Jason McKinsey, Lehman Volvo Cars Service Manager, writes about Volvo trending topics, including this month’s segment on the importance of using the correct octane fuel in your Volvo.
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Jason's Journal: Which Octane Fuel to use in your Volvo
Last month we talked about top tier fuels and how they benefit your Volvo (read last month's article here). This month, we will discuss a question I hear quite often at the Service Desk. "What is the correct octane fuel for my Volvo?"
You've been looking at Volvo's website, browsing our dealerships inventory, studying and comparing each feature and option, and now you did it--you have purchased a new Volvo. As you read through the owner’s manual (which we know everyone does!) you come across the section on fuel requirements. It states “minimum 91 octane”. So, what does that mean and why should you care? Besides, why would you pay more for a higher-octane fuel when the less expensive options seem to work just fine?
Let’s start out with what fuel octane rating is. Octane rating is a measurement of the performance of fuel. The higher the number, the more compression the fuel can withstand before detonating. This is important because in your Volvo's advanced turbo and/or supercharged engine, compression can be quite high. Using a lower octane fuel than what is recommended can cause engine knocking or pinging. Engine knock would be most noticed under acceleration and is an audible sound. The condition (engine knocking) is caused by pockets of fuel igniting during the engines compression stroke outside the normal time for ignition of the fuel to occur. Engine knock causes many long term harmful effects as it increases heat inside the engine to extreme levels. The extreme heat causes damage to the engine's spark plugs, intake and exhaust valves, pistons and other internal engine components, which can be very costly to repair.
Short term effects of a lower octane fuel than what is recommended are low fuel economy and reduced engine performance. No one wants that! So, saving a couple bucks on a fill up at the pump might not be saving you as much as you think. Using the recommended octane fuel is the only way to ensure you get the performance and fuel economy your Volvo was designed to obtain.
If you have opted for one of the less spirited, yet still spectacular, Volvos which require a lower octane fuel, there are no real benefits to using higher-octane fuel. Use of a higher-octane fuel than recommended will not harm your Volvo, but the money you save using the correct fuel will allow you to purchase some great accessories for your new Volvo (view accessory specials here). If you have any further questions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have questions regarding the recommended octane rating for your Volvo, please do not hesitate to contact our service and sales team at (717) 755-7676.