By Madeline Klein
So you’ve got a shiny, brand-new car, huh? Well, if you want to make that new-car feeling last, take it easy during the first thousand or so miles. This time is called the ‘break-in’ period for a new car, and it sets the stage for the life of your ride.
Why is the break-in period important?
Most car manuals suggest light loads and low stress during the break-in period. During this time, the moving pieces of your car’s engine are learning to work together. Taking it easy on them in the beginning helps the engine pieces rotate against each other more smoothly for the lifetime of your car. Sure, things will go wrong and will need to be fixed and oiled, but using your car gently for the first thousand or so miles can go a long way. It can lead to better fuel economy, longer engine life, and lower oil usage according to CNET. And who wouldn’t want that?
So how exactly should you use your car during that break-in period? Well, lucky for you, we’ve got some tips here.
1. Keep the speeding to a minimum
While it may be fun to see what your car can do, keep your speed modest during the break-in period. Try not to put the pedal to the metal, and don’t get to the top speed of your car. It’s suggested that you don’t go over 80 mph for a while.
2. Avoid heavy car loads
If you can, don’t tow trailers or load up your car with too terribly much during the first miles. More weight means your car needs to use more power, and that affects your brakes, tires, and suspension. So skip the trailer and keep your loads light to help your car ease into being used regularly.
3. Start slow
There’s no need to see how quickly you can go from 0-60 when you first get a new car. Quickly accelerating is hard on any car, but can start your brand new car off on the wrong foot. It’ll force your engine to work harder than it should have to.
4. Don’t slam on the brakes
During the break-in period, skip the hard stops and avoid slamming on your brakes. Quick stops can put extra pressure on your brakes and could lead to more wear and tear on them. Take it slow and give yourself plenty of time to hit the brakes. Not only will that help you drive safer, but it will also put less strain on your car.
5. Get an early oil change
Some suggest getting an oil change early for a brand new car. While all cars are different and you should check your manual, most typically only need to change oil every 4,000 - 7,500 miles. However, in brand new cars, you may want to get an oil change early, around the 3,000-mile mark. Oil can get extra debris in it during the break-in process, so changing it early can keep your oil clean and functioning in tip-top shape.
These small steps can help ensure a long-lasting ride for years and years to come. But the needs for a new car don’t stop there. Make sure you’ve got the coverage you need to keep your new car safe too.
Posted January 16, 2019 in Street Smarts.