There’s nothing quite like the thrill of owning a brand-new car. If you want your new purchase to last as long as possible, though, there are a few things you should avoid doing (no matter how tempting they might be). Check your owner’s manual for the break in period of your car, as well, so you know how long it is before you can stop worrying about these five terrible mistakes.
1. Don’t Floor It
While breaking in the engine, part of the process is making sure your piston rings seat properly within the cylinder walls. As combustion takes places, gasses move in-between the gaps of the rings and allow the piston to move properly. The resulting pressure wears down the cylinder bore, which is a natural process.
You don’t need excessive pressure or force to make this happen, though. Pushing your RPMs to the limit can cause imperfections in the seal between your piston and cylinder during the break in period of your vehicle. In general, you want to keep your RPMs under 4,000.
2. Don’t Redline
For the same reasons as above, you do not want to push your engine to the limits and redline it. It’s tempting to do so, especially with sports cars, but you’re risking damage to the pistons and cylinders. When Acura makes their NSX engine, for instance, they come preinstalled with 150 miles of 4,000 RPMs or less to provide an already broken in engine for buyers.
3. Don’t Use Cruise Control
Manufacturers recommend using varying RPMs during the break in period. Setting cruise control keeps your RPMs as constant as possible, never allowing the engine to adjust to varying loads and speeds. The best way to achieve this is varying driving conditions, ranging from residential to the highway.
4. Avoid Short Distance Travel
Part of the break in process of a new engine requires that the engine fully warm up each trip. If your travels don’t allow your car to reach full operating temperature, it’s like working out without warming up first. This temperature allows everything to expand, aiding in the adjusting of your new engine.
5. Avoid Towing
When you tow anything, it puts a higher load on your engine. The heavier the item you’re towing, the more of a load you’re creating. This means more power and throttle, which equals higher RPMs. This leads back to points one and two.
You also want to avoid towing for your brakes and tires. Each also have their own break in period as they lose the factory film on them, which limits your stopping distance. In emergency situations, this can lead to devastating car accidents. For all of these reasons, skip towing any load until your vehicle is fully broken in and ready to perform as intended.
The Lemon Factor
This break in period is designed to keep your car’s engine in pristine condition for years to come. Of course, there are complications that can arise during this time and after. Improperly manufactured parts can cause a defective vehicle under express warranty, which allows you to pursue action under lemon laws. If this happens to you, then it’s your right to seek compensation in court.