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Your gasoline bill may be too high if you are using fuel with a higher octane rating than you need. The best way to make sure you are probably using the right octane rating for your car is simply to check your owner's manual. But still, this rating may be higher and more expensive than your car really needs. The following simple method will help you select the right type of gas for your car.

First, make sure your car is in good running order. Have it tuned up by a competent mechanic.

Now fill your tank up with the gas you usually buy, the grade specified in the owner's manual. Warm the engine up by driving a few miles and come to a complete stop. Now accelerate hard.

If you hear the engine knocking or pinging, this gasoline is not the right kind for your car. Use up the tank and the next time you fill up, buy the next higher grade. Repeat the acceleration test. If the engine doesn't ping this time, this is the octane you need. If it still pings, you should see your mechanic.

If, on your first acceleration test, your engine did not knock or ping, you can fill your car up the next time with the next lower grade of octane. Repeat the acceleration test. If the engine begins knocking or pinging, this gas is inadequate for your car's needs; go back to the octane specified in the owner's manual. But if the engine doesn't knock, you're safe to use the lower grade octane.

Now you're sure you are using the right grade of octane for your car. You can expect top-notch performance from your car and more years of service. It is good to remember that sometimes as a car ages, octane requirements may change. Check that you are using the right octane every once in a while. Carrying heavy loads and driving in extremely cold conditions may also affect your required octane rating.