What Type of Fuel Should You Put in Your Vehicle?

A man using a bronze colored gas pump to fill up his black sedan's gas tank with fuelWith gas prices at record highs, it’s important to know your fueling options to avoid paying more than is necessary. With gas stations offering a variety of types with little information on display, it’s crucial to understand which is best for your car. Not only will using the wrong fuel potentially increase the price at the gas pump, but it can also have catastrophic consequences for your car. Let’s review some of the common types and which fuel you should put in your vehicle.

What Types of Fuel Options are There?

You’re familiar with the varieties of fuel at gas stations, but you may not fully understand the significance of each. You also likely noted the numbers paired with each type. These are referred to as the fuel’s octane rating, which measures the gas’s performance and stability. The higher, the better. Let’s review the three common types of fuel and their characteristics:

  • Regular: This fuel usually has an octane rating of 85 to 87, meaning it burns faster and stronger when pressurized. Most vehicles run fine on this type of gas.
  • Mid-Grade: Sometimes referred to as “plus,” this gas typically has a rating of 87 to 90. For vehicles that can process this gas, it will provide better fuel economy than regular.
  • Premium: With an octane rating of 90 to 94, this gas provides the best fuel economy for vehicles that can benefit from it.

Of course, you will also encounter diesel pumps at gas stations. Vehicles that use diesel tend to get better mileage, but it produces far more emissions than gasoline.

How Do You Know Which Fuel to Use?

If you’re unsure of what type of gas your vehicle uses, there are a few things you can do to find out. Here’s how you can determine the right fuel for your car:

  • Check Inside the Fuel Door: On the inside of your fuel door, there’s usually a sticker that will read either “Unleaded Fuel Only” or “Diesel Fuel.”
  • Read the Driver’s Manual: The driver’s manual is a great resource to answer your car questions. Your manual will have a section that tells you the best fuel to use for your make and model.
  • Call the Car Manufacturer: Call your manufacturer’s customer support line if you are unable to find out the correct type of fuel using the other two methods.

It’s important you understand the right fuel for your car. If your vehicle isn’t equipped to process mid-grade or premium fuel, you likely won’t be benefiting from the added fuel economy. Furthermore, using the wrong gas in your car can have some detrimental effects.

What Happens if You Put the Wrong Fuel in My Vehicle?

If your car calls for gas, you likely won’t experience much of a difference between the three unleaded types. However, putting diesel in a gas vehicle will cause your gas filter and fuel injectors to clog since diesel is denser than normal unleaded fuel. On the other hand, if you put gas in your diesel vehicle, the outcome could be more severe. Since gas is more combustible, it could cause irreparable damage to the engine and its components. Should you find yourself using the wrong fuel with your car, do not start it. Call a tow truck to bring your car to an auto body to clean out the tank and fuel lines.

Knowing what type of fuel you should put in your vehicle not only saves you from unnecessary spending but can also help ensure your car runs optimally. If you do happen to use the wrong fuel in your car, having the right insurance can ensure your claim is processed. At TJ Woods Insurance, our agents can pair you with the right auto insurance to ensure you and your vehicle are fully protected. If you need proper coverage for your car, contact us today.