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Car Myth: Higher Octane Gas, Better Performance

When it’s time to fill your gas tank, should you be reaching for that higher octane fuel? Not necessarily.

Always use the right fuel for your specific vehicle, as specified in your manufacturer’s manual.

Occasionally a myth circulates that higher octane fuel is better for the engine. The truth: Sometimes, but not always.

Octane has nothing to do with the quality of the gasoline. It specifically indicated that point at which the gas will ignite in your engine.

Some engines require fuel that can withstand more pressure before combusting. In your engine, fuel is pumped into a combustion chamber and the ignited with a spark. If you use the wrong octane of gasoline, the fuel may ignite spontaneously before the engine is ready – causing damage to the engine.

This spontaneous combustion can cause a loud knocking sound, known as pinging. It can lead to serious engine damage costing thousands in repairs.

If you use higher octane fuel than your vehicle needs, you won’t usually cause harm to the engine, but you won’t achieve higher performance. Performance is impacted by the design of the engine more than the fuel that it uses. You’ll spend more at the pump, but your car’s performance will stay the same.

If you use lower octance than your vehicle needs, you’ll save a few dollars at the fill up, but you’re putting your vehicle at risk for thousands of dollars worth of repairs down the road.

You best option – consult your owner’s manual. Always use the octane of gasoline indicated in the manual for the best performance for your vehicle and avoid damaging the engine trying to save a few dollars.

To keep your engine running its best, visit Import Auto Maintenance for an inspection and preventative maintenance services. Our skilled technicians will help keep your car running on the roads in Nashville. Give us a call at (615) 327-9600 or schedule an appointment online.