Skip "break-in," and go right to "broken"

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

Here's a first-time car owner's dilemma. Before reading the owner's manual or learning about the concept of a "break-in period," I drove my new 1989 Toyota Tercel EZ at a steady ninety mph for nearly an hour before it had even 100 miles on the odometer. The car has over 10,000 miles on it now. On the few trips I've taken, I've been most comfortable driving at about 80 mph. Around town, I drive the car very hard--accelerating quickly, using the engine to slow down, and making hundreds of very short trips for errands. The car has exceeded my expectations, and is great fun to drive. But given the rough treatment this car has received, should I trade it right after the warranty runs out, or should I expect it to stand up to the abuse and continue to be a trouble-free car for a few more years?

TOM: Well, John, you are doing everything you possibly can to destroy this car. From bad break-in to jack-rabbit starts to short trips, you are the classic motor-wrecker. We could give you advice on what do to next time you buy a car, but you're hopeless. You are going to make some mechanic (who yearns for a Hawaiian vacation) very happy some day.

RAY: And given the way you've treated this car, we think you deserve to keep it. If you would be so kind as to send us your vehicle identification number, we'll publish it in every newspaper in the free world so that nobody will ever make the mistake of buying this heap from you.

TOM: We'll also publish the information in Mechanic's Weekly, so that mechanics from coast to coast can go to bed at night with smiles on their faces...fantasizing that your little Tercel is going to pull into their garage someday.

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