C8 Corvette Surprise: After 500 Miles Torque And Power Radically Increase

New C8 Corvette owners are discovering an exhilarating surprise once they hit 500 miles. Like magic engine torque goes up by a third, the Corvette can hit higher speeds, and engine revs increase, too. All of this is thanks to its improved electronics. 

Corvette engineers electronically keep drivers within the 500 miles break-in bounds

The 1,750,000 Corvette is a 2020 C8 in white with red interior

With the urge to want to open up your new Corvette engineers were able to electronically keep drivers within the break-in bounds. They knew the urge would be too much for some to contain. “People were really rolling the dice when they opened up the engine too soon 10 or 20 years ago,” Mike Kociba, assistant chief engineer of GM’s legendary small-block V8 engines, said to The Detroit Free Press.

Breaking-in an engine was always deemed necessary for the first 500 miles or so. Over the years that axiom has sort of melted away. From valves seating to piston rings homing in, it gave the engine time to settle in. 

“We gave the Corvette an electronic guardian angel” 

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Kociba says, “We gave the Corvette an electronic guardian angel.”  So, what exactly did the engineers hold back? “We do two things for the Corvette,” Kociba said. “First, limit engine speed. For the first 500 miles, the redline is 4,000 rpm.” The red line is the point at which RPMs become more dangerous to the engine as they increase.

Once the Corvette hits 500 miles, the odometer sends a message to the software, and like magic, the redline moves to 6,600 RPM. That’s where engine revs can now generate their maximum power. Just like that there is more power and can do higher revs. 

The Corvette limits torque to around 330 pound-feet when the car is in first or second gear. That limit evaporates at 500 miles, but the Corvette won’t see that increase until the car has been turned off and restarted.  That’s because getting an extra 140 pound-feet of torque with no warning from one turn to another “could be unsettling.” No other Chevrolet has this electronic limiter. 

The owner’s manual has any break-in info and more

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2020 Corvette C8 Convertible | General Motors

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Mostly due to better tolerances, materials, seals, and more, modern engines don’t always need a break-in period. Software monitoring also safety-checks things like over-revving or high temperatures. Wonder if your new car does? The owner’s manual has any break-in info and more. Schedules for inspections, servicing, and replacement of things like timing belts are all part of the manual.

Especially things like timing belts can grenade your engine should they let go. So knowing when to have them replaced could save you from having to replace the entire engine as opposed to a timing belt.