I’ve always thought that a brand new car needs to be driven very gently (under 50 mph) for the first 500 miles. And no quick starts and stops.
I agree with the advice that it is generally most cost effective to buy a good, used car that’s about 2-3 years old, because a great deal of depreciation happens in the first year or two. But I’ve been reluctant to do so because I keep wondering, how was the car driven for the first 500 miles?
Here’s why I’m saying this. Back in mid-1980’s there were auto brokers, or “buying consultants”. They were not dealers but you could tell them exactly what car you were looking for, down to the color and features you wanted, and they would supposedly not only find the car but negotiate for the best price. For my first car, I used a broker who located my car in Modesto and had it driven to me in Oakland, a distance of about 80 miles.
Well, this car started to burn a lot of oil starting at about 70,000 miles; at around 85,000 miles, it was using one quart of oil every 1000 miles. After it couldn’t pass smog at 90,000, I had to junk it. I had always had the car serviced per schedule. Over the years I’ve often wondered if maybe the person who drove it the initial miles from Modesto to Oakland wasn’t exactly “driving gently” and whether this may have contributed to the short engine life.
When buying a used car, you don’t know how the car was driven in its first 500 miles, but are there things that a mechanic can check or test to be reasonably confident that there won’t be premature issues with excessive oil consumption or smog inspection? Years ago, there was something called a “compression test”, assessing the compression in all cylinders, but I don’t hear much about this anymore.
Your thoughts on this would be most appreciated; this question has been nagging me for years! If this 500-mile rule no longer applies to today’s cars because of new technology, I’d like to know that, too.