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|3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.|
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| 6.14 Does low octane fuel increase engine wear? |
Not if you are meeting the octane requirement of the engine. If you are not
meeting the octane requirement, the engine will rapidly suffer major damage
due to knock. You must not use fuels that produce sustained audible knock,
as engine damage will occur. If the octane is just sufficient, the engine
management system will move settings to a less optimal position, and the
only major penalty will be increased costs due to poor fuel economy.
Whenever possible, engines should be operated at the optimum position for
long-term reliability. Engine wear is mainly related to design,
manufacturing, maintenance and lubrication factors. Once the octane and
run-on requirements of the engine are satisfied, increased octane will have
no beneficial effect on the engine. Run-on is the tendency of an engine to
continue running after the ignition has been switched off, and is discussed
in more detail in Section 8.2. The quality of gasoline, and the additive
package used, would be more likely to affect the rate of engine wear, rather
than the octane rating.
6.16 What happens if I use the wrong octane fuel?
If you use a fuel with an octane rating below the requirement of the engine,
the management system may move the engine settings into an area of less
efficient combustion, resulting in reduced power and reduced fuel economy.
You will be losing both money and driveability. If you use a fuel with an
octane rating higher than what the engine can use, you are just wasting
money by paying for octane that you can not utilise. The additive packages
are matched to the engines using the fuel, for example intake valve deposit
control additive concentrations may be increased in the premium octane grade.
If your vehicle does not have a knock sensor, then using a fuel with an
octane rating significantly below the octane requirement of the engine means
that the little men with hammers will gleefully pummel your engine to pieces.
You should initially be guided by the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations,
however you can experiment, as the variations in vehicle tolerances can
mean that Octane Number Requirement for a given vehicle model can range
over 6 Octane Numbers. Caution should be used, and remember to compensate
if the conditions change, such as carrying more people or driving in
different ambient conditions. You can often reduce the octane of the fuel
you use in winter because the temperature decrease and possible humidity
changes may significantly reduce the octane requirement of the engine.
Use the octane that provides cost-effective driveability and performance,
using anything more is waste of money, and anything less could result in
an unscheduled, expensive visit to your mechanic.
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