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Fuel for new Acura

I recently purchased a 2008 Acura TL Type S. The manual calls for premium fuel. Will I damage the engine or reduce engine life by using regular unleaded fuel

Being a low risk person, I would not cheap out on the gas, particularly during my warranty coverage period. Why buy a car that demands premium and then refuse to do what the manufacturer requires, based on testing?

Read your owner’s manual.
If it says premium is “required”, then it is. If it says it’s “recommended”, then you can use regular but at some cost in performance and efficiency.

Riddle me this: why do people buy a performance vehicle, knowing full well that it takes premium, and then want to use regular? Why do they buy a performance vehicle at all?

With the type of vehicle you should not even consider lower octane fuel. Even the base model of your car requires premium fuel. There are a lot of nice cars that run on regular. You bought a really special car for $35,000. This ain’t no Focus here.

Yep, I just got one too. Its a Vtec high compression engine and requires premium. Its all in the manual as well as Honda antifreeze, PS fluid, brake fluid, trans fluid, etc. or you’ll void the warranty.

Hmmm…perhaps the OP should have done his/her homework on the car’s fuel requirements before buying the car.

I presume that this person will return in about a year to ask if it is actually necessary to maintain the car and if so, what maintenance is required at “X” number of miles.

(Hint: Open the glove compartment and take out the Owner’s Manual. It will tell you everything that you need to know about the car’s fuel requirements, maintenance, and everything else connected with the safe and economical operation of the vehicle.)

If it calls for premium, using regular will reduce power and mileage. How much ???

If the owner’s manual says it must use premium, you are risking damage, that may not be covered under a warranty if you fail to follow those instructions.

So you purchase the performance model of a pricey car and are worried about a few bucks per tank? If you didn’t want the performance, then you should have gotten a four cylinder Accord, used regular and saved a lot more money.


Does your manual say you must use Honda antifreeze, PS fluid, brake fluid, etc. or you will void the warranty? If so, it’s your lucky day because according to the Magnuson-Moss act any warranty that requires that you only use the manufacturer’s fluids and parts means those must be provided free during the warranty period. I’m sure if you read carefully, they only strongly “recommend” those Honda brand fluids. Or are they giving you free oil changes and the like?

Why in the world would you buy a car that calls for premium fuel and then try to save maybe 2 or 3 dollars per tank of gas? This is a clear case of penny wise and pound foolish.

In 1997 my wife and I needed a car. The Nissan Maxima was high on our list, but I couldn’t reconcile the requirement for medium octane gas. We bught a 4 cyl Accord and never missed the Maxima.

I agree, this is a $40k car easily. the price difference between 87 and 91 is 20 cents all over, the gas tank is 17.1 gallons, so even if you let it go completely dry every time you filled it up(stupid idea by the way), you’d only spend $3.42 more every tank.
If you don’t want to put 91+ octane fuel in it, I’ll trade you my 99 civic, which uses regular 87 octane, even up.

Better yet, its on DVD. Regardless of the Magnuson-Moss act, they spell out the requirements of the anti-freeze for example. You don’t have to use Honda but you do need to match the requirements. So instead of paying $12 a gallon and looking all over for the right stuff, you might just as well buy it from Acura for the $20. For PS, they say you can use other in an emergency but then need to flush it out at the first opportunity. They just have very specific additive requirements and actually for the first four years will not make much difference cost wise either way. NAPA does have some Honda approved fluids. You just go and get an initial supply of the various fluids and have a separate shelf in the garage for it. After break in they pretty much go with Mobil Syn blend for the oil. Its just important to note that you can’t just use any old fluids like in other brands. If a problem develops that is traced back to non-approved fluids, guess who is on the hook?

Why bother buying the performance model and then put sub par fuel from requirements? The logic defies me.

Financing it I am guessing and cannot afford the $3/fillup it costs extra for premium? You really should look at the bigger picture of paying $38k for a (performance) vehicle and then balking at a meager $3/fillup.

It would be a good idea to remember that “premium” fuel does not mean BETTER fuel or more powerful fuel. It means it has a higher octane rating which means it burns a little slower. On lower compression cars this is not a problem, but manufacturers build high compression cars to get more power out of the same size engine. The penalty is the need for higher octane fuel. It cost more to produce higher octane fuel so that is why it cost more. Using premium in a can that does not need it will not help it and can (rarely) damage it.

Here’s my take: Honda Acura designs an engine that is intended to use premium fuel for more advertised HP and a little more MPG for the EPA but has a knock sensor to adjust spark timing to permit operation with 87 octane (regular) fuel. Everyone gets what they want and all go away happy.

Review your owner’s manual, as was already said, to determine if premium fuel is “required” or “recommended”.

You might want to check your fuel mileage over a time with premium and then regular and reconcile that with the fuel cost. It could be close to the same overall cost.

Yes, you have to use things that meet the technical standards set by Honda, but not necessarily their brand. That’s fine, and I have no quarrel with that. Some luxury brands do, in fact, include free oil changes and routine maintenance during the warranty. Audi, I think is one. I just did not know if Acura did this, or not.

Apparently VW has some pretty strict technical standards for fluids in their cars, too, but only the Audis get the free maintenance.

Aaaargh !!!

The purpose of octane is to allow increased compression ratios at high RPM and full throttle. ALL OF THIS together at the same time - which is why racing engines require high octane.

At low RPM, part throttle conditions a much lower octane suffices. Even a high compression engine driven at low throttle settings will run just fine on lower octane fuels.

Your ECU will retard the timing as required - it’s actually not the ECU itself, but having a knock sensor - which your car does have.

I’ve skimped out on buying premium gas for about a year now (I have a 91 acura legend, which is very similar) and have no problems and I am getting much better gas miliage now.

So no, unless you have a lead foot, you won’t harm the engine. Actually, I’m pretty hard on the gas. Oh well.

You can get away with running a lower octane and the computer will compensate, but it doesn’t mean you should. Any savings you get by running a lower octane is lost by the decrease in gas mileage and performance. I’m not surprised your old Acura runs well on regular, as my family owns a 1990 Legend and the owners manual calls for 86 octane or higher, so premium helps nothing and can actually hurt performance.