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you & your car

I recently bought a new Scion iM and, have so far put 400 kilometres on it. However, I need to take a trip, which will require me to drive for several hours at 110 km/h.

The manual says that for the first 1,000 kilometres, not to drive at extremely high speeds (what is considered a high speed?), to avoid sudden acceleration, not to drive continuously in low gear and not to drive at a constant speed for an extended period. What should I do? – Laura

You should be okay to take that trip, perhaps trying to vary engine speed on occasion, which will happen anyway if there are hills or a need to slow for or pass other vehicles. By high speed, the manufacturer is generally asking that you not run the engine at high revs. Frankly, your Scion and speed limits will prevent you from doing any harm in that respect.

The idea behind those warnings is to ensure the various internal metal parts from piston rings and bearings, to cylinder walls and transmission internals are heated and cooled over a range of temperatures, allowing them to "settle in".

The primary goal used to be to ensure the piston rings and cylinder walls develop a proper seal. Break-in or running-in, as it is sometimes called, is far less critical today than it was a few decades ago because of the closer tolerances and higher quality materials used these days.

The 400 kilometres you have already done will have taken care of the ring/cylinder wall issue. Another concern in the past was that the bearings and crankshaft become similarly settled-in. But here again, closer tolerances, more finely finished crankshaft surfaces and higher quality bearings have all but eliminated this concern.

If you avoid running that Scion at wide open throttle for hours and don't tackle steep mountain grades while towing a heavy trailer, you should be fine.

All-weather tires

Are all-weather tires effective in Manitoba, where winter temps average -20C? – David and Doreen

In a word – yes. These tires are not to be confused with all-season tires. Just like winter tires" are different than the old snow tires because of the science and development involved, all-weather tires benefit from similar advances. While a few less reputable retail outlets may try to pass all-season tires as all-weather, all-weather tires carry the Transport Canada-mandated snowflake/mountain symbol indicating they pass the same rigid standards required of winter tires.

All-season tires do not have this identification. The difference between the all-weather and all-season tire is that the all-weather tire is more capable in warmer weather and can actually be left on the vehicle year-round. All-season tires cannot cope with cold temperatures, let alone the frigid ones you experience in your part of the country.

Tires are a mixture of real and synthetic rubber, belts, binders, various other chemicals and carbon black to give them their colour. The mixture used in all-weather tires allows them to remain flexible at cold temperatures and yet not be too soft at high temperatures.

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