Next to a house, the next biggest investment for an average Joe is the car. It is just right to derive the maximum benefit out of every penny invested in these purchases. For a house, you maximize the use of it by living in it. For a car, you maximize the use of it by driving it to every condition possible.
The heart of every car is the engine. Every new engine should work perfectly for your driving needs. But like a new pair of shoes whose fit is too tight at first, the engine will require some getting used to before it can perform at optimal level. This is where the break-in comes.
Know the purpose of breaking-in. The new car's engine internals are still new and have not been adapted to mesh together with ease. In other words, the compression rings and cylinder walls are not seated together, or the engine's piston rings should be matched to its corresponding cylinder wall. If the piston rings have been seated properly to the cylinder wall, the engine will achieve maximum power output with the least amount of oil consumption.
Consult manufacturer's guidelines first. Like any other new gadget, the owner should always refer first to the manufacturers guidelines. Take note of the warranty if you can service the engine for free if something bad happened. Some manufacturers already "breaked-in" the engine of the car, so the owner can just drive as usual.
Take precautions. Make sure your engine is properly lubricated, although new cars have default engine oil when purchased. Make sure that the temperature is also normal, since the engine should be allowed to run at normal operating temperature. After every run, allow the engine to completely cool down before starting another run.
Take it easy on the first run. The engine's initial run should be at fast idle, approximately 1500 RPM, with little or no load. This should be about 30 minutes. Then shut down and allow engine to cool. It is very important to allow a complete cool down of engine after every run.
Use light load on the second run. Start the engine again with light loads at relatively low RPM and without using higher gears. This second run should last only 10 to 15 minutes before another complete cool down.
Use higher RPM for the third run. With light to medium load, the third run should use short burst of acceleration to help seat the rings. 10 to 15 minutes of running should be enough for the third run avoiding top gear.
For the fourth run use medium to high RPM. Using light to medium load, do more burst of medium to high RPM. This should also last for 10 to 15 minutes. Change oil and filters after 500 miles as it will have metal particles by that time.
The main purpose of the tips above is to obtain the maximum performance of your car. I highly suggest consulting with the dealer first before doing the break in. Proper driving techniques will be the ultimate tool to keep your car working in good condition.