Does My Car Need High Octane Fuel?
The simple answer is that unless your owner’s manual tells you so, your vehicle does not need high-octane fuel. Given the extra cost of Premium or high-octane fuel, you should be sure that your vehicle needs it.
Generally, gasoline is available in three grades: Regular (87 octane), Mid-Grade (89 octane) or Premium (93 octane). The actual octane will vary depending on the gas station.
To tell if your vehicle needs Premium, check your owner’s manual. You can also look at your manufacturer’s website or contact a service representative at Kelowna Nissan.
What is Octane Rating?
The octane rating measures the amount of octanes (particularly isooctane) in your gasoline. Octane is a hydrocarbon component of gasoline that has the ability to reduce “engine knock.”
The Octane, or “octane rating” of gasoline represents how readily gasoline combusts. High-octane fuel is actually less explosive (volatile) than low-octane fuels. This may seem counter-intuitive, but there’s a reason: performance engines generally have much higher compression ratios that regular engines. This high compression will cause a low octane fuel to ignite too early, reducing power and potentially causing engine damage.
Engine knock is created when fuel ignites in the combustion chamber before the piston has fully compressed. The more that your engine can compress the air-fuel mixture before it combusts, the more energy it creates on the power stroke. If you put regular gasoline in an engine that requires Premium, it may cause knock due to pre-ignition.
Will Premium Fuel Improve Performance?
Putting Premium in a vehicle that calls for regular gasoline likely won’t make a noticeable difference in performance or economy. While Premium fuels may also contain additional cleaning agents, a lower-compression engine won’t gain any benefit from a higher octane rating.
Vice versa, putting regular gasoline in a vehicle that calls for Premium will likely cause a noticeable reduction in performance and is not recommended. It may even void the warranty of your new vehicle.
Many people use Premium gas in the hopes of saving money or getting a performance boost on their vehicle. Save your money! Don’t use Premium unless you have too.