Octane rating refers to the measurement of a gasoline’s power to withstand pinging as well as knocking during combustion.
A higher octane rating means that the fuel is able to resist more pinging or knocking. When air or fuel mixtures detonates earlier than it should, and then knocking or pinging of the engine happens.
Some cars benefit from using a higher octane gasoline and others do not. Car owners must check the car manual to see if the vehicle is better off using a higher octane level as well as the recommended octane level.
The engine may suffer pinging or knocking if a lower octane level is used instead of the recommended octane level.
Most car makers recommend an octane level of 87. But for car models with high compression engines may require a higher octane level of 89 or 91 or even higher.
In most cases, it is not beneficial for a vehicle to use a higher octane level than what was recommended by the car manufacturer. It is however advisable to use a higher level of octane than the recommended level if the vehicle pings or knocks when using the recommended octane level.
How to Measure Octane Rating
There are different ways to measure octane rating.
The most commonly used octane rating around the world is Research Octane Number or RON. Ron can be determined by having the engine undergo a test while the variable compression ratio is kept in controlled conditions. The results of the engine test should be compared with the results for other mixtures like n-heptane and iso-octane.
Another way to measure octane rating is through Motor Octane Number or MON which is determined when the speed’s engine is at 900 rpm rather than 600 rpm. MON also tests the engine but under different controlled conditions.