How do you break in a new car engine?

By Product Expert | Posted in Technology, Tips and Tricks on Monday, May 7th, 2018 at 8:15 am
2018 Dodge Challenger in Plum Crazy seen from the side and front

Even though the inventory we carry here at Third Coat Auto Group is all used vehicles (the better to offer Austin drivers affordable financing no matter their credit situation) we thought it would be fun to talk about one of the steps of getting a new car. No, not enjoying that new car smell! We wanted to write about how to break-in that new, shiny, and expensive piece of powerful equipment. But how do you break in a new car engine? Whether you have a compact or midsize car perfect for that daily commute, or are raring to get out on the track (or, you know, gun it on one of the 85 mph highways here in Texas) you should take it a little easy while your car is getting used to its job.

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How long does the break-in process last?

A new car’s manual will let you know exactly how long the break-in process lasts (and details of what you should do for that particular vehicle) but a good rule of thumb is 500 to 1000 miles. After this, you don’t have to worry as much (though obviously you shouldn’t go crazy, unless the vehicle is designed for performance).

Why do you have to break in an engine?

The break-in process in a new car is because some parts of the engine have imperfections that generally get smoothed out when the vehicle is running for the first few hundred miles. You should also get the engine oil changed after your break in period, because the oil is where all those little imperfections end up when they have been scraped off the walls of the engine by combustion.

Not too fast, but not too steady

You want to not crank your car to the red line with hard acceleration while it is being broken in, because pushing the engine too hard when it hasn’t been smoothed out (and while all those little bits of engine are floating around in your oil) can do Bad Things and decrease the life of your engine. Instead, drive…normal. Going 35-55 mph is okay. Just…don’t maybe test the top performance capability of your new ride in the first 500 miles. On the flip side, you also don’t want to put the cruise control on and take it easy. Making the engine speed up, slow down, and run normally allows it to evenly settle.