Confused on what octane grade of gasoline your vehicle requires?
Have you been putting 87 octane fuel in your 2018 Hellcat? Premium in your 91 Grand Caravan? Diesel in your gasoline engine? Orange juice in your Cheerios?
Slow down, grab a seat. Take a soft, but firm breath, and consult your owners manual before filling up. Most vehicles will have recommended fuel octane and minimum octane required (ex. 91 recommended, 87 minimum). Just like it sounds, the recommended fuel is what is recommended for your vehicle, and the minimum is the bare minimum octane that is required.
What does octane rating mean?
Octane is a component of gasoline that reduces “engine knock.” The octane rating on the pump is an indicator of how readily gasoline combusts. The higher the octane rating, the less explosive the fuel is. Performance vehicles generally take a higher octane because their engines have much higher compression ratios than regular engines. 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. If you put regular gasoline in an engine that requires premium, it may ignite too early (knock), reducing power and potentially causing engine damage.
Higher octane does not mean better performance!
If you’re guilty of putting premium in your 91 Grand Caravan with the hope that premium gas improves fuel efficiency, engine performance, or holds magical properties, you need to back away from the pump. If the vehicle calls for 87 octane fuel, the timing in the engine is set for 87 octane fuel. There is no need for knock concerns.
Still feel the need to use premium fuel? Check out our inventory of performance vehicles!
What happens if you put in lower octane than your vehicle’s minimum required?
This one is a bit more complicated. Most modern vehicles have a “knock” sensor that can sense a lower octane fuel and accounts for it, but it’s not foolproof. If you’re driving your vehicle hard, there’s a chance of experiencing heavy engine knock and damaging your engine. Again, if it’s one tank of gas, and you’re not driving like a maniac, it’s probably not going to kill your vehicle. But, always try to use the minimum required octane as stated on your gas cap, or in your manual.
Still confused? Not to fear, contact your friends at Go Dodge Red Deer and we’ll be happy to help!