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I have seen a few topics on this in the forum but it seems like everyone has a different opinion about the length of time to break in an engine, or if it really works if you're waiting to see your MPG. I have a motorcycle and understand the break in process for that, but I feel like its completely different for a car. When you break in your engine on a car are you trying to keep the engine under a certain RPM or are you trying to get it to "learn how you drive?"

I'm waiting for my Terrain to come in, and I'm getting worried that the MPG is going to suck. I have a 2009 Vibe and its awful. Not only is the tank small but on my best day I'm only getting 27 mpg. That might be great for some cars, but filling up every 280 miles sucks!! Especially when I was supposed to get 32 mpg on the highway.

Is there an unofficial uniform best way to break in a car? I know with a bike it sucks b/c you can barely go 50 mph without going over the recommended rpm's for the first 1000 miles. Should I drive it like I always will, or do I need to drive slowly until 5000? That just sounds crazy to me.

Thoughts?
 

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keep the RPM's/speeds varied for the 1st 500 miles. dont go faster than 55 on the freeway (check the 55 in the manual)
you dont want to get on the road and stay at 1 speed for a long time.
on all my new cars- If I get on the freeway- Ill slowly get up to 55- and back off- the vehicle slows down a bit- and then I accelerate to get back up to 55... theres times I got past 55-- but not for long.
once past 500- then you can drive normally---- but remember that for some miles after(anywhere from 4-12000-- this based on used oil analysis ive done on my other cars)- parts will continue to wear in- as Used oil analysis will show higher metal counts.
Ive done the careful break in- and im happy with the results.
Hopefully its because I was careful at breakin...
 

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The break-in police are watching.
 

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I've never paid any attention to break-in on any new vehicle I've ever bought. I drive it the way it's going to be driven. When I bought my 97 GMC dually new, brought it home, installed my brake controller, wiring and connected it to my 28ft enclosed trailer and headed to the races that weekend. Never a minutes problem. What about some of these dealers that trade/pickup from another dealer many miles away? Think they keep it under a certain speed or vary their driving? No way. I always do the first oil change around 1500/2000 miles and then around 5000 if I use synthetic oil.

By the way, if you're expecting to get what the window sticker shows for mileage, I've got some beach front property in Yuma, Az. ;) Every vehicle I've had is always several mpg under what the sticker shows.

Anyway, that's my opinion on break-in procedures. Others will probably vary.
 

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theres that train of thougt-- drive it like you stole it..
but I have no experience with this method.
since im looking to buy a Nox- im interested in MPG.
But my Trailblazer and Traverse- both meet/exceed the posted MPG sticker
hopefully the nox does too.
 

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JLF said:
I've never paid any attention to break-in on any new vehicle I've ever bought. I drive it the way it's going to be driven. When I bought my 97 GMC dually new, brought it home, installed my brake controller, wiring and connected it to my 28ft enclosed trailer and headed to the races that weekend. Never a minutes problem. What about some of these dealers that trade/pickup from another dealer many miles away? Think they keep it under a certain speed or vary their driving? No way. I always do the first oil change around 1500/2000 miles and then around 5000 if I use synthetic oil.

By the way, if you're expecting to get what the window sticker shows for mileage, I've got some beach front property in Yuma, Az. ;) Every vehicle I've had is always several mpg under what the sticker shows.

Anyway, that's my opinion on break-in procedures. Others will probably vary.
I agree with JLF on this one. I have never worried about break in, even on my first car. It was a 1990 Chev Cavalier 4 cyl. 5 speed, and I put over 253 000 km's on it. Never needed to change the clutch, and only did the brakes once.
 

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The only car I've ever broken in according to the book was/is my current corvette....and I consistently get higher mpg at highway speeds than advertised. I'll do the same on my new NOX when it arrives.
 

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rbarrios said:
keep the RPM's/speeds varied for the 1st 500 miles. dont go faster than 55 on the freeway (check the 55 in the manual)
you dont want to get on the road and stay at 1 speed for a long time.
on all my new cars- If I get on the freeway- Ill slowly get up to 55- and back off- the vehicle slows down a bit- and then I accelerate to get back up to 55... theres times I got past 55-- but not for long.
once past 500- then you can drive normally---- but remember that for some miles after(anywhere from 4-12000-- this based on used oil analysis ive done on my other cars)- parts will continue to wear in- as Used oil analysis will show higher metal counts.
Ive done the careful break in- and im happy with the results.
Hopefully its because I was careful at breakin...
I must have missed something in the manual, I don't remember seeing the 55 MPH part I did see the place where it says don't go over 68 for more then 5 minutes at a time until you get 3000 miles on it.

I've had eight new GM vehicles and I drove them from day one like I normally would, I just made sure the oil and water were always topped off. The Nox is the first one I've owned that I remember seeing break in restrictions. Maybe it has something to do with the direct injection engine.
 

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Ordered my first new car in 1968(Firebird)...and normally traded at least every three years(sometimes sooner) continuing until now. We have now done that with two new cars in the driveway for the past thirty years. As I recall..there has always been a 'break-in period' stated in the owners manual. Usually a period of a thousand miles...or now up to a few thousand. Even with my Harleys..the first few hundred..up to a thousand miles on the clock was crucial to 'ease in' all the new seals..gaskets..brakes and moving parts...rather than slamming them against each other. Otherwise..leaning to caution rather than just 'drive it like you stole it'. It has always made good sense to me. Doesn't mean that you can't vary from that gospel...but constant hard acceleration or braking doesn't do anything 'brand new' any good especially during the first few hundred miles on any vehicle. A varied speed on longer trips instead of a steady set speed for many miles is also easier on a new engine. "Doesn't mean" that you 'can't' pass a car and go above the 68 mph for a short period. It's 'consistant' abuse that can harm a new engine. The more miles racked up...the better for driving it like you normally would. That's my story...and I'm sticking to it. Your pedal to the metal may vary...
 

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Gotta say that break-in is completely unrealistic for freeway driving in Texas. Completely. Unrealistic.
 

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With todays metallurgy, machining tolerances, fuel, engine controls and lubricants. Break-in is not the issue it once was.
Follow the operator's manual. Don't beat it and for goodness sakes don't baby it, that's worse.
 

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I think the only things I may have messed up is the driving at a constant speed (which is easy to do with certain kinds of city driving) and staying at 68 mph over a certain amount of time. I live in Houston and there are just certain areas and times where the slow lane is in the upper 60's.

I have to say that I've been quite pleased with the acceleration on my 4 cylinder so far. Gets up to speed pretty quickly when merging on the highway, and it has more than enough pep around town.
 

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We just did a 3300 mile trip with our new Terrain from Idaho to Iowa and back. Average was 25mpg, our speeds were variable, we did not use the cruise control, we kept it below 70mph and the engine did not use a drop of oil. This was a mix of mountain driving, flat land and sometimes big time head wind. Our best tank was 29 mpg when we had flat highway and no wind. I think this was a pretty good trip to completely break it in and so far, we very much like our new AWD Terrain.
 

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I live in New Jersey so speed limits here are more like recommendations, for the first 500 miles or so i took it easy on the engine, never floored it or let it get to high in the revs, i kept it under 75 mph for the first 500 miles then after that i drove it like i normally would....i get about 21 mpg and I drive a mixture of both highway and city.....the difference is on the highway I will be driving anywhere from 75-85 mph where are the cars are tested at 55 mph (i beleive that is true)
 

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There is truth and logic in driving it like you stole it to break it in. It helps the break in to load an engine up to like 80% of its power, so spirited acceleration for the first several thousand miles. The rings on the pistons actually have to form a seal, which is what youre breaking in, so they form to the roundness or out of roundness of the enigne. The reason break in on new vehicles is not that big of deal is that the cylinders were hopefully perfectly machined round. Regardless the rings need to burn off that new ring coating and make a proper seal. Before this you lose compression and it can burn oil or put fuel in the oil. There are a lot of complaints about fuel in the oil and I imagine some of it is from improper break in on these high Compression ratio engines (not your normal 4-banger), and then some could be from an injection issue. GM should have defined a break in process for them.
 

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2011LT2 said:
GM should have defined a break in process for them.
There is - From the owners manual:

New Vehicle Break-In
Notice: The vehicle does not need an elaborate break-in. But it will perform better in the long run if you follow these guidelines:

• Do not drive at any one constant speed, fast or slow, for the first 805 km (500 mi). Do not make full-throttle starts. Avoid downshifting to brake or slow the vehicle.
• During the first 1 000 km (600 mi), avoid using more than moderate acceleration in lower gears and avoid vehicle speeds above 110 km/h (68 mph).
• Between the first 1 000 km (600 mi) and 5 000 km (3,000 mi), heavy acceleration in lower gears can be used. Vehicle speeds above 110 km/h (68 mph) should be limited to five minutes per use.
• Avoid making hard stops for the first 322 km (200 mi) or so. During this time the new brake linings are not yet broken in. Hard stops with new linings can mean premature wear and earlier replacement. Follow this breaking-in guideline every time you get new brake linings.
• Do not tow a trailer during break-in. See Driving Characteristics and Towing Tips for the trailer towing capabilities of your vehicle and more information.

Following break-in, engine speed and load can be gradually increased.
 

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Thanks, looks alright, heavy acceleration is a plus after first 600 miles, although I will be doing it earlier and often for about 3000 miles. We have about 300 miles on it now, just picked it up last weekend.

Supposedly they do a break in on engines at the factory, otherwise I would do more heavy acceleration for loading early on. The majority of break in being done in the first 30 minutes or miles anyway, and we often get them with a hundred or so miles on them from test drives and dealer moves.
 

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2011LT2 said:
Thanks, looks alright, heavy acceleration is a plus after first 600 miles, although I will be doing it earlier and often for about 3000 miles. We have about 300 miles on it now, just picked it up last weekend.

Supposedly they do a break in on engines at the factory, otherwise I would do more heavy acceleration for loading early on. The majority of break in being done in the first 30 minutes or miles anyway, and we often get them with a hundred or so miles on them from test drives and dealer moves.
Not trying to be wise, but how do you know how much break-in they do at the factory ? It would be good do have a definitive answer in what is done, and sounds like you know. I could never find anyone that knows when I called GM.

THX
 

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For most vehicles, there is no break in as such. They start it, make sure it runs smoothly and MAYBE run it on a dyno for a few minutes-if that.
Then it's out the door.

Some cars, like Corvettes and other high end models, get a longer run in, but the owner still gets to do the majority of break in.

That said, the material selection and the machining on most modern engines is so good, that break in isn't a big deal like it used to be.

My 2¢
 
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