With gas prices rising to new highs (along with everything else), we’re all trying to find a way to save money.
The kicker: cars need gas, and we need our cars.
If you drive an Acura RDX, you’ve probably been using premium gas, but you might be wondering now about switching to regular and if it will hurt your RDX.
Does the Acura RDX Take Regular Gas?
The Acura RDX does take regular gas; however, it is recommended by Acura that RDX owners use premium unleaded 91 octane gas. In many gas stations, this is labeled as ‘premium’ or ‘super plus’. Using this type of gas will ensure maximum performance levels for the maximum amount of time.
In this article, we’ll discuss not only whether or not the Acura RDX takes regular gas, but what regular gas is, what the octane levels of gas mean, and most importantly, what they mean for your vehicle.
What Is Meant by ‘Regular Gas’?
When you hear the term ‘regular gas’ do you do a double-take? The question of “What other types of gas are there?” may come to mind.
We start listing the types of gas and fuel: natural, diesel, gasoline, electricity… and then we run into a wall.
Does ‘regular gas’ just mean gasoline, or is it something else?
‘Regular gas’ refers to the octane level of the gas, not the type of fuel.
Gasoline with an octane level of 87 is considered ‘regular’, and this is generally the lowest level of octane that is found in gasoline.
This also is the cheapest octane level of gas that can be found at the gas station.
Next, we have ‘midgrade’ gas. This is the middle option, which is sometimes referred to as ‘super’, and it generally has an octane level of 89-90.
Finally, we have ‘premium’ gasoline.
This is the option with the highest octane levels (91-94) and is referred to in a variety of ways: ‘premium’, ‘super plus’, and ‘super premium’ to name a few.
This option is commonly the most expensive fuel at the gas station (except for maybe diesel), and that is for good reason.
Which Type of Gas Is Recommended for the Acura RDX?
Acura recommends that RDX owners use premium unleaded 91 octane gas. This is the one that is usually listed as ‘super plus’, ‘premium’, or ‘super premium’ at gas stations, and this is the option that is the most expensive.
The Acura RDX houses a 2.0L VTEC Turbo engine, which boasts 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque in order to give RDX owners the precision-crafted performance that they’re paying for and have come to expect.
This high-performance engine should be treated nicely so it can give RDX owners the experience that they want. The easiest way to treat it nicely?
Get the recommended kind of gas. It’s worth the extra money in the long run.
Using the recommended fuel will lengthen the lifespan of your RDX’s engine, increase its performance, and just keep your vehicle running more smoothly in general.
Will the Octane Level of Gas Really Affect My Vehicle?
Just because a car company suggests you use a higher-level octane gas, does that mean that you really need to do it?
Or are they just trying to trick you into spending more money at the gas station?
The octane rating of the gasoline is usually known as meaningless numbers on the gas pump. Many people go through the motions without ever knowing what they mean.
The rating is a measure of fuel stability, which is based on the pressure at which the fuel will spontaneously combust in a testing engine.
The higher an octane rating is, the more stable the fuel is. While this rating won’t affect your vehicle as a whole, it can definitely affect your engine.
The most evident effect is engine knocking.
Engines are designed to burn fuel in controlled combustion.
The flame starts at the spark plug, then burns through the cylinder until all of the fuel in the cylinder has been burned. This process repeats several times, nicely, evenly.
This is the optimal reaction—this is what is supposed to take place.
If you get different gas that has a different octane level (specifically if the octane level is lower than the recommendation for your vehicle), engine knocking may occur.
This is also referred to as spontaneous combustion, auto-ignition, and detonation.
Knocking occurs when the rising temperature and pressure cause the unburned fuel to ignite.
This ignition causes the pressure in the cylinder to spike, causing knocking to happen.
Knocking makes the energy from burning fuel disperse unevenly, causing damage and placing high pressure on the piston of the engine before it enters the power stroke.
These issues used to happen much more frequently before electric computerized ignition was introduced.
Now, there are sensors in most engines that are specifically designed to detect and avoid knocking, which work to force the combustion to be controlled.
This is great news for the most part, but this extra work causes the engine to be less efficient.
Premium Gas Is Expensive. Can I Use Regular Gas Anyway?
Of course, with times as they are, that’s easier said than done. Gas prices are skyrocketing, and it isn’t looking like they’ll plateau any time soon.
If changing the octane level of your gas is the only thing you can think of doing to save money, and you really need to do it, then, by all means, use regular gas.
If you do this, though, recognize that your engine will not perform as well, and will not last as long as it normally would.
There is a reason that premium gas is recommended in an Acura RDX—it is a performance-based vehicle, and a luxurious one at that.
Certain types of engines, like the one housed in the Acura RDX, have optimal operation when it is given higher-octane fuel.
Using gasoline that has a lower octane rating can cause engine knocking and will lessen the performance of your vehicle.
Though one tank of regular gas won’t mean the life or death of an RDX’s engine, continued use could be detrimental to the engine.