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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I bought my first smart about two weeks ago brand new with 30 miles on it and I have 600 miles on it right now (wasn't planning on driving it that much as my motorcycle is my main form of transport but the weather has been like crap the past few days). I know most people only use the smart as a city car but I live in south Florida where it is very spread out in most places except deep downtown in the big cities like Miami, Ft Lauderdale etc so most of my driving with it is on the freeway. Everyone assumes the car is too underpowered/light to go on the freeway and that it gets pushed around by the slightest gust of wind but that's not true at all that's deeply exaggerated. Sure you definitely wanna make sure you have both hands on the wheel as sometimes wind can push the car ever so slightly (yet it handles wind better than most high profile vans/pickups that I've ever driven) but it's not like you're riding a 200 lbs 125cc 15 hp motorcycle (been there done that once scary stuff had no choice had to ride it home on the freeway even though THAT was a city bike). The car has no problem getting up to speed on the highway or merging it tops out at 89 (more than enough since speed limit is 65 even tho most drivers where I live do 75-80). Now my concern is I heard I have to go easy with the car for the first 1000 miles to break the engine in and I don't know if I've been driving it properly. For the first few drives I had to learn the transmission and figure out how to shift properly in manual mode (I'm not gonna lie automatic sucks I stick with manual one cuz it's fun and two cuz it shifts wayyy better I believe it's meant to be driven mainly in manual). On those first few drives, I went a little rough with the rpms until I figured it out and I'm worried that I'm going too hard on the car cuz it has to be broken in. I don't have the nice tach/clock add on that comes with some smarts but I'm planning on getting one soon so I can have a better idea of my rpms and don't have to turn off the radio to hear how high they are. Long story short (not really short I wrote quite a bit I know but short-er), I'm worried that I have strained the engine by going top speed with it on the freeway and from shifting at high rpms. I've always found it easier just to put my pedal all the way down on the freeway as the car has no cruise control which I really don't need because it tops out at 89 which is fast but not so fast that I have to worry about slamming into cars ahead. I tried to drive it as smooth as possible at first but I had to be realistic I couldn't drive like a grandma because I had to keep up with traffic the car has plenty of power to keep up and even pass but it needs the rpms to do it. I just want to make sure I didn't mess up my car's engine in the long run and have to deal with problems down the road as I know the little 3 cylinder engines with a computerized clutch are delicate but I have no idea just how strong/reliable the powertrains are and how much they can healthily withstand. I just want some reassurance and knowledge from long time smart owners as I'm still a newbie to smarts after wanting one for so long and finally being able to buy one.
 

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I don't drive like a grandma, but I don't drive like I stole it either. I let up just a touch on the gas to help smooth out the shifts and rive almost all the time in the auto mode, except for traffic jams. I drive about 90 miles a day to work and back on highways and have been doing so since I got my first smart in 2008. My last car had 168,000 miles on it when it developed a dead cylinder and this one has 122,000.
If you want to keep an eye on the RPMs and Temp, etc. I would recommend a ScangaugeII. it plugs onto the diagnostic port and you can set it to show what you want. Not exactly cheap, but worth it for the peace of mind
 

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The smart car is just like any other modern vehicle on the road. Its really dependable. It's not fast. It only has 3 cylinders. Your sure not going to hurt it, or win any pink slips racing Fiat 500's or Chevy Sparks. Just don't abuse it. Drive it normal. You'll get many years pleasure driving out of it. Just follow the manufactures breaking recommendations.

Enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The smart car is just like any other modern vehicle on the road. Its really dependable. It's not fast. It only has 3 cylinders. Your sure not going to hurt it, or win any pink slips racing Fiat 500's or Chevy Sparks. Just don't abuse it. Drive it normal. You'll get many years pleasure driving out of it. Just follow the manufactures breaking recommendations.

Enjoy.
I'm worried because I didn't follow the recommendations I'm worried that it's too late and that the engine won't last as long as it should now I just hope that's not the case especially since modern cars aren't as crucial as older cars to break in
 

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Ah don't worry. Some say you should drive a new engine balls-out right off the bat and honestly not doing any harm.
I'm in this camp. Everything authoritative that I've read indicates a motor is "broken in" within the first few seconds of running, and that anything after that would be considered "wear". I also take the example from a company like Ferrari, who if they sold vehicles with engine damage would present serious problems for their reputation. Yet every engine they produce is run at full throttle to redline before it is installed in a vehicle, and then that vehicle is driven at full throttle and to redline before it is delivered as "new" to a customer. They have the engineering expertise to know if a break-in process like specified in the manual is necessary, and also have an F1 team to learn about engines at the extreme limits of performance. If they do it, then it's good enough for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ah don't worry. Some say you should drive a new engine balls-out right off the bat and honestly not doing any harm.
that's the only way I can drive without being cut off and pushed around on the road nobody messes with you if you drive the car like a man but if you don't do a couple of miles over they are so eager to pass you same thing they do to me on my motorcycle that's why I never do speed limit because I need to make sure the idiots can't keep up with me (I slow down if something goes down ahead or if I see a cop of course) in the smart it's a different story tho I still go fast but if anyone wants to go faster than I'm already going when I'm topping out at 88-90 mph then they can feel free to pass if they are in such a rush some people only speed up and pass me cuz they get butthurt a smart car passed them
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ah don't worry. Some say you should drive a new engine balls-out right off the bat and honestly not doing any harm.
I'm in this camp. Everything authoritative that I've read indicates a motor is "broken in" within the first few seconds of running, and that anything after that would be considered "wear". I also take the example from a company like Ferrari, who if they sold vehicles with engine damage would present serious problems for their reputation. Yet every engine they produce is run at full throttle to redline before it is installed in a vehicle, and then that vehicle is driven at full throttle and to redline before it is delivered as "new" to a customer. They have the engineering expertise to know if a break-in process like specified in the manual is necessary, and also have an F1 team to learn about engines at the extreme limits of performance. If they do it, then it's good enough for me.
I heard new cars don't need to be broken in because the engine components are properly lubricated with modern motor oil I just wonder why in the driver's manual of the smart it says for the first 1000 miles to keep the rpms unrealistically low and to not go past a certain speed which would be undoable on the freeway without pissing everybody off
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The smart car is just like any other modern vehicle on the road. Its really dependable. It's not fast. It only has 3 cylinders. Your sure not going to hurt it, or win any pink slips racing Fiat 500's or Chevy Sparks. Just don't abuse it. Drive it normal. You'll get many years pleasure driving out of it. Just follow the manufactures breaking recommendations.

Enjoy.
it's not fast but at the same time it's not slow either it's a car made for cruising most jeep wranglers are the same way but they are even worse because they handle poorly past 85 the smart actually handles very smooth at top speed if I want speed I ride my 1440cc 210 hp 593 lbs motorcycle with the power to weight ratio of a fighter jet I can smoke anyone I want unless they have a 1000 hp supermodded engine I needed a smart car for my own good cuz the bike habits stick with me in the car and the smart kinda limits me from driving too fast cuz driving fast in a car is reckless and dangerous to others but on a bike you only put yourself at risk plus you have much more control on a bike as you move/control the bike with your whole body vs only the steering wheel and pedals in a car that's why 99% of cops don't bother with speeding bikes but a speedng car on the other hand is a different story
 

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I heard new cars don't need to be broken in because the engine components are properly lubricated with modern motor oil I just wonder why in the driver's manual of the smart it says for the first 1000 miles to keep the rpms unrealistically low and to not go past a certain speed which would be undoable on the freeway without pissing everybody off


It's not just the engine that needs "breaking in", but also all of the other components. Anything with gears that mesh needs a process to work them in. Brakes need a process to bed the pads. Seals need some heat cycles. Each of these components gets seasoned in different ways, and for every new car I've owned, II've spent about the first 100 miles or so doing all of these different things. Then, I feel it is ready to be driven at 100% of the car's capabilities.

Some of the owner's manual advice is also to let drivers get familiar with the feel and response of their new vehicle. It's probably guidance from the legal department that advises them to keep this language in, even though the car physically doesn't require it.


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I heard new cars don't need to be broken in because the engine components are properly lubricated with modern motor oil I just wonder why in the driver's manual of the smart it says for the first 1000 miles to keep the rpms unrealistically low and to not go past a certain speed which would be undoable on the freeway without pissing everybody off
I'm sorry... but where does it say that? The owners manual for a 2009 Smart says that you can drive your smart during the first 1,000 miles:

- at varying but moderate vehicle and engine speeds
- avoid heavy load (full throttle driving) and excessive engine speeds (no more than 2/3 the maximum RPM in each gear)
- shift in a timely manner
- do not slow the vehicle by downshifting
- avoid accelerating by kickdown (where you hit the gas as far as it will go at which point i believe it will actually downshift two gears to help with acceleration)

How exactly is that "undoable"? Both Smart's I purchased (and i'm sure a number of people who had purchased a Smart) had to be taken on a major highway within a dozen or so miles of leaving the dealership. In my case, it was the Pennsylvania Turnpike.... where the (former) speed limit of 65 meant people typically did 80-85 and the cops generally didn't care so long as you weren't doing so in a reckless fashion. But I was still able to keep the RPM's within reason... though i was only doing about 70 if i recall, which is still a decent speed for the turnpike.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I heard new cars don't need to be broken in because the engine components are properly lubricated with modern motor oil I just wonder why in the driver's manual of the smart it says for the first 1000 miles to keep the rpms unrealistically low and to not go past a certain speed which would be undoable on the freeway without pissing everybody off
I'm sorry... but where does it say that? The owners manual for a 2009 Smart says that you can drive your smart during the first 1,000 miles:

- at varying but moderate vehicle and engine speeds
- avoid heavy load (full throttle driving) and excessive engine speeds (no more than 2/3 the maximum RPM in each gear)
- shift in a timely manner
- do not slow the vehicle by downshifting
- avoid accelerating by kickdown (where you hit the gas as far as it will go at which point i believe it will actually downshift two gears to help with acceleration)

How exactly is that "undoable"? Both Smart's I purchased (and i'm sure a number of people who had purchased a Smart) had to be taken on a major highway within a dozen or so miles of leaving the dealership. In my case, it was the Pennsylvania Turnpike.... where the (former) speed limit of 65 meant people typically did 80-85 and the cops generally didn't care so long as you weren't doing so in a reckless fashion. But I was still able to keep the RPM's within reason... though i was only doing about 70 if i recall, which is still a decent speed for the turnpike.
what does it mean by heavy load cuz I always have my foot all the way down on the gas pedal on the highway cuz I'm only going 89 (I don't floor it aggressively and get it to high rpms I get there very gradually and once I'm there my foot just rests there no need for cruise control in this car I can barely hear the engine). I hope what I'm doing is not considered heavy load cuz going anything less than 80 is gonna have idiot drivers disrespect you on the road where I live. They assume the smart is too slow to be on the highway and they are so ready to pass you even if you are going the speed limit so I always surprise them when I pass them making THEM look like the slow ones. I go like 10 mph faster than everyone and because the smart is so small I can zip thru far easier than any other car on the road I only need half the gap a normal car would need. I can actually get to my destination quicker with a smart than a regular sized fast car cuz oftentimes normal cars can't change lanes easily when there's a lot of traffic without dangerously cutting someone off the smart cuts thru safely and effortlessly the only thing that zips thru better than the smart is my motorcycle.
 

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Not aware Florida has an Autobahn where you can drive in excess of 89 MPH legally, that being said,when I am driving, as long as I am within the speed limit, I don't have to prove anything and if others want to pass, so be it. I will wave as I drive by the gas pumps and they are adding fuel.
 

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I would imagine an oil analysis would show a lot of junk in the motor, common on a new or rebuilt motor. with 2 weeks of ownership and 600 miles, Analysis would be a waste of time.

There are 2 camps on new car break-in, 1) drive it like you stole it and if it is gonna break, it will and it is under warranty.. and
2) drive it gently and slowly for the first few thousand miles and then drive normally. Everyone has their own theory and what works for them.

Personally I would do an oil change after a thousand miles (or sooner) and take it easy, but don't baby it.
 

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I have one smart of each generation. The 450 is my first not-new smart, but it looks like I'm the second owner and she only has 20k miles, so close enough.

Anyway, I got my 2012 451 with 10.2 miles on the odometer. Well, I had the car going 80+ mph by 11.8 miles and I hit 5,000 miles maybe 6 months later. Today it has 134,000 miles. :)

My 2016 453 had 20 miles when I picked it up...and immediately I drove it 2,200 miles at a sustained 80-90 mph in 36 hours. The only thing phased by that distance so quickly was my brain and body. The car was and still is a champ.

To me, proper maintenance is infinitely more important than the break in period. If you don't take care of the car, how drive it in the first 5k is irrelevant. I think your car will do fine. :)
 

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All the cars we've bought new I've tried to break in gently. Basically no pedal to the floor driving in the first 1000km but after that....

But I am with Jim on doing an oil change early as there is usually some junk in the oil from the manufacturing process. Usually at 1000km and with a good quality oil.

One thing I do notice with my smart is that in automatic mode I find it tends to upshift early out of the power band which makes me wonder if that will make the engine lug which IMHO is as bad as a heavy pedal.
 
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