Does it really matter if my BMW has premium gas?
BMW’s are higher end vehicles that are the perfect combination of luxury and performance. And they range from moderately cruising cars to high-end vehicles using some of the best parts in the industry. It’s why using a dedicated foreign repair specialist is always a good call. Because BMW has something for everybody, some cars have more costly parts and engines than others. Many of these recommend using premium gas in the owner’s manual to maximize the life of your engine. This gas is supposedly better and will make the vehicle work more effectively. But when your BMW user’s manual suggests using premium gas, is it more of a gentle coaxing or a strong urge?
How are regular and premium gas different?
Gas levels are measured in octane levels–the resistance gasoline can take before igniting–with higher numbers requiring a greater pressure. Practically, this means that higher octane gasoline prevents knocking in engines with high compression ratios. An urban myth is that older, cheaper cars will experience a boost in fuel economy by using premium, but this has been debunked several times. So what good is it?
When do I have to use premium gas?
Depending on your specific model, premium gas may be recommended whenever you fill up.
- Engines that have very high compression ratios that don’t use premium gas when as suggested could create an audible knocking noise that is not only irritating, but affects performance as well.
- Some BMW owner’s manuals claim that your car requires premium gas. For these models, it is very unwise to try and save a few dollars per fill up by using lower octane gas. When required, 91 octane is usually the minimum.
- When it is recommended to use higher octane gas, see if the owner’s manual suggests a particular octane level. It may be 87 (which is regular in some states) or higher, and mid-grade may be enough when available.
When in doubt, check the manual!
BMWs aren’t your typical cars. And because of that, many of them don’t have typical engines and can’t use typical gasoline. If you aren’t sure whether you need to, the easiest way to check is to check your user’s manual for the recommendation. If it’s required, ignoring it will likely cause a knocking sound and will likely significantly reduce engine life. But if you treat your BMW right, getting quality BMW service from shops that know the vehicles best, it will treat you right as well!