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What Is the Best Fuel for Your Car or Truck? All You Need to Know

Is Higher Octane Fuel Better

To achieve the best engine performance and prevent significant outcomes, you must understand “what is the best fuel for your car or truck?”

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

  • Understand the different fuel grades
  • Familiarize yourself with the difference in octane levels
  • Choose the fuel octane level based on your engine
  • Do not use the maximum octane level if not needed
  • Understand fuel additives
  • Make a final decision about the best fuel for your car
  • Locate the recommended octane level for your car

Have you ever stopped by the gas station and wondered which type of fuel should I choose? You've seen the different numbers referring to different octane levels, and you never had an idea about whether you should go with that most expensive one or the cheapest one.

Understanding the different types of available fuels in the markets and different types of additives helps you decide the best fuel that helps your vehicle perform better and prevents significant damages that might cost you a lot of money.

Whether you're driving a car, SUV, truck, or any vehicle, this article should provide you with all that you need about “what is the best fuel for your car or truck?”

What is the best fuel for your car or truck?

Choosing the right fuel is one of the very important skill sets that you must learn as a driver. You don't want to choose a very cheap fuel that might cause a reduction in your fuel economy or damage your engine. Also, you don't want to spend too much money on a field that might not bring you any benefits because your car doesn't need it.

1.    Understand the different fuel grades

The first step in selecting the best fuel for your car or truck is to understand the different fuel grades you'll see once you walk into the gas station. Typically, you'll find a diesel pump that you don't want to use in your truck mistakenly and vice versa. Then, in the US, there are three different types of fuel octane levels, including the less expensive, which is the 87 or the regular, the middle one, which is the 89 or the plus, and finally, the 93, which is the premium or sometimes referred to as v-power in shell gas stations.

2.     Familiarize yourself with the difference in octane levels

Also, you need to understand the main differences between these different octane levels. Typically, octane level refers to the fuel resistance to engine knocking come destination and other engine problems.

It is critical to understand that the higher the octane level, the more power your engine gets and the better fuel economy. That grading difference mustn't do anything with the vehicle response and performance to using this specific type of fuel or octane level.

3.    Choose the fuel octane level based on your engine

Since the octane level has to do with engine detonation or knocking, you must go back to your vehicle's engine and understand what type of fuel octane level is needed. For example, if you're driving a car with a superpower engine, there is a very high chance that the engine will deal with more engine detonation, and that's why automakers will force you to use the highest-octane level.

Using a lower octane level in a vehicle that requires high-octane level results in significant damages. What will happen is that the fuel will ignite unevenly, and you'll see some parts of the airfield mixer are burned while others are not. Therefore, there is a very high chance that the piston rings, cylinders, gaskets, and other components might get damaged due to choosing the wrong octane level.

4.    Do not use the maximum octane level if not needed

If your vehicle does not require the highest-octane level, do not choose the most expensive one. You'll be just wasting your money on something that's not needed. Therefore, you must understand “the best fuel for your car or truck” to avoid wasting extra money.

5.    Understand fuel additives

Depending on your country and state, you'll see certain additives added to the fuel to improve the engine's performance. Some companies will add even more additives than what's needed by the law. For example, shell gas stations add seven times more additives to improve the engine than what's required by the government.

Few additives help remove any sludge buildups from your vehicle known as carbon gunk, which impacts the way your engine performs and probably reduces the fuel economy. Carbon buildups can impact the combustion process by causing changes in the volume inside the cylinders. Also, if carbon clogs the fuel injectors, your vehicle won't receive the required amount of fuel at the right time. Therefore, you will see a significant reduction in fuel economy and engine power.

Finally, some certain fuel additives help prevent corrosion from building up inside the different parts of your vehicle’s engine. Corrosion can be a huge enemy to your engine and leads to significant damages that might cost you the engine. So these additives are extremely useful, especially if you're planning to leave your vehicle during the winter undriven or if you're planning to leave the car for a vacation.

6.    Make a final decision about the best fuel for your car

Once you understand the importance of octane levels and additives to your vehicle’s engine, it is then your job to choose the best fuel for your car or truck. Typically, automotive experts recommend following what's specified in your vehicles owner’s manual because your automaker knows your engine well, and they know exactly what type of forces and other extreme conditions your engine suffering from and therefore, they'll have a good idea about what's needed in terms of fuel and additives.

7.    Locate the recommended octane level for your car

If you don't know already what the best fuel for your car is as recommended by your automaker, you can find some information in three common locations:

Check the fuel door

The first and easiest way to check the octane level recommended for your car is by looking behind the Fuel door. Typically, you'll find a sticker labeled with a fuel pump or a symbol like the gas station, and it should have a number indicating their commitment octane level. If you didn't find this sticker on the fuel door, you should find it on the fuel cap.

Read the owner’s manual

Some vehicles might not have this sticker behind the fuel door or even on the fuel cap. Your option here is to check the vehicle's owner’s manual and look for the fuel section. In the field section, you'll find detailed information about the recommended fuel type and the octane level.

Check the dashboard

Finally, if you find it overwhelming to read through the owner’s manual or don't have a copy, you can find it an easier way to check for the octane level, which is your vehicle's dashboard. Look at first, look dashboard and locate  On the gauge, you should see recommendations about the type of fuel to use. For example, the gauge might say “premium fuel” or probably “regular fuel.”

Note that there is a big difference between the term “required” and “recommended” in the world of fuel. Required indicates that your manufacturer says that your vehicle cannot run with fuel that has a lower octane level, and if you choose a lower octane level, you'll deal with major damages that will cost you a lot of money. On the other hand, if the manufacturer says it's “recommended,” it indicates that it recommends using this type of fuel. Still, your vehicle might not necessarily deal with significant damages if you went with a lower octane level.

When do I must use a higher octane level than what's required by the manufacturer?

There are instances where you must choose a higher-octane level even if your manufacturer recommends using a regular one. This is because your vehicle might be experiencing certain conditions that caused engine knocking in some situations.

For example, if you're driving a high mileage car and you realize that you're hearing some destination or some loud knocking noises, it might be worth investing in higher octane level that helps reduce this issue and extends the lifetime of your vehicle.

In vehicles with very high mileage and when you experience this definition or knocking noise, the problem might be related to some carbon building up inside the cylinders, which might impact the remaining volume of air and fuel mixture and probably create some hot spots impacting the engine's performance. So, switching to a higher-octane level helps you get rid of the problem without needing to deal with very high repair costs.

Note that you don't necessarily must run with a higher-octane level forever because the premium fuel typically cleans up the carbon deposits over time. At some point in time, you can go back to your regular cheaper fuel.

What to do if I use the wrong octane level?

It is not very rare where you get into the gas station, and instead of hitting the premium gasoline, you hit the regular one and fill your tank. This could happen if you're in the middle of nowhere and there are no other gasoline choices or probably by accident. What would you do?

The good news is that some products in the market are referred to as the “octane boosters,” which you can easily poor inside your fuel tank to increase the octane level of your vehicle to bring the current fuel level to a higher level in terms of octane grading.

Should I use the “E-85” fuel?

Have you ever walked into the gas station and realized a new fuel pump labeled with “E-85”? Many people think that this fuel refers to an octane level of 85. However, that's not the case.

The number 85 in the E-85 fuel refers to the percent ethanol in the fuel, recommended for Specific types of flex-fuel vehicles. You must visit to check whether your vehicle is flex-fuel or not. Otherwise, choosing this type of fuel might cause significant engine damage that you don't want to deal with.

Does high octane fuel clean the engine?

The octane level must not necessarily do anything with cleaning your engine. As we highlighted before, the additives added to the fuel are responsible for getting rid of any gunk or carbon buildup in there for cleaning or engine.


Filling your car with the right fuel type is not a choice, and if you choose the wrong fuel quality, you might deal with significant problems that could cost you the engine here. Therefore, you must follow what's recommended in your vehicle's owner’s manual about what's needed for your vehicle.

Therefore, if your manual says that your car requires premium fuel, you must do so. However, if your vehicle's manual says it's not required but recommended, running on regular fuel is not a problem. Still, it is better for your vehicle to follow the recommendations on the manual, even if it's not a requirement.

It is critical to note that if your vehicle has major mechanical problems that have to do with the transmission or the engine, choosing the right fuel might not be the solution for you because you must deal with significant repair costs. Therefore, before you spend a penny on repairing your car, you might want to evaluate the situation and see if it's worth it or not. In other words, if repair costs are close to 75% or more from the value of your vehicle, you might want to sell it instead and use the money to buy a better car that doesn't have a problem.

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