Niagara Gazette — So as of lately, a couple of questions seem to be repeating themselves in my reader’s inquiries. The first one is breaking in a new car, a popular topic among those of us that remember when this was a topic that was actually covered in the new car owner’s manual. This second topic is also popular these days given the heightened price of a gallon of gasoline. Octane ratings, and what they mean to us as motorists.
Breaking in a new car
DARREN FROM PHILADELPHIA: Do you still have to “break in” a new car and, if so, for how many miles and at what speed? I just bought a new Cadillac and want to break it in right.
TOM: Drive the vehicle as you normally would, change the oil and filter at 1,500 miles, then get on a regular maintenance schedule as per the manufacturer (read you owner’s manual). Enjoy the ride!
Darren brings up a popular question. A lot of people think there are some special things they have to do to “break in” their cars.
What does it mean to “break in” a new car? — Years ago carmakers gave each new vehicle owner a set of parameters to follow in order to break in their new car’s engine. These guidelines included such things as driving at 50 mph for a designated amount of time, followed by varying speeds on back roads, and sitting and idling for a time. After going through this process, the driver was instructed to shut off the engine and let it cool down before driving the car again. Why go through this process? To establish new mating surfaces, seat new piston rings, establish new seal surfaces, condition new mechanical parts, and so on. After the “break in” period the car could be driven without concern.