Premium Vs. Unleaded Gasoline: Is Higher Octane Fuel Really Superior?

Most people who refuel their vehicle opt for the lowest octane or the middle option. Sure, this saves money, but is it healthy for your car? On the other hand, does premium fuel really enhance performance? Before your next trip to the pump, learn the difference between regular unleaded and premium gasoline. It just might save your car from premature wear that will require a tune up or repair from an auto mechanic in Seattle.

What do the Octane Ratings Mean?

Typical octane ratings include 87, 89, 93 and so on. People usually just assume that the higher the number the better. Yes, that’s true, but there’s more to it than that. The octane rating specifically refers to the fuel’s ability to compress in the engine without igniting prematurely.

In most car engines, gasoline is combined with air in the cylinders and then compressed. The compressed fuel is ignited via the spark plug to generate the combustion needed to power the engine.

The compression ratio, though, differs depending on the engine type. Normally, the higher the engine’s horsepower the more compression and built-up pressure it can withstand without abruptly igniting.

How to Know if You’re Using the Wrong Gasoline

Always refer to the vehicle’s manual for the recommended octane rating. Also, if you hear a lot of knocking sounds in the engine, then that is normally a telltale sign of pre-ignition taking place. This can damage the engine and is more likely to take place if you use lower grade fuel for a car that’s designed for fuel with higher octane ratings.

With this being said, though, premium fuel (usually octane rating 91 or higher) is not always necessary. Contrary to popular belief, it will not improve mileage, speed, or performance. Again, refer to the vehicle’s manual for recommended fuel octane levels for your specific vehicle.

Get Your Car Checked at Chuck’s Auto Repair

Have you been regularly using lower octane fuel and ignoring the knocking and pinging sounds coming from the engine? If so, then it’s time to bring your vehicle to Chuck’s Auto Repair. Maintenance may be necessary well before the routine 30-60-90K mile servicing. Knowing the difference between premium and regular unleaded fuel could make the difference between a healthy engine and one that’s just sputtering along.
Edited by Justin Vorhees

Professional Vehicle Servicing From the Experts

Serving the motorists of Seattle and the Greater Area

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