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  1. #1

    Car Q: 85 octane gas vs. 87

    I have a new Altima that calls for the use of 87 octane gas. The problem is, I have 85 octane gas at work that is available for my use for FREE.
    Anyone have experience using the wrong octane and paying the price later down the road in maintenance fees, etc?
    Or, is there not that much of a difference to where it won't hurt the car over the long haul?

  2. #2
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    You're lucky to have an Altima that only takes 87. The couple people I know with them have to have premium gas.
    Still pheenin' for my next fix.

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  3. #3
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    I am guessing you don't have the V6 engine. If you put 85 in it (only put 1/2 a tank in the first time) and it runs OK, then you can use 85. Modern cars have pretty sophisticated engine computers so they can use cheap gas.

    If you have the V6 then I am not sure. My Maxima has a sticker that says "Premium recommended for maximum performance" on the fuel door and owner's manual says to put premium in but it runs OK on regular. Since I don't drive it hard anymore, I don't regularly put premium in anymore (it was 3.19/gallon for premium at Costco yesterday ).

  4. #4
    The only thing that the octane rating tells you is its resistance to knocking or pinging. If you use the 85 octane and your engine doesn't knock, it won't cause damage. However, it is likely that it is an unbranded gas which will not have the specific additives that make engines run cleaner & better in the long run. (In other words, it won't actively prevent damage, either.)

  5. #5
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    I would go with the recommended octane.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dengeist
    I would go with the recommended octane.
    That would be the easiest/safest route to go. It is not always possible though. The recommend octane is 93 for my car and I have driven through states where the maximum sold is 91 (I think due to oxygenation of the fuel to reduce pollution).

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by analogman
    That would be the easiest/safest route to go. It is not always possible though. The recommend octane is 93 for my car and I have driven through states where the maximum sold is 91 (I think due to oxygenation of the fuel to reduce pollution).
    Oxygenation can raise octane depending on what they use. Ethanol will increase octane. But it also depends on elevation. The higher the elevation, the lower the octane needs to be to prevent knocking. There's some info on this at Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octane_rating

    Some quotes:
    "An engine that might require 93 octane at sea level may perform at maximum on a fuel rated at 91 octane if the elevation is over, say, 1000 feet."
    "Octane ratings can vary greatly from region to region. For example, the minimum octane rating available in many states of the western United States is 87 AKI and the highest is 91. In the Rocky Mountain states, 85 octane is the minimum octane available in fuel. In parts of the upper Midwest, finding a fuel with an octane rating higher than 90 can be difficult. In many east coast states, up to 93 AKI is available."

    Also, just because an engine says that it needs a certain octane, it may only be at/near its peak power output. Some tests of sports cars that "require" 93 octane ran fine on 87, but did not perform quite as well when pushed to their limits.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by redav
    Also, just because an engine says that it needs a certain octane, it may only be at/near its peak power output. Some tests of sports cars that "require" 93 octane ran fine on 87, but did not perform quite as well when pushed to their limits.
    That's what I said in one of my earlier posts Someone said to go with the recommend octane but I was trying to point out it is not necessarily possible or required.

  9. #9
    you could always buy some octane booster.. i think its 3 or 4 $ a bottle and raises a tank of gas 2-3 octane...

    $4 a tank + free gas is cheaper than paying for a full tank of 87


    i dont even look at the lower octane stuff, my Trans Am requires 91.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by analogman
    That's what I said in one of my earlier posts Someone said to go with the recommend octane but I was trying to point out it is not necessarily possible or required.
    Sorry, forgot about that.

    But also, there is more to gas than octane. Just because 85 will work fine, doesn't mean that the free stuff has the additives (detergents, lubricants, oxygenates, etc) that keep an engine running well.

  11. #11
    just out of curiousity can you provide us with details on how/why you get free gas at work?

  12. #12
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    If you get free gas...do your co-workers get it free too? Ask one of them how they manage with low octane...
    Whose idea was the corn?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccm33
    I have a new Altima that calls for the use of 87 octane gas. The problem is, I have 85 octane gas at work that is available for my use for FREE.
    Anyone have experience using the wrong octane and paying the price later down the road in maintenance fees, etc?
    Or, is there not that much of a difference to where it won't hurt the car over the long haul?
    no, high octane if is for cars that have high compression ratios. meaning that engine compression ignites the gas rather than spark plugs. Altimas are HARDLY high compression as are about 98% of the cars on the road.


    ohh, as for "Premium recommended for maximum performance" so does my G6, so what ?
    Last edited by fearlesss; 03-20-2007 at 11:54 PM.

  14. #14
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    I've never seen 85 octane gas. Regular unleaded where I go is 87.
    "Human society, they claimed, was a sort of monster, its main by-products being corpses and rubble. It never learned, it made the same cretinous mistakes over and over, trading short-term gain for long-term pain. It was like a giant slug eating its way relentlessly through all the other bioforms on the planet, grinding up life on earth and shitting it out the backside in the form of pieces of manufactured and soon-to-be-obsolete plastic junk." --Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

  15. #15
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    85 gas for free sounds to me like it is E-85 Ethanol fuel. The reason it is free is probably because it is paid for by the government. So, unless you live in a high altitude place, I'd say stick with at least 87 pump gas.
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