Today’s cars are built with the latest automotive technology, and are better engineered than the cars that our parents used to drive. It used to be that bedding-in brand-new cars was highly recommended, but is it still the case for these modern marvels?
Taking ownership of a new car is certainly a joyous occasion, and you want to start the experience on the right foot. So while modern engines are tougher than those of previous generations, it is widely agreed that bedding in your new car is still a good idea. Settling your new car in will give it a good start, and even help extend its lifespan.
Getting the keys to your new car may tempt you to see what it is capable of. However, pushing a new engine hard and taking it to the red line in the first few runs could have repercussions in the long-term. A car fresh out of the production line could have been sitting in a warehouse idly for months before it gets shipped out. It needs to warm up and get to a certain level before you can push it hard. It varies, but most manufacturers still recommend not going over 3,500rpm for the first 1,000–1,500km.
You have to give the engine time to adjust, and not put excessive strain on the car components so they can get into the groove and operate properly. Allow the engine oil time to flow smoothly and evenly through all the moving parts. This gives the working parts time to seat properly, and allows the engine and transmission time to adjust to each other.
Pace your new car by mixing up the types of surface it runs on. Don’t do prolonged stints on any specific road types, like driving mostly on expressways or in stop-start traffic. Give the car a chance to breathe on easier, gentler roads in your journeys. It is important that you not do short drives during this bedding period, as short journeys do not give the engine enough time to warm through and get into a performance groove.
Hold off on overloading your new ride. Your car is still adjusting, so hauling items that are too heavy is only going to add unwanted stress on the engines before they properly bed-in. This can be damaging for new cars, where the strain may damage internal parts that are still cold and not properly warmed through, something that may not be obvious at first but could hurt your car in the long run.
Apart from the engine, you have to think about the tyres, brakes and suspension as well. New tyres need time to run the rubber to get enough grip on the roads, the lubricant applied during the manufacturing process will still be there on the tyres’ surface and needs time to fully wear off before it can provide optimal grip. The brake system, like the pads and discs, needs time to work in tandem and develop friction spots, which ensure the car can brake smoothly and stop effectively. Likewise, the suspension system won’t fully bed-in for at least the first 1,500km, affecting its handling and performance.
It doesn’t take long for most of us to reach the first 1,500–2,000km. This small ‘sacrifice’ to bed-in your new car will ensure your car will work at its peak efficiency and give the optimal fuel economy it is capable of. As the engine gets to grips, the moving engine parts will be balanced out and work smoothly, ensuring better power delivery. This all bodes well for your new car, as it has now properly warmed up and will be able to give your ownership experience the best start.
BASIC CAR MAINTENANCE CLINIC
If you’re still unsure about how to settle your new car, and prefer a more hands-on approach in this area, why not sign up for AA Singapore’s Basic Car Maintenance Clinic? It offers both theory and demonstration portions, so you will be absolutely clear on how to maintain your car upon completion. The next session has been scheduled on 9 October 2021, so sign up now, as each class can take up to 15 participants only.