Engine Cylinder Walls Piston rings don’t rely on their spring tension to seal against the cylinder bores. Instead, combustion gases work their way between the rings and the piston and force the rings outward. During the first few minutes of engine operation, it’s important that the throttle be opened pretty far at lower rpms to provide this high pressure. Otherwise, the rings won’t burnish the cylinder walls properly, and the engine will have high volumes of blow-by—which means excessive oil consumption and shortened engine life. If you’ve ever seen the car jockeys who drive new cars off the end of the production line into the storage lot, or the transporter drivers zipping up and down the car-hauler ramps, you’ll realize that this all-important step has been performed for you many times. If you’re installing a new engine, simply give it a few seconds of wide-open throttle in a high gear. For the first thousand miles, avoid constant speeds and throttle settings. If you commute in normal stop-and-go traffic, you’ll be fine. I advise against cruise-controlled sojourns across Nebraska.