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Popular mechanic urges drivers to use certain fuel in older cars to avoid expensive damage


One of YouTube’s most respected car mechanics has urged owners of older cars to fill up with premium petrol or diesel, which can help prevent expensive breakdowns.

Scotty Kilmer has worked on cars since the 1960s and regularly makes YouTube videos in which he offers tips on how drivers can save money and avoid damaging their car.

In one of his latest videos, Scotty highlights that putting premium fuel into older cars with high mileages can help to prevent carbon building up.

He explained: “Now, most older engines were made to run perfectly fine on regular, cheap gas [petrol], but as they age, the inside of the engine often gets a buildup of carbon.

“Since there’s a limited space inside the engine, as the carbon builds up, it increases the compression pressure inside the engine. So, when you accelerate, that high compression can make it ping [break down] with cheap fuel.”

Fuel prices are once again on the rise, with the AA noting that, in February 2024, the average cost of a litre of petrol was 143.5p whereas diesel was often priced at 152.5p per litre.

However, the mechanic noted that owners of older cars could be better off paying more for premium fuels, which feature a mix of conditioners to break down any carbon in the fuel system.

Many of these fuels also have a higher octane rating, making them more effective in higher compression engines for better power and a slight increase in economy.

Scotty added that using fuels with a lower octane rating can cause the engine to knock, which not only sounds unpleasant but could lead to engine failure.

He continued: “If you put premium gas in, it can keep the engine from knocking because premium petrol can take more pressure from when it ignites.

“So, if you’re a cheapskate and don’t want to rebuild your engine, maybe your old engine will run a lot better with premium gasoline.”

In the UK, drivers of petrol-powered vehicles typically built before 2005 should avoid using regular fuel due to its higher ethanol rating.

10 percent of regular fuel features ethanol which, whilst lowering emissions, can also damage metal and rubber in the fuel system.

Whilst it is possible to upgrade the fuel lining on many popular classic models, allowing it to run on E10 petrol, it is generally best to fill up with premium fuels that feature less ethanol.

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