Breaking in a new car is a practice that has been recommended by manufacturers for decades. It’s a combination of driving techniques, precautions, and maintenance tasks, which are ultimately supposed to help extend a car’s lifespan.
Low Revs, Low Speeds, and Timely Oil Changes
The most common break-in practices recommended by car makers include gentle driving, avoiding extreme speeds, and always accelerating gradually.
Complete first oil change after 50 to 100 miles
You should do the first oil change much sooner than what is instructed in the owner’s manual. They should do it again after the run-in period ends. Most experts consider the first 500 miles as a reasonable and sufficient break-in period.
Keep revs under the 3,000 rpm mark
The reasoning behind this practice is that keeping revs relatively low helps the piston rings seal against the cylinder bores properly. The piston rings are small bands that prevent oil leaks in the car. However, when a car is new, these bands need time to settle within the cylinders. Revving your engine can disrupt the settling process. Respecting the break-in period and allowing your piston rings to settle will greatly impact your car’s overall health.
Drive at speeds of 30 mph and 50 mph in intervals of about 5 minutes each
You also shouldn’t exceed the posted speed limits. This is why driving in stop-and-go traffic in urban areas is preferable for the first couple hundred miles, where you rarely get to drive with constant and high speeds, unlike driving on the highway.