The engine break in period of a new motor vehicle is vitally important, especially as a new model can be a substantial investment for many car owners. Your treatment of a new engine in the first 1,000 miles of use can have a massive influence on the longevity of your vehicle and a little bit of careful attention can lead to problem-free motoring for many years to come.
Step 1 – Gentle Driving
New engine parts are all lightly coated with a covering of clean oil apart from the piston rings which are used to scrape oil into the engine cylinders. The effectiveness of the piston rings is determined by the way they are broken in during the early stages of operation.
Accelerate gently at all times and keep speeds to under 65mph for maximum effect. Avoid hard breaking wherever possible and change through the gears without over revving while breaking in the engine.
Step 2 – Performance Engines
High performance engines differ slightly from traditional engines and a wider range of speeds should be employed during the early stages of engine use. Consult the motorist handbook supplied with your vehicle for full information of speed recommendations.
It is also suggested that performance engines are never left to idle for any longer than a couple of minutes.
Step 3 – Stationary Aspects and Short Trips
When starting your new car, take care not to rev the engine excessively. Allow engine temperature to build while driving slowly and carefully before taking the vehicle up to higher speeds.
Short trips should be avoided when breaking in an engine as the vehicle rarely has chance to reach the optimum running temperature. Enjoy a short walk to the shops or pick up the kids from school on foot until the engine is completely broken in.
Step 4 - Transmission
If your new vehicle has a manual transmission, avoid driving it at speeds which are too low for the respective gear you have selected. This practice is known as ‘lugging’ and can have a particularly detrimental effect on new engines, especially if the vehicle has not been sufficiently warmed up.
Step 5 – Oil Changes
Although regular servicing is recommended for all models of cars, the first oil change an engine undergoes is usually the most important of them all. Because engines are designed to maximum precision, their final construction actually takes place during the first 1,000 miles of driving.
Small particles of metal shavings are left in the oil and trapped by the oil filter so it is vital that both the oil and oil filter are changed at the same time. A second oil and oil filter change should take place at approximately 3,000 miles.
Step 6 – Replacement and Reconditioned Engines
Replacement and reconditioned engines should be treated in exactly the same way as a new engine straight from the factory. Reconditioned engines are likely to have a large number of replacement components that will need to undergo a breaking in period in the same way as a new vehicle.