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Correct Running-In Procedure

andywaddy Dec 5, 2011

  1. andywaddy

    andywaddy Member

    The S3 is scheduled to arrive in approximately two weeks so I was just wondering if someone could once and for all clear up all the mis-information you see about how to "run-in" a new engine?

    I've read such things as:

    - Taking it easy and applying a gentle run-in - no jackrabbit starts or stops, no redlining, no cruising at a constant speed for hundreds of miles, etc.

    - Running it relatively hard in order for the piston rings and bearings to 'seat' properly.

    - Not using synthetic oils within the run-in period.

    - Changing the oil after the first 100 miles.

    - Does the 'run-in' period still even exist with the way today's modern engines are manufactured?

    - Vary engine RPM’s for the first 500 miles, using both hard/mild acceleration and engine braking.

    - "Running at uber high RPM’s on a brand new engine does absolutely nothing for an engines performance and longevity… This is pure urban myth."

    - "Motors are mildly broken in by running at 3000 rpm under load at the factory (though this may vary) for the initial break-in and valve seating."

    There is also an interesting controversial article on the subject (it is more geared towards bikes but is still applied to cars) - http://www.mototuneusa.com/break_in_secrets.htm

    o if you could help at all as to what is/isn't true, it would be greatly appreciated!
  2. S3Alex

    S3Alex Rarely neutral Team Ibis TFSI Owners Group Gold Supporter Audi S3 DSG

    Most modern engines don't require protracted running in periods but I was advised basically not to flog the car over the first thousand miles.

    I think that if you have any plans to keep or modify the car it's good advice and after that period changing the oil more often than the service schedule is also worthwhile if you consider what the long life synthetic looks like after even 10 000 miles.

    Mine has just been rebuilt for more power,but the insides inc crank etc were all as good as new.
    It's always had synthetics although I do know some who swear by not using synthetics for running in.....having had a few engines built using the advice above I think that's probably just opinion rather than fact re bedding in the rings.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  3. A1DEYB

    A1DEYB Well-Known Member

    When i picked up my last Golf from the showroom the salesman told me new modern engines don't require running in.
  4. paddy

    paddy Audi=No fault code, no idea Team Ibis Audi S3 Black Edition DSG

    Well heres my 2 bobs worth The guy writing the article about bikes is a bit *****. He seems to think that given the wear of rings to cylinders is based on piston pressure pushing against the rings then the faster you go the more pressure......So he is saying the compression ratio goes up with speed...which is rubbish IMHO. Compression and swept volume are fixed on a bike. Turbo's will be different.
    My feeling is running in is not about speed its about load. Nothing wrong with revving the engine but dont labour it so keep in the right gear etc. Modern engines have much finer tolerances than in days gone by so far less bedding in is needed but engines will loosen up. My S3 has now just turned 5k miles and has loosened up noticeably over that period.
    My advice would be just be sensible. Fast motorway cruising will do no harm. Labouring up a steep hill in 6th will do it no good. As for Oil. i have built and stripped quite a few engines and fully synthetic oils are absolutely magic !!. they dont burn so are not so prone to carbon build up and carbon build up is what wears your engine. Its like putting carborundum in the oil. I see no problem at all with using synthetic oils from day 1 in fact i can see huge advantages. A clean engine flows oil better, lessens resistance on rotating parts and prevents build up of gum. Synthetics will keep your engine cleaner.
  5. andywaddy

    andywaddy Member


    Thanks both of you for the replies. It seems that the general consensus from what I've read and with what you've commented is that the days of meticulously and carefully running a new engine in are long gone and you can in fact just drive the thing 'normally' so to speak which is good news.

    Being the most money I've ever spent on a car I will of course show it a fair bit of mechanical sympathy for many miles before opening her up! But I'm guessing I don't have to wait thousands of miles before having a play in 'Sport' mode?

    Also, when would you recommend changing the oil for the first time - around the 1000mile mark?

    And Paddy, how many miles was it before you got it REVO'd?

    Thanks again!

  6. Dandle

    Dandle Member

    I ran mine in by letting the engine get up to temp initially then gave it two or three sharp burst in second up to near the redline, after reading that bike article I figured it made sense and wouldn't do any harm. Then after that I ran it gently for the first 1000miles. Seemed to work a treat as the car never used any oil really. I think I put about 750ml in about a month before its first service and it never used any after that.

    They do need running in you will feel it start to loosen up after a few thousand miles. I reckon it took 20k miles for my BMWs motor to loosen up fully. The A3 was a lot less but it revved a lot higher.
  7. paddy

    paddy Audi=No fault code, no idea Team Ibis Audi S3 Black Edition DSG

    Mine was REVO'd at 2k miles. I wasn't sure TBH but having done it i can see that while it makes a world of difference its not really stressing the engine, just tuning it to run on 99 octane and UK conditions. I would go so far as to say the engine has run smoother and feels less!! stressed since the remap. The other point which people forget is..Its only bloody quick if you drive it bloody quick. Drive it normally and its no more stressed than a std engine anyway. I would have no hesitation in doing it again on a another engine after 2k miles. I think 2k miles is a reasonable running period before a remap. IMHO :)
  8. S3Alex

    S3Alex Rarely neutral Team Ibis TFSI Owners Group Gold Supporter Audi S3 DSG

    Mine had done about 10 000 miles before being mapped to Stg1 and then a few more thousand before 2+ and Stg3 at about 28 000.

    It's now at about 40 000 miles and still fine.

    I would say an oil change after 1000 miles is never a bad thing and if there are any bits in the oil after running in,they'll be gone.

    We changed the oil after my rebuild at 1000 miles for exactly that reason and it's used no oil or water over the last thousand plus since then.

    If you treat it well and look after it,you'll get an engine that lasts.
  9. audigex

    audigex Active Member

    It can't do any harm to drive sympathetically. I'd also be following standard turbo care by warming up before thrashing it and cooling down after a thrashing, but unless you're going to be ragging it everywhere I can't see there being much problem.

    As to not driving at constant revs/speed - it surely can't do any harm to vary it slightly if you're on a long run, but then again, you have to change speed on UK roads anyway. I'm just avoiding the cruise control for the first 500 miles and letting my right foot vary that for me, I can't keep a constant speed to save my life. (The one exception being the 0.8 Corsa I borrowed for a trip to London - I maintained 80 by keeping my foot on the floor, notwithstanding hills)
  10. RedDejavu

    RedDejavu Well-Known Member

    Thats what I do, Put it in D mode, let it warm up what takes around 2 miles or 3-4minutes than switch it to M and give it a bit of trashing not much just within the rev limit and then normally I reach my workplace :(
  11. Shadowman

    Shadowman Active Member

    Here's my two-penneth........i've always believed you can run an engine in using two methods:

    1. Drive it hard from day 1
    2. Drive it normally/gently for the first 1,000 miles, and then build up the loads and revs over the next few hundred miles before finally using it to it's full potential after that.

    If you choose option 1, there is an argument that you may get slightly more power as the engine will have worn itself slightly more during the first few hundred miles and therefore be slightly 'looser' . It is also a given that although an engine run in this way may give more power, it will also tend to use more oil and may wear out quicker than when using method 2.

    If you use method 2,the engine will have had time to bed itself in carefully and all bearings etc will have eased in without being put under load. You may lose a few bhp ( although that is debateable ), but the engine is far more likely to last for longer without issues and is less likely to use any oil.

    In summary, you can use option 1 if you don't particularly intend to keep the car for more than a few years, but use option 2 if you want to keep it for longer than that.

    Personally, I always use option 2 as I have a high degree of mechanical sympathy anyway, but also because i want the engine to last regardless of whether the car belongs to me or not......doing this, I have never needed to add any oil to any of my Audi's between services ( and I dont hang around ) and although the fist 1,000 - 1,500 miles are frustrating, the remaining 99,000 are fantastic.

    Finally, you have to remember the running in period is not only for the engine.......everything else has to 'bed in' as well, especially tyres, brakes, wheel bearings etc and the running in period is as much for them as it is for the engine.
  12. warren_S5

    warren_S5 Moderator Moderator VCDS Map User

    I think as mentioned above, the cold start / cool down process is imperative.

    I never rev over 3,500rpm unless the engine oil is up to temperature. The water temperature gauge is not a fair indicator of oil temp (oil temp value is buried deep in the DIS menu, but I've kept an eye on where on my regular journey my engine oil temp reaches 80 deg+ and I know before that point in my journey not to over rev.

    Likewise in the cool down phase of the journey to let the turbo cool down I'll try and keep revs low (<2,500 rpm) for the last 2-3 minutes of the journey so that the car has a chance to circulate oil through the turbo and cool it down whilst it barely has to even kick in. If I forget I leave the car idling for at least a minute at the end of a journey before switching it off to let it settle itself.

    If you practice this with a respectful first 1000 miles, regular oil and filter changes, and adherence to the red line; non DSG cars particularly (why go into the red RPM range when your BHP is likely to have peaked and started to drop off ahead of the red line - change gear slightly earlier unless your trying to set a 0-60 time!), then you have a recipe for good engine health.

    It's generally accepted that VAG engines need to be revved a bit to be cleared out every now and again, so driving like a nun on a sunday will not guarantee hassle free motoring!
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
    Shadowman likes this.
  13. benppl

    benppl Member

    Once there warm I’ve not driven it any different to other cars Ive owned with 60k on.

    I'm pretty sure it hit the limiter in the first 30 miles.

    It’s a VAG not a Ferrari! I wouldn’t nail it from cold but once its fully warm it’s a different story.

    Couldn’t think of anything worse than pottering about in it for the first 1000 miles!
    RedDejavu likes this.
  14. andywaddy

    andywaddy Member

    As always, thanks to everyone for the replies and clearing up a few urban myths!

    I can be sure to enjoy the car now when it finally arrives at the back end of this week :D ...just hope this snow does one!

    Warren - can I ask who you plan to remap with?
    I am inclined to go with Shark Performance as I've heard nothing but good things to be honest but I'm open to all ideas.
    Also, sorry to go off on a tangent but could you offer any simple car care (i.e. paint care) advice prior to another harsh winter fast approaching?

    Thanks again,

  15. a3tdi2001

    a3tdi2001 Member

    The most important thing for the engine is to avoid long life servicing and carry out frequent oil changes with synthetic oil IMHO.

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