Avoid Depreciation: Break In Tips for New Cars

Date Posted: June 25, 2020


Congratulations! You’ve bought a new car! The odometer is showing a row of zeros and you love that new car smell!

So how can you keep it this way? Reduce depreciation on your new pride and joy with these top new car tips.

How to Break In a New Car

clean car engine

Treating a new car as ‘new’ can really add to a car’s lifespan. Most car manufacturers provide instructions regarding a make and model’s specific break-in routine. For example, Subaru recommends keeping most of its new cars under 4000 RPM for the first 1200 kms or so. Here are a few simple, general steps. 

Keep revs low: In an automatic, avoid hard acceleration. Do the same in a manual but also change gears well below the redline

Change the oil sooner: Most experts recommend changing the oil within the first few hundred kms. This allows any tiny metal shavings that may have been worn off newly machined parts to be removed from the oil.

Avoid hard acceleration: Piston rings and gaskets need time to settle in an engine. Hard acceleration puts a lot of pressure on them so take it easy during the break-in period. 

Why Break In a New car?

RPM gauge

Did you know most high performance brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini won’t sell cars with zero kms on the clock? Their engineers clock up a few themselves. The reason is to allow an engine to wear evenly and smoothly with low pressure in normal temperatures. For some performance cars, the opposite can be said. Manufacturers will give them some serious ‘stick’ to make sure it meets customer expectations. Honda’s NSX is an example of this, they’ll get a good blast around Honda’s test track before sale.

Gaskets are commonly made of a softer material, squeezed together by two harder materials, creating air and water-tight seal. These need time to settle. 

Although ignoring break-in instructions won’t void most warranties but noticeable abuse can affect coverage. At the end of the day, as a new car owner (or any car owner), you don’t want any repair bills after a large purchase.


signing paperwork

As you most likely did, checking official paperwork is important to car buyers. There was no doubt a heap of physical paperwork attached to your vehicle when you bought it. Maintenance log books, receipts, infotainment manuals and the owner’s manual for example. KEEP THEM.

It might feel more secure to keep paperwork with personal details like your address at home rather than in a glovebox, but make sure not to lose them. Down the track, when you go to sell or trade in your car, buyers will always prefer a proper history. Furthermore, people often use missing paperwork as a reason to knock your car’s value down.

Drive It Like You Own It

woman driving carefully

And NOT like you stole it. You’ll often see drivers parking new cars in crammed supermarket car parks, bouncing over speed bumps or parking on the street rather than in a garage or at least a driveway. This cringe-worthy behaviour results in scrapes, dings and damage. Try to avoid a kiss with a shopping trolley by parking a bit further away from the entrance.

If possible, avoid parking outside and especially on the street. Never give thieves a chance to touch your car. Parking under trees may seem like a good idea due to the shade but consider leaves and bird mess. This can be acidic and damage paint, twigs and leaf litter scratch paint and clog window sill trim. Paint restoration is a long and often expensive process.

Lastly, drive your new car carefully and calmly. Saving a few seconds isn’t worth suspension damage or scrapes on wheels.

Buy Smart

toyota SUV

If you haven’t bought a new car yet, think carefully about make and model. Along with condition, the more desirable a car is, the less depreciation there’ll be. 

In Australia, at the time of writing, the brands that hold most value are: Toyota, Mazda, VW, Hyundai, Kia and Subaru. This is because these market leaders have built up consumer trust over many years and offer lengthy warranties. Kia’s is 7 years for example.

The most popular body shapes in Australia are medium and compact SUVs, followed by small passenger hatchbacks.


son and dad with toy car

“New cars lose 20% of their value the moment you drive out the dealership” doesn’t have to be the case. Simply treating your new car with care and respect will dramatically increase the longevity of it. Following these new car tips and reading the owner’s manual is all it takes to maintain a high resale value and low depreciation. 

Selecting the perfect gift for you or another car lover or knowing how your driving style affects your fuel consumption are important to know too.

There are many makes and models available that lose minimal value and can act as a great car for you and your family. 

Toyota Camry, Landcruiser and Yaris. Mazda2, Mazda3 and CX-5. Subaru Forester. Volkswagen Golf. All examples of new cars that really minimise depreciation.

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