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Will 2004 BMW X3 that requires supreme unleaded be damaged if I accidentally filled up with regular unleaded?

January 17th, 2011 · No Comments

I have a 2004 BMW X3. I was so excited to find gas under $3.00/gal that I forgot I needed supreme.
- Lower octane fuel can potentially detonate early, and can damage internals. The odds of that happening aren’t too high, but it can still happen. You should be fine on 1 tank of gas, though. I am assuming your tank was half full of high-octane, and you topped it off with regular.
- You have done no harm by using regular. Octane is a rating used to determine gasolines resistance to burning. Higher octane burns at a higher heat range. Higher compression engines need higher octane to run most efficiently. Many high end manufacturers reccomend premium to maximise their performance, smoothness of operation, and longevity; however very few models actually have a high enough compression ration to warrent the additional octane. If the engine pings from the lower octane gas, which sounds just like that, a pinging sound upon acceleration, then premium gas is needed. It would be a safe assumption that only using regular unleaded wouldnt pose a problem for your vehicle, however, stick with the manufacturer if you can afford the premium.
- One time only shouldn’t hurt. You may be down on power a bit and you may not get the best fuel mileage on this tank.
The lower octane could cause detonation (knocking). Detonation is a condition where the fuel air mixture ignites from compression in the combustion chamber before the spark plug fires. Detonation can cause severe internal engine damage, usually burned valves or pistons. Detonation sounds like a rattling marbles under the hood when the engine is under a load. This usually happens while accelerating.
Your engine is equipped with a knock sensor. This sensor listens for knocking in your engine. When knocking is detected, the engine management computer will retard the ignition timing and adjust the fuel / air mixture to stop the knocking.
Then this is happening, you will lose power and consume more fuel.
On your next fill-up, everything should return to normal.
- No most likly not you cna use the cheap gas just listen to the engine If it pings or kncks you may still need a higher grade gas the octane rating on gas is the compression rating which means it can be more explosive under high commpression most current cars do not have over 12 to 1 compression and are set up to use low octane gas so unless your driving a 900 horse power nascar with 15 to 1 compression.

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