At Shaus Motorsport in Aurora, we caution our customers that if you drive a German car, you need a higher octane. This is not just a guideline or suggestion, but it really is the way your high-end engine is designed to run. If you ignore this rule, you run the risk of expensive damage to your engine and your bank account.
Premium Octane is a Necessity
Why does your German car need a 91 or higher octane? Simply put, German vehicles are built for high performance and use a higher horse power than your average engine. German engines are considered to be high compression engines. These engines, when running on lower octane fuels, produce uncontrolled combustion called a ping or a knock. Over time, knocking can cause serious damage to your engine. The higher the octane of your fuel, the better the fuel’s ability to resist knocking.
Saving Money in the Short Term can Cost
High-octane fuel can be pricey, particularly in summer when fuel prices rise. It can be quite tempting to reach for lower octane fuel to save money. Initially, you will not notice much difference. It may even seem like your engine is adjusting to the lower octane fuel. In reality, your vehicle engine is suffering a slow and steady beating.
It is important to understand exactly what the higher octane does. Higher octane does not have more energy capacity than regular fuel. It has a much higher resistance to knock. Knowing this advantage, German car manufacturers design engines with maximized performance, using the higher octane as protection from the premature fuel combustion (also known as pinging or knocking) that comes with maximized performance. The engines can pull out more power from the gasoline and still remain protected. The maximized engines require the premium octane because they were built knowing the higher octane would protect the engine.
If you have a newer German car, you may be thinking that you can simply rely on your knock sensor while using a lower octane and all will be well. The knock sensor does help. If the sensor detects knocking, it detunes your German car engine until the knocking ceases. This protects your engine to some extent. Your engine has still taken a beating until the sensor has completed the level of detuning needed. Once the detuning has occurred, your car’s fuel mileage will take a nosedive and your engine performance will suffer as well. In essence, this will negate any savings you may have obtained at the pump.
Ultimately, if you drive a German car, you need a higher octane. Saving a few cents at the pump can cost thousands in engine repair. Avoid the long term cost by using the correct octane for your German car. If your Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, or BMW needs some TLC or has developed a knocking issue, contact us at Shaus Motorsport and we will take good care of your vehicle.