Q:

What is octane used for?

A:

Quick Answer

Octane is the measure of a gasoline's ability to resist knocking, which occurs from uncontrolled combustion in the engine's cylinders. Octane is vital in preventing engine damage. Engines experience prolonged knocking if the gasoline's octane rating is lower than what is required by the engine.

Continue Reading
What is octane used for?
Credit: Michael Krinke E+ Getty Images

Full Answer

A gasoline's octane rating derives from two testing methods: the motor method and the research method. The motor method runs gasoline through an engine under load, while the research method runs gasoline through a free running engine.

Regular octane is substantial for most cars. However, cars with high compression engines, such as sports cars, luxury cars and older cars, may require gasoline with higher octane ratings.

Your car's engine lets you know if you are using the wrong gasoline. If your engine runs smoothly, switching to a higher-octane gasoline does not prove beneficial.

In addition to the engine's power, the temperature, humidity, engine spark timing and your driving method influence your octane requirements. Accelerating quickly or driving with heavy loads increases your octane requirement. Moreover, hotter and drier air also increases your octane requirement considerably. In turn, higher altitudes decrease your octane requirement. Check your owner's manual to see what your vehicle's octane requirement is.

Learn more about Car Parts & Maintenance

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the octane booster test?

    A:

    The octane rating of an engine is a standardized measurement of engine performance. The Research Octane Number comes from a standardized RON test and determines a fuel’s performance and the point at which it ignites instead of burning.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    How does a starter work?

    A:

    A car's starter motor is an electric motor that engages and turns the main crankshaft, drawing air and fuel into the cylinders so the engine can start. To do this, the starter draws heavy current through the battery, engages a flywheel or flexplate connected to the crankshaft, and turns it.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    How does a W12 engine work?

    A:

    A W12 engine uses an engine configuration of either four rows of three cylinders or three banks of four cylinders that operate in an offset configuration to generate power. Some W12 engines are also set with a compact and fuel-efficient valve placement that covers the combustion chambers of the engine. The W12 engine typically operates with two exhaust engines, as it is made by merging two V6 engines together.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    How does a dual exhaust system improve your car?

    A:

    A true dual-exhaust system helps to improve the performance of a V-6 or V-8 engine by splitting the exhaust from the two banks of cylinders. However, it is less effective on smaller vehicles that use an inline four-cylinder engine. The system reduces the pressure to expel the exhaust fumes, allowing the engine to send more energy to the transmission.

    Full Answer >

Explore