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How to properly break-in your new engine

mikek37mikek37 Member Posts: 411
edited March 2014 in Honda
Anyone have any information in regards to breaking in a new honda engine. Such as when to change the oil, how fast to go and for how many miles, things such as that. Thanks


  • yrmacyrmac Member Posts: 134
    Read your owners manual. All the info you are seeking are in the owners manual.
  • odiemuttodiemutt Member Posts: 15
    per the manual is the normal service interval at 10K miles. I think changing @ 5K miles would be a better idea and then maybe every 7K miles after that.
    I think the 10K interval is to get the cost of ownership for maintaniance down for marketing reasons.

    For first 500 miles I'd take it easy on the engine, don't overrev past 3500 - 4K (assuming you have a 5 sp). Vary the speed, don't drive 12 hrs staight at 60 mph. Don't use cruise control.

    Don't eat McDonalds food in the nice new car :)
  • pluto5pluto5 Member Posts: 618
  • pj23pj23 Member Posts: 158
    Assuming you are referring to Hondas you have owned, why dump the factory oil after 500 miles when the manufacturer recommends leaving the oil in for the full first oil change interval?

    I can understand those who may want to change after 5,000 miles, where the recommended interval is 10,000 normal/5,000 severe. But changing the oil after only 500 miles seems extreme, especially given the fact that Honda makes a point to tell you explicitly not to do the same.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    I can't speak for OEM, but the engines I do, I generally tell the folks to drive them like they own them, above all, do not baby them (but don't trash them either). After about 2,000 miles, change the oil and filter and then run it to the 5,000 mile mark.
    After that, they can switch to synthetic if they choose.
    If they switch to synthetic before the 5,000 miles, I void any and all warranty on the engine.
  • 1997montez341997montez34 Member Posts: 202
    I have about 300 miles on my Accord. I am driving it like I normally would. New Jersey traffic during my commute usually dictates my driving style anyway. Either I'm sitting with the engine idling or I'm revving it to merge into 80mph traffic. Either way, that's not the "ideal" break-in situation. But given the fact that every Accord that comes off the Marysville assembly line is immediately put on a dyno and run to redline in every gear, I don't think I need to worry too much.

    The 10,000 miles oil-change intervals scare me though. I think I wouldn't let it go more than 5,000 max. I am used to changing oil every 3,000. Not sure why the interval is so long. Has there been an advance in engine tech in the last few years since I bought my last car?
  • pluto5pluto5 Member Posts: 618
    OEM doesn't care how often you change your oil as long as you do the minimum required for warranty. At the end of the day--when the car is out of warranty--you'll be glad you changed it often. If you are a low mileage driver with lots of short trips, 3-4 mos. with dino is the way to go IMO. Another advantage of frequent oil changes is that you can check everything else while the poop is draining and spot problems while they are still minor, like a torn CV boot. Did you ever hear anyone complain that they changed their oil too often??
  • tblazer503tblazer503 Member Posts: 620
    The manual only recommends changing the oil filter every 20k miles... dang, imagine being on your second oil filter when your warranty runs out... =oP ... Overall, when I was in the break-in period, the main thing I was concerned about were the brakes. The engine, I rarely worry about because it should be able to handle normal driving, I shouldn't have to "baby it". The brakes are another story, though... for the first tank or so, I will usually brake early, and allow for extra room since the pads and rotors are "seating" themselves and usually won't stop as well as when they have been worn in a bit. =o)
  • jz5168jz5168 Member Posts: 4
    I need to drive a brand new Ody for 350 miles on high way, will this do damage to the van? I'm concerned about the required break-in. Thanks.
  • pluto5pluto5 Member Posts: 618
    For the first 500 miles I try to avoid panic stops and vary the speed, keeping it under 65MPH. My opinion.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    Uh, avoiding panic stops?
    You'll have to explain that one to me.
  • edwardn1edwardn1 Member Posts: 103
    Sure just run into the SOB that rudely pulled in front of you!
  • tblazer503tblazer503 Member Posts: 620
    I would go ahead and take the trip. It won't damage the van, but drive it like normal. I would avoid "flooring" it or in general "straining" the engine although it shouldn't damage it. You will definitely want to change the speeds... you probably will anyways...

    As for the panic stops, I think the intention of that was that you should give yourself more than enough time to stop. Try not to put yourself in a position (tailgating, speeding, etc) where you would have to slam on the brakes. The brakes need time to "seat" themselves properly, and until they do, you may not have the optimum braking power.

  • pluto5pluto5 Member Posts: 618
    Suggest you pick out a CDL driver on the expressway and observe him or her. Chances are you will not see them make a panic stop. It is rather simple if you drive a 3 ton vehicle instead of a 20 ton tractor trailer.

    Don't tailgate him though, since they run the trailer tires down to bald and they sometimes fly off in pieces which can be disconcerting if you're not expecting it.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    Suggest you pick out a CDL driver on the expressway and observe him or her.
    I am a CDL driver. I drive a 33,000 lb service truck which requires a CDL. Often have to drive 105,000 lb truck/low boy with machine combinations. I know all about truck driving.

    My point was, pluto wrote;
    [quote]For the first 500 miles I try to avoid panic stops and vary the speed, keeping it under 65MPH. My opinion.[endquote]

    What does panic stiops have to do with breaking in an engine?????
    Other than safe driving practices, it has little impact on the engine. Myabe sloshing the oil forward, but not enough to make a great difference.
  • pluto5pluto5 Member Posts: 618
    Part of breaking in a new car is to start the brake pads and rotors wearing evenly. Avoid panic stops the first 500 miles to help your rotors last. When you get new pads, avoid panic stops for the first 50-100 miles.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    Not sure I follow that philosophy. Panic stops causing uneven wear.
    Rotors are not going to wear unevenly. Only if they are warped. Warping is caused by heat or improper torquing of the wheels.
    Uneven weat of pads is caused by calipers binding or the pads moving improperly in the guides.
    Panic stops are not going to create heat, it won't bind the guides and it isn't going to wear the rotors unevenly.
  • jz5168jz5168 Member Posts: 4
    "flooring" ? Opatience?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    is that you don't want to run over the speed limit, I think the max speed the mentioned for the first 500 miles was 65 mph, and to vary your speed slightly as you get those early highway miles on. in other words, do 60 for a few miles, then 65, then maybe 60 again, etc. they say leave the oil in there for the first scheduled oil change, no quickie changes. Ford says that's to insure that the rings get a good cut on the cylinders while they are tight, and don't stay in the same position all the way through, which could glaze the cylinder walls and contribute to excessive oil consumption over the life of the engine.

    now, what I did with the last two I bought and intended to keep until 150,000 or thereabouts, was to follow the speed rules and dumped the factory oil and filter at 1000 miles. all well and good to let the foundry sand do the fine machining, excellent Soviet technique, but I want the damn iron filings and foundry sand and leftover cheese bread scraps and all that slap-em-together slop in a pit out behind the oil recycling place, not eating on my engine block.

    I got my miles and no blue clouds. YMMV. moderation in all things tends to keep you out of the pokey on Christmas eve, and so forth.
  • tblazer503tblazer503 Member Posts: 620
    I'm not sure if "panic stops" will cause unnecessary wear, but I still wouldn't do it. You have two friction materials rubbing on each other. They are not "milled" or made to the exact same specifications, and even if they were, there is always some "slop". Usually, the rotors will have a coating on them when they come from the maker to prevent from corrosion. They will also use oil when doing the initial surfacing. Some of this oil seeps into the metal, I would assume.

    I am no expert in brake systems, but it does not seem like a good idea to constantly strain a brand new system such as the brakes. I am not saying to endanger yourself should the situation arise, but by all means, give yourself the extra space in case you need it. Just like you wouldn't "floor it" because of the cylindar sleeves/pistons, etc, right? I mean, they are meant to work together for the life of the engine, and they even have oil, but they still need time to "break in".

  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,390
    avoiding hard braking with new pads. In order to seat properly they should be used moderately rather than jammed or feathered. See Technical Correspondence in the Jan 2003 issue for more.

    Makes sense to me.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    You want to avoid lugging the engine (manual trans) and excessive rpms.

    In order to seat properly they should be used moderately rather than jammed or feathered.
    How long do you think it takes to seat the pads?

    Now that this subject has gotten totally off the subject. I am curious. How does one avoid "panic stops"???
    I am curious how you go about doing that. Seems to me that it isn't something you just arbitrarily avoid.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    and if anybody gets in your way, blow 'em to the side. alas, my dealer didn't have a thing on the lot with this option when I was shopping.

    I think the put that line in there to have an out in case somebody sued. probably cost 'em a few dollars in court once.
  • cutehumorcutehumor Member Posts: 137
    did you see the new james bond movie die another day? the aston martin had rocket launchers on the sides of the car built in. wouldn't that be a nice mod to have, eh? LOL
  • jimbo65jimbo65 Member Posts: 65
    I don't expect you folks to believe this, but, on our 1996 Accord LX Auto. it still has the original brakes at 91000 miles. It is true. The secret is 'anticipation' of known stops and keeping enough room between you and the next car to avoid hard stops. I just put on new factory wheel covers on this car and the pads still look like new. Maybe the factory goofed and gave me 'lifetime' brakes!
    2015 CR-V EX-L 2WD = One Sweet Ride :p
  • turbotuninturbotunin Member Posts: 15
    I read in a post somewhere about a recomendation from some car professional (can't remember exactly what he did) but it said to use moderate breaking for the first 50 or so stops. This causes the brakes to glaze the rotors and will make both brakes and rotors last much longer. The post also said to avoid very hard breaking and riding the break pedal while lightly breaking when trying to get your stoppers to seat. Will try and find the post I read and put a link to it..
  • rascalloverascallove Member Posts: 28
    Why do you have to break in, into a new car? A car is a car. You buy it so you can drive it how ever you want.
  • neon99neon99 Member Posts: 15
    Yes, you can drive it as however you want, but how long are you planning on driving it? Even with modern engines, manufacturers still recommend at least 500 miles of no jack-rabbit starts, vary speed, and try to avoid panic stops.

    Doing these simple steps will improve the longevity of the motor and rotor/pads.
  • neon99neon99 Member Posts: 15
    I always follow the "severe" maintenance schedule. I live in SoCal, so even highway driving is stop-n-go. Whatever I can do to improve engine efficiency will help in the long and short run.
  • treostertreoster Member Posts: 74
    Follow the severe maintainance schedule, and you'll be happy. Cheap insurance.

    As for break in, keep it under 5000 RPM and don't slam on the breaks for the first 1000 miles. After that, have fun.
  • bittoo106bittoo106 Member Posts: 6
    Couple of days ago I saw brand new Nissan Murano with the dealer plate on it passed by me at the speed of around 160km/h. Does this not damage the new engine? Poor guy who bought the suv has no idea.
  • pluto5pluto5 Member Posts: 618
    When you see anyone flogging a new car that's over $30K it's a good bet it's leased and the driver doesn't care if it lasts beyond his lease.
  • leirexleirex Member Posts: 50
    I attended last night New Owner's Clinic held at the Honda dealer where I bought my 03 Ex V6 on the first day of 2003. The head of Service Dept. covered several subjects to know. I asked him how important break-in is. Interestingly, his answer was "It is not that important for modern cars. It is just ok to drive as you would as long as you do not drive crazy." He also mentioned NOT to change engine oil until the first schedule, say 3750 miles. He recommends a oil change every 3750 miles.
  • lookmanlookman Member Posts: 4
    Owners manual may be a good guide. On Pg. 204 of EX V6's manual, it states that no hard braking (200 miles) or rapid acceleration (600 miles)and don't change oil till recommended interval(3,750 earliest).
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    babied the engine for the first grand, and every car I did that in went out to a quarter million miles before I got rid of them, original engines, with very little oil consumption. Perhaps it was just luck, but I also think it had something to do with that break-in. I generally kept them under 4000 rpm, no constant speeds for more than 5-10 minutes, and definitely no lugging - that is bad.

    The brake break-in is more interesting - that technical correspondence referenced earlier had a lot to say on that, and interestingly enough, people with automatics that let their car inch forward the last hundred yards due to too-light braking cause the same problem as folks who brake too hard: poor rotor-to-pad seating. Toyota, Subaru, and Honda manuals alike all recommend no hard braking (as possible) and moderate even pressure when braking for the first 200 miles, to seat the brakes. If you do this, not only will they last longer, but they will be more effective.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    The brake break-in info also applies any time a brake job's performed. It reduces the possibility of a comeback for squeal, vibration, pull, increased stopping distance, etc.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    that break-in applies any time you replace the rotors...there should be no break-in necessary for the brakes if all you do is replace the pads.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ryokenryoken Member Posts: 291
    What if you turn the rotors and replace the pads?
  • tblazer503tblazer503 Member Posts: 620
    you still would need to break in the pads w/ the resurfaced rotors.
  • v831v831 Member Posts: 4
    I recently bought an Accord (4cyl, 5spd) and I'm in the process of breaking the engine in (ie. no full throttle starts, easy on the brakes, etc). I noticed that the fuel consumption is not close to what Honda had suggested. I'm averaging 12.7 Liters/100km (city and hwy driving). I'm not sure what the US calculation is.

    Any suggestions why?
  • mikek37mikek37 Member Posts: 411
    Extremely Cold Weather in addition to an engine that has yet to reach its peak perfomrance, can , in the early stages l;ead to a decrease in fuel consumption. Give it time, record your mpgs or lpg over a consistent basis, then see what happens. Drive till you reach a quarter of a tank, fill the puppy up and divide the liters that were used to fill up the tank by the total amount of KM traveled for the previous fillup. Does this for a month or two. Generally you will see a steady increase is efficency.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    that is only around 20 mpg, which is odd for the 4-cyl...if all your driving is in cold weather, short trips around town, I could see it maybe being this low, but if this mileage persists past, say, the 1500 km mark, you might want to ask your dealer about it, maybe have them look at it.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • chiggaraccord4chiggaraccord4 Member Posts: 14
    Is this correct to calculate mpg?
    fill the gas tank to full
    reset trip odometer
    when the gas tank is almost empty
    record the number of gallon to fill the gas tank
    divide the #miles by #gallon = mpg???

  • spleckspleck Member Posts: 114
    Yep, that's right. You don't have to wait until the tank is almost empty, but you'll get more accurate results if you're putting in more than a few gallons.
  • tblazer503tblazer503 Member Posts: 620
    it is best to average overall in say a month period, because one may "top off" the fuel tank, one may not. etc. Generally speaking, yup, that is the way... I usually get about 300ish miles per tank (12gal) so about 25MPG...
  • ray_h71ray_h71 Member Posts: 212
    I realize modern engines are milled and finished to micro-tolerances on digitally controlled machinery, but rings still have to seat to cross-hatch pattern cylinder bores. None of my cars have ever reached their stride until at least 10,000 miles for fuel consumption. My last car, a 1996 Accord, kept improving out to ~20,000 miles. Then I totaled it at 28,000 miles. -sigh- No, I didn't buy another Honda, but I DID buy what I could afford NEW because of the FACT that an increasing number of cars are going out the door with a lease contract tucked in with the onwer's manual, and gratuitous green-light-grand-prix is the preferred "break-in" technique among self-indulgent lessors. Prior to my Accord I had a 1989 Hyundai Sonata that I put 270,000 trouble-free miles on (WallyWorld oil and filters every 3,000 miles). At least with a previous original OWNER, there's some chance of connecting with someone who has some ownership pride and appreciates the value of proper care. It's too bad when leased cars are turned in that ONLY the raw miles and the car's appearance are considered when assessing excess use or wear-and-tear penalties. An end-of-lease oil analysis might be very revealing. But, for the cost of an oil and filter change just prior to turn-in, the cagey lessor could get around that, too.
  • spleckspleck Member Posts: 114
    What we need is a rev counter to count the total number of revolutions of the engine. Statistically, we could determine an average range for revs/mile and determine whether the car was driven soft or easy. The range would have to be huge though, because there's times when you have to push it hard, but there's others when you're just cruising. This would allow for relative comparisons though, and I'd be willing to bet that lease cars would have results more like amateur race cars rather than commuter vehicles.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    nice idea, but not practical.

    now, if you wanted to store MILLIONS of revs, or 100,000's, we get into the realm of the possible.

    it isn't much help to say a lot of engine computers carry total miles and total gallons used, because those are (1) entry deep double-word storage areas and cost nothing.
  • spleckspleck Member Posts: 114
    Not quite a trailer. Much more practical (like free storage)...

    6500 rpm * 60 min * 24 hours * 365 days * 20 years = 68,328,000,000 revs.

    Most people won't drive 24 hours/day for 20 years at full bore, so more realistically:
    3000 rpm avg * 60 min/day * 365 days * 20 years = 1,314,000,000 revs.

    32-bits: 2^32 = 4,294,967,296
    48-bits: 2^48 = 281,474,976,710,656 revs (car would be long dead)

    So in essence, a double-word entry to count revs would cost nothing? Total revs/total miles = rough indication of how hard car has been run. Total revs would be an excellent indicator of quality of life and age of the engine.
  • ryokenryoken Member Posts: 291
    Yes, but what if you're comparing a car that was driven aggresively, but meticulously maintained, versus aone that was used for leisurely commuting, but neglected?
This discussion has been closed.