How do you compare different types of octane boosters?


Quick Answer

The most accurate way to test the effects of various octane boosters is to use a dynometer to measure the horsepower boost each additive gives to a particular vehicle. It is also possible to use chemical tests to measure the increase in octane rating of gasoline after an octane booster is added, but measurement of octane rating increases often does not translate into measurable horsepower gains in real-world testing.

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Full Answer

While octane boosters can raise the octane rating of gasoline, they do not generally raise the actual octane content of fuel. Instead, octane boosters often work by reducing the tendency of gasoline to pre-ignite before maximum compression is reached in an engine's cylinders. Since octane rating reflects the relative combustion efficiency and knocking tendency of a fuel, boosting this rating reduces knocking in the engine and can raise the engine's horsepower output due to better combustion efficiency. However, the potential power boost from a higher fuel octane rating due to use of an octane booster cannot always be translated into actual power gains from the engine due to mechanical limitations. Assessing the effect of engine limitations is one of the major reasons why dynometer testing is one of the preferred ways to compare the practical performance effects of octane boosters.

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