The Break-In Period: Part 1

Two easy steps for the break-in period

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If you buy a new pair of shoes, they’ll take some time before they fit your feet just right. And as any young baseball player knows, a glove isn’t going to work properly until you’ve softened the leather. It may seem strange, but the same principle holds true for new cars.

You may be thinking, How can this be? A car is a finely tuned machine built to go for miles and miles, its internal software automating a series of precision processes – and it usually comes with a warranty.

It’s true: A car is a precision machine and it is built to last. But if you want to get the most out of your vehicle and keep it running for a long time, there are several things you can do during your first few hundred miles. This is known as the “break-in” period.

Your car may be advertised to go 0 to 60 mph in no time flat, but do you really want to gun it to the red every time you drive? No. It is very seldom that you need to travel over 70 mph and yet most cars can go over 100. Why is this? Because a car that has the capacity to do 100 can do 50 with no problem. Remember, your speed limit is the upper roof of what your car can do, not the intended speed.

With that in mind, try not to take your car over 55 mph in those first few hundred miles. This may not always be possible, but bear in mind your car is a baby: it’s factory fresh. Don’t accelerate like crazy at every intersection and don’t load it up with too many heavy objects either – yes, even if it’s made to contain many heavy objects.

You never want your car to idle for long. This is a good rule to maintain even after the break-in period. Idling affects the oil pressure and may prohibit oil from reaching every part of your car equally.