New cars demand proper break-in periods. The Corvette is no exception.
Stories of new performance-car owners doing burnouts leaving the dealership lot, with single-digit readings on the odometer, are all too common. Indeed, many owners seem blissfully unaware that cars perform better in the long-term if standard break-in procedure guidelines are followed.
To that end, the all-new, 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is programmed to reduce engine torque during the first 500 miles, limiting what harm can be done to the powertrain while the machinery is wearing in. Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Jeuchter elaborated on the reasoning behind that "reduced torque mode" in a recent Q&A on Corvette Forum.
According to Tadge, "any machinery that has moving parts... will "bed-in" over time. What that means is, no matter the manufacturing process, two interfacing parts will find their own equilibrium." In other words, any two parts that contact each other within your engine, transmission, and differential will "mutually [refine] each other's surface texture until they reach a steady state... [minimizing] noise, vibration and wear," he says.
Thus, there is an ideal break-in procedure that allows powertrain parts to properly bed-in before they encounter excessive stress that could cause "undesirable wear patterns," and it doesn't involve burying the needle whenever the mood strikes. To encourage adherence to proper break-in procedure, the C8, like the C7 before it, has a variable redline on the tachometer that sits lower in the RPM range for the first 500 miles of operation.
But in addition to that, the C8 Corvette's ECU is programmed to limit torque by 25 to 30 percent in the first and second gears for the first 500 miles. Tadge says that was deemed necessary as the C8 has a far greater potential for unduly wearing drivetrain components due to its superior traction and more aggressive gearing.
That 25 to 30 percent "may sound like a big reduction," he says, "but in reality, the car is still really fast. In fact, you could easily spin the tires on some surfaces." And engine speed isn't actually limited, despite what the tachometer says; the visibly lower redline is there only as a reminder to take it easy.
Yet even these safeguards are no cure-all for all the effects of improper break-in procedure, Tadge admits. "We will still be asking customers to stay well off max torque and speed for the first 500 miles."