Break in period? Uh oh
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This is a discussion on Break in period? Uh oh within the New Member Hangout forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; So on my test drive of what is going to be my new 11 WRX on Friday - I drove ...

  1. #1
    Registered User Clovis's Avatar
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    Break in period? Uh oh

    So on my test drive of what is going to be my new 11 WRX on Friday - I drove it very calmly. Let it warm up and cool down (I've had turbo cars before).

    On the interstate I wanted to see how it pulled in 3rd gear so I took it a couple times to 5500 (this car has 30 miles on the clock). It kicked right in and did everything I asked it to.

    So here's the debate on break in. Every manual says to basically be a ***** for the first 1000 miles. My sport bike manuals said this too. For my first sport bike (an R1) I did this, and quite frankly it sucked. Then I read a long article that's been posted here that talks about driving it "hard" for the first 20 miles and yielding better results. I did this for my second bike, a R6 and at least for sport bikes the fast break in period worked. The R6 feels faster and more powerful then other R6s of the same year that I've ridden.

    So my thought is the same applies to cars. I don't think I'm going to ***** it for 1000 miles but rather drive it as I normally would, which mind you is mostly highway and very calmly anyways, but I do like to pass people quickly and have the power when I want it. Otherwise I drive like any other mature person.

    But this is my first new car so maybe I'm wrong. Can anyone share some insight on what the best break in method is for a WRX?

    Thanks,

    -Clovis

    Btw, if this has been covered before and I was too lazy to use search, please feel free to flog me and post a link to other threads. thanks.

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  3. #2
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clovis View Post
    Then I read a long article that's been posted here that talks about driving it "hard" for the first 20 miles and yielding better results.
    That's interesting. How many motors has the author of that article designed, built, and supported globally? How does that number compare with the number of motors Subaru have designed, built, and supported globally? How meaningful is any statement made by that author in this context?

    Can anyone share some insight on what the best break in method is for a WRX?
    Absolutely. The manufacturer shares insight. Follow their instructions.

    PS In case I've not said so before, congrats on the car and welcome to the site.
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    Registered User FlyingMoose's Avatar
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    I was told by my dealer to drive the car the way it is going to be driven. Apparently the cars that are driven a little harder throughout the break in period seem to pull harder than those that were kept under 3500 rpm or whatever it is. I got the impression that it was kind of like building a memory in a battery? If that makes sense. So I did a number of pulls before the 1600km mark and the car is running strong and pulls very hard. Hope this helped. Congrats on the ride!
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    Registered User jd92677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    That's interesting. How many motors has the author of that article designed, built, and supported globally? How does that number compare with the number of motors Subaru have designed, built, and supported globally? How meaningful is any statement made by that author in this context?



    Absolutely. The manufacturer shares insight. Follow their instructions.

    PS In case I've not said so before, congrats on the car and welcome to the site.
    Well said! Subaru gives you the answers to the test, try to pass. Take it easy for 1k miles, it's a pain but you'll reap the rewards with years of (hopefully) trouble free driving. Welcome to the club!!

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    Personally, I followed the owner manual on both My WRX and STi. I know there are plenty of "theories" but as SD points out, few know Subarus better than Subaru.
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    Registered User Clovis's Avatar
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    Yeah, both dealers I was working with told me that as well. They said they didn't see a problem if I wanted to take off to 90MPH in 5 seconds (figure of speach of course, that would take at least 9 seconds!).

    As far as my bikes though my R6 always pulls harder then other R6s I've riden and I used the "tough" break in method. Then again who knows if it will effect longevity as it's only 3 years old with about 6k miles on it.

    -Clovis

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingMoose View Post
    I was told by my dealer to drive the car the way it is going to be driven. Apparently the cars that are driven a little harder throughout the break in period seem to pull harder than those that were kept under 3500 rpm or whatever it is. I got the impression that it was kind of like building a memory in a battery? If that makes sense. So I did a number of pulls before the 1600km mark and the car is running strong and pulls very hard. Hope this helped. Congrats on the ride!

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    Registered User jd92677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clovis View Post
    Yeah, both dealers I was working with told me that as well. They said they didn't see a problem if I wanted to take off to 90MPH in 5 seconds (figure of speach of course, that would take at least 9 seconds!).

    As far as my bikes though my R6 always pulls harder then other R6s I've riden and I used the "tough" break in method. Then again who knows if it will effect longevity as it's only 3 years old with about 6k miles on it.

    -Clovis
    I've seen bikes that were broken in tough and by 5k they were burning oil and smoking out of the tailpipe. I've had my GSXR for 7 years, broke it in properly. It now has 50k on it and all I've done is routine maintenance, never a problem. I've said this on every post on break-in... would you buy a used WRX if the original owner told you they didn't believe in break-in? I wouldn't.

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    Registered User Chader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clovis View Post
    Btw, if this has been covered before and I was too lazy to use search, please feel free to flog me and post a link to other threads. thanks.
    You are lazy if you haven't looked already. If you actual care to learn, the info is here to find. This is at least the 5th time this came up in a month.

  10. #9
    Pro Manscaper Mikie13's Avatar
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    I followed Break in period pretty well in my 07STI I bought brand new...yeah a few times I'd get up and go to 5k or so (my thought was that the turbo needed to break in a little too )...and when all was said and done, I went to 57k miles without any problems and it was plenty fast and felt no different to other stock STIs I drove.

    I'd stick to what Subaru recommends. They built the engine, they know it inside and out, literally. I'd say they are smart when it comes to that kinda stuff. A Subaru isn't an R1 or R6 that revs up to 13-14k rpms...
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    Registered User ElVerde's Avatar
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    Mostly agree with what others have said...I'd stick with what Subaru recommends and treat the car very gently for the first 1000 miles. With that being said, I don't think 1 or 2 harder pulls is going to kill the thing either.

    I'm at almost 1100 miles now...its nice to not have that little Subaru Angel on my shoulder telling me I need to be patient anymore
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    Registered User MagnumXL's Avatar
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    Before I get started (looking back I see the post ended up being long), here's a link to a site that has looked at actual pistons before and after break-in using the two different methods most often recommended (i.e. drive it hard early to fully seat the rings and baby it to death for at least 1k miles, the latter of which is the normal manufacturer advice).

    Break In Secrets--How To Break In New Motorcycle and Car Engines For More Power

    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    That's interesting. How many motors has the author of that article designed, built, and supported globally?
    I'm sorry, but there's some faulty logic there. You don't have to design or build something to know how it works and you sure as hell don't have to be Albert Einstein to know that Subaru's recommendations are what's best for Subaru, not for you OR your car and Subaru's concern is to get past the warranty period with no issues, not whether you ever get full power from your engine or not. Frankly, less power = less potential for a warranty claim. And I think most on here know Subaru doesn't like to pay for warranty claims. Corporations aren't your friends. Their about making as much money as possible. Honest engineering is not their #1 concern when it comes to advice. Stop-loss is.

    How does that number compare with the number of motors Subaru have designed, built, and supported globally? How meaningful is any statement made by that author in this context?
    Again, they don't give advice for your best possible performance. Telling people to lay hard on the throttle for the first 30 miles is not going to please their warranty department even if it's the correct advice to best seat the rings. There would always be someone who floored it for the entire 30 miles and then blamed the damage on Subaru. No, it's much safer to tell people to baby their car.

    Plus most of the ring seating is done at the factory anyway or you'd see the same things that happen on a ring job (i.e. oil leaks and heavy oil burning, massive blow-by, etc.) They test the engines at the factory and probably do over 80-85% of the seating there before you ever get the car. People that have toured the Subaru plant have seen the engines tested at over 100mph equivalent. Further evidence that old-school break-in isn't needed on modern cars is how many are now shipping with full synthetic oil instead of traditional break-in oil. Synthetic is terrible for break-in compared to dino oil. So why did Subaru switch to MANDATING full synthetic from day 1 with no break-in oil period? A lot of people can tell you that manufacturing tolerances are night and day better than just 10-20 years ago and don't need as much break-in to begin with. Subaru must be pretty confident in their tolerances IMO if they're using full synthetic from the factory.

    On a similar note, why is the first oil change interval at 7500 miles? This is where the hypocrisy starts around here. I see people in break-in threads telling everyone to obey Subaru at all costs because they are god and know WTF they're talking about with their engines YET when it comes to the oil change interval and they see that 7500 mile number that is just way too high by grandpa's old advice, they get scared and change the oil at 500 miles, then 1000 miles and then 3000 miles and then every 3000 miles and ignore the hell out of Subaru's advice. Better safe than sorry, they say. Well, there goes the confidence factor in Subaru right out the freaking window.

    Why doesn't Subaru tell you to change your oil at 500 miles or even 3000 miles for the first oil change? Most people know that new engines produce little metal shavings and what not from wearing down the tiny uneven surfaces on cylinder walls, etc. You don't really want that crap circulating for 3000+ miles do you? It could create all kinds of tiny nicks over time here and there and maybe lodge themselves into places you don't want them. But wait a second. Didn't I just say a moment ago that Subaru runs their engines at the factory before you ever get them and seat a good part of the rings there? Well golly gee, they probably change the oil afterward too....

    I'll tell you this much. Subaru doesn't care if you don't make the full 265 rated horsepower at the crank. First of all, it's not 265. It's closer to 300 (cannibalization of STI is why it's underrated) so if you permanently lose 40 horsepower due to the pistons never fully seating as well as they could, you're STILL right where you should be by their advertisements and less power = less chance of you damaging something and therefore less chance of having to honor a warranty claim. Why else do you think they try to void your warranty even for small things like cold air intakes? Corporations are greedy and don't want to pay out a dime and neither does your local dealer.

    Personally, I plonked hard on my test drive (and probably so did the people who tested it before me; it had 80 miles on it already and was take it or leave it since there were no more WRX models available there and the earthquake in Japan meant more were unlikely soon). According to some pro shops, this is a GOOD thing since it probably resulted in the remaining 15% of the rings fully seating and giving me maximum power and fuel economy over the life of the car. Even so, I still hit the turbo here and there during the first 1000 miles (rings only seat under load; they will not seat light-footing it all the time) and I varied engine speeds and I took it easier than normal until 1k miles, but did not 'baby' it to death.

    My car is now at 2200 miles and has not dropped below full on oil and the oil isn't even dirty (looks almost new so I don't think it will need changed at 3k like the dealer would prefer to get their free oil change out of the way early and maximize the chances for more oil changes there on my dime). I've got plenty of power and my gas mileage went up 2-3mpg since I got it.

    Of course, what you or anyone here does with their own car is your own business. Baby it as much as you want. It doesn't matter to me if your car ever reaches peak power or if it burns more oil than it should, etc. over the life of the car. It doesn't matter to Subaru either since they aren't going to do anything about them unless they're a really major issue.

    Personally, I'd trust pro racing shops who rebuild engines and see what happens to pistons first hand under varying conditions more than the advice of a corporation designed to maximize profits. You can bet that manual was given a hard look by management before it was ever allowed out the door. It's not like their best engineer wrote it and the rest of the company just told them they had Cart Blanche. It just doesn't happen that way. But gauging by most of the advice on these forums, you would probably think otherwise.
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    Wants to Sell His Honyota Civilander..Any Takers? BigDaddyRex's Avatar
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    I get the feeling that all things considered it might not make much difference either way (assuming you aren't beating it constantly). Every motor is a little different regardless of how they are broken in, and the power they deliver can vary. Add to that all the other variables and it is hard to give to much credence to claims that hard break-ins lead to better performance. In reality there could not be enough of a difference that driver skill wouldn't alter anyway.

    I say follow the manufacturers recommendations as closely as you can bear to, then enjoy the car for years to come.
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    Registered User kcwrxfan's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Club! I pick my 2011 up in 20days and its killin me! Like you I do a all highway to work etc, 60miles a day not including if I have to go to other offices, So i plan on hitting my break in period as fast as I can

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    Registered User Purp's Avatar
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    I have a brand new rex, I launched it out of the dealers lot if that says anything. This car just hit 7K miles and runs perfect. It sees its fair share of insanity but for the most part its a commuter car. If your not beatng on it constantly, your fine.
    2011 WRX, 2003 BMW M3, 1991 BMW M5 (sold), 1995 BMW M3 (totaled), 1987 Buick GN (sold), 1987 Buick T-Type (sold), 1988 Supercharged LX 306 TFH, Tremmec TKO (sold), Pontiac GTP 400hp (sold), RX7 Turbo II (sold), 1991 Tallon Tsi AWD (sold),1992 Tallon Tsi AWD (sold)

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