New Engine Break In Procedure

A carefully considered break in procedure is a must for preventing damage and ensuring peak performance of your engine.  After much work on the matter, we have arrived at the following highly recommended procedure.

  1. Fill engine with all fluids including a non synthetic break in oil. We use and sell Brad Penn racing break in oil.
  2. Check for leaks, in the form of oil, water, or especially fuel.
  3. With the fuel injectors un-plugged, crank the engine for approximately 4 bursts of 15 seconds, to prime the turbocharger and oil galleys.
  4. Start the engine, and immediately ensure you have oil pressure. Make sure the air fuel ratio is 13:1 or leaner (on gasoline) and continue to check for leaks as it warms up. Check operation of the cooling system.
  5. Allow it to cool and have a very good inspection for leaks, check all fluid levels, and generally make sure the vehicle is safe.
  6. On the street, or on a dyno (recommended), run the engine in the lower gears, and vary the load from low load up to high load. Do not allow boost to build to high levels and do not hold sustained high load as this will build excessive heat in the ring pack. Work the RPM's and load up gradually over the first hour or so of operation.
  7. After the first hour or so of operation, dump the oil into a clean pan and inspect it carefully for shavings and debris. Some small fine "dust" is ok, metal shavings typically indicate a problem which should be immediately investigated. Refill the oil with a thicker oil of your choice. For racing engines, we typically recommend a XXw-40 or XXw-50, depending on your load levels. Extreme output engines (150+ bhp per cylinder) should use thick oil for additional protection.
  8. After this, full load operation is OK. We recommend changing the oil more frequently for the first several thousand miles (or race weekends) and keeping an eye on it for signs of trouble. After that, you can extend your drain intervals.

9 thoughts on “New Engine Break In Procedure”

  • Hi, what clearances you use on your built engines? more than what the factory recommends..If so how do I compensate for the loss of oil pressure

    • Hello Stefan,
      The specifications we build our engines to vary depending on the engine and what it is being built for. A Drag engine will differ from a daily driven car for example.

  • Do you recommend going to a synthetic oil after the break-in oil?

    • Depending on the use of the car. For a daily or street driven car where you are planning on racking up a lot of miles and not planning on re-building the engine again for long periods of time, yes I would highly recommend a good synthetic oil. On a purpose built high-power race vehicle that will have the engine re-built many times on low mileage basis, I would recommend Brad-Penn pat synthetic 20-50 oil. Available here:

      • how long should i run the break in oil for in my every day car? 1500 miles? with 3 changes of break-in oil? 1st change of break-in oil at 100 miles
        2nd change of break-in oil at 600 miles
        3rd change of break-in oil at 1200 miles
        4th change of oil at 2000 miles change to 5w30 full synthetic oil?
        have i got this right?
        or should i change to full synthetic sooner?
        its a toyota celica 1zz-fe everyday drive car.

  • How long do I run your 30w break- in oil? in my 1940 ford flathead engine with a new max1 isky cam. I installed the new cam in my already broke in engine. the engine had about 1000 miles on when I put the new cam in..... And what oil do you recommend after break- in?.... Thanks ed...

    • Integrated Engineering September 24, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      Hi Ed, we typically recommend running break-in oil for about 500 miles in VW/Audi applications. As for a 1940 flathead, I would recommend consulting an expert in that field.

  • Is this procedure done with the timing belt on?

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