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      06-27-2012, 11:51 PM   #1
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Break-in period for your new BMW

Hi guys,

So, I understand that there are a lot of DO's and DONT's when getting a brand new car. I thought it would be a good idea for those of you whom have had a couple of new cars in the past to chime in and share tips and advise on how to allow your car to "break-in" properly.

Share, share, share!
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      06-27-2012, 11:59 PM   #2
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Might want to search this one, you'll hear every answer from don't drive fast for 1200 miles to drive it like you stole it right off the lot, personally drive it like you stole it, its under warranty.
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      06-28-2012, 12:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgb1637
Might want to search this one, you'll hear every answer from don't drive fast for 1200 miles to drive it like you stole it right off the lot, personally drive it like you stole it, its under warranty.
+1

I've been hearing for years that it isn't necessary anymore but lots of posters on here seem to think it is.
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      06-28-2012, 01:37 AM   #4
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Here is the best advice you can get and I wouldnt trust anyone else!

Read and follow what the manual says, it is made by the same people who made the engine.

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      06-28-2012, 07:39 AM   #5
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Here is my take - I have owned 28 new cars.

The most important thing is to vary both the engine and road speed. In addition, I try to keep it below 4500 rpm, with a few exceptions here and there.
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      06-28-2012, 09:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TEAShea View Post
Here is my take - I have owned 28 new cars.

The most important thing is to vary both the engine and road speed. In addition, I try to keep it below 4500 rpm, with a few exceptions here and there.
What is the goal when varying the engine and road speed? Just to give the engine some time running in different ranges and whatnot?

You should list all 28 cars for us....if you can rememebr them.

I'v owned zero new cars....so my first one will be a big deal.
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      06-28-2012, 10:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topgear66 View Post
Hi guys,

So, I understand that there are a lot of DO's and DONT's when getting a brand new car. I thought it would be a good idea for those of you whom have had a couple of new cars in the past to chime in and share tips and advise on how to allow your car to "break-in" properly.

Share, share, share!
Those who have new cars a lot don't need break-in
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      06-28-2012, 10:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtuds View Post
Just to give the engine some time running in different ranges and whatnot?
Yes, as well as different speeds and loading for the drivetrain - especially the rear end.
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      06-28-2012, 10:15 AM   #9
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Did you lease or buy?

I leased my car, WOT right out of the dealer lot, and beat the crap out of it the remaining 1000 first miles. It's somebody elses problem when I'm done with it
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      06-28-2012, 10:16 AM   #10
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@TEAShea & Elk:

I'm almost ashamed to say it but I counted 14 NEW cars (From VW, Subaru, Audi and BMW, from 4 to 8 cylinders, NA and turbo, diesel and petrol ) I've owned the last 23 years....

I broke them in with respect, drove them well, aware and hard when warmed up. Cooled them down as well. No need to say I always drove them in the waranty period, so I don't know what happend AFTER that period because I already sold it for another one...

Never ever had any engine problem with any of them except for the 2000 Audi S3, after about 24000 miles and < 2 years of driving I had a hole in the 3rd cylinder due to manufacuring 'problems'....That's when I switched to BMW in autumn 2001....E46 330D LCI saloon M package 5MT, great car.


Cheers
Robin.
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      08-29-2014, 02:35 PM   #11
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2015 228 I Xdrive

1200 miles on odometer, just found out first oil change is due at 15k, no brake-in oil/period per dealer. Is this correct??
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      08-29-2014, 02:38 PM   #12
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also - for all US delivery no cup holder inserts, warning triangle and a first aid kit - at least this is what I'm told, can someone confirm this ?
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      08-29-2014, 05:42 PM   #13
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Check the manual for more details.

For 1,200 - 1,500 miles, drive normally and follow the speed limit signs ALWAYS and try not to rev the engine more than 4,500 RPMs. Notice how the manual says "Avoid full-throttle operation...". BMW is just requesting you to try your best to avoid this but if you do happen to accidentally cross the 5K range it should still be okay.

Having said that, I did rev mine to 5K RPMs for a 1-2 seconds but mostly I have been driving conservatively and not revving the engine too much.

Either way, the break-in period is more like a myth these days and it shouldn't matter at all since BMWs are generally well built and tested before heading to the dealerships.

Drive safe, enjoy and ALWAYS follow the speed limit
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      08-29-2014, 05:46 PM   #14
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Drive it! That is why you spent 60k. I am 52 owning cars since 16 and I don't go out and try to top end it but drive it!
Life is too short.
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      08-29-2014, 06:38 PM   #15
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F the manual. Get on it and seal those rings nicely.
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      08-29-2014, 10:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ric124 View Post
Here is the best advice you can get and I wouldnt trust anyone else!

Read and follow what the manual says, it is made by the same people who made the engine.

AVOID automatic kickdown?
And this from the people who make the car?
It doesn't take hardly any throttle to get auto kick down, and if you need to do so for an emergency maneuver, then I guess you just ruined your break in.

Lots of great info on this topic, just look it up.
Then decide for yourself whether you live in the modern era or the era when "break in" actually did something meaningful.
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      08-30-2014, 06:05 AM   #17
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There is a huge difference between engaging KICKDOWN which is the last cm of throttle pedal travel and has a different spring rate to it and having it DOWNSHIFT. If you can't make the difference, try driving the car without army boots.

Not doing a proper break in and WOT of the lot, well that explains why one should NEVER buy a car off lease.

During break in, don't drive prolonged times at same rpm, vary rpm, let it warm up nicely. Don't go full retard but let the load vary, don't be afraid to load it up a bit in de mid rev range to get a good piston ring seat. (load will help the seal, but the parts still need their heat cycling to get rid off material stress). The car wears most during low temp cold start mileage. A good cruise the first days with auto start stop disabled will do the job nicely without babying the car too much.

If it's manual, just keep it below 4500-5000 rpm (lower if it's a diesel of course). On the automatics, just drive it without kickdown. Just don't drive long ends on cruise control.
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      08-30-2014, 08:21 AM   #18
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I ride motorcycles and this topic is also huge discussed with much more agreement in that community than in the car community... Here are our conclusions:

To properly seat the rings and valves you must put the engine under load. The first 100 miles is most important. Putting under load means hard acceleration but keeping the rms below breakin recommendation, that also means also hard engine breaking... Letting the car decelerate using the rotational drag of the motor. This should be done when the motor is fully warm and between full cool down cycles (hour or more). In the mc world we would change our oil at that point (500 miles). For cars that come with synth. That could be different. What you will notice is that your oil temp will come down as the motor breaks in... (If the guages are available). Once the oil temp has stabilized the engine is broken in. Since most mc use the same oil in the engine as in the tranny you can see that the tranny is being broken in with the same procedure. You want to avoid slippage or ebrupt hard shifts on the plates until their is some wear...it's the same concept as break breaking in. Depending on how you drive the car for the first few hundred miles will depend on the break in period... Thus why BMW says 1200 miles. If you spend a few hours focusing on breaking in the drive train and motor you will not need to wait 1200 miles...take the car to the twisties...varying your speed up and down, using engine breaking to slow the car down but keeping it below factory breakin rpms...let the car cool and repeat a few more times you will have a great fully broken in car...driving it like grandma will absolutley promote oil consumption later on and other drivetrain issues later on due to improper breakin.
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      08-30-2014, 08:51 AM   #19
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I read all the info I could find on the internet re "break-in". It took many hours over several nights.

In the end I was no wiser. Both sides of the argument could sound equally plausible. Eventually i reasoned that a lot of the "drive it like you stole it" protagonists were arguing from anecdotal evidence and limited detailed knowledge of the specific metallurgy, piston ring design and oil performance characteristics of this particular engine.

So, I decided that the best thing to do in the face of considerable doubt and uncertainty was to follow the manufacturer's recommendations, perhaps erring slightly on the side of pushing it a little harder when fully warmed up.

The thing is that I did precisely that with my last car (4 litre turbo Ford) even though I intended to only keep it for 2 years. 11 years later, I gave it to my son as it was just too good to part with. The engine was always faultless and never used oil despite being driven enthusiastically a lot of the time.

I feel fairly sure I'm doing no major harm by broad adherence to BMW's recommendations, but I'm not so confident about following internet threads urging the "drive it like you stole it" mantra.

Just my 2c - YMMV.
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      08-30-2014, 09:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMRGUY
I ride motorcycles and this topic is also huge discussed with much more agreement in that community than in the car community... Here are our conclusions:

To properly seat the rings and valves you must put the engine under load. The first 100 miles is most important. Putting under load means hard acceleration but keeping the rms below breakin recommendation, that also means also hard engine breaking... Letting the car decelerate using the rotational drag of the motor. This should be done when the motor is fully warm and between full cool down cycles (hour or more). In the mc world we would change our oil at that point (500 miles). For cars that come with synth. That could be different. What you will notice is that your oil temp will come down as the motor breaks in... (If the guages are available). Once the oil temp has stabilized the engine is broken in. Since most mc use the same oil in the engine as in the tranny you can see that the tranny is being broken in with the same procedure. You want to avoid slippage or ebrupt hard shifts on the plates until their is some wear...it's the same concept as break breaking in. Depending on how you drive the car for the first few hundred miles will depend on the break in period... Thus why BMW says 1200 miles. If you spend a few hours focusing on breaking in the drive train and motor you will not need to wait 1200 miles...take the car to the twisties...varying your speed up and down, using engine breaking to slow the car down but keeping it below factory breakin rpms...let the car cool and repeat a few more times you will have a great fully broken in car...driving it like grandma will absolutley promote oil consumption later on and other drivetrain issues later on due to improper breakin.
My research and experience is very much aligned with what you are saying.

Yes. You must drive the engine hard under load for the reasons you stated.

Most importantly, I have found that if you baby the car during break in, you end up with an oil burner.

I am talking 1 quart every 3000 miles.

So, if running the car hard during break-in gives you better results, why does BMW contradict this in the manual?

One word: liability

You see, the reason car manufacturers historically have conveyed to "take it easy" has nothing to do with protecting the longevity of the car.

The main reason is that critical failures when present, are likely to show up during the first 1500 miles.

Moreover, manufacturing or dealer defects (like failing to tighten lug bolts) will show up early and ensuring the car is not driven hard will better protect occupants should a failure take place.

1. The manual tells you to take it easy during break in for safety reasons and not car preservation reasons. This makes sense.
2. Driving the car hard during break in does seat the various components you mentioned and this results in better seals and you don't get an oil burner.


So, I really appreciate your information since it very much matches my findings and experience!
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      08-30-2014, 09:40 AM   #21
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If your conclusion led to drive it like a grandma(ie follow manufacturers suggestions) or drive it like you stole it (sorry to say, negligent advice) then you either are looking in the wrong places or misunderstanding the advice. Breaking in a car is a mix between and science and an art. Driving it like you stole in the first few hundred miles will most like damage your rear end or tranny before the motor. I agree with keeping the rpms below the manufacturer suggestions but only during breaking in the engine and drive train. The art comes to varying rpms, hard acceleration, engine breaking all while warm with cool down periods under manufacturer rpm break in suggestions. Once you have properly broken in the motor and drive train you can drive it like you stole it or like a grandma.

I will add another piece of critical information that I left out...for cars with lower tolerances and lower compression break in period is less important. As you go higher in tolerances and higher in compression proper break in is more important... I also want to add and agree break-in most affects the amount of oil consumption later on... But it can also ensure consistent performance as the engine ages...it will most likely not affect the life of the car though. You want the best seating of valves and rings to maintain the proper level of tolerances resulting in highest consistency of compression.... So if performance is not your priority or oil consumption then drive it like he manufacturer states...

Don't drive it like you stole it either!. Break in the car properly... Do the cycle 3 times or more with one or more hours to cool (full engine cool down) up to 500 miles and your car is broken in... I usually spend 2 to 3 days breaking in a car or mc... Change the oil then drive it like I stole it from there....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony M View Post
I read all the info I could find on the internet re "break-in". It took many hours over several nights.

In the end I was no wiser. Both sides of the argument could sound equally plausible. Eventually i reasoned that a lot of the "drive it like you stole it" protagonists were arguing from anecdotal evidence and limited detailed knowledge of the specific metallurgy, piston ring design and oil performance characteristics of this particular engine.

So, I decided that the best thing to do in the face of considerable doubt and uncertainty was to follow the manufacturer's recommendations, perhaps erring slightly on the side of pushing it a little harder when fully warmed up.

The thing is that I did precisely that with my last car (4 litre turbo Ford) even though I intended to only keep it for 2 years. 11 years later, I gave it to my son as it was just too good to part with. The engine was always faultless and never used oil despite being driven enthusiastically a lot of the time.

I feel fairly sure I'm doing no major harm by broad adherence to BMW's recommendations, but I'm not so confident about following internet threads urging the "drive it like you stole it" mantra.

Just my 2c - YMMV.
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      08-30-2014, 09:48 AM   #22
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@BMWrules7 and @BMRGUY I also second both of your opinions.
I've done it that way for my vehicles and they have not burned an ounce of oil.
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