Auto Repair Tips for Palm Harbor, FL

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When you pull up to a gas station in Palm Harbor, or anywhere else for that matter, you will notice that there is a variety of numbers that you can choose from with regard to octane.

Sadly, an all too common mistake that some people make when getting gas is (if they have a diesel engine) that they fill it with regular gasoline. This isn’t possible when you have a gasoline engine due to the size of the hose nozzles and where you fill the gas.

However, that’s not the only issue that can trip people up when it comes to filling their tanks. The most common mistake that people make has to do with the octane rating of the fuel that they get. Octane, or the octane number, is a measure regarding the type of fuel that you may be purchasing for your vehicle. The octane rating will exist for motor vehicles as well as aviation craft.

It has to do with the compression that the fuel can withstand before it is ignited. The lower the octane number, the less the compression that it can withstand. The higher the number, the higher the compression it can withstand.

If this sounds like a lot a science, then you’re not alone. Just know that if you choose the wrong type of octane rated fuel for your car, you could end up with poor performance, engine knocking, and a host of other problems that could eventually become costly.

Why does octane rating matter for your car?

Depending on the type of vehicle that you drive, octane is still going to matter. The most significant issue would be for high performing engines, such as sports car and some high end luxury vehicles. It can even be important for SUVs and pickup trucks, depending on the type of engine.

If you don’t add the right fuel to your high performance engine, you could likely experience knocking in the engine. This can cause your vehicle to backfire and a number of other issues. Any of these problems that result could force you to have to bring your car to an auto repair specialist to get it operating back at top conditions.

Now, for the rest of us (those of us who don’t have high performance engines, but instead have standard four, six, or eight cylinder engines), we still need to pay attention to the octane rating of the fuel we put into our vehicles.

For a long time, people believed that adding higher octane gas meant better performance, better fuel efficiency, and more longevity for the engine. This myth was blown out of the water in 2007, 2008 when the economy began to crash. When fuel prices soared, people weren’t as willing to spend that much more for higher octane fuel.

And they likely noticed that their cars started to actually run better and get better gas mileage.

The common misconception about octane.

This is because the majority of people just assumed that a higher octane number would equal better performance. We are products of a society that has constantly stressed ‘paying more means getting better products.’ That’s simply not true when it comes to octane.

Putting a higher octane rated fuel into your car when it didn’t call for it meant that you were not only throwing money away, but that you could also be causing your car harm.

When you have the wrong compression ratios in your engine, the spark plugs (that ignite the fuel in the cylinder) might be ineffective and that could lead to knocking, poor performance, and damage.

By adding a fuel that withstands higher compression ratios will generally mean that it isn’t compressed to its optimal level when the spark plug fires, which will mean that more unused fuel is escaping from the exhaust. In other words, you’re wasting fuel. You’re also doing more harm to the environment as a result of all that unspent fuel being wasted.

If you use a lower octane rated fuel than what your car requires, it could result in serious performance problems. Since you value your vehicle and want to maximize performance, check with your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine what octane rated fuel you should be using. If you can’t find that information, it’s usually listed on the inside of the fuel cap door. If you still can’t find it there, contact your vehicle’s manufacturer.

How you can save money on gas with the right octane.

The vast majority of drivers on Palm Harbor roads are either using the right octane, or a higher rated fuel than they need. This means that they are wasting money as well as putting their car at risk of damage, which would require auto repair.

The best way to save money is to ensure that you are using the right octane rated fuel for your car or truck. If you have been using 93-octane, but then discover that you should only be using 87-octane (the most common for the majority of cars on the road today), you could end up saving upwards of $0.40 or more for every single gallon of gas.

For a 10 gallon tank, you’d be saving $4. If you fill up three times a week, you’d be saving $12 every week just in fuel expenses.

If you have any other questions about octane and what you should be using for your car or truck, contact Peterson Auto and Truck center serving all of Palm Harbor. Taking care of your car starts by putting the right fuel in it.