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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I expect all sorts of responses to this.

I've had a couple of dealers' service guys (Dodge and KIA) say run it for 10-15,000 on dino oil to get it fully run in before you go to syn.

Our Soul received an accelerated break-in, coming east for 1900 miles through various mountain passes toting a 500+ lb. load with the powertrain getting plenty of exercise in the kickdown department at higher altitudes.

Comments and actual research welcome.
 

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Okay, I'll weigh in with anecdotal "research."

Back in the day, yes, it was necessary (recommended) to have a relatively lengthy break-in period ... careful operation and varying the speed and throttle position (i.e. load) allowed metals components to bed in with each other. If you ever disassembled such an engine, you'd want to replace, say, piston back into the same cylinder that it came out of, etc, because these parts had broken in together.

Now, all manufacturers produce engines with much tighter tolerances making such lengthy break-in schedules are unnecessary. A sample size of one is my '05 CTS-V. It has used Mobil 1 since new, has 70k miles on the clock, and the LS6 uses zero oil.
 

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The rings are seated before the car even hits the showroom. At that point you could realistically drive it however you want and still get 300K out of the motor, most likely.

If you're anal like I, you change the oil out at 1k and again at 5K (or some similar excessive early mileage oil change frequency) before going to normal intervals. And don't drive at a constant speed for the first 1K miles either. And if it's got a clutch you really should be gentle on it for the first 500 miles and let it properly bed the disk to the PP and flywheel.

As far as when the engine really "loosens up", I'd say by about 20K, I've observed on 3 of my recent new vehicles that the gas mileage generally ticks up a measurable 1-2mpg on average at that point.
 

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When it stops fighting back.

I don't think engine break-in periods really exist anymore. Bear in mind, this is also coming from someone whose engine blew up and needed to be replaced... granted, it was an Audi.

The rings are seated before the car even hits the showroom. At that point you could realistically drive it however you want and still get 300K out of the motor, most likely.

If you're anal like I, you change the oil out at 1k and again at 5K (or some similar excessive early mileage oil change frequency) before going to normal intervals. And don't drive at a constant speed for the first 1K miles either. And if it's got a clutch you really should be gentle on it for the first 500 miles and let it properly bed the disk to the PP and flywheel.

As far as when the engine really "loosens up", I'd say by about 20K, I've observed on 3 of my recent new vehicles that the gas mileage generally ticks up a measurable 1-2mpg on average at that point.
Great idea for a movie title... Anal Like I. Experimental romance black comedy, starring Ben Stiller.
 

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Honda does/did say NOT TO CHANGE the engine oil for the first 12K Kms because of a special factory fill oil + I have heard 20K Kms before switching to full SYN unless your car came with it IE DEXOS oil is almost always syn/syn blend
 

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I've only got my own experience to go on, which is based on the totally different OCI culture in Europe.

Over many decades, I evolved my own running-in (break-in) schedule of never exceeding 50% of maximum rpm or 50% of maximum speed during the 1st 1,000 miles and then gradually increasing that limit up to 100% over the next 1,000 miles.

European OCI are notably longer than North America but dependent on a much higher minimum standard for engine oil - but like many petrolheads I change the oil at half distance but using the highest quality and widest multigrade available - the use of used engine oil analysis is almost unknown in Europe.

It's rumoured that factory-fill oil is a different specification to that recommended for oil changes but I've never seen any real evidence either way.

So my last GM car, a MY 2000 1.8i Family I Vauxhall Astra with a recommended 10,000 mile/1 year OCI using 10W-40 part-synthetic had an oil change every 5,000 miles using Mobil 1 0W-40 full synthetic (hydro-cracked, not German definition) for the whole of the 100,000 miles I owned it. During that time, it NEVER used any oil between OCI and ran sweeter than new all the way through.

I've had long debates on other international car forums about the long OCI and expensive European oil which meets the high ACEA standards - compared to more frequent changes with cheaper oil that's common in North America. Shortly after I bought my MY 2000 car, OCI generally were increased to 20,000 miles / 1 year.

As a family, the only engine we've run to destruction was a 1.2 Family I Vauxhall Nova which did the school run for 8 years and then became the adolescent son's chariot - disappointingly it only did 130,000 miles.
 

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My Forester did not have a different schedule for the first oil change. I changed it at around 1k miles with Mobil 1 and have used that almost exclusively since then. 172k miles now and still going strong. I'm having to add oil between my 5-6k mile changes (manual says 3,750 with hard use, 7,500 with easy use), around 1 quart I think, but Subaru boxers are known to need topping up.
 

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I believe GM recently added a shorter (500?) mile first oil change recommendation to the Corvettes.

A lot of times a vehicles break in procedure is for the rest of the drive train components to bed in properly.
 

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Just drive it like the Bank is going to Repo it any day, and you will be fine in 5-10,000 miles. Or the first oil change.

Drive it like it is Granny's last car, well you will need at least 2 oil changes.Or at least 20000 miles.

I won't even go into what possibly the best Tech I ever met did to a 40 HP tractor that had Valve Stem leakage at 700 hr's, that was used at 15 hp for those 700 hours!

Drive it like you stoled it any replace the oil at 6000 miles. Then I change the oil at about 40% Oil Life remaining on the DIC. Yes somewhat Old School.
 

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My Forester did not have a different schedule for the first oil change. I changed it at around 1k miles with Mobil 1 and have used that almost exclusively since then. 172k miles now and still going strong. I'm having to add oil between my 5-6k mile changes (manual says 3,750 with hard use, 7,500 with easy use), around 1 quart I think, but Subaru boxers are known to need topping up.
Way too long of an OCI on a Subaru, synthetic or not...especially if it does not see long hard trips (20+ miles) on a daily base. The blow-by never gets a chance to burn off via the PCV; therefore, it causes premature gasket rot. Head gaskets are a problem on all Subaru motors (late models too, H6 or H4) ever since the competition has pushed the maintenance limits beyond that which is acceptable for the nature of a boxer motor. Subaru would not sell nearly as many vehicles if prospective buyers were told to bring it in for oil changes every 3000 miles. This is what is required to keep a Scooby Doo on the road for the long haul, without opening up the engine.

We work on these things all the time at our performance tuning shop in GR. Keeps the lights on with ease.

http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-head-gasket-problems-explained/

http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-head-gaskets-problems-explained-part-ii/
 

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the trucks at work DO NOT get broken in just placed into service first oil @ 40K and every subsequent on at 40K intervals as PER CUMMINS
my old shop we used to rebuild mack V8 superliners and after a rebuild they where given the HEAVY trailer and sent to the "rock pile" - go across where "hi-way through hell films"
 

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Way too long of an OCI on a Subaru, synthetic or not...especially if it does not see long hard trips (20+ miles) on a daily base. The blow-by never gets a chance to burn off via the PCV; therefore, it causes premature gasket rot. Head gaskets are a problem on all Subaru motors (late models too, H6 or H4) ever since the competition has pushed the maintenance limits beyond that which is acceptable for the nature of a boxer motor. Subaru would not sell nearly as many vehicles if prospective buyers were told to bring it in for oil changes every 3000 miles. This is what is required to keep a Scooby Doo on the road for the long haul, without opening up the engine.

We work on these things all the time at our performance tuning shop in GR. Keeps the lights on with ease.

http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-head-gasket-problems-explained/

http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-head-gaskets-problems-explained-part-ii/
And yet Subaru's don't suffer unduly with their longer European OCI - albeit only 10,000 or 12,500 miles compared to the European norm of 20,000 - that's not with base mineral oil though, it's with Mobil 1 or equivalent but that's require by EU emissions regulation for modern cars anyway.
 

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Way too long of an OCI on a Subaru, synthetic or not...especially if it does not see long hard trips (20+ miles) on a daily base. The blow-by never gets a chance to burn off via the PCV; therefore, it causes premature gasket rot. Head gaskets are a problem on all Subaru motors (late models too, H6 or H4) ever since the competition has pushed the maintenance limits beyond that which is acceptable for the nature of a boxer motor. Subaru would not sell nearly as many vehicles if prospective buyers were told to bring it in for oil changes every 3000 miles. This is what is required to keep a Scooby Doo on the road for the long haul, without opening up the engine.

We work on these things all the time at our performance tuning shop in GR. Keeps the lights on with ease.

http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-head-gasket-problems-explained/

http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-head-gaskets-problems-explained-part-ii/
Very interesting. Fortunately most of my mileage is coming from commuting to East Lansing and back and my work commute is about 20 minutes. Think I should have my oil lab analyzed? I just never really thought of it for the Forester. I've lived in Grand Rapids too BTW so it gets run for an hour each way on I-96. Before that when I lived in Dimondale we had a cottage in the Kalkaska area and it was run up there and back just about every weekend.
 

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Honda does/did say NOT TO CHANGE the engine oil for the first 12K Kms because of a special factory fill oil + I have heard 20K Kms before switching to full SYN unless your car came with it IE DEXOS oil is almost always syn/syn blend
Here in the US, thru what 2005 / 2006 ? for sure ( don't know after that ) Honda used certain break in / initial fills...... which included among other things, a pretty good dose of Moly + a finer filtering filter.

If you knew how to go about it, you could 'duplicate' or obtain both the initial fill and initial filter.

More than one of each across the product line btw or at least for a while.

Saab had at least on the 2.3 an initial better filter for a long, long while as well.

As did some others.

Worth noting especially with regard to the wild, wild west - oops I mean the USA, factory fills and filters even if unexceptional in other ways tend to have a much stronger QC behind them, better handling along the distribution chain and net a greater consistency as well.


************

Your OEM instructions ( Owners Manual ) as per Allstar are the best guide or place to start ..... well sorta' in ( at this point ) - in a 'mostly most often' sense.


Point being.... they are not all necessarily the same.

Furthermore, another variable is that not all user miles during break in are the same.


Excluding for a lack of information and knowledge the more exotic ring and bore material combos such as that new 'nanoslide' and similar stuff, the real custom answer includes when ( under a bunch of assumptions including following any and all instructions .... and in some cases, 'recommendations' ) - is when various wear particle groups flatten out - or reach normative values for that particular combo.


Some of the avoids and minimize rules and recommendations from the past are very likely at least still a good idea even if no longer required. In some cases, likely a real good idea.... or more irregardless of what some OEM info may say.


Also some of the post break in better things to do.

Then there is the post break in phenomena such as NHRAT101 mentioned to consider - ie well broken in prime movers and transmissions and third members etc with good followup use & care can in fact grow noticeably stronger and or nicer in more than a few ways thru 20 / 50 K US miles.


Way back when, had one or two that did the same for a lot longer than that.


Good fueling is or can be also part of this - one way or another.


Although this topic is complex and highly variable, and assuming no seriously derived and applied break in effort ( think along the lines of pads and tires etc ) treating the first 3 - 5 K and then the next segment up to 15 - 20 K differently than what comes next will never go out of fashion - or be a bad idea.

Even there though - depends, depends, depends.

Use of real synthetic Group IV and V and........ above ..... basestock lubes and oils can still be considered a separate consideration from the so called and mis named US market Group III 'Synthetic' product.


Part of all this relates to thermal cycling the equipment - X2 in a wide range 4 season climate exposure. Which is part of the reason I never consider a ring pack fully bedded in until much later than brand new -

Also..... the factory is recommending what's best from a factory point of view - which for damn sure is not necessarily the best from some other point of view.
 

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Anything that is DI seems to take longer. Our Terrain got much better mileage once we hit about 12k miles on it. The Flex? It improved right around 4k.

The best thing to do is to change the first oil change sooner. It does get out the extra bit of particles that are in the engine during assembly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
^^ Yup I did the first O&F at about 500 miles.
Now I'm at just over 4000 with some good high-load mountain-climbing miles on it.

I told a friend here that we'll need to take a road trip to go back to my originating dealer for the second of three free O&Fs I get with a new car purchase.
That will total around 4000 miles, which would then necessitate a turnaround and another trip out there for the third free O&F!

That might not work out to be so free, ya think?:rolleyes:

I'm having trouble finding any Pennzoil Ultra around here. I did find it at Amazon. Might just do another dino for the next 4000 and by then perhaps I'll have located a vendor who carries Ultra. Or I'll just Amazon it.
 
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