Car Engine Break-in Question

Discussion in 'Community' started by Celeron, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. Celeron macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    #1
    I know this isn't even remotely Mac or Apple related, but I know the people on this message board are helpful and intelligent so I was hoping a few kind individuals could shed some light on the situation.

    Here's the deal. I'm looking at getting a new Acura TSX here in the next couple weeks. The problem is I am moving on the 20th from NY to NC. I've figured out the mileage and lets just say its about 750 miles between NY and NC. I'd like to get the TSX before I have to make the drive because my current car, a 1996 Accord, doesn't have cruise control. I've already done the drive twice in the Accord and its not a fun trip without cruise.

    My question is, will it hurt the engine to drive it the 750 miles, mostly highway of course, in the span about about 24 hours? Obviously with the new engine I wouldn't be driving it hard and would pay special attention to keeping the RPMs low and things like that. The drive won't be straight through and I will probably drive 350-400 miles the first day and the rest the second day. I will be accompained by a Toyota Highlander which is going to be pulling a tailer which means we will need to stop around the 250 mile mark to get gas so the TSX will get a brief break. Also, with the Highlander we won't be able to go much beyond 70-75mph with the trailer.

    Should I wait until I get to NC to buy the TSX? Obviously if I got it before hand I would put some mileage on it first (probably 200-300 miles) so I'm not starting the trip with 10 miles on the odometer. I've seen so many conflicting accounts on what is proper for engine break-in I have no idea what to believe.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Roger1 macrumors 65816

    Roger1

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Location:
    Michigan
    #2
    I suggest talking to the dealer that you buy from. They slhould be able to give you in info your looking for. :)
     
  3. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    #3
    Yeah, you might want to ask to see a copy of the owner's manual too. Engines are all different, you'll want to look at the speeds etc. they recommend to see if that's compatible with your trip.
     
  4. andym172 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    One of the worst things for a new engine is to keep it at the same revs for a prolongued amount of time. So, if you were to sit at 70mph for the whole way the this wouldn't be too good for the engine. Also, pulling a trailer (how big/heavy?) is putting more stress on the engine - also not brilliant.

    If I were in your position I'd try to put a few miles on the clock before making the trip. Once in NC, having completed the trip, I'd also have the engine oil changed.

    Having said that Honda/Acura are well known for making pretty tough engines, so you should be fine :)
     
  5. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #5
    Generally speaking, breaking in an engine by running it at constant highway speeds is not a wise idea.

    Most manufacturers will tell you to avoid travelling at a fixed RPM for long periods during the first 500 or so miles.

    You're supposed to gently put the engine through its paces.

    Of course, my car is a turbodiesel and since it typically takes 30k for the piston rings to fully seat, I beat the hell out of it after 100 miles as a break-in rather than baby it.

    YMMV
     
  6. Celeron thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    #6
    I won't be pulling the trailer, the Toyota Highlander I mentioned will be.

    The general concensus I'm seeing says to just wait because of the prolonged engine RPMs that I will get on the trip. Does anyone have any reason to say otherwise? I still value other opinions.

    Thanks!
     
  7. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #7
    Please don't value the opinion of your dealer, especially the salesman. Despite what you'd think (and hope), there's about a 75% chance they'll be totally full of crap.

    Mine even told me the TDI's glow plugs come on when you open the door, which is an old derv urban legend.
     
  8. zarathustra macrumors 6502a

    zarathustra

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #8
    When I picked up my new car (also a turbodiesel) the dealer told me to not worry about the break-in: his only word of advice was not to go above 2500 rpms, which in fifth gear translates to roughly 80 mph. Supposedly the break in period of new cars is almost transparent and I assume that it's even more so with Accuras.

    Personally, I would make the trip just not with cruise control set at 75. I would most likely keep it under 70 and not push the engine. But again, you should ask the dealership.
     
  9. poopyhead macrumors 6502a

    poopyhead

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Location:
    in the toe-jam of greatness (Fort Worth)
    #9
    when breaking in a new engine you are attempting to set the piston rings and the valves, usually to do this you need to not keep your car at constant revs however with new car engines being built to closer and closer tolerences it is not nearly as big of a deal as it used to be. In short, consutl your owners manual, but i wouldnt drive the whole way on cruise control just to be safe
     
  10. Inkmonkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Location:
    Calgary
    #10
    So how long is too long to drive at a constant speed? We just bought a 2005 Nissan X-Trail and we were hoping to make a trip this weekend. Probably about 350 kms (217 miles). Mostly highway.
     
  11. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #11
    Well, considering that's around half of your break-in, I'd say it's way too long a trip.

    I'd limit highway trips to around 10 miles during the first 500.
     
  12. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
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    #12
    And he was full of crap. Long periods idling and steady RPMs are hell on a new engine, and you should try to (gently at first) hit the full range of engine speeds as often as possible.

    TDIs take forever to seat, so there's no reason to go easy on it.

    I beat mine like a rented mule the first week.
     
  13. andym172 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    There's research to show that being hard on your engine on a handful of occasions (each for a relatively short period of time) can actually be beneficial to the life and power of the engine.

    It's imperative that you allow the engine to warm up (say 10 miles) when bedding the car in. Then, during the first 500 miles you may wish to redline the engine taking it through the gears on a couple of occasions and then return to not taking it above 4,000ish revs.
    Between 500 - 1,000 you may then wish to give it a little more stick.
    Replacing the oil after the run-in period is always a good idea as it gets rid of all of the crap that will have accumulated in the oil during the breaking in period.

    I wouldn't touch the cruise control during the running-in period.
     
  14. Inkmonkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Location:
    Calgary
    #14
    There's about 280 miles on the vehicle now. I suspect there'll be about 350 by the weekend when we had planned to leave.
     
  15. raiderz182 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2003
    Location:
    north philly
    #15
    i had about 18 miles on my scion tc before i left for school about 250 miles away.. i varied the speeds a lot with 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80.....
    from what i've learned you can go as fast as you can, just try to stay under 3000 rpm within the first 500 miles or so.

    btw, head on over to www.honda-tech.com i am 100% sure they will help you with everything else on your new tsx.
     
  16. Apple Hobo macrumors 6502a

    Apple Hobo

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    #16
    I've also heard that you should not use synthetic motor oil during break-in because they work too well in keeping friction down.
     
  17. veedubdrew macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #17
    My understanding is the same as most others on the board. Don't go at a constant engine RPM during engine run-in. It's best to keep the engine at moderate speed (no racing, no lugging by keeping it in a high gear at low speeds), no side-stepping the clutch, stuff like that. My last Honda (a year 2000 model) specifically warned against constant engine speeds for the first 500 miles. It suggested various driving conditions without driving the car hard until broken in. Oddly, the Honda manual also made note of the crankcase being filled with special "break in" oil from the factory, and that it was important that oil not be changed until the first scheduled service, not a mile before. Hope that helps.

    -Drew
     
  18. evoluzione macrumors 68020

    evoluzione

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    #18
    so know you know about breaking it in, my question to you, which state has the cheapest tax rate???? :)
     
  19. zarathustra macrumors 6502a

    zarathustra

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #19
    Well, I had to go back to my manual but the only thing it said about the "Break-in period" was:

    (I am paraphrasing)

    Do not exceed speeds over 3/4 of the speed limit indicated on the speedometer. Do not rev the engine past the red mark and keep it there for a long time period. Avoid towing if possible.

    That's all. So he was not full of crap, just a little off. I wouldn't worry about the trip.
     
  20. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #20
    One of two things happens...

    1. the dirt, grime, metallic junk/crap in the oil people think is bad, helps provide just enough abrasion to seat the rings.

    2. the "special oil" actually would have less anti-wear additive than standard oil.

    ---

    Get rid of the grit and adding an oil with heaps of anti-wear additives, and it'll prevent the rings from seating.

    Going at constant revs (ie, cruise control) will allow the anti-wear additives to build up, preventing the rings from seating.

    As long as you don't lug the engine (which could cause parts to contact each other before the anti-wear coating has built up, or when they're still quite rough) or bounce off red-line (and spin bearings) and drive via the manual, you should be fine.

    Semi-aggressive driving will help wear the rings and let them seat.
     
  21. jrober macrumors regular

    jrober

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Location:
    Heathfield, UK
    #21
    Apple Hobo you may well be correct but be careful not to mix synthetic and normal oils not good for either or the engine.

    Otherwise I agree with the running in advice no long periods at constant revs. The change in stress allows oil etc to get around and flush crap out. Also the running in beds in other parts of the car, if say a track rod was to fail running at 70mph will be very dangerou. If anything will go wrong it is likely in the first few days / miles and this long hot high speed running is the most stressful.
     
  22. mpw Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #22
    I wouldn't worry about a modern engine from most manufacturers and certainly not Honda.

    But your question and some of the dealer comments reminds me of a story I heard recently.

    A guy at work bought a brand new BMW M3 in the last year or so. It’s been fitted with a kick ass trip computer, sat-nav and alarm set up which sends relevant text messages to his mobile like “Your car has been stolen” “You are exceeding the posted speed advisory” it also keeps a handy/gimmicky performance log for him.

    It went in for it’s first service or some work of some kind at about 6months but under 3k miles after he bought it and while the dealer was ‘checking the oil etc.’ he was sat at his desk getting text message congratulating him on beating his 0-60 time, 0-100 time exceeding the posted limits etc.

    He took his mobile to the service manager and now has a free servicing period of something like three years and a new set of tires and brakes when first required. Not bad really.
     

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