So you have just collected the keys to your dream car. It is fresh out of the showroom and you cannot wait to hit the pedal to the metal and take it for a long, fast spin. But wait! Is it the right thing to do?
All automotive manufacturers advise you to take it light and easy immediately after the purchase of a new car. The reason being that there is something called the running-in period.
What is Running-in Period
Like all other machines, cars too have moving parts, which need some time and kilometres in order to get adjusted optimally in order to perform smoothly.
For example, the piston rings, the bearings and cylinders need to wear out evenly before the car starts running the way it actually should. Similarly, the tyres, transmissions and the brakes too need their time to settle in.
This is called the Running-in Period, and what you do in this period will define how long the car will last you and how it will perform through its lifespan.
A 2,500 km running-in period is ideal. After this, you can high-rev her away to glory.
Tips for Running-in New Car
Here are some pointers on how to successfully run-in your engine to extend the life of your car. Follow this for the first 2,500 km of driving (and beyond if you can):
1. Warm up the engine
When you start a cold engine, let the car idle for at least two minutes before you move off, allowing for oil to circulate through the engine effectively.
Don’t switch on the AC immediately as it puts unnecessary load on the engine, instead wait till the car engine has warmed up. After two minutes, drive away gently, shifting gears at about 2000-2500 rpm depending on the car, not putting strain on the engine.
2. Shift gears at optimum rpm
Try and shift gears as smoothly as possible. You can begin the running in of your car by sticking to the speed limits and the RPMs that are prescribed in the user manual of your car.
- For Petrol Cars: Keep the revs limited to 2,500-2,700 rpm and try and not go beyond 80kmph, at least for the first 1,000-1,200km. After you have crossed the 1,200km mark on the odometer, then you can rev upto 3,000-3,200rpm and maybe touch 100-110 kmph.
- For Diesel Cars: You need to keep your revs even lower for the first 1,000km, say till 2,000 rpm. After that you can rev your car till 2,800rpm for the next 500-700km. Try and keep your speed in check as well. Do not go beyond 100kmph at least for the first 1,000km.
3. Avoid Hard Braking
The brakes also need time to settle down. For the first 1000 km, try not to do any hard braking. Anticipate when you need to stop and gently apply the brakes instead of speeding up and braking hard. This will allow your brake pads to wear evenly against the brake discs. This will also ensure even tyre wear.
4. Smooth Shutdown
When you park the car, don’t switch off the engine immediately. Let it idle for about 30 seconds before you turn it off – allowing for oil circulation to normalize.
This is especially recommended throughout the life of a diesel engine as the turbocharger needs to spool down, and suddenly turning off the engine starves it of oil, which could lead to failure.
5. Engine oil change
Change engine oil after the first 1,000 km. The engine oil would have collected sludge, metal filings and impurities from the new engine and needs to be cleaned out. After this point you can stick to the manufacturer recommended intervals.
6. Avoid Long trips and traffic
Do not undertake long distance trips or spent time in in bumper-to-bumper traffic before you have run-in your car.
The key to the run-in is to subject the engine to a wide range of RPMs, so you will probably have to alter your driving style and make a point of driving under various conditions.
The run-in process is recommended by the manufacturers for a reason, it’s not hard or inconvenient to follow so you may as well take their advice. There’s also likely to be less issue with early warranty claims. And don’t you want to treat your new car with the respect it deserves?