.

It just keeps your RPM at 3k+. There's nothing more to it.
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:32 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by goregasm View Post
I use it to slow down sometimes when I don't want to use my brakes. Probably shouldn't do that. It just keeps your RPM at 3k+. There's nothing more to it.
I don't really see this being harmful to the engine or CVT. Essentially the same as engine braking
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:39 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wawacoffee View Post
I usually use the "L" on my base 2.0i (or any automatic car) on a steep downhill for engine breaking. This would put less demand on the breaking pads and keep them cooler. However, I fall in love with the snapping feeling of shifting between L and D, so I started recently to use it before sharp cornering at high speed. This provides more satisfying control when driving on a curvy road, and I use my shift stick almost as often as I would on a manual transmission in this scenario. Is it okay to shift CVT this often?

And to OP, the gear ratio would be lower anyway if you put a heavy foot on the throttle in D. Shifting to L before slamming the throttle puts the timing of lowering under control, and is more fun. The point is do not abusively rev up the engine to the red line.
Sounds to me like you would enjoy the peddle shifters a lot more if you went with limited . I dont think you can brake ur car by shifting into low gear, its there for a reason.
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:52 PM   #18
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I've found using paddles you can't hit the rev limiter. I tried to reach redline ( never have yet) while in 2nd gear and it shifted into 3rd automatically. I guess I assumed it would hold in gear, but as a safety measure it does shift up. Probably not all bad of an idea, it would keep you from down shifting too far I suppose. I'm indifferent about it, just thought it was interesting and appropriate for this conversation.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:47 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Angelus911 View Post
I don't really see this being harmful to the engine or CVT. Essentially the same as engine braking
Well we don't know that definitively, and as has been said before, a $100 set of brake pads is better than $2000 for the CVT (and probably another $1000 for labor). I don't even know why I do it, it's not like it's doing anything beneficial and my brakes are wearing really slowly even with how hard I do use them sometimes.
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