The Problem

There are many misconceptions about petrol with the notion that "all fuels are created equal" being the most common. Like a highly-trained athlete that depends on a carefully-chosen diet for optimal fitness, the modern car is a sophisticated work of engineering that should be well 'fed' for it to perform its best.

Things To Check

While most cars will run on any grade of petrol available locally, every model has a recommended octane rating that should be adhered to. The owner's manual your car came with should have the recommended octane rating or if you're not sure, you car's dealer will be more than happy to advise.

What To Do

If you select an octane rating that is lower than what is recommended for your car, it might feel sluggish or worse, its engine might start to 'knock' or 'pink' under acceleration or climbing a steep slope - in extreme cases, an engine misfire can also be experienced.

Filling your car with petrol of a higher octane than your car needs will simply be a waste of money as no discernable advantage will be felt. Not only does higher octane fuel cost more, a car's petrol consumption also tends to increase if the wrong grade is selected.

As the leading brands of fuel also contain additives that also clean fuel injectors and other parts of your car's engine, third party additives are usually not necessary.

Cars with direct petrol injection engines such as the Mitsubishi Lancer, Galant or Pajero GDI, Alfa Romeo 156 JTS or the Volkswagen Golf, are also known to be sensitive to the sulphur content in some petrols, but the latest formulations of fuels from leading companies like Shell, for example, are fully compliant with these engines.