From the time we start driving, one of the first basics we learn is how to fill up our automobile with gasoline. It’s one of the simplest, most obvious requirements for keeping our car functioning. Most of us probably didn't get much instruction except for a warning not to put diesel in a car that runs on regular gasoline and vice versa.
What Are You Putting in Your Tank?
Most of us head to the gas station on autopilot a couple times a week, choose a pump, select unleaded, plus, or premium, fill the tank and we’re on our way. But have you ever wondered what fuel terminology means and how each type of gasoline is different? In this message, we'll give you a brief rundown, so you will be more educated about the juice your car is constantly drinking.
Let’s commence with some gasoline basics. The grade of gasoline is measured by its octane level. According to Exxon, “The octane rating is a measure of a fuel's ability to resist ‘knock’.” This is essential because the correct gasoline will keep your engine running right and it will optimize fuel economy. Every engine has different requirements that are specified in the owner's manual. Now let’s get into the different fuel types.
The most common type of gasoline is unleaded. The US Clean Air Act prohibits leaded gasoline. Unleaded gasoline has an octane level of about 87 and is typically the cheapest gasoline you’ll find. If you have a normal engine in your car, 87 unleaded fuel should be best but always be safe and check your owner’s manual (or call I-86 Truck & Auto Repair at 716-665-2501) for guidance.
Is Premium Fuel Better?
Next are the higher octane fuels that are typically called Plus Unleaded and Premium Unleaded. Plus Unleaded gasoline has an octane level around 89 and Premium Unleaded is even higher at 93. It seems like there will always be an ongoing debate on whether there are benefits to filling your car with plus or premium gasoline.
Simply put, premium will benefit your auto if your car requires it, but it won’t improve the performance of your car if it only requires 87 unleaded fuel. Don’t spend the extra money on these more pricey fuels if you think you’ll get better gas mileage or better engine performance. But if you’re driving a high performance or luxury car, it may require premium fuel for optimal performance.
If you do have a car that requires 89 or 93 premium gasoline, but you only put in 87 unleaded gasoline, serious engine troubles can result.
Of course, there are some other fuel types (diesel, biodiesel, ethanol, CNG) that we won’t get into now. Future posts will look at alternative fuels and hybrid engines that generate power from fuel and electricity. If you have an all-electric car, then you have successfully shaken the shackles of the gasoline-powered engine and now you get to worry about battery life!
In addition to fueling your automobile with the most appropriate gas type, regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring hundreds of miles of smooth performance. I-86 Truck & Auto Repair has trained automotive experts that deliver the highest quality service in a timely manner.