Is it Ok if I accidentally put premium gas in my car?

Have you ever been in a situation where you are forced to use premium gas on a regular car? Sure, this is a common occurrence at the gas station. When the regular gas has run out in all the nearest gas stations, and you are worried that the fuel you have in your tank will not take you to your destination, you should not panic.

Is It OK To Put Premium Gas In A Regular Car

Is it Ok if I accidentally put premium gas in my car?

It is completely OK to put premium gas of between 91 – 93 octanes in a car that usually runs on regular gas. Premium gas contains some detergent additives that may clean up your engine a small amount, but there will be no significant difference in the performance of the MPG of your regular car. 

Having issues at the gas station? Check out our g guide to the risks and consequences of driving without a gas cap.

You can opt to use the premium gas on your vehicle for that one time. It will not harm your vehicle. 

Unfortunately, there is also no significant benefit to warrant the difference in price. Your vehicle’s performance will stay the same. Regular gas is 87 octane while midgrade is 89 octane. Above 91 octanes is premium gas. 

In some states, gasoline with over 93 octanes is called ultra. A regular car will have no problem running on high-octane gas.

Surprisingly, the opposite is not true. When you use regular gas on a premium car, it will not cause significant damage at the first use. But with continued use, it will end up causing damage to your engine and associated systems.

It is, therefore, advisable to use the manufacturer’s recommended fuel on your vehicle. 

Is it Ok if I accidentally put premium gas in my car

While a premium car will comfortably run on low-grade gas, prolonged use of this will cause the vehicle to develop engine problems and even cause engine knock. It is, therefore, recommended to use the appropriate gas as stated in the owner’s manual for your vehicle.

Using lower octane gas causes pre-ignition problems, which would result in knocking if you end up using this type of fuel for a long journey. This might cause serious harm to your car’s engine and possibly other systems in the vehicle. 

Additionally, using regular-grade gas in the engine that is designed to use premium may void your warranty. Let us dig deeper into the do’s and don’t of regular and premium gas. 

What Happens If You Accidentally Put Regular Gas Instead Of Premium?

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This is a common mistake people do at the gas station. 

You should not panic when this happens by accident. 

However, it is not good to get in the habit of using lower grade fuel on vehicles that require premium gas because the prolonged use of the wrong gas will eventually cause damage to the engine and other parts of the vehicle. 

When the premium gas is unavailable at the pump, it is OK to use regular gas. But this will not have any noteworthy benefits to your vehicle’s performance or mileage per gallon.

If you have ever found yourself in this predicament, worry not. In most circumstances, there will be no negative consequences to your vehicle when you use regular gas instead of premium. 

But this should not be repeated every so often. 

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The Difference Between Premium and Regular Gas

Firstly, it is important to understand the difference between these two fuel options. Knowing octane rating is the key to understanding the different types of fuel available in the market today.

Premium gas can be described as having 91 or 93 octanes. This will mostly depend on which state you reside in. 

Some states have higher octane levels, whereas regular gas has 87 octanes. 

Octane is a measure of the probability of mistimed combustion. A lower likelihood of combustion occurring at the wrong time is associated with higher octane ratings. 

It is because of the mini-explosions referred to as pre-ignition or engine knock. High octane gas is designed to reduce engine stuttering and improve performance. 

If this happens once in a while, it isn’t usually hazardous to your engine, but if it happens frequently, it might lead to costly engine failures and damage to the fuel system. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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What can happen to my car if I use the wrong octane fuel?

Things have changed since the days when the 87 octane was the only option. While running low-grade fuel on a premium-rated car may cause engine knock, this will only happen using the wrong fuel at any time.

Unlike in the past when the vehicle would knock immediately, today you will be able to use your vehicle, and may not notice the difference sometimes. Nowadays, your car’s ECU will automatically modify engine timing and performance if you accidentally fill up with regular gas. 

Where there is no premium gas in the pump stations nearby, this is acceptable, but it is not ideal for getting in the habit of running using lower-than-recommended fuel for long. 

Will I get more mileage when I use premium instead of regular on my car?

No. Using higher octane fuel will not have a significant impact on your performance. 

Your vehicle’s performance will be improved if you use the correct octane rating, which may also result in better fuel efficiency. This doesn’t justify the extra cost you should incur to buy the premium gas instead of the manufacture’s recommended regular gas. 

Why must I use premium gas on my vehicle?

Premium gas may be required for various reasons, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

Turbocharged engines require higher octane fuels, or you may have gone for a high-performance car with a high-strung engine that functions within a narrow range.

Always do what your car manufacturer recommends you use, no matter what the circumstances may be. Only use a different gas when you have no alternatives. 

When this happens, remember to correct the situation by using the appropriate fuel in your next refill.

What happens if I have already mixed premium and regular gas?

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If you are going for a trip, this should not worry you because you will reach your destination. Your car will adapt itself to the new octane rating that will fall between the average of the two fuel types. 

This will also depend on which of the two types of gas is more in the fuel tank. But when you notice this mistake, remember to fill up your vehicle with the appropriate fuel at your next pump to avoid cases of engine knock. 

But if you are running low on gas, you can use the octane booster to enable you to reach your next gas station for a proper refill. 

What is the best fuel for a turbocharged vehicle?

Ideally, for turbocharged vehicles, many automakers advocate using premium gas. Find out what kind of gas you should be using for your vehicle by reading your owner’s manual. 

Always use the right fuel with the recommended octane rating to reduce your maintenance cost and ensure the longevity of your vehicle’s engine. The health of your engine is depended on how you handle its requirements, right from the type of gas to efficient lubrication.


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It can be frustrating when you realize that you have accidentally used the wrong gas type on your vehicle. When you put premium gas in a regular car, this should not worry you so much. 

But at the same time, it will not benefit your vehicle’s performance either. Therefore, it is not worth the extra bucks in premium gas. 

When this happens once, it is OK, as it will help clean up the fuel system of your regular car, thanks to the additives and detergents in the premium gas. On your next filling, you should ensure you use the premium gas as this will bring down the octane rating to the recommended 87. 

Always use the manufacture’s recommended octane fuel type as stated in the owner’s manual.