Should a New Car’s Engine be Broken In?

An engine showed under a vehicle's hood.

Do New Engines Still Need a Break-in Period?

There isn’t anything much more exciting than taking home a new car, truck, or SUV. Automobiles, in general, provide us with a unique kind of freedom and unlimited possibilities. It’s why we love our vehicles so much. However, when you take a new car home, it’s important to take it easy for a while to allow the engine to become properly conditioned. So, do new engines still need a break-in period? For the most part, yes. Follow along with some tips we gleaned from Davis Chevrolet service technicians while we help explain some important concepts.

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How Long Does it Take to Break-in an Engine?

There was a time when automotive engines needed extensive break-in periods lasting thousands of kilometres. It’s impossible for a manufacturer to know how long a vehicle will take to sell. Sitting still for long periods of time isn’t very good for a vehicle, and in the old days, it took a while for seals and other internal engine components to become conditioned for daily driving. Broadly speaking, a modern vehicle needs about 1,600 km worth of gentle driving to make sure the engine and the rest of the powertrain are ready to go.

Steps for Breaking in a New Engine

For the most part, breaking in a new vehicle’s engine is all about taking it easy for a while. Some of the best tips, include:

  • Don’t push the engine too hard with aggressive acceleration or hard braking
  • Keep the RPMs relatively low for the first 1,600 km.
  • Avoid short trips at all costs
  • Avoid towing, if possible

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Why is it Important to Break In an Engine?

Not enough people talk about the importance of breaking-in a new vehicle’s engine. Modern powertrains are incredibly complex machines, and the bulk of the work is now done by computers that adapt to a driver’s style. However, there are still a couple: 

  • The entire break-in process is designed to help the engine achieve better long-term performance.
  • A properly conditioned engine will also have a longer lifespan.
  • Prevents uneven wear in the cylinders and camshaft

The Davis Chevrolet Service Department is available to answer your questions about getting the most out of your vehicle. Make an appointment with us, today, if you need additional assistance with any maintenance or service needs.