Running in a new car, so what’s the right way to do it?

Some people say that you should avoid full throttle in a new car until 1000 (or more) miles have passed, while others say that you should drive a new car like you stole it straight away.

So what’s the right way to running in a new car, to prolong the life of the engine?

Having looked into this question extensively, we don’t think that there is a right or a wrong way to running in a new car. For you see, there are millions of motorists who have been gentle with their new cars and millions of motorists who have been anything but, and there’s an equal share of motorists that have had no issues with their cars whatsoever. Modern engines are also extremely well lubricated. Some car manufacturers simply recommend taking it easy for the first 100 miles only when running in a new car, after which the car can be driven without concern.

The only thing that all people tend to agree on is that you should let your engine warm up fully before you use the whole rev range, so that the new components of the engine have a good flow of oil. As long as you do this, then you can drive your new car anyway you like.

That’s our opinion, anyway. But for those of you who want a little more, we like the advice and process for running in a new car that was posted on Honest John. Here’s the takeaways for petrol and diesel engines:

Honest John, running in a new car with petrol engines:

“Modern petrol engines are built extremely ‘tight’ so they need a bit of wear during the first 10,000 miles for the piston rings to bed properly into the bores.

Self-impose yourself a rev limit of between 4,000 and 5,000 for the first 1,000 miles, and be sure you vary your revs and occasionally reach that limit. After 1,000 miles, common sense dictates that you won’t rev the nuts off the thing straight away, but you needn’t be too worried about hitting 6,000 rpm occasionally as long as you vary the engine speed.

Try never to rev to the rev limiter as the misfire this causes can damage the catalytic converter matrix.”

Honest John, running in a new car with diesel engines:

“If running in a new car on a motorway or autobahn, regularly vary the revs. So (in mph) cruise at 70 for 15 minutes, cruise at 80 for 15 minutes, cruise at 75 for 15 minutes, cruise at 60 for 15 minutes, cruise at 90 for 15 minutes, etc.

For the next 1,000 miles (to 2,000 miles) do not exceed 3,500rpm, but make sure you reach 3,500rpm regularly. For the next 1,000 miles (to 3,000 miles) do not exceed 4,000rpm, but make sure you reach 4,000rpm regularly. For the next 1,000 miles (to 4,000 miles) do not exceed 4,500rpm, but make sure you reach 4,500rpm at least a couple of times a week.”

Whether or not you choose to follow a process like this or simply take it easy for a hundred miles or so before gunning it is up to you. We have thousands of customers who have done both, and there’s an equal share of happy stories.