Piston Slap: Tight Focus on Engine Break-In Procedure?
October 12th, 2018 8:03 AM Share
Patrick writes:Sajeev,Thanks for the column and the sage advice, but mostly for the generosity as lemons perp. (FYI Piston Slap queries don’t count as bribes – SM)Recently purchased a Focus ST, and though I have rebuilt/broken in conventional engines in the past, new car recommendations of oil changes at 5,000 miles plus and no mention of an engine break-in procedure leave me nervous. Especially with the new breed of HO turbo motors. I know better than to push the motor for the initial 500 – 1,000 miles. Reading forums and interwebs, a number recommend an initial oil change at 1,000 to clear out the initial break in filings, then adhere to a 5k oil change schedule with synthetic fluids.What say you? Running the initial fluids to 10k sounds like an introduction to premature wear to me.
Sajeev answers:Engine break-in procedures are pretty simple: RTFM, always keep the tach in the black, and vary your RPMs while cruising. The Focus’ owner’s manual will likely say the same, anything extra is ritualistic practice from a concerned owner. Modern engines have fantastically tight tolerances, etc. so don’t sweat it.Oil changes as per owner’s manual are always recommended, going a bit overboard isn’t a bad idea on a higher performance, turbocharged mill…especially if you get the ECU tuning bug.I’d do the 1k mile oil change if it’ll make you feel better (or if RTFM demands it). I did that when my 2011 Ranger hit the magic 4-digit number because the dealer gave me a free oil change voucher, at 5k I switched to a full synthetic. From there I went to 8-9k change intervals and never looked back. But a Duratec Ranger isn’t exactly a Focus ST.Odds are you’ll be more than fine with the 5k interval: do an engine oil analysis to learn if you can extend the interval, or ensure you don’t fall prey to the sludge monsters of recent memory.[Image: Michael/ Flickr ( CC BY 2.0)]Send your queries to email@example.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.
#EngineBreak-InProcedure #FocusSt #KeepTheTachInTheBlack #NewCar #OilChange #RTFM #TurbochargedEngine
Published October 12th, 2018 8:04 AM
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I'm amazed at all the voodoo. GTI: use oil that meets VW's specifications. Check it regularly to make sure you have enough. Change it at VW's recommendations. They don't use anything like what Honda does; it's a simple 10K/1 year, whichever comes first, alert. And the proof is in the used oil analysis. If you're using voodoo to determine short oil change intervals because you're "scared", you need to put on your big girl panties and get a used oil analysis. Trust me: 10K changes using VW spec oil on a modern factory spec GTI is, in fact, plenty.
I have had a 2013 Focus ST since new and followed no unusual procedures re: break in. It's been too long (six years) but if the manual called for first change at 5k kms, I probably did that. I change oil per the vehicle information system, which seems to be at 15,000 km intervals. The car now has 235,000 km, uses no (or negligible amounts of) oil, and overall functions flawlessly. I have only ever used full synthetic.