German engineering is well-regarded the world over, and Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) is one of the most iconic German brands. BMWs are popular vehicles for a number of reasons; they’re stylish, reliable, and fun to drive. In addition, BMWs are widely considered to be some of the best-made cars on the market. That quality comes at a price, however; BMWs are typically more expensive than other brands with comparable features. But for many drivers, the extra cost is worth it for the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re behind the wheel of a well-built car. With a reputation for quality and reliability, you can rest assured that your BMW will keep you safe on the road for years to come.
When shopping for a new car, many people only consider the initial purchase price. However, it is important to factor in the ongoing costs of ownership, such as fuel, insurance, and maintenance. For example, BMWs are known for their luxury features and high performance. However, part of the cost of owning a BMW is the fact that they require 91+ octane fuel. This can add up over time, especially if you frequently drive long distances. However, the German engineering that goes into these cars is worth the extra expense for many drivers. After all, a BMW isn’t just a car–it’s a work of art.
Differences in Fuel Octanes
When it comes to fuel, octane is how we measure the fuel’s ability to avoid “knocking” or “pinging” during combustion, caused by the air/fuel mixture detonating prematurely in the engine. In the U.S., unleaded gasoline typically has octane ratings of 87. The higher the octane rating, the greater the fuel’s resistance to knocking.
Knocking can cause engine damage, so it’s important to use the right octane gasoline in your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations. Many automakers, including BMW, require or recommend premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher.
If you notice your vehicle ping or knock when you use regular unleaded gasoline, talk to a mechanic about proper maintenance and repair for your particular engine type. Excessive knocking could indicate worn spark plugs or other engine problems that need to be addressed by a professional.
Damage Caused by Low Octane Fuel
In the U.S., unleaded gasoline typically has octane ratings of 87. If you use a fuel with a lower octane rating than what is recommended for your vehicle, you may notice one or more of the following problems: reduced performance, increased fuel consumption, and engine knocking. Engine knocking can cause serious damage to your engine, so it’s important to avoid using fuel with an octane rating that is too low for your vehicle.
Engine knocking is a knocking or pinging sound that can occur when the air-fuel mixture in the cylinders is detonating in more than one place at a time. Knocks can damage engine parts and decrease performance.
Detonation knock is caused when the air/fuel mixture in the cylinders is too lean. When this happens, the mixture can start to auto-ignite or detonate in more than one place at a time. This causes a knocking or pinging sound, and can damage engine parts like piston rings, connecting rods, and valves. It can also lead to decreased performance and fuel economy. When in doubt, always err on the side of using a higher octane fuel than what is recommended for your vehicle.
Trust Fast Lane European with Your BMW
If you have been using the wrong octane in your BMW and suspect you may have sustained some damage, our skilled service technicians at Fast Lane European are ready and waiting to help. Conveniently located in San Jose, CA, we are experts in European vehicles including BMWs.
At Fast Lane European, we use the most cutting edge technology in diagnostic tools and equipment to determine what is wrong with your vehicle and treat it. In addition to using the best tools possible, we are also dedicated to providing friendly, personalized service. At Fast Lane European, you will never feel like just a number.
If you’re looking for an honest and fair mechanic in San Jose, reach out to Fast Lane European. We’ll be ready to help get your BMW back in top shape in no time.