Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Breaking in a new car?

Breaking in a new car?
Thread Tools
Dork.
Professional Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Rochester, NY
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 12:40 PM
 
We're going to be getting a new car soon. I was planning on taking the old car for a road trip down to NYC and back before trading it in (~700 miles round-trip from Rochester), but my daughter was sick and we had to postpone the trip until after Christmas. So, I'll be making that road trip in a car with a brand new engine.

It used to be that there were all sorts of rules for breaking in a new car. Is that still the case? I did a little bit of research, and all I can come up with as a general rule is I probably shouldn't use the cruise control, since I shouldn't be maintaining a constant RPM for a long period of time for the first 1,000 miles. I should probably also get an oil change after 1K miles, no matter what the owners manual might say. Any thoughts?

(If it matters, we're getting an Odyssey, because we're at that stage in life where a minivan makes sense. Oh well. At least it's a Honda. Anyone in Western NY interested in buying a Subaru Wagon with 80k miles on it?)
     
Eug
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Caught in a web of deceit.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 12:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
It used to be that there were all sorts of rules for breaking in a new car. Is that still the case? I did a little bit of research, and all I can come up with as a general rule is I probably shouldn't use the cruise control, since I shouldn't be maintaining a constant RPM for a long period of time for the first 1,000 miles. I should probably also get an oil change after 1K miles, no matter what the owners manual might say. Any thoughts?
Really? I'm curious where you got the suggestion not to use cruise control, and to get an oil change at 1000 miles.

Cuz that sounds almost more like superstition to me as opposed to anything else. I have never seen a car manual that suggests an oil change at 1000 miles, and we all know car manufacturers like to be very conservative, recommending more oil changes than you might actually need, not just to be safe but also possibly because it can potentially generate cash for their dealerships. There is no incentive for car manufacturers to recommend less maintenance than what is necessary.
     
macforray
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Central New York
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 12:57 PM
 
No break in period required. Engines are now built to tighter and more uniform tolerances. Of course I wouldn't red line the engine right away. Normal driving will not require any break in. If in doubt, ask the dealer, do some googling, etc.... Actually, I think a trip in a new car should be good for it.
macforray
     
macforray
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Central New York
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 01:03 PM
 
Also, I just read an article yesterday (I'll try to find it) where changing oil every 3000 miles is not necessary. Most auto manufactures recommend oil changes every 7500 - 10,000 miles. Back in the "old days" when engine tolerances were more "sloppy", and more wear occurred, changing oil more often was necessary. Changing it every 3000 miles now just sells more oil. Of course, it it makes you feel better, by all means do it. I change mine every 7500 miles.
macforray
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 01:16 PM
 
Honda has a specific break in period for their new engines, and uses a special "break in" engine oil. As I recall, the distance before the first oil change is a lot more than 1000 miles. And while "avoid long periods running at the same speed" is an old standard for engine break in, there is no specific definition of "long periods," so go ahead and use the cruise control.

After the initial post-break in service, oil changes are a lot farther apart, like 10,000 miles, or by a specific length of time. The Maintenance Minder in the dash will tell you when it's time.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Dork.  (op)
Professional Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Rochester, NY
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 01:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Really? I'm curious where you got the suggestion not to use cruise control, and to get an oil change at 1000 miles.
From Car Guys who claim they know all about this sort of thing. That's why I chose to ask the Internet.
     
Lateralus
Moderator Emeritus
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Arizona
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 01:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by macforray View Post
Also, I just read an article yesterday (I'll try to find it) where changing oil every 3000 miles is not necessary. Most auto manufactures recommend oil changes every 7500 - 10,000 miles. Back in the "old days" when engine tolerances were more "sloppy", and more wear occurred, changing oil more often was necessary. Changing it every 3000 miles now just sells more oil. Of course, it it makes you feel better, by all means do it. I change mine every 7500 miles.
This.
I like chicken
I like liver
Meow Mix, Meow Mix
Please de-liv-er
     
Dork.  (op)
Professional Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Rochester, NY
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 01:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Honda has a specific break in period for their new engines, and uses a special "break in" engine oil. As I recall, the distance before the first oil change is a lot more than 1000 miles. And while "avoid long periods running at the same speed" is an old standard for engine break in, there is no specific definition of "long periods," so go ahead and use the cruise control.

After the initial post-break in service, oil changes are a lot farther apart, like 10,000 miles, or by a specific length of time. The Maintenance Minder in the dash will tell you when it's time.
Very informative, thanks for that. I wonder if I can find the Odyssey owners' manual online somewhere.

My wife will be driving this car around most of the time, and wil be taking it in for oil changes. A "Maintenance Minder" sounds like a nice feature for her, as long as it's not bringing her back every two weeks.
     
Doofy
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Vacation.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 01:32 PM
 
You're so stupid for buying a new car - you should have got a used Audi S6 wagon. Only morons buy new cars! </channeling Rob>
Been inclined to wander... off the beaten track.
That's where there's thunder... and the wind shouts back.
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 01:43 PM
 
It must be one of those days. After reading the thread title, I expected someone to recommend burnouts in a dirt lot and at least one high-speed cop chase to properly break in any new car.

Edit: come to think of it, that's the breakin for a new stolen car. never mind.
( Last edited by reader50; Dec 18, 2011 at 03:51 PM. )
     
besson3c
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: yes
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 02:08 PM
 
The question is how many farts until that new car smell goes away?
     
Lateralus
Moderator Emeritus
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Arizona
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 02:12 PM
 
I like chicken
I like liver
Meow Mix, Meow Mix
Please de-liv-er
     
Dork.  (op)
Professional Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Rochester, NY
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 03:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
You're so stupid for buying a new car - you should have got a used Audi S6 wagon. Only morons buy new cars! </channeling Rob>
Good luck fitting 8 people in any wagon, Rob. (Yes, we need to do that -- that's why we are looking at minivans.)

As for used vs. new, we've done both, and have had much better luck with new. We bought the Subaru new in 2004, and can still get a pretty decent trade-in on it, seven years on. Cars simply don't depreciate the way they used to, and we take good care of our cars. We've had no major mechanical problems with the Subaru, which is more than I can say for the various used cars I've owned. (Then again, every used car I've ever owned have been American, while I've only bought a VW and Subaru new, which may have more to do with my experience....)

Actually, in trading in the Subaru I'm most upset that we're trading in a car with quality tires and getting crappy OEM tires that I'll probably have to change in 25,000 miles.
     
Doofy
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Vacation.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 03:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
Good luck fitting 8 people in any wagon, Rob. (Yes, we need to do that -- that's why we are looking at minivans.)

As for used vs. new, we've done both, and have had much better luck with new. We bought the Subaru new in 2004, and can still get a pretty decent trade-in on it, seven years on. Cars simply don't depreciate the way they used to, and we take good care of our cars. We've had no major mechanical problems with it, which is more than I can say for the various used cars I've owned. (Then again, every used car I've ever owned have been American, while I've only bought a VW and Subaru new, which may have more to do with my experience....)
<watches as joke flies over Dork's head>
Been inclined to wander... off the beaten track.
That's where there's thunder... and the wind shouts back.
     
Dork.  (op)
Professional Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Rochester, NY
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 03:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
<watches as joke flies over Dork's head>
     
mduell
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 05:37 PM
 
There's a lot of old wives tails and similar out there regarding engine (and the rest of the new car - transmission, brakes, etc) break-in. Shop run tolerances and surface finishes have improved a lot over the last 40 years which helps shorten break-in times. I also understand some manufacturers do a factory break-in on the engine to avoid the variance in end-user break-in.

The biggest concern on modern engines seems to be piston ring sealing. The seal is driven by combustion pressure rather than spring force, so intermittent high chamber pressure (high throttle setting) is encouraged during early driving.

I don't know that using your own foot to maintain speed on the road is going to be much different than using cruise control; both will have some small variation in engine RPM. I would encourage you not to bang against redline off the lot.

If the manufacturer (not the dealer - the manufacturer) has a recommended first oil change interval (low or high) I'd go with that. Otherwise changing the oil and filter after 1000 miles wouldn't be a bad idea; I bet it will look like someone dumped glitter in. After that I'd follow the manufacturer's recommendation of 10k miles or whatever.
     
imitchellg5
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Washington + Colorado
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 06:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by macforray View Post
No break in period required. Engines are now built to tighter and more uniform tolerances. Of course I wouldn't red line the engine right away. Normal driving will not require any break in. If in doubt, ask the dealer, do some googling, etc.... Actually, I think a trip in a new car should be good for it.
Completely false. I worked for a manufacturer.

Avoid keeping the engine at constant RPM. Keeping the engine at a constant RPM can cause premature wear in a number of areas during the break in period, especially because new cars come with a lighter weight oil than recommended for normal oil changes. Avoid going over 4k RPM, and make sure to let the car warm up for a good amount before driving it (due to the lighter oil). Don't change the oil at 1k miles, wait until however many miles the manufacturer recommends. Depending on the manufacturer, follow these steps for the first 3-5k miles.

If you've seen a brand new car, especially one that's popular with kids these days (GTI, Evo, STI), burning oil, it's because they didn't follow these steps and drove it like they stole it right off the lot.
     
iMOTOR
Mac Elite
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: San Diego
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 07:00 PM
 
My Volvo manual mentioned something about not using kickdown in the first 900 miles.
     
andi*pandi
Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: inside 128, north of 90
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 09:33 PM
 
I believe it's recommended new-car practice to scratch the drivers side door, ding the bumper, and spill a milkshake in the backseat.
     
phantomdragonz
Mac Elite
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Near Boulder, CO
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 18, 2011, 11:32 PM
 
follow whatever the manufacturer recommends....

however the ideal engine break in procedure is to throw it on a dyno and beat the snot out of it (to get the rings to seal very well) and then change the oil and the drive it however you like. but thats mostly recommended for just-rebuilt engines... (search "mototune" for this)

personally I would err on the side of changing the oil sooner then later, since most of the break in is during the early times and lots of metal bits get in the oil...

but still follow the manufacturers recommended procedure.
     
Athens
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Great White North
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 19, 2011, 12:19 AM
 
My car is every 16 000 km or if the engine detects it needs it sooner.
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
Missed 2012 by 3 days, RIP Grandma :-(
     
SSharon
Professional Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Teaneck, NJ
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 19, 2011, 10:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
... intermittent high chamber pressure (high throttle setting) is encouraged during early driving...I would encourage you not to bang against redline off the lot.
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
...Avoid going over 4k RPM, and make sure to let the car warm up for a good amount before driving it (due to the lighter oil)...
Not going over 5k RPM during the first 1,000 miles was the only thing I ever learned about a new car, but that was more than 10 years ago.

This discussion highlights how context is everything. Everyone hears some advice and passes is on as if it is true for all cars (as mentioned above, this isn't even just about the difference between used v. new, but what year the car was manufactured). Maybe my father was told not to hit 5k RPM because I was standing next to him and just got my license and the dealer was doing my father a favor to make sure I didn't destroy the car. Or maybe he said it because the car was green.
AT&T iPhone 5S and 6; 13" MBP; MDD G4.
     
brassplayersrock²
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 19, 2011, 01:57 PM
 
Uncle Doofy is ca$h? Jeebus.... I think that I need consoling now.... good grief.

http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=Odyssey+owners%27+manual
     
hayesk
Guest
Status:
Reply With Quote
Dec 19, 2011, 02:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
Very informative, thanks for that. I wonder if I can find the Odyssey owners' manual online somewhere.

My wife will be driving this car around most of the time, and wil be taking it in for oil changes. A "Maintenance Minder" sounds like a nice feature for her, as long as it's not bringing her back every two weeks.
I've had my Honda for 16 months now, only had the maintenance minder come on once for its first oil change at around 12000km.
     
d4nth3m4n
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Far above Cayuga's waters.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 19, 2011, 02:51 PM
 
Just keep the revs fluctuating, downshift for hills on 17 and you'll be fine.

Tell me about the subaru, stick or auto? I'm in ithaca.
     
quesera
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 20, 2011, 03:12 AM
 
I fretted over this a bit after coveting a MINI for many years, reading forums (with stuff like this), and then after purchase, landing somewhere in the middle of caution, altering RPMs on our 400 mile drive home in a new car and changing oil at 5000 miles rather than 1000 (and well before the manufacturers recommended 15,000). I took an engine oil sample then to send for analysis at Blackstone Labs, but never sent it.

Three years later and 34,000 miles or so, no issues, engine-wise. The theory among many, is that after 100,000 miles or so, the engine will die due to the sins of omissions during it earlier days, but most cars and owners won't have lasted that long, and therefore won't be an issue.

Time will tell, I suppose.
     
iMOTOR
Mac Elite
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: San Diego
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 21, 2011, 02:35 AM
 
     
Shaddim
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: 46 & 2
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Dec 21, 2011, 02:50 AM
 
Drive the car normally. Change the oil and have maintenance done when the manufacturer suggests it.

finis
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
   
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:18 AM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,