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With gas at all-time highs, more and more people are asking themselves if they really need premium octane gas. However, it may actually be an essential part of your new car maintenance. The most common octane ratings range from 87 to 93 and represent the gas's resistance to detonation (also known as “knock”). Knock is a process when more combustion than normal occurs within the engine causing the pistons and related engine parts to knock around resulting in damage to your car's engine.
Today's new cars have knock sensors that detect engine knock and adjust the engine performance to minimize damage. However, if left unchecked, damage to your engine will result. Check your owner's manual, and follow the manufacturer's recommendations regarding which octane gas to use in your car. If it says to use premium, bite the bullet and use premium.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|