...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

November 20, 2006

Car Question

So I'm thinking about getting a new sled. Assuming I graduate and pass the bar, etc. Annikamobile 4.0's transmission is making funky noises, so I think it's time.

I like that new Acura TL. It's modest yet stylish, and the radio is pimp! But I don't like the idea of paying for 91 octane all the time, which is recommended according to the brochure. Does anyone know if that's for real? Would I really fuck it up if I used regular unleaded instead?

My brother says it has to do with the high compression ratio, but don't the Accords also have a high compression ratio? Accords take regular unleaded, but they don't have the 5.1 surround sound radio.

My brother says if I'm willing to spend $30,000 on a new car, I should just put 91 octane in it. But that seems like such a waste, like paying for valet parking when you can just self park.

Posted by annika, Nov. 20, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annik-dotes


Listen to your brother. A lower-octane gas will ignite spontaneously in a high-compression ratio engine. This leads to knocking and knocking leads to engine damage. Guess what engine damage leads to.

C'mon, guess!

Posted by: Victor on Nov. 20, 2006

Don't take auto advice from the booboisie. You're sailing into the seas of octane calculation. In the US, we measure octane differently than the Europeans. Their 91 Octane is the same as our 87 octane. Few people know this, but it's true. I never knew before I bought the BMW.

The best thing you can do is change the transmission filter and fluids. This should be done every 30k miles. Your noises just might disappear for under a hundred bucks.

Posted by: Casca on Nov. 21, 2006

Yeah try new fluid, then get your transmission checked out by an expert. Even if you plan to sell the car. Otherwise you might get stranded somewhere, or else, you can't sell it for crap because everyone notices the noise.

Posted by: kyle8 on Nov. 21, 2006


Wait to get a new car after you get a job! First of all, you don't even know what city you'll be living in; doesn't that make a difference?

Also, I think you are going to make a pile of money, so, what about a Beemer? Or, a sensible MBZ? Or, best shot, a Prius, with stickers so you can go in the fast lane by yourself. And, it gets @ 50 to the gallon, I think. Check it out.

Where is your Christmas Wish List?

Posted by: shelly on Nov. 21, 2006

As always, Shelly the Greybeard has the best advice.

Posted by: Victor on Nov. 21, 2006

I know that it seems that way Victor, but not really. Those are all self-evident things that the chica already knows, thus best left unsaid, except that thing about the Prius, and that's just damned wrong. A Prius, over the life of the car will cost about ten grand more than something comparable. That's why they subsidize the pos technology. Plus you get to ride in a plastic death trap.

Don't you guys know anything about sales? She knows what she wants. She's looking for an excuse camouflaged as a reason to buy it. And Kyle, when you change the trans fluid, you'd better get the whole filter kit and use it, OR YOU'RE NOT DOING ANY DAMNED GOOD.

Posted by: Casca on Nov. 21, 2006


FWIW I never use hight test in my Acura. I have had three Legends over the last 15 years and think they are fine automobiles. They recquest HT but run fine with no knocking on reg. As Shelly says, you might consider waiting till the job sisuation pans out and so forth. I also never buy cars new. Get em on the way back out from 3 year leases. Dealers are anxious to get rid of them and they gave below market on the trade in. I have been looking at Audi A6 Quattro's with about 40k miles for 19K-20K. A lot of car with plenty of life for less than a Civic and financing available from the dealer.
Cost per mile is incredably low when you buy this way. The 20-30% loss from new to used on day one has been absorbed by the first owner. Trade in in three more years will be for nearly 50% of what you paid with 40-50 additional miles. Do the math and you will see this is a great way to ownn a nicer car than you would have been able to afford new.

Posted by: Strawman on Nov. 21, 2006

Getting back to the octane question, does the brocure "recommend" using 91 octane, or does it say using 87 octane will void the warrenty? There are very few cars manufactured today that have commpression ratio high enough to require 91. What does it say about putting E85 in? Cars that aren't dual fuel capable will have warnings that using E85 void the engine warrenty.

Posted by: wayne on Nov. 21, 2006

OK, here's a link that explains how octane is in the eye of the math dude: http://www.stretcher.com/stories/01/010226m.cfm

Posted by: Casca on Nov. 21, 2006

Don't listen to Straw. The only vehicle he's even ridden was a (very) Short Bus.

Posted by: Radical Redneck on Nov. 21, 2006

He RR,

I knew that sweet ass had to be you.

Posted by: Strawman on Nov. 21, 2006

Yeah, Anni, see if the wording is "recommended" or "required". My supercharged car "requires" the high octane stuff, but most non turbo or supercharged cars merely "recommend" it. For what reason, I just don't know.

The repair boys in the dealer's garage will know. You may wanna ask one of them just how important 91+ octane is in the car you're looking at. If they say you're fine on regular, go for it. But if they say 'Don't even think about anything less than premium', listen closely.

Posted by: ElMondoHummus on Nov. 21, 2006

I never put anything lower than 91 octane in my car because here in CA, 91 octane is the highest grade. $.10 different between 89 octane and 91 octane is not enough justify to switch to lower grade gas even the gas price jump up to $5. $156 per year is only ~$3.00 extra per week or $1.50 per fill up. Think about it, is it worth to save $1.50 per fill up? Aren't we all trying to improve our car with better performance by adding exhaust, intake, header, etc. but put in the lower octane gas to suffer the loss in performace? what's a contradiction!

Posted by: Asia on Click on Nov. 21, 2006

Wayne: E85 hardly matters, as no sane person would put that in a vehicle anyway - not that most of us even have the option, what with E85 being nonexistent outside of the Corn Belt.

Pay more per gallon for worse economy, while paying for it again via the Farm Bill subsidies to corn growers? Sign me right up!

It's a nice tax dodge for GM, though.

Posted by: Sigivald on Nov. 21, 2006

Asia: No, we aren't all doing that to our cars.

In fact, the vast majority of people aren't.

And putting higher octane fuel into an engine won't typically increase power, because it really is ab0ut compression and preventing detonation.

(Comments posted separately in an attempt to figure out why the !@#!@#! comment software thinks this is spam. What? It appears to be the use of "ab0ut" only without the 0. Why is that spam? That's CRAZY. Anyway, for reference, the wikipedia article on octane talks about that. After tearing this apart to try and fix the stupid spam flag, I've lost the energy to put a link back.)

Posted by: Sigivald on Nov. 21, 2006

Do you remember Bush speeches where he talked about America's addiction to oil? What choices could you make that reduce our oil addiction?

Posted by: will on Nov. 21, 2006

Make everybody who voted D ride mass transit?

Posted by: MarkD on Nov. 22, 2006

I would make sure you pass the Bar first, then get a job, and then get the car.

Trust me on this one.

Posted by: Mark on Nov. 23, 2006