By on May 4, 2009

Kathy writes:

Hi, Sajeev. A coworker recently bought a new commuter car. Not some fancy $25K+ sports car (under $20K “sporty” commuter car). He talked about breaking in the new engine hard for the first 120 miles: putting the auto into gears 1 and 2 and redlining it. Driving 0 to 120 to 0 to 120 mph.

Supposedly it makes the engine better. Where does the TTAC community stand on this: easy or hard break in for a new car?

Sajeev answers:

Holy crap! Putting it mildly, your coworker sounds a bit extreme. And extremes are never good on a new engine. Loading the engine at various RPMs ensures piston rings and valvetrain components seal properly. You never want to set the cruise control and take a long drive in a new car. Always vary your speed, or at least go between different gears at the same speed.

That said, I am not a fan of running near redline for the first 200-500 miles. Breaking in a motor means gently coaxing moving parts into their new home, not forcing them in with a jackhammer. I also do not recommend switching to (i.e,. not used from the factory) synthetic oil at this time, let the motor break in first.

This is a very controversial car-care subject, to say the least.  So, Best and Brightest, give us your thoughts on the matter.

[Send your car questions to mehta@ttac.com]

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74 Comments on “Piston Slap: How Not to Break-In a New Engine...”


  • avatar
    dougjp

    A lot of new cars, especially those with turbos, come with synthetic from the factory. Thus, little or no wear or ‘seating’. So how in that case is motor break in relevant any more?

  • avatar
    spasticnapjerk

    I don’t know. But someone should tell us what car that dashboard photo is from! Sweet!

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Every car manufacturer I’ve known says drivers should be “easy” on the vehicle during its first 500 to 1000 miles:
    no jackrabbit starts or stops, no redlining, no cruising at a constant speed for hundreds of miles, etc.
    That’s to allow parts to seat themselves and wear off any remaining rough edges.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    This is a really important subject for folks who plan to keep their cars for over 20 years or 250,000 miles. For everyone else, not so much.

    Seriously, most modern cars are going to be worthless before this matters.

    At any rate, don’t damage the warranty. Do whatever else makes you feel good.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Engine break-in is a topic of debate for sure. But the way this guy does it is just insane…

    Maybe some people think engine break-in is unnecessary anachronism, some think it’s essential for long-term reliability, some don’t think it even makes a difference, but surely no one thinks redlining in 1st and 2nd and going to 120 is the best way to care for a new car?

    It’s like… some people prefer Pepsi over Coke, but no one thinks horse urine is better than both right? I mean, other than this guy apparently.

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    Vary engine RPM’s for the first 500 miles. As stated above, avoid long trips at steady speeds during this time. As far as abusing the motor, don’t think there is ever a good time for that if not needed.

  • avatar

    There are more miles of text about this topic on car forums than any other topic.

  • avatar
    Dave Skinner

    Some years ago, one of the enthusiast magazines (Car and Driver?) reported that a Corvette engineer (might have been Dave Mclellan) recommended working a new engine very hard during a ride and drive. The engineer claimed this was a good way to break in the engine with an eye towards maximizing engine power. The advice wasn’t very specific, something along the lines of “Go ahead and goose it”.
    This stuck in my mind at the time, since it was contrary to the break in advice promoted by the industry.
    Keep in mind, I’m dragging this from the dubious recesses of my memory, and it may in fact be apocryphal.

    D/S

  • avatar
    rpol35

    It’s an urban myth; running it hard will make it run strong, though not necessarily long running. All it really is is a good way to ruin an engine.

    Rings & bearings need to seat and taking it easy, running the engine at varying speeds and changing the oil at no more than 3,000 miles initially is the way to do it correctly.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Follow what the manufacturer states in the owners manual. Most manufacturers say that partial engine break in occurs before the engine even hits the vehicle. The rest is up to the new car owner who should not induce jack rabbit starts, limit speed to around 55-65 MPH and certainly not redline the engine. Drive at a normal easy pace at varying speeds for about 500 to 1000 miles or so and then things should be good to go. Unless the vehicle in question came with synthetic oil I would not use it in a new car engine with break in miles.

  • avatar
    Dave Skinner

    spasticnapjerk :

    Someone should tell us what car that dashboard photo is from! Sweet!

    I believe “Floating Power” was the trade name for Chrysler’s then innovative rubber isloated engine mounts, which makes it an early/mid thirties Chrysler.

    D/S

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    This is what I do on my motorcicles:

    Ride easy for the first 600 miles, but ride VARIABLE: NO constant RPM, but don’t take it up to redline. For the next 600 miles, ride it variable but take it gently to redline.

    Oil changes with NORMAL oil (not synthetic) at 100, 200, 600 miles. Full synthetic at 2K miles.

    You want the engine to wear during the break-in process, but you don’t want those lovely little metal bits sticking in the engine.

    For a car, with greater oil reserver, forget the 100 and 200 mile oil changes.

  • avatar
    fallout11

    The Art Deco dash features jive with Dave Skinners analysis of the picture, definitely 1930′s.

  • avatar
    CamaroKid

    Engine “break in” went out with wagon wheels and buggy whips… With all of the rollerized components, and polymer coated parts in a modern engine there is almost no need to “break in” any engine.

    Running at uber high RPM’s on a brand new engine does absolutely nothing for an engines performance and longevity… This is pure urban myth.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    For bikes, I agree with Nicholas Weaver>

    I think I was told to keep the gixxr under 8k rpm for the break-in & ride @ different speeds. Outside of that it should be OK.

    I did similar with my subaru & havne’t really had any problems except a valve spring (does this “seat”?) that was replaced under warranty at 10k.

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    Dash is from a 1940 Dodge.

  • avatar

    Sajeev: Oh, come on.

    These are precision machines. Break ins don’t fix sloppy builds or defective parts, and if it’s built right, it’ll run regardless of “break in” style.

    This has been urban myth for decades. Look up “communal reinforcement.” That’s the only “science” behind engine break ins.

    Conspiratorial view: break ins are a convenient excuse to deny warranty.

    Just drive it and don’t worry.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Motors are mildly broken in by running at 3000 rpm under load at the factory (though this may vary) for the initial break-in and valve seating.

    It sounds like Kathy’s coworker is using Motorman’s break-in method: http://www.mototuneusa.com/break_in_secrets.htm

    A friend of mine who worked with auto manufacturers as well as in a few drag race shops in Detroit said the MotoMan method is meant more for people with access to dynos and engines that are rebuilt every race season or so. He said the best method was something more aggressive than factory, but not as extreme as the MM break-in…basically, what most of us will do: Take it easy, avoid WOT, engine brake a little bit and vary the RPMs and load (in a few different gears, if you can) for a couple hundred miles.

    The two new cars my family has owned the last few years, one was broken in granny-style and the other was broken in with my friend’s method. Both cars run fine and neither burn oil…

  • avatar
    Slare

    Let him do it and see what happens.

    I mean really it’s an old toss up argument no matter what, like oil or loudspeaker preferences. Maybe something neat will happen and you’ll at least get a story out of it.

    As a reference I am generally fairly easy on new vehicles through the first 2 tanks of gas, try to avoid fixed speed cruising, and do an oil change right off at ~1,000 miles. All of these things make sense to me and make me feel good. But statistically (considering the rather limited number of new vehicles I’ll buy in my life) I openly admit it likely makes less difference then regular dumb luck production variation.

    Do what you want, I say.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    Just tell him that school of thought is only valid for V8s or something that he hasn’t got.

    Either that or tell him that he has to bounce off the rev limiter all the way to the first oil change, and laugh when he has to buy a new car.

    Stimulate the economy and whatnot.

  • avatar

    It’s not the same one I read, but I can’t find the bookmark.

    Here’s a link with a similar idea: http://www.mototuneusa.com/break_in_secrets.htm

  • avatar

    And the answer is. . . here.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Sounds like a person with zero sense of mechanical empathy.

    I’m with Slare on this one, “Let him do it and see what happens.” Encourage the guy and post results. Wait…the owner isn’t a TTAC commenter right?

    If not then screw him, let’s call this a “lab excercise.”

  • avatar
    bill h.

    Dave Skinner,

    Your story reminds me about what my brother-in-law made certain to check out before buying a nearly-new Corvette 50th Anniversary Edition: making sure it REALLY had only 3000 miles, not 12000 quarter-miles!

    That said, I vaguely recall the owners manual of my first car (a ’71 Super Beetle) explicitly saying that the car could be driven at full speed “from the first day”…but I don’t recall any caution about hard acceleration. Was this a function of the engine being aircooled and airplane derived?

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Sajeev or any of the TTAC testers when you take a test drive say to write a review of them do you look in the manual for the break in rules and drive the car like an old lady keeping the revs low and the speed under 55?
    How about everyone else testing out a new sporty car for purchase?

    All I know is whenever I was just tossed the keys and told to take it for a spin and see how fun it is I did just that, redlines, triple digits, jack rabbit starts and all. Even with the sales guy riding shotrun I have had some memorably fast test drives.

    With all the lot jockeys and runners moving cars off ships I doubt many cars have met their “recommended break-in” without seeing some high rev runs.

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    Go with the easy break-in as most above have urged. Parts wear in and stress-relieve themselves.

    Non-factory funded racers prefer a block and heads with 50,000 miles on them to build into race engines becase they are “seasoned” and better able to withstand racing use.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Most of the discussion revolves around RPM, but what about throttle? Is wide-open throttle at 2000 RPM bad, or good? What about at 3000 RPM?

  • avatar

    This thread is leaning more to generalities, not the information presented. That’s a problem.

    ______________
    Aren Cambre : These are precision machines. Break ins don’t fix sloppy builds or defective parts, and if it’s built right, it’ll run regardless of “break in” style.

    Just drive it and don’t worry.

    So after reading this…you’d recommend driving a brand new car from 0-120-0 and screaming to redline in the first 2-3 gears? Forget about the legalities of doing this on public streets, that type of loading is somehow better than sprints to 60 and varying your speed for the first few hundred miles?

    I’ve even seen dyno tuners drive a freshly made motor (from different manufacturers and of different generations of engines) for a few miles (50-100 or more) before running WOT on a dyno.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    Most engine manufactures break-in their engines at the factory after assembly. This allows valve guides, rings, seals, and bearings to “seat” correctly.

    Before manufacturers started doing this, it was common to see a brand new car smoking until the motor “settled”.

    My friend, a Porsche tech, says that all Porsche engines are run pretty hard at the factory for testing and break-in purposes, and that further break-in is not necessary.

    -ted

  • avatar
    ajla

    I know that the prevailing sentiment among owners of the GM Northstar engine family (4.6L, 4.4L Supercharged, Olds 4.0L, and Olds 3.5L) is that their engines require a fairly brutal break-in to keep them from blowing seals and gulping oil later in life.

    IIRC, owners of rotary engines also claim that you need to follow a high-RPM break-in procedure to keep them from grenading.

    Other than maybe those two engine families, I think following whatever the owner’s manual says is the best idea.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    in my younger days, ok the 80′s, i remember reving the engine and dumping the clutch several times on my first new car with only a couple hundred miles on it. A friend of mine had said “run it hard from the start and it’ll always run hard for ya”. While i don’t know about that, i generally haven’t babied any of my new cars and have never had a problem. I also haven’t run them like the author of the question.

    Nicolas Weaver
    I’m approaching 600 miles on my first motorcycle. The manual does call for as you’ve said, only problem is it doesn’t have a tach so i don’t know where redline is, but i have hit the rev limiter a couple times already. ooops

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Tedward and Slare: amen to what you both said. What this guy is doing is abuse not break in.

    “mechanical empathy”: what a great phrase.I have it in spades and that so called “procedure” hurts even to hear it described. I wouldn’t do that to a $9995 Kia Rio, much less something at twice the price. What an ignorant clod.

    Hands up if anyone would want to buy this car in 3 or 4 years.

  • avatar
    sjd

    If you have watched cars leave the assemble line, get loaded onto a train/boat and off again you’ll know that the first few miles aren’t easy ones. I once watched cars ccome off a boat from Japan and catch air!

  • avatar

    Most cars (at least, I know for a fact, Hondas) are broken in from the factory these days.

    The debate is that if you drive them hard, it loosens everything up.

    I think, just drive normal – get the car used to how you drive. If you redline it normally, redline it. If you cruise a lot, cruise. Just drive the damned thing. Most cars are built with such tolerances it doesn’t matter – plus if you really screw things up, you’ve got a warranty – let the 2nd buyer deal with any problems (since the average American ditches their car as soon as the warranty expires anyways).

    The REAL key here – Follow what it says in your user manual.

    And get the oil changed after the first 1500 miles or so, just to get any metal out of there.

  • avatar

    Redbarchetta : Sajeev or any of the TTAC testers when you take a test drive say to write a review of them do you look in the manual for the break in rules and drive the car like an old lady keeping the revs low and the speed under 55?

    IMO, since we don’t get press cars and drive on public roads, whatever we do isn’t much different than the normal break-in procedures described here. 0-120-0 ain’t gonna happen, even if I want it.

    Hell, sometimes I have more respect for a company’s inventory than the kids that work at said company.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Phil Bailey has some good advice regarding breaking in a new car.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    This is the most hilarious article ever published on TTAC.

    That method of motor break-in may work in bizarro world.

  • avatar
    jonotron

    What’s the big deal about constant RPM’s? Providing it’s not like 10,000 rpm why would it harm an engine – would a new engine not enjoy a long relaxing cruise?

  • avatar

    sajeev: So after reading this…you’d recommend driving a brand new car from 0-120-0 and screaming to redline in the first 2-3 gears? Forget about the legalities of doing this on public streets, that is somehow better than sprints to 60 and varying your speed for the first few hundred miles?

    I say don’t worry about it. Whatever parts needed to “work themselves in” will work in in the first few seconds if the engine was built right.

    Seriously, how many other devices in our lives to we “break in”? Do you break in your house A/C fan? Your pencil sharpener? Your drill?

    Just like 3000 mile oil changes and thoroughly warming up a car before driving, break ins are pseudoscience backed up only by communal reinforcement.

    Communal reinforcement != fact.

  • avatar

    ohsnapback:

    This is among the most depressing articles on TTAC. Legions of armchair experts dispensing communally reinforced advice (read “nonsense”) about a complicated technique devoid of any empirical evidence of its usefulness.

    Wow, that’s a lot of prepositional phrases. Don’t hire me, Farago!

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Your co-worker needs to remove his head from his poaterior and open the glove box where he will find a little (or not so little) book explaining how the car should be driven for the first 300 miles or so. It’s called the Owner’s Manual and comes with every new car sold. There is no way the manufacturer recommends redlining the engine in every gear, hard acceleration, or anything like that. When in doubt, consult the Owner’s Manual.

  • avatar
    golf4me

    When I was a test driver for an OEM, the engine break in was designed to vary the engine speed, and increase the loads (Rate of both accel and decel) gradually over the course of 500-750 miles. I did a lot of long nights doing that on a circular track. Wish they had Red Bull back then!

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    This sounds like a good way to prematurely wear out an engine.

    However just to make a few people shiver, back in the 70′s BMW motorcycles used extremely hard piston rings and new bikes had a lot of glazing problems. Consequently the techs came up with one of the scarier break in procedures.
    1.Wash your freshly honed cast iron cylinders in soapy water and air dry so that an even film of rust forms on the cylinder walls.
    2. Assemble the cylinder with a few drops of oil, but as dry as possible.
    3. Start the engine, rev to 3500rpm, hold for 5 minutes and shut down.
    4. Ride bike as usual at varied rpms.

    Having actually done this on an R100S I can say it does work, although it still took a while to finally bed in the rings.

  • avatar
    meefer

    Forget break in I wanna know where this guy can go from 0-120-0-120 mph on a public road. And then never go there.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Has anybody ever heard of a “green” motor on a new car? It takes 2 or 3 thousand miles for a motor to “loosen up” to allow for proper acceleration times/power output?
    That is the crux of my understanding of what breaking in a motor is all about. You take it easy on a motor at first to allow the places where manufacturing tolerances result in excessive pressure and friction between various moving surfaces. What driving gently at first accomplishes is preventing that localized friction from causing overheating of the metal surfaces even if only microsopically deep into the metal of the bearings, piston/rings, valve stems, etc, that can cause scoring, micro welding of small abraded metal particles into the surface, and uneven metalurgical tempering. This avoids extra fluid use, and reduces wear over the life of the motor.
    I did experience a “green” motor once. My first trip to Germany, the rental an A-series Mercedes that had 5 miles on the odometer. Ummm, I did not break this car in right, being my frist chance at the Autobahnen. It was flat out from day one. Two weeks later it had about 2000 miles on it, and it was indeed perceptably more powerful.

  • avatar
    sabast20

    The Dash is from a 1940 Dodge Sedan.

    http://www.ridelust.com/mint-condition-1940-dodge-deluxe-sedan-found-in-idaho-barn/

  • avatar
    FrustratedConsumer

    @carlisimo
    “Most of the discussion revolves around RPM, but what about throttle? Is wide-open throttle at 2000 RPM bad, or good? What about at 3000 RPM?”

    I was always taught that the problem with full throttle is the extra load of unburnt fuel ‘washing down’ the sidewalls of the cylinders (i.e. removing the oil film) and causing wear. Granted, I’m a lot older than most of you and so that was in the carb era, not electronic injection.

    @Aren Combre
    “Just like 3000 mile oil changes and thoroughly warming up a car before driving, break ins are pseudoscience backed up only by communal reinforcement.”

    All I can say is that I’ve rebuilt about 20 or so engines in my life, and the last thing I’m going to do after all that work is fire it up and hammer at it full throttle. It’s not ‘pseudo’ to us who actually do the work!

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Slow joe crow is right, its really about the rings. Want compression in your motor? Optimize the rings. You don’t get metal to metal contact anywhere else unless its defective, think about that oil film in plain bearings on crank and rods. I still cannot believe rings work as well as they do.

    Keeping them clean is as important as break in or micro polishing at factory.

    Nissan advertised micro finishing in 1980s if I remember right, they invested in machinery to more finely polish everything, removing need for break in and yielding better mpg. Thats a long time ago.

    Urban myth- they say to go easy at first not because they are worried about ring seating, instead worried about you learning what it does at different throttle settings especially full throttle in first in traffic. Think test pilot in prototype plane. I believe in this myth.

    Urban non myth- brakes take time to seat, although not much, but full throttle and babying the brakes do not go together normally, so go slow at first is good for brakes.

    Same for clutch.

    Urban non myth- Tires take time to scuff off any slime from factory or dealer, and become proper friction surface, so, slow at first is wise.

  • avatar
    don1967

    I recall once seeing microscopic images of the cylinder walls of an “unbroken” first-gen Nissan VQ 3.0, compared to an old-school Ford Vulcan V6. It was like orange peel versus Rocky Mountains. After break in, the VQ still looked like orange peel while the Vulcan looked like slightly shorter Rocky Mountains.

    Assuming the photos were authentic (they were provided by Nissan, but not hard to believe if you’ve ever compared the two engines), then surely some engines require more careful break-in than others(?)

    Perhaps somebody with more engineering knowledge can chime in.

  • avatar
    ktm

    Urban non myth- brakes take time to seat, although not much, but full throttle and babying the brakes do not go together normally, so go slow at first is good for brakes.

    Not true. Google “bedding brakes”.

  • avatar
    PJG62

    If you always buy used cars, you never have to worry about it.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I recall once seeing microscopic images of the cylinder walls of an “unbroken” first-gen Nissan VQ 3.0, compared to an old-school Ford Vulcan V6. It was like orange peel versus Rocky Mountains. After break in, the VQ still looked like orange peel while the Vulcan looked like slightly shorter Rocky Mountains.….

    Considering that Vulcans have been know to easily surpass 200K with marginal care, I guess it really doesn’t matter how you break in a Vulcan. The VQ is a far more refined engine, but I would be willing to bet the Vulcan is far more tolerant of abuse.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Irvine

    This intelligent group may be able to blow open a ‘myth’ I was taught many years ago. You break in the engine at varying RPMs because at high revs the pistons will go microscopically further up the cylinder so the cylinder wall will break in without forming a lip at a particular height. This ‘myth’ is further demonstrated by buying a used car which has been driven carefully by granny and then flogging it. The rings have a tendency to hit this lip and be damaged. True or false?

  • avatar
    MBella

    For those of you who say that engines don’t “break-in” anymore because of the roller parts, please explain to me what kind of roller the piston rings have. The cylinder walls have tiny microscopic ridges caused by the honing process. Sure modern hoing processes can make these ridges a bit more dull, but they are still there. During the first couple thousand miles, the rings really wear into the cylinder walls, and start sealing better. The cars that come pre-filled with synthetic oil usually have a special break-in oil synthetic blend. I believe the Mobil version has something like 35% synthetic, and the rest conventional. It also doesn’t have the same anti wear additives. Take it easy for the first couple thousand miles. You don’t have to be worried about cruising on the freeway, just make sure you also subject the car to city driving, and even traffic.

    Oh, and Spike, False. That ridge accurs on all engines after a period of time, because the rings don’t travel all the way to the top of the cylinder wall. That’s why when taking apart an engine, you have to remove this ridge before taking the pistons out if you don’t want to damage the rings.

  • avatar
    poohbah

    Honda recommends 10,000 mile oil change and 20,000 mile filter change, even for the first change (normal schedule). That’s a tough sell for folks who grew up on 3,000 mile changes, and even shorter intervals for a new engine.

  • avatar

    FrustratedConsumer: Using your logic, I could say that spray painting the intake manifold yellow is the secret to engine longevity. Until you try something different, how do you know?

    golden2husky: Unless your VQ35DE burns oil. (Found several reports of this on teh interntezors. Bought it with 56K on the odo.)

  • avatar
    FloorIt

    Every owners manual I’ve read says vary your speed first X amount of miles.
    I drive it normal 90% of the time and stomp on it occasionally for fun.
    45+ minutes of stop & go traffic 5 days a week wouldn’t help the break in either.

  • avatar
    MBella

    poohbah, Honda has the maintenance minder now, were it takes into account many factors like engine load, engine speed, operating temperature, outside temperature, etc… On my father’s Accord, it came on at about 6,000 miles, and it wasn’t driven vary hard ever. I’m curious to see when it will come on the second time.

  • avatar
    CPTG

    M y daddy taught me two things in life: Never drive a new car without ‘breaking in’ its engine and never screw a woman without LOTS of foreplay first.

    Your boyfriend is a complete fool and you are wise not to listen to him (DTMFA!!)! Twenty bucks says his car won’t last 32K miles before he has to pitch it for a newer model.

    FYI, I bought my 1991 Madza Miata with 8.5miles on her. I babied it until 1K miles and then ran her into the ground. I got 236K miles before she had her first ‘Class A’ leak and she went 286K before being crushed by some skanky ho who stole a pickup truck, got high and smashed into my curbed parked Miata.

    As for people telling you ‘you don’t need to break in engines anymore’ these are the same jokers who swear you can go 10K miles between oil changes. First, that is a lie. Second, an oil change is less that a steak dinner for two at Sizzlers but your car will love you for it. PMCS or DIE; Semper Fi!!!

    A Fossel Fueled, internal combustion engine is an ancient (1889) technolgy that, by definition, is impossibly complicated. You’ve got springs and camshafts and pistons and lifters and valve guides—thousands and thousands of parts that need to wear in and seat propertly. Wear Patterns are inherent to any component where metal to metal contact is constant—this is not an urban legend (it’s fact; not friction).

  • avatar
    LennyZ

    I’ve driven new cars gingerly for the first 1K miles and didn’t switch to synthetics until past 10K miles. All of the engines in my present and past cars went over 100K with no problems and no oil burning. I’ve never needed ring or valve jobs. (Except for a POS Ford that leaked more oil that the Exxon Valdez. Dumped that early and will never buy a Ford again.) I am not going to tamper with success and vary my break in routine because of some crazy idea someone heard from a friend of a cousin who knew a guy who worked with someone who knew about cars.

  • avatar
    mart_o_rama

    To sum up all comments into one directive that a manufacturer is likely to consider, I would say that the break-in period may not be specifically for the engine, but also for the complete car *and* the owner.

    It just makes sense not to push a mechanical design to its limit right from start, especially on the road that you are sharing with others and where safety is of concern.

    The new car will drive differently from the old one, so a little adaptation can go a long way to avoid risky situations.

    If anything is to go wrong with that utterly complex assemblage of mechanical and electronics parts that is a car, be it because of a production/assembly defect or other, you better not be in a position maximizing your chances of damage to yourself or others.

    Martin

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    I have never paid anyone to change my oil, always do it myself, over 50 years. If you want to see how much (wearing) is happening on a new engine cut open the oil filter at 3000 miles and you will see lots of metal flakes. Most of this is cyl. wall metal that the rings have scraped off. The newer cars have the cyl walls honed much smoother than the older ones plus they now use torque plates to keep the cyls. round while honing. SO my take—- proper break in is a good idea, but not near as important as it once was.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    As for break in pattern and oil change time-follow the following procedure for both:

    1. Open the glove box.
    2. There should be a small book inside called an “owner’s manual”.
    3. Read it.
    4. Do what it says.

    They built the damned car, they probably know a thing or two about these things.

  • avatar

    Let me summarize these comments. Virtually all of them fall under two logical fallacies:

    Appeal to authority, basically “trust the manufacturer.” “truth or falsity of the claim is not necessarily related to the personal qualities of the claimant” VERY relevant here because we’re being to trust the same manufacturers who brought us exploding Pintos, rolling over Samauris, tire-shredding Explorers, wonderful vehicles like the Sebring or Aveo, and Chapter 11. Yeah, manufacturers really know what they are doing.

    Communal reinforcement: “a concept or idea is repeatedly asserted in a community, regardless of whether sufficient empirical evidence has been presented to support it”. Look through the comments, and that’s about all we have.

    We still utterly lack empirical proof that breakins accomplish anything. I have no fact-based reason to believe anything other than: “If it was made right, it’ll run.”

  • avatar

    Aren Cambre : We still utterly lack empirical proof that breakins accomplish anything. I have no fact-based reason to believe anything other than: “If it was made right, it’ll run.”

    And we also lack proof that “hard” break ins such as running at redline and 0-120-0 work just as well over the long haul: does it cause more engine damage after 100k? Will it burn more oil after 10 years? Will I still pass emissions 10 years from now?

    If you know the answers to this, I would certainly like to know. Because all the “hard” break-in fans haven’t mentioned any of this yet.

  • avatar

    Per wiki: Communal reinforcement is a social phenomenon in which a concept or idea is repeatedly asserted in a community, regardless of whether sufficient empirical evidence has been presented to support it.

    Sounds like the same applies for the hard break-in fans. Again, show me the emissions sniffer results of a hard break in car vs. what most people say on a 100-150k vehicle to prove your point.

    Otherwise, I call lack of “sufficient empirical evidence” back atcha. :)

  • avatar

    Sajeev: As stated above, my position is: “If it was made right, it’ll run.” You’re arguing about the technique of a pointless procedure.

    What other complicated consumer products need breakins, besides none? Why must we cling to this silly myth when it comes to cars?

  • avatar

    Why wouldn’t you want to know how a car performs over the long haul using both procedures? I saw your blog, and your old Monte Carlo. Wouldn’t you prefer to have it pass emissions if there’s a chance that piston rings actually LIKE getting treated nicely in the beginning? What exactly are you gaining by 0-120-0 in the first 500 miles?

    As far any of us know, your point of view is a myth because there is no empirical evidence to prove it. So please, stop saying its a myth because some websites (that reference dyno tuners and non-emissions motorcycles) don’t believe it. Find someone who bought two new cars, did the break ins, drove them forever and then put a sniffer on them.

    Evidence-based myth busting is needed. Otherwise it doesn’t sell.

  • avatar

    Aren Cambre : What other complicated consumer products need breakins, besides none? Why must we cling to this silly myth when it comes to cars?

    What other consumer product uses an internal combustion engine and is constantly, publicly vilified for being a threat to our environment?

    We need to prove that the ICE is still the best way to get around, and if a break-in method makes an engine better for everyone, we should do it.

  • avatar

    Sajeev: maybe we could agree that this is a “faith” issue and leave it at that (and I put “faith” in quotes because literal use ridicules that other subject).

    Neither of us can prove our side until someone has empirical evidence.

  • avatar

    Sounds like a winner to me.

    Hence why I tried to moderate the original answer by giving a middle of the road description of engine break in.

  • avatar

    Sajeev: “[I gave] a middle of the road description of engine break in.”

    Not really. You still took the side that moderate use of new engines (i.e., break in) is good. The true moderate position may be that hard use of any engine is, well, hard on the engine. And there is no evidence that break ins accomplish anything. :-)

  • avatar

    But I tried not to, hence why I said “tried” in my last post.

    Anyway, we all have to have faith in something, so as long as both sides are happy in their (blind and baseless?) faith, I’m happy to move on to the next Piston Slap conundrum.

  • avatar
    winblood

    I had a 2000 Civic SiR and now a 2003 Mazdaspeed Protege and did not follow any break in period. I did hard accelerations up to redline from day one.
    Civic had nearly 100000 kms and my Mazda has 175000 kms.
    Neither engine burned oil.

    I never do a WOT on a cold engine, and let the turbo cool down after a hard run. Never had any engine issues.
    I think common sense daily driving matters more than break in period.


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