CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Breaking in a new car...A 2019 ford fiesta se hatchback

I just purchased a 2019 Ford Fiesta SE Hatchback with the 1.4 liter engine. This is the first true “new car” I have ever purchased. It had 12 miles when I drove it off the lot. So my question is how do you “break in” a new car. What are some tips to best care for a new car and let the engine get broken in and other things. Any suggestions on dealing with new car purchase would be great.

1 Like

Did you read page 158 of your owner’s manual?

1 Like

I just got the car last night, I plan on reviewing it this weekend when I can sit down for an hour or so and review the entire book.

Another question…My new car doesn’t have a gas cap, was told this is a new design. It’s set up only to open up when you insert the pump nozzle. When did cars stop having gas caps and what was the reason behind that?

Try to keep the speed down for the first 50 miles to break in the tires. It doesn’t take long. After that, don’t go any long distances at a steady speed for about 500 miles, varying the engine speed helps to keep the cylinder walls from “glazing”, forming a slick surface that allows oil to slip by the rings.

Moderately hard acceleration without over reving the engine helps seat the rings quickly. That can be hard to do with an automatic transmission. Just go hard on the accelerator (50-75%) until the engine reaches around 2400 rpm, then back off. Doing this about 10 times during your normal driving, like when it is safe to do so from a stop light or stop sign should do the trick. Don’t do it ten times in a row on a deserted road, better to space it out a little.

Other than that, just follow the manual and make sure you do the first oil change when the manual specifies. The initial oil has to be in the engine for a specified minimum time but not any longer than absolutely necessary, I.e. like the time needed to get to the dealer or your regular mechanic for that first oil change.

Between now and Aug 17 it will just be city driving, never getting much over 45-50 mph at any given time. However on the 17th I do need to drive over to Cincy which is about 225 miles round trip all on interstate which is 70 mph. So should I flux the speed from time to time? By that time my guess is I will have put about 100-125 miles on the engine.

1 Like

My son in laws 2010 Fusion has the no gas cap thing.

Again that is in your manual but you are worrying too much . The engine break in period has been gone for years. Why not just call the service department where you bought the vehicle and see what they say.

Capless fuel fillers have been around for almost a decade now. They are pretty commonplace now. As for the reasoning for them; I don’t know, perhaps it’s for emissions and/or manufacturing costs

1 Like

On most of the car manuals I have looked at, only state not to drive the new car at the same RPM’s for an extended period of time. I generally would avoid flooring it too. But I think that might be it.

The gas cap is manufacturer specific. Some make and models have gone that route, I particularly prefer a cap as changing it when (not if) it fails is going to be cheaper.

dn4192 , I just realized you used to be ’ Bertrand ’ in a previous life . I am glad you bought a new vehicle because in my opinion that used car lot you dealt with was taking advantage of you .
We bought a new 2018 Ford Fiesta and did nothing special but drive and just made a 1500 mile trip with it . So relax and enjoy.

Ive had a few cars over the past 9 years. In 2010 I bought a 2001 Kia Sedona wagon and had it till 2014, when I traded it in on a 2003 Impala which I had till february of 2018 when I traded it in on a 2011 Cadillac CTS 4 which I just traded in for the 2019 Fiesta.

Did you ever get the valves cleaned on that misfiring Cadillac?

I buy both of @FoDaddy’s reasons. It could easily take 30 seconds to remove the cap, pick up the filler gun, and stick the nozzle into the filler neck. Double that for removal and replacing the gas cap. While the cap is off, gas can evaporate to the atmosphere. One minute doesn’t seem like much, millions of cars doing this daily does seem like a lot. I have a standard gas cap on my 2017 Accord, but our 2019 Odyssey has the capless filler system.

The steps to produce a knurled filler neck, weld it in place, and then make a gas cap seems like it is more expensive than clamping a capless filler onto the gas line.

I disagree. The best advice is in the manual. Who knows whose opinion you’d get when you call a service department, and how authoritative that opinion will be?

One Honda service department guy told me that Honda recommended against synthetic oil for my Civic - that “synthetic oil doesn’t have enough grit.”

2 Likes

:thinking:

I can see it on the bottles now… “new and improved”, “contains 25% more grit!”

4 Likes

you mean “25% more organic grit!” :wink:

3 Likes

… and it should also state the Honda Grit Specification Number that it complies with.

3 Likes

and of course, per Honda’s tradition with automotive fluids (especially ATF), their specific grit will be different from everyone else’s and using everyone else’s grit will cause immediate and irreparable harm :roll_eyes:

2 Likes

It’s kind of obvious that the Post Office, Fed-Ex, UPS and the car rental agencies do nothing in particular to break in new cars and they have no problems. But I’m curious. Maybe @dn4192 will drop a link with the instructions in his new owners manual.