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Can a BMW Take Regular Gas: An Owner’s Guide

Can a BMW Take Regular Gas: An Owner’s Guide

Driving a BMW is a luxurious experience, and you want to take care of it. From the extra time spent to wash it properly to the type of gas that you use for the high-performance engine. 

What if you are in a situation where you can’t put premium gas in your BMW tank? Although it might seem like putting regular gas in your BMW is not a good idea, that doesn’t mean that it is not doable. 

The engine of a BMW can adjust itself to allow regular gas to be used in the engine without damaging it. This means that you can use whatever type of gas you prefer to pay for the fill up your tank without worrying about how the engine will be affected. 

However, making the decision to use either regular or premium gas can include more than you might think. We will cover all the facts to allow you to make an informed decision about which type of gas you want to use.

Differences Between Premium and Regular 

The different types of gases vary in octane, which allows premium gas to withstand a higher compression than regular gas.

If you drive a car that is equipped with a high-compression engine, then you will need to use premium gas to fill up the tank or you will put your engine at risk of damage. 

This is because low octane fuels will cause the engine to knock, which will cause major damage if premium gas is not put into the engine from then on.

BMWs have been known to come with high-compression engines, which makes sense that you would use only premium gas is. 

Can a BMW Take Regular Gas? 

Well, although there are several models that do require that you use premium gas, not all do. However, it is typically recommended to be able to get the best performance out of your vehicle’s engine. 

If you have a BMW model that recommends that you use premium gas, then you can choose to use the type of gas that you want. These models will not take damage if regular gas is used. 

Other models that have a high-compression engine will require that you use premium gas in order to avoid damaging your engine. In this case, you would need to use premium gas or run the risk of causing a problem with the engine. 

If your BMW is an M model, older than a 1996 model, or it has a turbo or high-compression engine, then you will need to use premium gas. If your car does not fall into any of these categories, and the owner’s manual doesn’t require the use of premium, then you can choose to fill up with regular gas. 

Although, there are some benefits to using premium over regular in your vehicle even if it is not required. 

Benefits To Using Premium Gas 

If you like to drive and love the feeling of a great performing engine, then the benefits of premium gas will be enough to want to use it every time. Premium gas helps your engine run at its peak performance level and power. 

With cars like BMWs that have a smooth driving experience, keeping that feeling at its highest might be the reason that you choose to use premium gas. This will keep your acceleration at a higher rate and give your car the ability to use its full power. 

If you normally just drive your car to work and back, or on a night out, then you might not care too much about the power and performance since you are often on busy streets and packed freeways anyway. 

But, if you drive it specifically for the engine power and performance, then getting the most out of it is the intended purpose. This means that you should be using premium gas at the pump to be able to get the best out of your BMW. 

Benefits To Using Regular Gas 

One of the major reasons that people will choose to fill up with regular gas over premium gas is the fact that regular gas costs significantly less. This might only be around 30 cents, but when you are filling up your gas tank you will see a larger difference by the end. 

This price difference adds up over the course of the year!

This is something that some people don’t want to put up with since the prices of gas can already be high. So, you might choose to spend less on gas by using regular gas in your car instead of opting for the premium choice that costs more. 

If you live in a heavily populated area that has a lot of traffic, then you will not get to use your car’s full power regularly. This could be another reason that people choose to use regular gas instead since they would be paying more for power and performance but not able to use it.

In large cities where traffic is typical, you don’t get to zip around the city on open streets, able to see the high-performance engine at work.

So, if you are saving money by filling up with regular gas, then it might be a good idea since premium gas would not be fully used for its intended purpose anyway.

Using Regular Gas in Your BMW 

Although putting regular gas in a BMW’s engine has not always been doable, many BMWs now have engines that can adjust the performance of the vehicle according to the gas that you put in it.

With the addition of things like knock sensors, which can keep the engine from knocking when given regular gas, your car can run just fine with regular.

The upgraded electrical parts can actually identify the type of gas that is put into the engine so that it can adjust the performance and power accordingly. This new addition enables you to use regular gas in any new BMW vehicle that recommends using premium gas. 

However, it is important to note that if your car requires premium gas, you should adhere to that requirement and not attempt to use regular gas in your engine. If you do, then you are risking damage to your engine. 

If you are unsure whether your car requires a certain gas type or not, you can check the owner’s manual.

If you no longer have it, or just don’t know where it is, you can look online to see if your particular year and model need premium gas, or if you can get away with using the cheaper regular gas option. 

Before Switching 

If you have checked your make and model and found out that you can make the switch to regular gas without any problems, you may want to take it slow. It will be much more noticeable with the power and performance of the vehicle if you don’t ease into it. 

So, if you want to ease yourself into using regular gas, you can start by filling up every other time you need gas. Using premium gas in between regular gas uses will allow you to not notice the difference in the loss of performance as much. 

If you are someone who loves to drive and get higher performance out of their car but want to save some money, then doing this will allow you to not feel like you are losing so much at a time. Easing yourself into it will make the entire transition a lot easier to handle and allow you to feel better about making the switch.

Bottom Line 

Driving a BMW is a great experience, but not every driver will have the pleasure of being able to get the most out of the engine due to traffic in the area. So, you can choose to save some money on gas when the performance of your car is not being used to the fullest. 

Many BMWs can now run on regular gas without taking any damage to the engine because of the electrical system that identifies and adjusts the car’s performance. This allows you to make the decision for yourself of what type of gas you would prefer to use instead of having to use what is recommended. 

However, as of now, the BMW models that do require premium gas will still need to have that specific type because the engine will sustain damage if regular is used due to the high-compression that regular gas will not be able to handle. 

But, with those models as the exception, many new BMWs can now handle the use of regular gas in their engines, which can save you a good amount of money whenever you have a tighter monthly budget than usual. Or, even if you would just like to save a little extra money to have in case of emergencies. 

Whatever type of gas you choose is completely up to you, and whether you choose to follow the recommendation of premium gas or opt for the cheaper option of regular, you can now have the freedom to make that choice for yourself. 

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!