Jerry Dork
3/5/14 6:43 a.m.

So with the recent (like 12hrs ago) purchase of a new Fiat Abarth with 114 miles on it, how do I go about breaking the engine in? This is my first new car and first car with less than 40k miles on it.

I am going to the SCCA convention this weekend 7 hours away, but is 70mph for ~7hrs the best way? Mixture of highway/city driving? For how long?

Dashpot Reader
3/5/14 6:51 a.m.

Opinions vary - read the manual recommendation and try to stick to it. If not, you'll join the 99% that never cracked their owners manual in the first place!

Ranger50 PowerDork
3/5/14 7:07 a.m.

Drive it with anger coursing through your veins.....

(It has a warranty. )

Powar SuperDork
3/5/14 7:12 a.m.

When I bought my new 500 (non-Abarth), I was advised to break it in the way it would be driven.

It may have seen redline on the test drive.

z31maniac UltimaDork
3/5/14 7:15 a.m.

I'd say just drive it.

I know when I test drove my Speed 3, the salesman had me beating on it to show off it's power.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
3/5/14 7:37 a.m.

I don't believe in breaking things in. Just smudge it or something.

SlickDizzy PowerDork
3/5/14 7:47 a.m.

These days, most engines are broken in on a stand at the factory before they even go in the car, IIRC.

alfadriver PowerDork
3/5/14 7:54 a.m.
SlickDizzy wrote: These days, most engines are broken in on a stand at the factory before they even go in the car, IIRC.

That's what I was going to say.

Although, not broken in on a stand, but manufactured to be already broken in.

The need is that the engine needs to last 120-150k miles and maintain emissions standards, so leaving the break in to the customer- all of whom are random- isn't the best idea. Someone figured out what "broken in" meant, and then came up with a way to have the engines made like that.

pres589 UltraDork
3/5/14 7:57 a.m.

I think the key would be an oil change after you get back from the trip, but otherwise I'd just drive it and try to treat it kind of nice on the drive there and back.

TRoglodyte Dork
3/5/14 8:04 a.m.

GM has an oil additive that you can buy at the dealer that has zinc in it among other things. Call the dealership and talk to the service manager?

Matt B
Matt B SuperDork
3/5/14 8:21 a.m.

I'd probably change the oil early a couple of times just to be safe. Can't hurt. (cue the basic service horror stories )

Jerry Dork
3/5/14 8:23 a.m.

All good advice, thanks. I'll talk to the dealer tonight when I pick it up (it was 730pm by the time paperwork was done & I wanted the detailing/cleanup/front license plate bracket done correctly, not quickly).

SlickDizzy PowerDork
3/5/14 8:23 a.m.

Do you know what oil is spec'd? If I were you, I'd do the first change early with high-zinc oil like Shell Rotella T6, and then run that oil indefinitely. I would NOT introduce any foreign "magic break-in" chemicals unless they are specifically recommended.

Leafy Reader
3/5/14 8:29 a.m.

At 110 miles the engine is either already broken in, or it will never be broken in.

Jerry Dork
3/5/14 8:51 a.m.

A quick Google search while bored at work found this post on an owners forum that supposedly came from the owners manual:

ENGINE BREAK-IN RECOMMENDATIONS A long break-in period is not required for the engine and drivetrain (transmission and axle) in your vehicle. Drive moderately during the first 300 miles (500 km). After the initial 60 miles (100 km), speeds up to 50 or 55 mph (80 or 90 km/h) are desirable. While cruising, brief full-throttle acceleration within the limits of local traffic laws, contributes to a good break-in. Wide-open throttle acceleration in low gear can be detrimental and should be avoided.

iceracer PowerDork
3/5/14 9:04 a.m.

Just drive it.

jimbbski HalfDork
3/5/14 10:03 a.m.

Drive it like you stole it!

I once picked up a new Mustang GT 5.0L in '86 on a Thursday evening. Saturday I took it to my local road race track and ran it in a highspeed autoX. The engine never had any problems during the entire time I owned it. The two areas that require breaking in are the rings and camshaft & lifters. Since the introduction of roller lifters and hardened steel camshafts this part of the problem is moot. With many engines having cylinder liners the ring designs have also changed for the better.

Wally MegaDork
3/5/14 10:20 a.m.

My wife's commute is mixed driving so she didn't do anything special. The manual and dealer both said to just drive it until the oil change light came on. I tried but at about 7500 miles I couldn't leave it alone and changed it to Mobil 1. She just hit 16,000 and so far it hasn't asked for a second change.

Wally MegaDork
3/5/14 10:21 a.m.

Good luck with it. Ours is a fun little car, I imagine the Abarth must be a blast.

oldeskewltoy Dork
3/5/14 11:20 a.m.

DO NOT use high zinc content oils for long... they can really screw with emissions equipment. They are good for the very first change when you have new cams, and new rings.

I would say use it normally... if anything special... maybe not use cruise control... my thinking is not using it will allow for slightly more speed variations by the driver

z31maniac UltimaDork
3/5/14 11:59 a.m.
Matt B wrote: I'd probably change the oil early a couple of times just to be safe. Can't hurt. (cue the basic service horror stories )

Ford actually specifically recommended against that when I tried to take my '13 GT in early. Something about an additive in the first oil fill, no idea if it's true or not, but that's what they said so I went with it.

Jerry Dork
3/5/14 12:13 p.m.

Normal driving doesn't concern me. City driving, ~20-25min highway, city again. Rinse/repeat each way work to home and back. But 7hrs of mostly highway mostly ~65-70mph had me concerned. I like the idea of not using the cruise at least.

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