Kiri Mutton refuelling.
Kiri Mutton refuelling. AAP - Josh Woning

Pitfalls of using cheap fuel when your car needs premium

UNLESS you're living under a rock, you'll have noticed the price of fuel has gone through the roof - and, if you own a car that requires one of the more expensive premium fuels, your wallet will be taking a big hit right now.

If your vehicle doesn't specifically need premium, there is no point in spending money on it. But if your car's manufacturer says it does, then don't be tempted to fill up with the cheaper regular unleaded petrol to save money.

If you use a lower octane fuel than specified by your manufacturer, you're looking at a drop in the car's performance, higher fuel consumption and, in some cases, engine damage. But it can also affect your vehicle's warranty - leaving you far more out of pocket than if you'd chosen the correct fuel in the first place.

Some, but certainly not all, manufacturers advise a lower octane fuel can be used for short periods if premium isn't available but it's generally not recommended as a regular alternative.

The information on which fuel you should be using is in the owner's manual - if it says premium unleaded then use premium unleaded.

If you want to save money on fuel, shop around and only buy from the service station in your area charging the cheapest price.