'Is it safe for my car to switch fuel brands?' [Newbie Guide]

Updated Dec 14, 2020 | Same topic: Beginner's Guide

Many drivers balk at the thought of using a different fuel brand.

One of the lesser-known factors when buying a car is deciding which fuel brand to use. For many people, it’s a consideration that usually only comes into play after the vehicle is driven off the dealership.

New car owners might base their selection on recommendations from family, friends, other motorists, or even the sales agent who sold the car.

Fuel nozzle

The choice of fuel usually comes after the vehicle has actually been purchased

Now, let’s say that you’ve been running the car on a particular fuel brand for some time, and curiosity has got you thinking of switching to another fuel brand, just to see what it’s like.

However, the thought of using another brand might unnerve you, since you believe that your car’s engine has already grown accustomed to the product you currently patronize. Would it be dangerous to pour another brand into your tank?

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Diesel pumps

Your car will run on any fuel that complies with the manufacturer's recommendations

The short answer is no. Any commercial-grade fuel sold at the pumps should be safe enough to use on your car, provided that it meets the standards recommended by the manufacturer as indicated in the owner’s manual. Switching fuel brands is a natural course of action, influenced by reasons such as price and availability of branches at any given time.

Will fuel consumption and performance be affected if you change to another brand? Most likely, for better or for worse. For one thing, the Big Three fuel brands are expected to use a more refined formulation in their products compared to smaller oil players, such as having more detergent additives to prevent the buildup of carbon deposits.

Girl filling up with fuel

Name-brand fuels use a different formulation than those from smaller players

>>> Related: Things to consider when choosing the right fuel for your car

In any case, if your car is fitted with an engine control unit (ECU), it will be able to adjust engine performance depending on the properties of the new fuel after a certain number of kilometers.

When you find yourself running low on fuel and there’s no branch of your preferred brand in sight, it’s okay to substitute another brand in the meantime, just so you avoid stalling in the middle of nowhere.

Even if there’s still half a tank of fuel left and you want to try a different brand of gasoline or diesel, there should be no problem. The only negative effect is that blending two different brands will prevent you from gaining the full benefits of either fuel.

Fill up on more automotive information that keeps you running at Philkotse.com.

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo


Joseph holds a degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman and has been writing professionally since 1999. He has written episodes for CNN Philippines' motoring show Drive, and has worked on corporate projects for MG Philippines and Pilipinas Shell. Aside from being Philkotse.com’s Content Lead, he also writes content for numerous car dealerships in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Maserati, among others.

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