2002 Pathfinder

I bought a 2002 Pathfinder recently with very low mileage 3 months ago. So far its been great. However, I was reading the manual and it said I should use 91 Octane gas or there could be engine damage. I have a V-6, 3.5 liters, I think.

Do I really need to use premium, or is this some marketing ploy? I do not want to damage the engine but filling this car with premium is quite sporty

umm, what is your question? The manual says use 91 or you could have engine damage and you want to do what?

“premium is quite sporty” – what does this mean?

You may well find that if you use premium your milage will go up enough to more than offset the added cost. That is, if the engine is not already damaged.

What does the manual say; “required” - you should use premium, “recommended” - you can use regular, but there may be some loss in power and mpg. My wife has a 2006 Sienna, premium is recommended, but we use regular. We haven’t noticed any pinging and the van has more than enough power. On the other hand, the van is not driven aggressively. Someday I will run 3 or 4 tanks of premium to see if there is any improvement in mpg compared to regular.

Ed B.

If that’s what the manual says, then you should use premium.

In order to get more performance out of smaller engines, makers are going to higher compressions, some building it into the stroke and many “boosting” the pressures in the cylinders with peripheral devices such as turbochargers. These engines need premium to avoid preignition problems.

That’s a good idea. I am going to use premium for the next month or so to see if there is a change in the MPG’s and the performance. Thanks

I was reading the manual and it said I should use 91 Octane gas or there could be engine damage.

Well you really know the answer don’t you. You just are hoping you are wrong. Sorry, if it says they can be engine damage, that is what it means. Not everyone will have engine damage, but every one that does will be sorry.

Many performance cars require premium. With out it they will loose some of their performance and some can also damage the engine. The only up side is you may gain a little mileage when using premium. It will not be much if any, but it may make finding out that you bought a car that uses the expensive stuff not so bad. (Note: using premium in a car not designed for it will NOT increase mileage and will NOT improve performance.

You need the premium really bad. Don’t cheap out or you will pay.

“Do I really need to use premium, or is this some marketing ploy?”

So, you believe that Nissan is attempting to help petroleum companies to make more money? If you give that some additional thought, I think you will realize just how silly that statement sounds.

I want to congratulate you for reading the Owner’s Manual, as that task seems to be something that most people rarely do. But, as was already said, if the manual uses the word “required”, then I don’t think that there should be any question as to the grade of fuel that you need to use. On the other hand, if the manual uses the word “recommended” then you have an option.

However, just bear in mind that, even if premium gas is “recommended”, the use of lower octane fuel will lead to slower acceleration and could lead to engine damage–if the knock sensor is not working properly. And, the use of lower octane gas will likely result in worse gas mileage, thus making it questionable about any real cost savings.

Read the posts again!

The question now becomes “Did the previous owner(s) always use premium or has engine damage already occurred?”