New cars need to be broken in. If you’re not careful during the break-in period you can reduce the performance and longevity of your car’s engine, or even damage it. Here are five things you should avoid if you just bought a brand new car.
In this video from the Engineering Explained YouTube channel, mechanical engineer Jason Fenske explains the activities that cause the most strain on your vehicle during the break-in period. Here’s what you should avoid:
- Don’t floor it: Your shiny new car may be fast, but hitting the accelerator and pushing the engine at full throttle isn’t a good idea unless there’s an emergency.
- Don’t shift at redline: Shifting up in gear is usually optimal at or near redline, or maximum RPM. Shift at lower RPMs during the break-in period.
- Don’t use cruise control: You want to vary your engine’s RPM while driving during the break-in period. Cruise control is going to set the engine at one RPM.
- Don’t travel super short distances: During the break-in period you want to get your vehicle’s engine up to operating temperature each time you drive it. Short trips don’t always allow that.
- Don’t tow anything: Towing puts a higher load on your engine. To tow something, your car has to move more weight, and it needs more throttle to do so. See number one.
The length of the break-in period varies for every vehicle. Some can be as short as a few hundred kilometres, some can be as long as several thousand, and some cars may even ship already broken in. Check your vehicle’s manual to find out.