How to Break In a New Car
There are plenty of ways to break in your new car. Some of them are the right way.
It's a thing of beauty: A brand-new car, shiny and crisp. It makes you want to spend the whole evening walking around it. Pretty soon, the neighbors wander over to congratulate you — and to render advice.
Break it in carefully, one says: "No more than 30 miles per hour until it has 1000 miles on the odo."
"No," another says. "Drive it like you stole it, if you want it to be fast."
Others recommend synthetic oil, or nitrogen in the tires, or a mouse-milk oil additive, guaranteed to double fuel economy.
The ritual of breaking in a new car is part of the body of knowledge we refer to as conventional wisdom. It's not necessarily wise, and the technology of building a modern automobile has evolved to the point where a lot of "wisdom" is obsolete. Few cars specify a break-in procedure anymore, simply cautioning you to avoid extreme acceleration or extended idling for the first thousand miles or so, and there's little in the way of extra service up front. Some don't even mandate an oil change until 6000 miles. We think your new ride deserves better. Here are a few tips.
Engine Cylinder Walls
Piston rings don't rely on their spring tension to seal against the cylinder bores. Instead, combustion gases work their way between the rings and the piston and force the rings outward. During the first few minutes of engine operation, it's important that the throttle be opened pretty far at lower rpms to provide this high pressure. Otherwise, the rings won't burnish the cylinder walls properly, and the engine will have high volumes of blow-by -- which means excessive oil consumption and shortened engine life. If you've ever seen the car jockeys who drive new cars off the end of the production line into the storage lot, or the transporter drivers zipping up and down the car-hauler ramps, you'll realize that this all-important step has been performed for you many times. If you're installing a new engine, simply give it a few seconds of wide-open throttle in a high gear. For the first thousand miles, avoid constant speeds and throttle settings. If you commute in normal stop-and-go traffic, you'll be fine. I advise against cruise-controlled sojourns across Nebraska.
The admonition to keep engine revs low for an extended break-in period stems from the days when bearing and crankshaft manufacturing tolerances were far less rigorous and lubricating oil wasn't nearly as good. While modern engines are assembled to much the same design clearances, the tolerances are much tighter, meaning the variability is smaller, greatly reducing the possibility of a tight spot. Redlining a fresh motor is generally a bad idea, but there's no reason you shouldn't drive normally. I would, however, avoid top-speed testing, drag racing or towing heavy trailers for the first 1000 miles.
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No, I am not a scientist. I am a highly skilled racing engine builder who has seen the effects of even the smallest debris that got past the filter. Every engine, new or rebuilt (properly I might add) has dirt and debris in the engine at start up (no matter who assembles it). They are not built or rebuilt in operating rooms, they are machined metal parts, fitted together with tolerances measured in the thousandths of an inch.
BTW, all the 'science' in the internal combustion engine has been done before.
freezin4,, ok,, lets do one better,, lets prove that gasket material in fact does exist in the first oil change from any car manufacturer with an internal combustion engine. Just send me the first changed oil filter from 100 different manufacturers. I will open them all up and I guarantee you that in 100% you will find gasket material, metal flakes, and other debris..
Just drive it and be nice to the brakes for a bit.....
Newer vehicles come off the factory floor ready to be driven.
I have bought to new vehicles over the last 30 years, both Ford trucks. Second one has been here last 17 years so I am getting ready for my next new one, it will be a Ford truck.
Been a mechanic for the last 40 years. I am a big believer in breaking them in like you are going to be driving them and so far this has worked for me but that does not mean it will work for you. If you drive one as hard as it will go and neglect it then any vehicle will wear out before it's time. I am not easy on mine but I don't abuse it either.
My best advice is regular maintenance and if something breaks fix it and don't keep driving it until it turns into a major problem.
The article states that newer vehicles are made with closer tolerances and this being true if you take care of it then it will return the favor no matter the vehicle.
I trust the Chilton's and Hayne's mechanical advice more than the manufacturer's as the manufacturer's advice will only get you through the warranty period while the shop manuals are geared toward someone who wants to run the vehicle forever. If this isn't true then why don't the vehicle manufacturers recommend changing a timing chain at 150K-200K miles? In fact, I rarely see a vehicle manufacturer mention these special service items that wear out after 100K miles like the EGR valve, lifetime plug wires (only last 100K to 150K miles), platinum plugs, and limited slip differential clutches.