Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
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General comment to follow up on MoSno, who is right on target...to help those who don't understand the octane and ping issue...
It is always safe to run higher octane in any vehicle, but if the vehicle isn't built for it, you will not get any performance advantage. Many people don't understand this and think that Premium fuel always results in better performance. It does not, unless you car is made to use it, but there is no downside other than wasting money on higher octane gas that your car can't take advantage of. See the owner's manual.
It is NOT always safe to run lower octane than the vehicle is built for. "Ping" is not just noise. It's premature fuel detonation, and if it's ongoing, it can burn holes through the tops of pistons, requiring an engine rebuild. Modern cars have knock sensors which are designed to detect ping and retard the engine timing when it it detected. This both eliminates the ping and reduces both fuel mileage and power, so there is little if any upside to creating this condition. In addition, you are trusting your engine to a knock sensor that CAN fail. If it does and you're driving in conditions which generate ping (lots of hills, high heat or hard acceleration are common causes) then you can destroy pistons and cost yourself many thousands of dollars in an engine rebuild.
My wife and I drive two BMWs and a 1983 280ZX Turbo. All three require premium fuel, and there will NEVER be anything but premium run in them. If I had to fill up with regular at the only filling station for 170 miles in the middle of a desert (and I know such a place,) I'd look for an octane boost additive to drop in the tank at the same time.
2008 BMW E91 328xi Sportwagon
2009 BMW E92 328ix Coupe
2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, 75th Anniv. Edition
1983 280ZX Turbo