Saw the below article on the internet:
Your next car will probably have a turbo?it?s time to get comfortable with the technology
How do turbochargers work?
Turbocharging is nothing new. In fact, its origins date back to the late 1800?s when Gottlieb Daimler proposed and patented the idea of using a pump to force air into an engine. The modern turbocharger works by uses spent exhaust gases to spin a turbine, thereby forcing more air into the engine.
With more air comes the more fuel, which in turn leads to more power. The result is a small engine that produces the power of a bigger one. Problem solved, right? Not so fast.
Turbochargers made their automotive premier in 1962 in an Oldsmobile, but it wasn?t until the ?70s and ?80s that people really began to notice what a turbo could do, with cars like the Porsche 911 Turbo, BMW 2002 Turbo and Ferrari F40.
However, even with their newfound popularity, these early turbos were far from perfect. They were prone to overheating and often suffered from immense turbo lag ? the delay experienced as the driver waits for the turbo?s turbine to spool up and kick in.
While these aren?t concerns with a modern turbocharged vehicle, many potential buyers may be turned off by the fact that some manufacturers recommend premium gasoline for turbo motors.
?If your car recommends high-octane fuel, do what it says. If not, then feel free to use whatever grade of fuel you like?for most drivers, we say the cheaper the better?
Why premium gasoline?
A modern turbocharged car intends to deliver the power of a large engine with the fuel economy of a smaller one. Sounds great! But if manufacturers recommend high octane fuel for these turbo motors when we fill up, are we really saving any money? Why can?t we just fill up with regular instead of premium?
Turbocharged engines generate more heat. If lower-than-recommended octane fuel is introduced, it would tend to ignite sooner than intended?as a result of the high heat and high compression ratio,(but we don?t really need to delve too deeply into these things for this article). The point is, this can cause a bad phenomenon in the engine called ?knock.?
Engine knock can eventually lead to engine failure if left untreated. Vehicles made from 1996 onwards are equipped with something called a knock sensor that does its best to combat knock, but it comes at a price. If you were to use a lower-than-recommended octane fuel in this case, the knock sensor would reduce the power of the engine in an effort to prevent damage.
As a result, the down-on-power engine would need to work harder, which works against the fuel-economy benefits of having a small turbocharged engine in the first place. So, it?s a balancing act. If your car recommends high-octane fuel, do what it says. If not, then feel free to use whatever grade of fuel you like?for most drivers, we say the cheaper the better.
Ultra 94 is the highest octane fuel available for road cars in Ontario. Otherwise, 91 octane fuel is common across the country, and is often the recommended fuel for performance cars.