Your BMW manual recommends high octane fuel. Does it really matter?
Yes. The professionals at Quality Automotive Servicing in Truckee CA do not recommend running low octane fuel in a BMW European import vehicle. The potential negative effects from using the cheaper "regular octane" fuel are not worth what you will save at the pump.
Pay Now or Pay Later
BMWs are popular mountain cars and SUV's for Truckee and Lake Tahoe residents. BMW owners enjoy the luxury, performance and looks. As with all performance vehicles, they cost more to own, maintain, and repair than other vehicles. Parts, fluids and preventative maintenance all come with a bigger price tag. It's important not to short cut service on these high-cost vehicles in order to save money. It's never fun to have to weigh the cost to repair a vehicle that has been incorrectly maintained with the cost to buy new. (If you are buying a used BMW, see our blog Pre-Purchase Inspection, to be sure you are getting a well-maintained vehicle.)
As a BMW owner, you may at one time consider various shortcuts that make the "cost of ownership" of your vehicle less. Hopefully, you received straight forward advice from an expert like Kevin Millard, BMW Master mechanic at Quality Automotive Servicing in Truckee, California. Millard will say that for the longevity of your BMW and the least amount of problems and repairs, follow the manufacturer recommendations. This includes along using the correct octane of fuel. Millard can also advise you on the preventative maintenance and services you will need to maintain your BMW for daily mountainous driving.
Premium Gas vs. Regular Gas
“Premium” and “Regular” refer to the amount of octane in the gasoline Depending on where you live, premium is higher octane, typically 91-93. Regular fuel is lower octane, usually 87 or 88.
Performance vehicles with high-compression engines required this higher octane fuel and using low octane fuel will cause irreversible damage over time. High octane fuel withstands higher compression engines like BMW. Low octane fuels combust sooner causing pre-ignition that not only effects performance, it causes internal engine issues. Over time, costly repairs are required. Warning: if you are buying a used BMW or performance vehicle, be sure the previous owner has used the correct octane fuel so you're not buying problems. There is no getting around that performance vehicles with high-compression engines required this higher octane fuel and low octane fuel will cause damage over time.
The Downsides of Using Regular Gas in Your BMW
With gas prices so high, you might think your are saving money by filling up your BMW with a low octane fuel. But this will eventually cost you. The risk of damaging your high performance engine is just not worth the savings. At Quality Automotive Servicing we see the problems with European import vehicle owners that ignore the recommendations for premium fuel.
Damage to Electronic Knock Sensors
It's true, your BMW can run on regular fuel, but it may not run as long as you want it to. Regular fuel places stress on the engine when the fuel does not ignite when it's suppose to. This puts stress on parts in your engine including electronic knock sensors.
Using regular fuel may also result in you loosing power and acceleration. This may not be a problem if you only rely on your Bimmer to get you around town, but we know that's probably not your style.
The advice from the professionals at Quality Automotive Servicing in Truckee is use premium octane in your BMW as indicated in the owners manual. You can keep your BMW on the road for years to come with the least amount of problems with a professional full-service shop.
For Comprehensive BMW Repair & Service in Truckee & North Lake Tahoe, visit the Quality Automotive Servicing team. Locals and professionals you can trust. Located in the heart of Gateway in Truckee at 11500 Donner Pass Road between Arbor Board house and the TDPUD.
Learn more about our team and master mechanic Kevin Millard on our webpage under About Us.