How Different Fuels Impact Your Car and its Fuel Efficiency

April 10, 2019

How Different Fuels Impact Your Car and its Fuel Efficiency

At Jim’s Mobile Tyres, we pride ourselves at being experts in anything to do with tyres and their maintenance. While you may be used to reading all the advice we’ve got to do with car, van and 4WD tyres, here’s a more general post that looks into a different, yet arguably just as important component of your car – fuel.

Drivers fill up on it every day at a servo, yet there are plenty of misconceptions afloat when it comes to understanding the different fuel types, and how they impact the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Though it might seem to many like a simple matter of cost, is it simply as straightforward to say that the more expensive the fuel, the better your car performs?

Let’s start by taking a look at Octane Ratings. It’s common to find different ratings accompanying the various fuels available at a petrol station, and it’s commonly assumed that the higher the octane, the better the fuel. As a result, drivers often pay more money for a higher-octane fuel, without actually having an understanding of the effects it would have on their engines. The reality, however, is hardly that simple.

The Octane Rating refers to the likelihood of fuel igniting under pressure, before a spark plug can ignite it. High-octane fuels work better with high performance cars, for the safety of the vehicle. While a newer, high performance vehicle might perform slightly better with a higher-octane fuel, the result of your vehicle’s performance could otherwise be the same with a fuel that has a lower octane value. The bottom line is, you don’t necessarily have to pay a higher price for a higher-octane fuel, especially if your vehicle doesn’t need it.

An engine works by having fuel sprayed into it, and being ignited when a spark plug lights up. A ‘knock’ problem happens when fuel ignites even before activation of the spark plug. While it isn’t an issue faced by every car, it’s still a matter you should attend to wherever possible, as knocks cause needless wear and damage to an engine. The good news is, most new engines manufactured today present a lower compression ratio, and an internal system that works to prevent knocks from happening. Some cars, however, require a certain octane value for this internal computer system to operate – if your vehicle manufacturer recommends a certain octane fuel, it could be to do with avoiding knocks.

As a general rule of thumb, if your vehicle’s engine has come with a recommended octane fuel, stick to it – it’s more than likely to help you avoid any associated maintenance costs that come with knocks.

The team at Jims Mobile Tyres hope you find this information useful. And, of course, if you ever need your vehicle’s tyres replaced or repaired, call us and we’ll bring our shop to you.

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