New Car Speed

How fast can we take our new 2013 Outback the first 500 -1,000 miles? Can we take it for a 2.5 hour trip on a the Mass Pike. The speed will definitely be at least 70 mph or so.

Refer to the owners manual to see if it mentions anything about an initial break-in procedure.


The most important thing during the first 500-1,000 miles is to vary the engine speed, which means not using the cruise control, and purposely varying your speed every couple of minutes.

Also, until you get a good idea about oil consumption during the break-in period, it is very important to check the oil every couple of days. Make sure that it never falls more than 1/2 qt below the “full” mark on the dipstick.
Do NOT rely on warning lights to tell you that you need to add oil.

But, ultimately, you should do as Tester suggests and…open the Owner’s Manual in order to see what the manufacturer has to say on this topic–and others. Hopefully this will get you into the habit of reading that invaluable resource.

I would stick to what the owners manual says and leave out the old wive’s tales.

If the owner’s manual has no recommendation, driving the car as you would any other car will likely result in no immediate problem; however if your intention is to maximize return on investment and hold on to this car for 200K/15 years, it would be common sense in my way of thinking to avoid long durations of high speed driving until the internal engine and brake parts have had a chance to properly align and seat. Where I live, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, car enthusiasts after buying a new car – or amateur rebuilders after a completed job – will drive the car up and down the peninsula, from San Jose to San Franciso, along a road called “El Camino Real”. It’s a 3 lane in each direction road that goes through the center business districts of all the cities. There are frequent stop lights, the max speed is about 40 mph, but the average speed is more like 20-25 mph.

I’ll add one comment to the very good comments already made. Millions of new cars are bought for police forces and the rental car market every year. How many of them are actually “broken in” properly before heading out on high speed chases and the interstate on extended trips. The number would be very low…very low indeed.

@VDCDriver He’s right. DO not drive a brand new car at the same speed during breakin. VARY YOUR SPEED!! I had the same problem going on a trip with a new Toyota, and observed the instructions about varying driving speed. City traffic is actually ideal for breaking in a car. Steady highway speed will prevent the rings from seating properly, which could result in oil consumption.

My 6 year old Toyota uses little or no oil between the 5000 mile changes.

Click on this and then click on “New car break-in period and 1st oil change”.

I stayed at a hotel on El Camino Real last week - in San Diego (Del Mar, actually), and I think it’s the same road that runs through Palo Alto.

@JoeGuy, that’s a great web site. I added it to my favorites even though I don’t own a Subaru.

Don’t exceed 4000RPM is the only rule on Subaru for first 1000 miles.

Enjoy your new ride. My wife violated that in our turbo Legacy wagon manual transmission and it runs perfectly at 8yrs/150,000 miles. She also used cruise for 400 miles on I90 to western NY first month 1000 miles of ownership.

Does not burn a drop of oil. I told her about the manual too. As usual wifey was right, does not matter.

I broke a small pickup (4–banger) in on the highway once. Truck ran great for 338,000 miles with no major work until it got hit by a Hyundae.

Vary the speed by all means, but here’s no need to get obsessive about it.