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The Proper Engine Break-In for Increased Performance & Longer Engine Life

Now if you typically drive your car slow, then by all means break-in your engine gently, it would be best for your style, but if you are a driver like me that likes to feel the power from his engine, and is concerned about performance, then breaking in the engine gently is the worst method possible, think of the break-in as a tuning stage, if you are planning on hard driving after the break-in , it would not be advisable for you to break-in your engine gently, due to the gentle break-in, the engine will be used to light loads, medium acceleration, and will probably have a improper seal fitting, since WOT (Wide Open Throttle) wasn’t applied to the engine during the short 32 km window. Now imagine you flooring an engine that was broken-in gently, it won’t perform as well, cause it isn’t use to high RPM’s & rapid acceleration, which will create more problems in the long run, especially if you’re a heavy footed driver later on in the car’s life. The break-in method mentioned below is best, it won’t overload or underload your engine. What you really need to do to achieve the perfect engine break-in is to find a middle ground, don’t be too hard on the engine, but on the other hand don’t baby the engine either. No redlining the engine and no steady RPM, concentrate on revving at different RPM’s, to help set the piston rings, and other parts of the engine.

Understand that heat is a essential part to the break-in process, when WOT is applied to a new engine, the heat created will be significantly higher than in a gentle break-in, remember that metal expands in heat, that’s why it is best to perform WOT within the first 32 kilometers of the cars first drive, this is when the engine is newly expanding allowing components to wear & set, WOT will help heat up the engine and create the pressures responsible for forcing the seals to set. When the engine is operating, a force known as Break Mean Effective Pressure or B.M.E.P is generated within the combustion chamber. B.M.E.P. is the resultant force produced from the controlled burning of the fuel air mixture that the engine runs on. The higher the power setting the engine is running at, the higher the B.M.E.P. is and conversely as the power setting is lowered the B.M.E.P. becomes less. B.M.E.P is an important part of the break in process. When the engine is running, B.M.E.P. is present in the cylinder behind the piston rings and it's force pushes the piston ring outward against the coarse honed cylinder wall. The higher the B.M.E.P, the harder the piston ring is pushed against the wall. The surface temperature at the piston ring face and cylinder wall interface will be greater with high B.M.E.P. than with low B.M.E.P. This is because we are pushing the ring harder against the rough cylinder wall surface causing high amounts of friction and thus heat. So the first 32 kilometers are the most important, because this is all the mileage required for a new engine to seat the piston rings, by performing WOT, it will create the maximum temperature and pressures for the engine and components to fully expand to their maximum size, so they can wear and seat in properly. But keep in mind, too much heat build up, resulting from Full Throttle or Full Acceleration during the first 32 kilometers, will cause glazing or heat welding between parts in the engine, resulting in loss of performance. The engine should not be floored until everything within the engine has set, and the engine has been run thru it’s paces, gradually running thru the whole RPM range, preferably after 1100kms, it is best to floor the car, just after the 1st oil change, during the final break-in technique.

The guide below will show you how to perform WOT during the first 32 kilometers of leaving the dealership.

(Cannot Miss or Skip This Step, It is very Crucial to your engines performance and longevity.)

Here is how to seat piston rings:

Start the engine, the engine naturally will idle between 900 rpm – 1500 rpm, these high idle rpms is for the engine to transfer oil to other parts of the engine, once complete the engine will automatically reduce to 600 rpm. After the rpm reduction, which will be a total of 10 -20 secs, you can now drive your car, I REPEAT never let your engine run idle, not even for a minute, it is the worse thing for an NEW engine, once your car is ready to drive, just go. Once driving, your car engine will still be cold, so avoid heavy acceleration, keep them lite, and stay below 2,000 rpm, until the operational engine temp is reached.

Once the optimal engine temp is reached, begin driving real easy for about 10 km, to allow fluids to mix, varying your engine speed below 2,500 rpms, after 10 kms, increase speed and increase engine speed to 3,000 rpms, begin to drive as if your car was already broken in, without exceeding 3,000rpm, to constantly vary your engines speed by speeding up and slowing down for another 10 kms. After the second run of 10 kms, try to find a place to continue the remaining 12kms, proceed to a safe area on the highway, where you can put your car in 2nd or 3rd gear, preferably 2nd gear for the first 4 runs, then 3rd gear for the next 4 runs.

While in second gear, accelerate at WOT (Wide Open Throttle) from 1500-4000rpms, then decelerate by engine braking (allow the engine to slow the car, do not press the brakes), repeat acceleration from 1,500-4000rpms, decelerate 4000-1500rpms via engine braking.

Doing that 8 times will seat piston rings. Under WOT, the rings are forced out into the cylinder walls and the rings will take on the shape of the cylinder wall so that you have a good seal, while decelerating, the ring tension will release and pull engine oil up around them to allow lubrication and prevent overheating.

After performing the WOT procedure, continue driving the engine, try to place as much load as possible on the engine, between the rpms of 1500 -3500, and allow downshifting if possible, until you reach the 32 km mark. After reaching the 32km mark, continue driving but reduce rpms or baby the engine to allow the pistons to cool. Drive up to 50 kms, and after that find a place to park and turn off your engine, let it rest for a hour or so, best to lift the engine hood for maximum cooling.

Complete all these steps and Congratulations - now you don't have to worry about piston rings anymore.

After about an hour & a half of resting the engine, you can re-commence driving, from this period on you can drive the car, as if it is already broken in, but still refrain from flooring the engine, and stay within the 3000-3500 rpm limit. Don’t be hesitant to give some good throttle to the engine, vary the engine speed as much as possible.

Follow the guidelines below, on order to properly run the engine thru it’s paces, slowly allowing you to drive up the RPM range, within given distances. 50 kms before end of the set kilometers, perform a 10 shot RPM increase, use engine downshifting to return to ceiling RPM.

 0-200 kms: Keep under 3,000 RPM. Give it about 10 first-gear shots to 4,000 RPM, with engine braking back to 3,000rpm, then repeat.
 200-400 kms: Up ceiling RPM to 4,000 RPM with 10 1st & 2nd gear shots to 4,500 RPM, with engine braking back to 4,000rpm, then repeat.
 400-700 kms: Up ceiling RPM to 4,500 RPM with 10 shots to 5,000 RPM thru 3rd gear, with engine braking back to 4,500rpm, then repeat.
 700-1000 kms: Up ceiling RPM to 5,500 RPM with 10 shots to 6,000 RPM, with engine braking back to 5,500rpm, then repeat.
 1000-1050 kms: Up ceiling RPM to 6,000 RPM with 10 shots to 6,500 RPM, with engine braking back to 6,000rpm, then repeat.

(Optional: To further improve the performance of your engine, by removing break-in oil after 100kms, and getting new oil placed, this will limit radical particles bonding with or contaminating other important engine parts after time.)

The Final Break-In

Most dealerships will recommend that you bring your car in for a free oil change at 1,000 kms, to remove deposits formed from the break-in period.

Just before this oil change, you should have completed the 5,500 rpm rev ceiling, doing the 10 shot rpm increase in manual mode to 6,000rpm, then engine brake to 5,500rpm, and repeat.

As the final break-in, after your oil change, drive for about 50kms, varying engine speed from 1500-6000 rpms, and include 10 shots of 6,500rpm, which should consist of engine braking to 6,000rpm, then repeated, before doing the final break-in, get your speed up to 160 kmh, and do engine braking from 6th gear to 1st gear, this procedure is to ready the new engine oil, to allow you to perform the final break-in, after the 50 kms, take your car out to the nearest, longest, police less highway, (Altima Owners) shift your car into manual mode, gradually floor the car all the way down the highway.

Do this about 6 times, the first 3 times, gradually build up thru the RPM range smoothly, till you reach 6,500rpm, and let the computer shift, do this from 1st gear to 6th gear. After the 3rd time, drive the car normally, doing minimal revs for a few minutes to allow the pistons to cool.

After the pistons cool, keep the car in D, open the throttle full, floor the car as far as you can go, now as a proper final break-in it is necessary you go full RPM and full speed, to break-in all last remaining parts that require a full speed break in. Complete this 3 times if possible. Try to drive your car as fast and as hard as possible until you reach 1,200kms.

Congrats after 1,200kms, your car is finally broke-in, ready to run, and last long.
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