Breaking in the new vehicle is important – there is a process. The idea that breaking in the new car is just beginning the wearing process is far from true. Most manufacturers provide a manual with the specifics of the particular make and model including the ideal way of breaking it in. If there is not one included in the purchase, it is highly recommended to download a version of it from their website. As each vehicle is different, including the parts, it is imperative to pay attention to the manufacturer’s suggestions.
The main reason that stands behind breaking in the new engine is to allow parts to seal properly – namely the piston rings. The idea is to prevent future oil burning. During the process of breaking in the vehicle it is not uncommon, however, to have the aroma of burning oil. This is caused by the parts not being sealed as of yet – this should not be an issue in the future. If it does continue longer than expected refer to the manual first, and then contact the manufacturer if the issue remains unresolved.
Typically the cars that are made these days do not take longer than just a few hundred kilometers (approximately two hundred miles) to be broken in - to play it safe drive carefully for the first three hundred miles. Once this has been passed it is safe to drive normally again
There are a few things to pay attention to while breaking in the new engine:
- During this process avoid letting the car sit in an idle position. When the car is idling very little oil is filtering through the engine to the various parts. Some parts require a little more oil while they are still new.
- Avoid punching on the gas. Drive as if you are attempting to save gas. Once in motion, slow acceleration is acceptable. Typically for the break in duration you should begin the car at thirty miles per hour and then slowly accelerate to fifty.
- Other parts of the engine are also settling during this process, so being gentle to the vehicle in the beginning will play a large role in assisting.
(Note: Ideally a driver should be gentle to his or her car always – not just during the break in process. The life of the parts and engine as a whole will extend if proper care is in act at all times. The break in process does not guarantee life of the vehicle. It only helps in the proper settling of the parts.)
- Most parts of the vehicle being manufactured are in such shape that the break in process does not take near the length of time it did in previous years. During the early years of vehicles the break in process could be expected to take thousands of miles for proper settling.
- Also consider the time we are in. We are far more advanced than they were years ago. Many times the manufacturers will break the parts while the car is still in their hands. This should be stated in the manual. If it is not contact the manufacturer, they should be able to answer any questions you may have regarding this process.
- Today engines are made with higher tolerances. During past years cylinder clearances were typically in the thousands of an inch…today they are in the ten thousands. Babying an engine today could actually cause some harm. Be sure to read the manual if there is ever a question. Understand that in order for the bores to be shaved properly for perfect fitting a little cylinder pressure is necessary to drive the rings out. If there is too much babying during the beginning stages, the rings will not be pushed out. This will cause them to rub and burnish the surface. The proper settling will not occur.
- Avoid towing anything of any size during the process. The break in period is short lived. Once completed everyday wear and tear may proceed.
This day and age cars are made a lot more durable than they were in previous times, so the break in process does not take near the length of time that it used to. If an indication is not given whether the new vehicle needs to be broken in or not, and no one can answer yes or no, assume that it needs to be. It is better to be safe.