Octane and Engine Options: What’s Best for Your Car’s Performance

When buying a car, there are a plethora of decisions to make. Whether it’s interior color, mileage, engine, or the gas octane. These last two key aspects of your car will continue to be critical to your vehicle from the first to the last day you drive your vehicle and all of its upkeep. What should you keep in mind when it comes to your octane and engine options?

Gasoline prices fluctuate a lot and every time you fill up, it’s easy to wonder “why can’t this be cheaper?” As long as the gasoline gets you from point A to point B, it might seem like it doesn’t matter. However, you should assess the gas and engine within your car when choosing your vehicle and the upkeep behind the vehicle. Think carefully through the engine and gas you want to be using moving forward.

Power vs. Purpose

When shopping for cars, you’ll probably hear terms like “4-cylinder,” “V6,” and even “V8.” These are the basic identifiers of the number of cylinders in a car. With each cylinder, it’s another piston that sparks an internal combustion reaction to propel the car. 

Simply put, the more cylinders you have, the more power you have in your engine. If the sole purpose of your vehicle is to simply go from point A to point B with no glitz or glamor, it is likely all you need is a 4-cylinder engine. If you have a need for more powerful towing, speed, or cargo space, a V6, or V8 might be better suited. 

How do I choose between a 4-cylinder or a V6/V8 engine?

  • 4 Cylinder – Best for work commutes, local travel, and higher fuel efficiency. 
  • V6/V8 – Best for long-distance travel, larger family travel, towing, hauling, sport performance, and lower fuel efficiency.

The 4-cylinder engine is smaller and contains fewer parts, making it often less expensive to maintain. The V6/V8 engines contain more moving parts and a higher upkeep cost with more parts at risk.

Get the Octane and Engine to Match

At the gas station, the regular, plus, and premium gas levels are synonymous with 87 octane, 89 octane, and 91 or more octane gasoline. As the octane increases, the price per gallon increases. Meanwhile, inside the car, the higher the octane level, the less combustible the gasoline is when it’s compressed in the engine.

Before purchasing a car, make sure you understand what gas is compatible with your engine. If your engine requires premium gasoline, it is vital that you give it this gasoline to prevent engine damage. If your engine is regular or above, you can use the lowest octane rating, but likely won’t see a greater performance with a higher rating. 

How does my gasoline choice affect the engine?

The higher the level of octane that you choose for your car, the less combustible the gasoline is upon compression. A high-performance engine will rely more on its greater cylinder pressure to cause the internal combustion at the right time and place.

Octane and Engine Performance Are Important Considerations

The interaction between your vehicle’s engine and gasoline is an integral part of your car’s long-term health. If your vehicle’s performance has inexplicably changed or even if you have put in the wrong type of gasoline, City Auto Repair can help get your car back in tip-top shape. Call us to schedule a tune-up today.