Premium Gas vs. Regular Gas: What Does My BMW Need?

June 2nd, 2018 by

hand holding gas pump, filling up a car

The short answer is that any Chicago driver who wants to get the most out of their new BMW should be using whatever fuel their owner’s manual recommends. But we know that many drivers will hit the pump, see the different prices, and ask why. So, what’s the difference between premium fuel and regular – and can it send you to the service center if you use the wrong kind?

Premium Gas vs Regular Gas

It might seem counterintuitive, but regular gasoline actually combusts more easily than premium gasoline. For precision-engineered powertrains, this is a problem, as it means gasoline could ignite from compression rather than from the ignition spark and cause the engine to knock. It’s called knocking because you can hear the fuel ignite and “knock” out of sync with the engine, and it can happen on the highway or just driving around Winnetka.

What is Knocking, and Why is it Bad?

If you’ve been driving for a while, you may be familiar with engine knocking – it was not uncommon in older cars, but modern engineering can compensate for early combustion in those simple four-cylinder sedans and crossovers on the road. But when you drive a vehicle that’s specced out for performance, many of those countermeasures aren’t there, instead relying on you to use the right fuel so it can deliver its maximum specs.

Put simply, knocking is bad because it can damage your engine. It shouldn’t surprise you that an unexpected ignition in your engine could cause damage, but it’s always nice to have a reminder.

Still Have Questions About Your Octane Rating?

Your BMW performance depends on you taking care of your vehicle and using the right fuel. Just like you shouldn’t skip an oil change or settle for non-OEM parts, you shouldn’t use sub-par fuel in your vehicle, so make sure you opt for premium the next time your low fuel light comes on. If you still have questions, you can contact our team or drop by our service center near Park Ridge.

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Posted in Car Tips