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New Car Break-in dilemma

Hello! we have gotten ourselves into a pickle. We are purchasing a new Ford Edge which will arrive in early December. The problem is, we need to drive 10 hours one way across Nebraska a couple of weeks later. The manual says to break in for 1000 miles first and avoid steady speeds. The town we live in is so small it would take 1000 laps around town to get 1000 miles, which would be tough to do before the long trip. Is it ok to drive on the highway at higher speeds (60-65) as long as I periodically slow down or speed up?

Can you take back roads instead of the interstate?
It takes 10 hours to get across Nebraska? I thought only Texas was that vast…

Actually it’s about 13 hours from El Paso to Orange, TX, but I agree, I could only find a 7 hour trip from Omaha to Kimball, NE.

And the problem with non-interstates in NE, they’re flat and straight, too. The key will be varying the speed in a reasonable range (no cruise control). Also, make a few trips the 2 weeks before to nearby towns. It’d be worth the gas cost to me.

I haven’t been to Nebraska since my pre-driving years, so I don’t have a road-centric memory of it.
It’s probably not much of an issue after the first couple hundred miles.

Texases has given you good advice, as he always does. But it isn’t necessary to obsess over it. I bought a new Toyota pickup in '89 and imediately started driving in on the highway. It ran without any major work on the powertrain until it got totalled by an errant Hyundae 17 years and 338,000 miles later. It never did use any excess oil.

Same deal with my current vehicle, a 2005 tC that’s pushing 189,000 miles.

I DO do the recommended maintenance. And while I’m no slouch, I don’t beat it up. That is the key.

I worked for a car manufacturer and got new cars all the time, every one of them went right to the highway and had miles racked up… Break in is not as important as it used to be…

As others have said, dont use your cruise, and you will be fine.

It takes 7-8 hours driving from where I live int he NW corner of Neb to get to Omaha or Lincoln without the Interstate. Unfortunatly in this trip I will be starting from the middle of Wyoming. Thanks for the advice. I am going to try and rack up and many in-townmiels as I can before the big trip.

I had to do the same to a new Toyota. Vary your speed, do not drive at ANY speed for a long time. Don’t drive at excessively high speeds. Use common sense and all will be well. After 5.5 years of driving my Toyota uses virtually no oil.

I recently took delivery of a new Toyota and struck out driving 2,500 miles across New England and the mid west. That car now has nearly 5,000 miles and the dipstick remains at the full mark. The engines and drive trains on modern automobiles seem to have made break in somewhat obsolete. It would be worthwhile to check the oil every 3 to 4 fill ups but otherwise just enjoy it.

Just don’t use the cruise control for a long period of time. Even cruise is ok for 10-15 min. if you need to rest your right foot abit. If you don’t use cruise and let your speed vary a bit you can drive immediately on the highway with no issues for the new car. Check the oil level at least once a day.

Rental cars get no special break-in and they do just fine without it…

drive it like you stole it.

“Is it ok to drive on the highway at higher speeds (60-65) as long as I periodically slow down or speed up?”

It sounds to me like you would be doing exactly what your car’s manual says if you do that. I would suggest that (if possible) you vary between 55 to 70 mph without staying at any one speed for over 5 minutes. Also, take a few extra off ramps for rest stops and slower driving on your trip. Your manual probably also mentions taking it easy on your brakes for those 1st thousand miles and that shouldn’t be difficult since you’ll mostly be on the freeway.

You’ll read a lot of posts from people who say break in periods are not as necessary as they once were, but you’ll also read posts from those same people telling you that the smartest thing you can do is to follow the advice of your owner’s manual.

If you think about it, your trip is the perfect opportunity to completely break in your Edge in one trip. After that you can just continue following the manual’s advice for maintenance and you should have no serious problems.

Don’t worry about it too much-it may be snowing by then anyway which will slow you down. I’d try and take it out on a few maiden runs to another town to get at least several hundred miles on it. One of the reasons is to make sure everything is ok with it ahead of time. There is always the chance there will be some little issue that needs to be corrected before your trip. Just don’t run hour after hour at a constant speed.

My dad bought a new Rambler back in 1960-- he purchased the car on Friday and on Monday we took a famly vacation and drove from Indiana to Minnesota. The only problem we encountered was that one of the tappets starting clicking. We took the car to the Rambler dealer and he said that we could either have the mandatory 1000 mile servicing done or pay for the valve adjustment. Since the car had about 750 miles, we paid for the valve adjustment on the noisy tappet. The cost was 75 cents.

You are not going to drive 1000 miles without stopping. One thing that helps to break in a new engine is a heavy load at low RPM. This means hard acceleration in the higher gears. Take off gently until the transmission shifts into the highest gear, then press the accelerator down as far as you can without the transmission downshifting on you.

From the speed where it shifts into high, do the hard acceleration only up to 30 mph above that point, or the speed limit which ever is less. You are not trying to race here, just put a hard load on the engine.

Do a couple of these before you start your trip, then use this technique after each rest stop or gas stop. after about a total of ten of these, your engine will be pretty well broke in.

Avoid the cruise control and mix in a few non-interstate roads and you’ll be fine.

It’s nice to be able to follow recommendations but break-in isn’t a big worry. Nothing bad should happen if you don’t drive like a maniac.