The 5 Worst Things You Can Do to a New Car
How should you break in a new car engine? According to leading engineers (and your owner\’s manual), these are the things you should never do.
So it\’s finally happened. You saved up the money, researched the options, and bought yourself the brand-spanking-new car of your dreams. Now, you want to make it last forever. Should you baby the car? Should you drive it like you stole it? Engineering Explained is here to teach you the best way to break in your brand-new engine.
Host Jason Fenske\’s advice, basically, is to take it easy. For the first few hundred miles, don\’t go bouncing your engine off the rev limiter, full-throttle blasting at every opportunity, or otherwise wringing out every last bit of performance. Your patience in the first 500 miles will be rewarded for years to come, as your perfectly broken-in engine keeps running like a dream year after year.
Basically, don\’t do what the driver of the Corvette shown above is doing until you\’ve got a few hundred miles on the clock.
Sound obvious? Sure—a light-load, low-stress break-in is what every new car owner\’s manual recommends. But there are folks out there who recommend just the opposite, advocating that you should run your engine hard, right from the moment you buy it. Think of it as the “drive it like you stole it” method of engine break-in.
Fans of that method cite some impressive, if anecdotal, evidence. But Engineering Explained makes a compelling case for following the owners manual. As Jason explains, the makers of some of the most legendary performance cars out there, including the Nissan GT-R and the Corvette, all recommend a light-load break-in for the first 500 miles or so. These cars live and die by their reputation for maximum performance. If an alternative break-in technique could net some more horsepower, or safeguard against the occasional race track engine failure, you\’d think the automaker would give different instructions in the book.
There are, of course, exceptions. As Jason points out, every new Acura NSX rolls off the assembly line with an engine that\’s already been broken in at the factory. Acura does this so that owners of our 2017 Performance Car of the Year title winner can go straight from the showroom to the track, if they so desire.
But unless you know for a fact that your engine has been painstakingly broken in by factory technicians, you should probably take it easy for the first few hundred miles. What else can you do in that crucial time window to boost your new car\’s long-term durability? Let\’s let Engineering Explained give you the scoop.