How To Break In Your New Car

How To Break In Your New Car

You’ve got a new car! Fantastic. There’s nothing like the feel of a vehicle that no one else has ever been given the chance to use (and abuse)—not to mention that wonderful new car smell…

But how do you ease your car into life on the road?

The following discusses the most important points about driving for those first few crucial miles to ensure the best performance and longevity of your shiny new vehicle.

The Myths and Realities About Driving a New Car 

  • New car myths
  • New car realities 

New car myths

Contrary to much so-called wisdom, breaking in a new car doesn’t mean driving slowly for thousands of miles. Nor does it have anything to do with bedding in the crankshaft or the bearings.

Breaking in a new car—or, to be more specific, the engine—is to wear in the piston rings to ensure the correct seal against the cylinder wall. And that’s it. There’s quite a narrow window in which to do this, which is why most manufacturers set this breaking in period at around 1,000 miles or so.

New car realities

So far we’ve spoken about new cars. But we should really be referring to the engine—and this means that all of the following applies to any refurbished or rebuilt engine as well.

Of course, if you’re the proud owner of a new car then you’ll probably want to consider a few other aspects as well, such as preserving the beautiful paintwork with the application of a paint protection film or ceramic coating. But that’s another subject entirely... 

The First Crucial 1,000 Miles

  • The dos
  • The do nots

The dos 

Now that we’ve determined what we mean about breaking in a new engine and that it’s the first 1,000 miles that we need to be mindful about, let’s look at what you should be doing when enjoying those first few turns of the wheel.

Make sure that you do:

  • Keep the engine below about 4,000 RPM: Anything more than that will be pushing it too hard for these first few miles. 
  • Adjust your driving for safety: Not only is the engine new, but so are the tires and brakes. The latter takes a few hundred miles to bed in and the former is covered in a protective lubricant that takes around 200 miles of driving to wear off. This means that you don’t get quite the same level of grip in those first miles, so you should avoid over-fast cornering and harsh braking.
  • Take the car on longer journeys: This allows the engine to fully warm up, allowing the piston rings and cylinder seals to marry correctly with each other.
  • Change gears at optimal RPM: Many cars signal when you should change gear to ensure that you’re not revving too high. While you’re probably desperate to hit the gas to see what your car can do, it’s advisable to change gear at a relatively low RPM, at least for the first 1,000 miles.

The do nots 

There are some definite do nots when it comes to the first thousand miles if you want your vehicle to have longevity and perform at its best. 

  • Don’t floor the accelerator: Yes, it’s tempting. But you only need to hold off for those first few miles. Once you reach the 1,000-mile mark you’re free to hit the gas as much as you like.
  • Don’t take loads of short trips: Not allowing the engine to warm up sufficiently means those crucial seals fail to happen correctly.
  • Don’t baby the engine: Conversely, you don’t want to drive too cautiously as this places virtually no load on the piston rings. You also shouldn’t allow the engine to idle for long periods either, for the same reason.
  • Don’t push the engine over the red line: If you do nothing else, this is the one thing that should mean you’re covering most of the other aspects. Trust us, it’s really worth keeping out of the red for 1,000 miles or so. After that? Well, it’s time to hit the open road…

Got a New Car? Now is the Time to Partner with Autobahn of Boca—Florida’s Trusted Auto Mechanic for Luxury Marques

At Autobahn we don’t just service and repair cars, oh no… For our marque-specific mechanics, it's a matter of pride that every vehicle rolls off our forecourt running in tip-top condition. 

We specialize in some of the most luxurious vehicles on the road today. Porsche, Mercedes, VW, Audi, and BMW are, to us, the epitome of the ultimate driving experience. If you own one of these dream machines then it’s essential for marque-specific engineers to work on them—and that’s exactly what we offer.

Visit to discover more about us and get in touch with our friendly team to discuss your car’s service needs.

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