How to Properly Break in a New Car


Buying a new car is a huge purchase, and you want to protect your investment. One of the best things you can do for you car's engine is break it in properly. All makes have different recommended break-in periods, but if you follow these general rules of thumb, your new car can easily become the old hand-me-down of your first born.

How to Break in Your New Car

  • There are a lot of articles out there on how to break in your car. The two arguments you'll hear most is either break it in gently or ride it hard like you just stole it. Both are actually right to some degree. First we need to take a look at what "breaking in an engine" actually means. What you are essentially doing is honing the engine's internal parts so that they settle with one another. Probably the most important internal components of your engine are the cylinders. Your cylinders go through extreme abuse over the life of the engine, so it is crucial that they start their journey with proper care.

  • Don't be afraid to give it some gas. A lot of people want to be gentle on their engines when they first get their car. This can actually do more harm then good. You want to cycle your engine from the lower RPM range all the way to the higher end of the RPM range. Doing this will help provide a proper seal in your cylinder heads and will let the pistons settle in nicely. You don't want to floor it as soon as you turn on your vehicle either. Give the engine sometime to warm up for around 20 to 30 minutes in order to get oil into all of the engine components.

  • Stay away from the cruise control. One of the absolute worst things you can do for you new car is to take it on a 500-mile trip and put it in cruise control the whole time. This will make the cylinders settle into a certain groove and when you actually get on it, let's say to floor it to merge onto a highway, you can run the risk of breaking a piston arm or cracking the piston head. Variety is the best thing you can give your new car. Try to get one it once in a while just to keep your engine guessing.

  • The first 500 to 1,000 miles are the most crucial. Remember to try and run through the entire RPM range with your new vehicle. Try and stay away from using cruise control for at least 1,000 miles. Above all, remember to drive safely. Remember to always be aware of your surroundings and drive in a manner that is not careless to other drivers around you.

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