- TL;DR Summary
- I remember when I was in high school, most of my friends and acquaintances would claim that regular unleaded is bad for a car’s engine. Is there any truth to this?
Is regular grade gas detrimental to a car’s engine?
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethyl_Corporation for more on that.TEL offered the business advantage of being commercially profitable because its use for this purpose could be patented.
Define "detrimental" and "grade". Assuming you mean octane rating: The purpose of higher octane gas is to eliminate pre-ignition/knocking at higher compression ratios. So if your engine doesn't have a high compression ratio, there's no benefit to higher octane gas/detriment to lower octane.Is regular grade gas detrimental to a car’s engine?
Technology has improved our lives in ways that a layperson like me, wouldn’t even know without forums like this one. It’s also destroying our lives, but that’s a whole other show.Tetraethyllead in fuel helped prevent valve wear and knocking. When lead was cut back, there were lead substitute fuel additives you could buy (they are probably still available today.)
But the manufacturers also adjusted the design and the materials of the engines to compensate for the lack of lead. For example, ethanol raises the octane level without lead. Also, "[they]began specifying hardened valve seats and upgraded exhaust valve materials to prevent valve recession without lead."
The Wikipedia article also exposes the real reason for use of lead in the first place.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethyl_Corporation for more on that.
So what you learned in high school may be obsolete today. If you attended high school as many
years centuriesdecades ago as I did, nearly everything is obsolete.
I did a little online research. What I’ve gleaned is that unless you drive a high performance car, like a sports car for example, and unless the manual specifically recommends it, spending money on high octane gas is pointless.Define "detrimental" and "grade". Assuming you mean octane rating: The purpose of higher octane gas is to eliminate pre-ignition/knocking at higher compression ratios. So if your engine doesn't have a high compression ratio, there's no benefit to higher octane gas/detriment to lower octane.
Engine knocking can damage an engine. So if you do use low octane gas on a high compression ratio older car, yes, it can be detrimental. But newer engines with computer-controlled timing and combustion have knock sensors that can make adjustments in ignition to avoid the knocking and reduce the potential for damage:
The bottom-line is: Read the car's manual (or look on/in the gas cap) to determine what kind of gas to use.
The below-the-bottom-line is: My car (Kia Stinger, 2.0T) has vague guidance that has been altered between model years to be even more vague. Higher octane gas is recommended but evidently not required. There's spirited debate online regarding what this means, with the consensus seeming to be that if you use lower octane gas against the recommendation, the likely result is going to be slightly lower fuel economy but no harm.