Break in period

My wife and I just purchased a new 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS. The car had 30 miles on it when we bought it. Next week we are scheduled to drive to Florida which will be 350+ miles one way, all highway. When we leave, the car will only have 200 miles on the odometer. The owners manual says not to drive the car more than 55 mph for the first 1000 miles. The sales person at the dealer said it is ok to take the car on the trip as long as we don’t drive over 85 mph and do any sudden stops. Does anyone have an opinion if it is ok to take the car on our trip or should we adhere to the break in period in the owner’s manual? I intend to own this car for 10 years (at least)

The car should be broken in already. Thirty miles is sufficient for this and there should be no problem in exceeding 55 MPH.
The reason the 55 MPH is thrown out there is because the car makers have concerns that someone is going to flog the car into the pavement and then promptly return demanding a warranty engine.

The only thing I would advise is that you vary the speed at times if you have concerns over this. Drive 60 for a while, 70, 65, etc.

Follow the recommendations in the owner’s manual.

Car salespeople will tell you ANYTHING to make a sale. How do sudden stops have anything to do with engine break-in? Whoever told you this knows nothing, or was just telling you what you wanted to hear. I say this as a former car salesperson (not something I’m proud of).

Who are you going to believe? The Hyundai engineers, who wrote the manual? Or the salesperson at the dealership? Gimme a break.

If I were in your position I’d select a route which was not all highway, and I would follow the advice in the owner’s manual. An extra hour on the trip won’t kill you, but it could make a major difference in how long your Santa Fe lasts.

I wish more people would read the owner’s manual.

cruise control is the “enemy” of break-in. Vary speeds and/or RPMs(if you’ve got one of those manumatic transmissions) and you should be fine. Don’t spend a lot of time in the upper RPMs or floor it

This is a relatively short trip, honor the 55 mph max, don’t use the cruise control. Maybe take state routes, would be more fun, too!

In a perfect world, we could all follow the plan to the letter. Most people don’t. The only precaution that you should take is to check the tire pressure just to be sure that one of them isn’t low. No need to put a strain on anything. Take all normal precautions too; like checking oil, coolant and transmission (if possible) fluid levels before you go.

Take the trip and you won’t have anything to worry about.

The manual has suggestions not requirements.

The difference on an engine between driving 55mph vs 65mph is very minor. Enjoy your trip and don’t worry about the car.

The car is to serve you not you to serve it except for regular maintenance.

As some others have suggested, maintaining a steady speed is not good for an engine during the break-in period. In order for the oil control rings on the pistons to seat properly, variation in engine speed is important. Cars that burn excessive amounts of oil while still young are usually those whose oil control rings did not seat properly during early break-in.

Even though most manuals will not recommend this procedure, one of the best ways to break in an engine is to do several moderately strong acceleration runs. Do NOT floor the accelerator pedal or rev the engine to high RPMs. Just briskly accelerate several times and most of the break-in has been accomplished.

After a 350 mile trip, with varying speeds and with a few moderately strong accelerations, the engine should be well broken-in.

Another point that is very important is to frequently monitor the level of motor oil on the dipstick during break-in. During this period, some cars will use more oil than they do later on, after break-in. I suggest that you buy a qt of the correct specification motor oil before you set out on your trip, so that you are prepared to add oil if necessary when you get to your destination. NEVER allow the oil to fall more than 1 qt below the “full” mark on the dipstick!

From a quick Internet search, it appears that these are suggestions, not requirements. Is that correct?

If so, it if were me, I’d take the car on the trip and alternate between the highway and the back roads each hour. On the highway, I wouldn’t use cruise control and I’d stay around 65 MPH. (I’d be more concerned with the safety issue of driving 55 MPH in traffic that’s going 75 MPH than I would be with sticking strictly to the recommendation.)

The main concern with breaking in a new car is not to push the car too hard and make sure you don’t cruise at the same speed for extended periods. If were my car, I would follow the owner’s manual’s recommendations, and I wouldn’t take it on the interstate until it got past the 1,000 mile mark. I also wouldn’t use the cruise control (if so equipped) until the break-in period has passed.

Properly breaking-in a car you plan to keep for a long time is so important, I wouldn’t deviate from the owner’s manual’s recommendations at all.

Try to find a non-interstate route to take on your trip. It will take longer, but you will have better scenery. Map your route using, and then in the directions, each time an interstate is listed, click “avoid.” You might have to do this more than once, but what you are left with should be a nice relaxing route. I just did this mapping a route from Jacksonville, FL to Miami, FL. I had to click “avoid” about 10 times, but in the end, I was left with a nice relaxing cruise down US1. If you don’t like this option, you can always rent a car.

I agree with OK4450 on his. I’ve broken in numerous new vehicles over the past 40 years, none of which developed any problems later, and have just driven them normally. None of them developed any internal engine problems. I broke in a brand new pickup in '89 with almost all highway mileage and it lasted 338,000 miles on the original engine and drivetrain when it got hit and totalled. It wasn;'t even burning oil at that mileage.

I guess manufacturers were getting too many problems with people not knowing how to break their car in that they’re doing it for them before they put the engine in the car at the factory. A quick scan of the PDF owner’s manual I have on my computer shows this for my CX-7:

Break-In Period
No special break-in is necessary, but a few
precautions in the first 1,000 km (600
miles) may add to the performance,
economy, and life of your Mazda.
l Do not race the engine.
l Do not maintain one constant speed,
either slow or fast, for a long period of
l Do not drive constantly at full-throttle
or high engine rpm for extended
periods of time.
l Avoid unnecessary hard stops.
l Avoid full-throttle starts.
l Do not tow a trailer.

I’m sure they mean don’t try and spin your tires when they say don’t race the engine, but they don’t really define it.