With the average U.S. price for gasoline skyrocketing across the nation, many drivers, whose cars require premium gas, might be wondering if they can skimp out on the quality of fuel in order to save money at the pump. Here’s what you need to know.

Can I put unleaded gas in my car if the label says it requires premium?

According to Fuel Express, if your vehicle manufacturer “recommends” premium gasoline then you can put in regular without losing sleep at night. However, some vehicles “require” premium gasoline. 

If you put regular gas in those cars you may be looking at a serious service bill down the line. 

In most cases, the vehicle will run fine, but you may experience less power and a decrease in gas mileage. In more serious cases, you may hear engine knocking or valve chatter because the fuel isn’t burning right. These things could damage your engine and you should bring it into us at  Advanced Auto Care -Vista.

What is the actual difference between fuel types?

You might have noticed the giant yellow signs on each fuel nozzle that have a specific number. Those numbers represent octane levels in the fuel. The octane level is a measure of how heat resistant a particular fuel is in order to prevent what’s commonly known among mechanics as “knocking.”

  You’ll know your motor is knocking when you hear a knocking noise which is a mixture of air-fuel in the engine’s cylinders detonating prematurely. 

If your car has a performance-tuned engine rated for high-octane fuels, you could experience engine knock if you put in fuel with too low of an octane rating. High octane fuels burn more uniformly and resist knock.

You can find out what octane level your car requires by referring to the vehicle’s owner’s manual.

What if I dilute premium gas with unleaded gas to save money?

According to The Drive, a motorist publication, your car will “survive,” if you mix regular and premium. 

That said, if your vehicle requires premium fuel, it’s a good idea to top it off with the good stuff as soon as you’re able. If you’re really worried about the engine developing a knock, you can add just enough regular fuel to get you to the next station but be sure you have enough fuel to reach the destination.

If you have more questions about your engine and the pros and cons of mixing fuel types, give us a call today at Advanced Auto Care -Vista. Our trained technicians can help answer all your questions you may have on this matter.