Do You Really Need Premium Gas?

Schedule Brake Pad Replacement
Service Area

$124.62 - $450.29

Price range for all vehicles
Average rating from 10,732 customers who received a Brake Pads Replacement.

You’re given the choice every time you pull up to the fuel pumps - regular or premium gas. You’ve heard all the hype about premium fuel and the benefits it provides:

  • Better fuel efficiency
  • Corrosion prevention
  • Engine knock or ping prevention
  • Protection against carbon deposits in the engine
  • Prevention of internal engine wear

How do you know if you truly need premium gas in your vehicle, though? Surely the benefits aren’t globally applicable to every vehicle in the market, aren't they?

To determine if your engine needs premium fuel, it helps to know what exactly you’re getting in premium gas.

The Lowdown on Premium Gas

Gasoline is made up of hydrocarbons, refined from crude oil in refineries. Once crude oil is broken down into the smaller hydrocarbons, it is mixed with additives. Some additives are detergents to prevent buildup inside your engine, while others improve combustion, prevent corrosion, or allow easier cold starts in cold climates.

But that’s in all gasoline, so what makes premium gas different? At its root, it’s an increase in octane. Octane is one of those hydrocarbons in gasoline, and it increases the resistance of gasoline to detonate prematurely in your engine. The higher the octane content in your fuel, the more resistant it is to predetonation that causes spark knock or pinging.

In some premium gasolines, there are increased levels of detergents and other additives, but the basis of premium gasoline is its octane rating. At the pump, regular gasoline is usually rated around 87 octane while premium is anywhere from 91 to 92 octane.

One more thing about fuel composition - by and large, there is no difference in the energy contained in regular gasoline and premium gasoline. Rated in British Thermal Units, or BTU, they both have roughly 114,000 BTU per gallon of fuel. That means that, aside from the resistance to predetonation, there is little difference in the fuel itself.

How Premium Gas Helps

As mentioned, premium gas prevents fuel predetonation under compression. To help clarify, think of it like a diesel engine. Diesel engines don’t have spark plugs to cause the fuel to ignite. It’s all done by high compression inside the engine cylinders. All the extra kinetic energy when the fuel is compressed causes it to explode and push the piston down in the cylinder.

In high-compression gasoline engines, the same principle occurs with regular gasoline. The problem is that the explosion occurs too soon in the cycle and it can cause a “pinging” or knocking noise in the engine. Over time, the predetonation causes abnormal wear in the cylinders, excessive carbon deposits because the fuel isn’t burned cleanly, and can cause damage that requires expensive repairs if left for a long time.

In high-compression engines, premium gas waits to ignite until the spark plug fires. That’s how your engine produces the best power and operates at its cleanest and most efficient.

Who Requires Premium Gas

Knowing if you require premium gas is as easy as looking for a label behind your fuel door.
Premium gasoline is necessary only for those vehicles whose vehicles say “Premium Fuel Required” behind the fuel door. That means that your vehicle’s manufacturer has tested its vehicles and determined that the octane contained in premium gasoline is necessary to prevent early detonation in the engine. If you were to use regular gasoline, you’d experience a reduction in power, worse fuel economy, probably engine pinging, and possibly the Check Engine light illuminated as well.

That doesn’t mean there is no benefit to other users, just that it’s not required in others. If, behind your fuel door, it says “Premium Fuel Recommended”, you’re likely to experience slightly better performance with premium gasoline than regular, but your engine will still run properly and efficiently with regular gasoline as well.

If your vehicle says “Regular Unleaded Only”, the only benefit you can expect is to do with the other additives that may differ from regular gas. If your gas brand has higher levels of detergents or cold-weather additives in its premium fuel over regular, it may keep your engine cleaner, but it won’t necessarily run better.

To sum it up, if your vehicle says “Premium Fuel Required”, you really do need premium gas for your vehicle to run properly. If your vehicle doesn’t require premium, expect that your vehicle will run well on regular gas.

Most commonly, you’ll find that German-engineered vehicles, luxury cars, high-performance sports cars, and exotic cars require premium gasoline.


Next Step

Schedule Brake Pad Replacement

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Brake Pad Replacement. Yourmechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7 days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 10k cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Brake Pad Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Brake Pad Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

10,732

Rating Summary
10,227
323
67
33
82
10,227
323
67
33
82

Rigoberto

9 years of experience
706 reviews
Rigoberto
9 years of experience
Chevrolet Equinox - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Niles, Illinois
Rigo was great! He got there early, finished the job early, left everything clean. He changed my rear pads and rotors. The original quoted time was 90 minutes, he was done in about 60. He knows what he is doing and I am recommending him to all my friends and coworkers.
Mercedes-Benz C250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Chicago, Illinois
Rigo is a maverick hands down. Don’t take your car for work elsewhere. Especially great at Mercedes—this guy knows his profession! I will be using him for everything related to my car going forward.

Arturo

25 years of experience
35 reviews
Arturo
25 years of experience
Kia Forte - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Diego, California
ARTURO is great! very professional , fast, replaced my front brake pads and oil an filter change. everything now works and works well. Brakes have much improved stopping power and engine is smooth and quiet.Arturo is also kind and thoughtful. "Your mechanic" is very fortunate to have Arturo Lopez represent your company. I enthusiastically recommend him and "Your mechanic> as a fine operation Best regards to the Team Peter Marto
Nissan Maxima - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - San Diego, California
Arturo was prompt and completed my brake repair, including new rotors in a very efficient manner. I am very pleased with the quality of the work and the parts and will definitely look to have him service our other car in the near future.

Scott

32 years of experience
345 reviews
Scott
32 years of experience
Lexus IS250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Always on time, speedy, professional, and pleasant to interact with. The work is always consistent and we'll done. I can't reccomend Scott highly enough!

Michael

10 years of experience
15 reviews
Michael
10 years of experience
Nissan Sentra - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Conyers, Georgia
He was promptly on time and got the job done efficiently in a timely manner. I really appreciate the rapid respone on getting the job done! I would most definitely use this service again.

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE