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Q: What Octane Gas Should I Put in My Car?

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What octane gas should I put in my car?

A: Think of your car as an athlete. Everyone n...

Think of your car as an athlete. Everyone needs to eat in order to have energy to go about our daily routine. Athletes, however, need better energy to meet their specific needs.

Likewise, every car can run on 87 octane. In fact, most cars are designed to run on 87 octane fuel. However, some cars, typically those that have higher horsepower ratings are designed to run on 89 or 91 octane fuel. The higher octane requirement is necessary to prevent pre-ignition, or pinging, in the more powerful engines.

Pinging is the result of fuel that self-ignites inside the combustion chamber of your engine before the spark plugs are able to do their job. This causes competing flame fronts in the engine that collide with each other. This collision is what is known as pre-ignition, or pinging.

Pinging is very detrimental to your engine. If you drive your vehicle under this condition for an extended period of time, it is very likely that your engine will suffer catastrophic engine failure from the excessively high temperatures that exist inside your engine.

To prevent pinging, it is important that you use the grade of fuel that your vehicle manufacturer has designed it to run best on. If you don't know which fuel grade your vehicle requires, you can consult your owner's manual for help. Also, be aware of other scheduled maintenance requirements for your vehicle so that, in addition to using the correct gas, the vehicle is also being maintained properly.

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