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Greetings,

We've been shopping for an Outback and had pretty much decided on buying a four cylinder.

One salesman told us that his dealership recommends to their customers that they use regular grade gas in the six cylinders rather than premium grade gas. He said that performance is affected only slightly and that using regular gas in the six cylinder would not harm the engine.

I'm hoping that some of you can share your experience, expertise, and recommendations. I like the idea of having a timing chain rather than a belt, but I'd rather not be locked into buying premium gas.

Thanks in advance.

Jerry60
 

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Hi Jerry60,

I am in Australia and have the 3rd Generation 3.0R (MY05 US) and the owners manual says it can run on regular gas "in emergency" but to use premium if possible. I know opinions vary but I'd say in general the idea is to run on Premium unless it's not available, occasional use of regular won't harm the engine. Personally I always use premium, it usually has extra additives to keep the engine cleaner as well.

Cheers,
Karl
 

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Well, Subaru Aust recommends premium for the H6, and after owning two cars that had throttle bodies that were gummed up and chocked full of carbon gunk from running "cheap" regular fuel, so personally I would only use premium no matter what the fuel recommendation from the manufacturer is.
 

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SubaruOutback.org Founder
2018 Outback Limited 2.5L - 105,000+ miles
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I agree with both Chris and Karl completely, first off if its recommended just do it. Secondly, higher octane gas is better for your car regardless of recommendation. I know first hand that using lower octane fuel than recommended over time WILL harm your engine by messing up the timing, dirty up your engine, and just won't make it perform either the way its supposed to or even well at all. It like my father has always told me, "Its better to be safe than stupid." ;)

Just so you know, that same salesman could be telling you to use that octane fuel so your car screws up and you come back to offload it on him for another new Outback. It may sound like an oddball longshot, but I know from personal experience how desperate and low a car salesman will sink to sell a car and set up another sale in the future :4:
 

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I never used to use Premium until I bought my current OBW. Then it dawned on me.

1 gallon of 89 octane (Regular) would cost me about US$1.75 as opposed to about $1.85 for 91 octane (Premium).
$.10 multiplied by about 12 gallons is only an extra $1.20 per tank.

Anyone who doesn't think their car is worth an extra $1.20 every week, or whatever, is crazy. When you are spending $20.00, what's an extra buck?
 

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You guys are wasting your money putting premium fuel in a engine that doesn't require it. My car calls for 87 octane and that is what i put into it. Octane is something to read up on if you guys think putting a higher octane in your engine will keep it cleaner or make it run better. Use what your owners manual tells you to use. I'll find more info...Brian.
 

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Tokyo's between my toes
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Anyone who doesn't think their car is worth an extra $1.20 every week, or whatever, is crazy. When you are spending $20.00, what's an extra buck?
If you're lucky enough to be able to wait out the occasional price spikes, you can save more than that.

Sometimes I'll leave the OB in the parking lot and drive the 88 Escort for a few days, and wait for the prices to come back down.

OTOH sometimes that bites me in the rear when I postpone buying, only to discover the prices have all gone up 20 cents within an hour...
 

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Brian: the Ralph Nader of the Subaru Outback forums.

:)

Thanks for those links, you've certainly convinced me that I'm wasting my $$$.

I don't even know for sure what my manual recommends, I think it's probably 87.

Good timing too, my low fuel light came on last night and I'm filling it up today (and replacing the air filter, I haven't done it in the year since I've owned this OBW, and who knows how long the previous owner left it in there. Hopefully this improves performance slightly. I'm not expecting much though.)
 

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In my H6 OBW I now run the highest octane. I have tried it on low and midrange fuel. If you live in a climate that gets hot in the summer, you could experiment with using high octane in summer and midrange in winter perhaps. I mostly decided to stay with high octane cause the car SEEMS to run slightly better on it - especially low speed torque - no, I don't have a dyno run for proof. I do not think you will harm the engine on low octane fule but I also don't think the overall savings is great if mileage suffers.
NO, I do not believe there is a 'dirt' difference anymore. There was a time, maybe in the 70s when FI cars did need the xtra addticves in the high octane stuff but the issue now is just 'preignition' and HP. A newer hi comp engine will alter it's timing to reduce knock and may have reduced power/efficiency. BUT a car designed for low octane fuel is physically incapable of taking advantge of the lower preignition tendency of high octane fuel.
 

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SubaruOutback.org Founder
2018 Outback Limited 2.5L - 105,000+ miles
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bheinz57 said:
FTC Now you can read for yourself...Brian

and the service advisor
Brian, good links! We've all traveled slghtly off subject though, the subject being that a saleman told a customer that its okay to use regular octane fuel in an H6-3.0 OB that requires the usage of at least 91 octane according to the owners manual.

Here's the answer: Like both of Brian's links said, Go by what your owners manual says not what someone tells you!

Case and point ;)
 

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bheinz57 said:
You guys are wasting your money putting premium fuel in a engine that doesn't require it. My car calls for 87 octane and that is what i put into it. Octane is something to read up on if you guys think putting a higher octane in your engine will keep it cleaner or make it run better. Use what your owners manual tells you to use. I'll find more info...Brian.
Brain my owners manual calls for Premium unleaded, so that's what I will use. I don't know about all fuels there but here at least the oil companies promote the premium unleaded as having extra additives to keep the internals of the engine clean. Sure I agree there's no point in using premium when the engine has no knock sensors etc to take advantage of it, but if Subaru recommend premium and you use regular, your engine will definitely not produce the same power as specified and won't drive as well either.
 

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I don't know about all fuels there but here at least the oil companies promote the premium unleaded as having extra additives to keep the internals of the engine clean.
Yeah, and if you look on the back of shampoo bottles it says "rinse, and repeat" They want your money. All I am stating is do what your owners manual says--mine says 87, I use 87. If a salesman says to put lower octane in, he/she has no idea what they are talking about. But putting premium fuel in my car is an absolute waste of $$$. Brian
 

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Brian

Why don't you put in the mid-grade fuel "90 Octane" when it is cheaper then the low-grade "87 Octane"? Are you afraid of the 10% ethanol?

Oh, just FYI, here in the corn belt the midgrade fuel contains 10% ethanol and is the cheapest gas about 95% of the time. From my travels I've noticed this usually isn't the same across the US.

Sorry for getting of the topic. I concur, use premium if it calls for it, they wouldn't recommend it unless it was necessary. A car that uses premium isn't a selling advantage. Besides, you could possibly lose out on a warranty claim if they find out you weren't following the recommendations and the fuel quality was of question.

I'd avoid that dealership all together unless your getting a bargain. If you do go with that dealership be sure to let the service, sales, and general manager know that this salesperson was giving you bad advice. People like that shouldn't be selling cars, but unfortunatley that seems to be the norm.
 

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Karasek, you are correct, sir. I avoid ethanol at all costs. Just a personal thing, I use to work at a furfural plant. I have seen corn/grain/hull alcohol at it's worst! Brian
 

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bheinz57 said:
Karasek, you are correct, sir. I avoid ethanol at all costs. Just a personal thing, I use to work at a furfural plant. I have seen corn/grain/hull alcohol at it's worst! Brian
I agree Brian, fortunately there is legislation here now so that if the fuel contains ethanol it must state it on the pump. I have heard stories of engines being damaged by fuel with a high (15%) ethanol content. Is it labelled at the pump there or do people in general not know if the fuel has ethanol in it?:confused:
 

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Ethanol has much less (I forget the exact percentage reduction) energy (BTU/volume) than gasoline and you will get lower gas mileage if it is in the fuel. Also, no one REALLY (there are scientific estimates of course) knows what having a LOT of ethanol being burned will do to air quality, water runoff,etc. longterm. One combustion by product that is worrisome IIRC is formaldehyde.
Also, I don't personally think it's wise to grow food for cars when we have a petroleum product that doesn't need subsidies to compete.
 

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Actually Carl, ethanol is derived from a part of the plant (corn specifically) that we don't utilize. As far as I remember it comes from the cellulose byproduct of making furfural, corn syrup, and other organic chemicals. Brian
 

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bheinz57.. interesting FTC info. i'm gonna save that as a good link. too bad the low octane don't apply to my other car tough.. i gotta run 100 octane in it ;) 5:25 a gal off the pump. cuz at 9.5:1 and at full boost i'm looking at 13.5:1.... er not the best to run regular in it :D
 

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bheinz57 said:
Actually Carl, ethanol is derived from a part of the plant (corn specifically) that we don't utilize. As far as I remember it comes from the cellulose byproduct of making furfural, corn syrup, and other organic chemicals. Brian
Thanx, that, at least is a little comforting. I don't wanna sound too negative about ethanol - it's just that it should compete freely with petroleum and it may come with it's own set of problems.
 
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