Even with gas prices at record lows, many drivers still hesitate before hitting the “premium” button at the gas pump. Sure, gas prices are low, but you can still save a few dollars per fill up by choosing regular gasoline. Drivers of high-end vehicles, including Saabs, should think twice about the wisdom of saving a few dollars. If you fill your tank with regular gas and your engine was built for premium, that “savings” could cost you down the road.
How to Tell If My Saab Requires Premium Fuel
Is premium gas better for your Saab? There’s one surefire way to find out. Read your Saab’s owner’s manual (look for Fuel in the index). Some vehicles also specify the recommended fuel type on a sticker in the fuel door. In these places, you will find one of the three guidelines in regard to premium gas. It will probably be recommended, required or indicated as the only acceptable choice. If your owner’s manual “recommends” premium fuel, that means you can get by without it but will enjoy more power and improved fuel economy as a result of lower knock. If you see the words “required” or “only,” don’t risk damaging your Saab by gassing up with regular.
What’s the Difference Between Premium and Regular Fuel?
The key to gas classification is octane. You’ve probably heard the word but may not know it means the amount of pressure the gas can tolerate before combusting. It refers to the fuel’s makeup. High-octane gas is considered to be gas with an octane rating of 91 or above. Regular-grade gas is 87 octane and mid-grade gas is 89 octane. High-octane gas is produced by sending gasoline through processes designed to refine and purify the fuel blend so it burns more slowly than low-octane blends. Essentially, the higher the octane rating, the better the fuels’ anti-knock characteristics. Do Saab engines run more efficiently on higher octane fuel? A safe assumption is “yes” because Saab’s are high-end performance vehicles. To make sure, check your owner’s manual.
What Is Engine Knock?
When a vehicle’s fuel ignites prematurely (for instance, before the spark plug has had time to fire), that causes the engines RPM to rev and the pressure in the cylinder compression chamber to surge. The result is a hollow, metallic sound when you step on the gas pedal. When you hear engine knock, you know your engine isn’t operating optimally. Not only is engine knock unpleasant to drive with, but it can jeopardize fuel economy and performance and even cause expensive damage to your vehicle’s moving parts. One of the main benefits of higher octane gas is it prevents engine knock.
Whenever you have questions related to your Saab, we invite you to contact us at Swedish Motors. We are here to meet all of your vehicle’s maintenance and repair needs and to educate you!