Is Premium Gas Worth the Extra Cost?

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We’re conditioned to react more favourably to terms like premium and exclusive, as though these words dictate the true quality of a product or service. We will happily pay a higher price tag thinking we’re getting a better value for them. After all, higher price equals higher quality, right?

When it comes to gas, our biggest decision is whether to use regular (cheaper) gas or premium (more expensive) gas. When we choose premium, we feel like we’re doing better for our vehicle, whereas when we “settle” for the cheaper option, we can have the false impression that we’re hurting it. AAA recently published an article announcing that in 2016, Americans wasted $2.1 billion on premium gas for vehicles that really don’t need premium gas.

We get it, a car is one of the largest purchases you’ll make in your life, so why not treat it well in order to lengthen its life. But what exactly is the difference between regular and premium gas, and is the extra 15-20 cents worth the upgrade?

Premium gas is more expensive because it has an octane level of about 92-93, as opposed to regular gas, which has an octane level of 87.

What does that mean?

Octane levels are designated with your car engine’s compression ratio in mind. That is, the ratio of the volume of your car’s combustion chamber from its largest capacity to its smallest capacity.screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-2-03-36-pm

When your car requires the use of a premium gas, the lower octane levels in regular fuel can increase your car’s exhaust-gas temperatures and can sometimes lead to knocking (that sound you hear when the fuel and air mixture in your car’s cylinder doesn’t start correctly, and a pocket of the mixture explodes outside of the normal combustion front).

If your car requires premium gas, these two symptoms can have adverse effects on your car in the long run. If your car does not specify that it requires premium gas, that means the lower octane levels of regular gas will not cause the increased exhaust-gas temperatures that can lead to knocking.

Premium gas does help your car’s performance, however it will only improve its ability to accelerate from 0-100km/h about half a second more quickly than with regular gas.

Although premium gas doesn’t really benefit your car if it doesn’t require the higher octane levels, it also won’t harm it. What it comes down to is whether saving those extra 15-20 cents every time you fill up your tank is important to you.

If you’d like to see if your 2016-2017 vehicle requires premium gas, check out the list on BestRide.com.

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Electric vs. Gas Cars

After the unveiling of the Tesla Model 3, the flood of pre-orders both shocked Elon Musk and gave the automotive industry an early insight into the future of electric cars. That is, the potential that electric cars may become much more mainstream in the near future than they ever have been in the past. Despite having been in production for nearly two decades, the Toyota Prius hasn’t received anywhere near the attention that the Tesla Model 3 has been getting before it’s even begun production.

With the prediction that electric cars will become mainstream in the next few years, it might be worth considering switching from a gas vehicle to an electric one. The biggest selling feature of electric and hybrid cars is their lower impact they have on the environment, but “better options” are known for costing significantly more than their “less good” counterparts (healthy vs fast food, solar power vs electric energy).

We decided to do an in-depth comparison of two similar cars to determine whether it makes more sense to go electric or stick with your gas car.

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4 Great Car Podcasts

Podcasts have become increasingly popular with commuters. Many of us will listen to a podcast instead of a playlist during a workout or on the way to work because podcasts offer a little more than a good tune to mindlessly drift off to – they offer information and stories that engage you, sort of like a radio talk show but with less celebrity gossip and more substantial content.

A podcast is kind of like reading an article or watching a tv show, but you don’t have to look at something to keep up with it. Seeing as we are a body shop, it’s important to us that quality information is circulated about cars. If you’re a car lover, we’ve put together a short list of some of our favourite and most useful auto podcasts:

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Spring Clean Your Car

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Spring is introduced by chirping birds, longer, sunnier days, and freshly blooming flowers – don’t overshadow the beauty of the season by surfacing your dirty, salt stained car from the throes of winter. Most people use spring as an excuse to reinvent themselves, to organize their life, and to focus on new goals and endeavours. Typically goals fall along the lines of cleaning out your closet, starting a new fitness routine to get in shape for summer, or planning some kind of new experience like travelling or signing up for a new class. We don’t often think about the “spring cleaning” our cars require. Cars take a beating over the winter, from the engine running twice as hard, to the salt stains and mounds of snow we drive through, so some TLC for your car will help it run more efficiently for all those road trips you’ll be taking this summer, and will save you in maintenance costs in the long run.

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Family-Friendly March Break Activities

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 11.13.02 AMMarch break is the awkward in-between season when it’s too warm to do winter things like skiing and ice skating, but too cool to do spring things like go camping and outdoor swimming. It can be hard to keep your kids entertained during March Break: you don’t want them to spend the whole week sleeping in and watching TV all day, but you also don’t want to spend the week acting as their chauffeur, which only interferes with your work schedule. Instead, why not use March Break as an excuse to take some time off and plan some forced family fun.

We’ve put together a few family-friendly March Break trips within driving distance of Toronto that will not only entertain your kids, but will get you out of work for a few days. Continue reading

Weird Driving Habits You Should Probably Stop Doing

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We know that texting and driving is illegal now, which one could hope has lead to a decrease in distracted driving accidents, but that hasn’t seemed to stop people from doing other dumb (and downright weird) things on the road. In 80% of collisions, drivers had only taken his or her eyes off the road for 3 seconds prior to the accident, and while banning cell phone usage when driving is a great start, some drivers seem to think some of these driving habits are acceptable by comparison. Continue reading

Canadian International Auto Show Recap

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A group of Lotuses at Toronto’s Canadian International Auto Show 2016

As a collision repair shop, it’s not often that we get to admire the beauty and most innovative technologies of the newest car models; after all, they’re usually pretty beat up by the time they get to us. It’s vital that we keep up to date on everything car-related, so we took a field trip to the Canadian International Auto Show, over the weekend. The Auto Show is the epitome of all things relevant in the automotive industry (and it’s also just really fun to go to). We got some great shots of our favourite models for 2016, including some clues as to what the future of cars looks like.

 

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