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Will Unleaded 88 Damage My Car? (Quick Answers)

We all know how toxic lead is, and when it’s mixed with gasoline and burnt, it’s a recipe for catastrophe, therefore an alternative was always in high demand. Unleaded fuel became the norm, and numerous changes were made to meet the optimal efficiency.

You may have been using unleaded 87 for years, but there is a lot of excitement about unleaded 88 these days. Unleaded 88 is less expensive than other fuels, and it contains more ethanol. Is it really that good, or is there more to the story? Let’s find out.

Will unleaded 88 damage my car?

Unleaded 88 mix will not harm the engine, although it will reduce performance marginally. The octane mix with 15% ethanol is praised for its refined value and affordability. However, changing from unleaded 87 to unleaded 88 may not provide any visible differences in engine performance.

The environmental pollution caused by the use of leaded fuel has left a deep impact on people’s minds, motivating the use of the term “unleaded.

” The term “unleaded” refers to a gasoline mix that has a particular amount of ethanol and, most importantly, no traces of tetraethyl-lead.

The most common unleaded gasoline is E10 or unleaded 87, which is a combination of 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol and is the ideal blend for best performance. 

Because even the greatest isn’t always good enough, the drive to make a better version was always present, leading to the development of unleaded 88 or E15.

The unleaded 88 may contain somewhat more ethanol than the unleaded 87, making it slightly purer yet inefficient. The difference in performance is so little that it’s difficult to detect, yet unleaded 87 has greater fuel efficiency than unleaded 88.

The unleaded 88 with 15% ethanol would burn at a slower pace, which is a huge disadvantage for combustion engines, and there is a slew of other issues associated with too much ethanol in the gasoline.  

Using unleaded 88 won’t harm the engine right away; it will only cause a tiny drop in performance, but it will have a long-term effect, especially if you have a car with an open vent system.

Is unleaded 88 safe for my car?

It’s perfectly safe if your vehicle’s manufacturer handbook, stickers, or any other piece of paper states that it’s compatible with Unleaded 88, however, most automobiles that accept Unleaded 87 also support Unleaded 88.

Unleaded gasoline is unquestionably safer than leaded gasoline. The gasoline and ethanol mixture was developed as part of an experiment to improve fuel economy, then tetraethyl-lead was added to take it a step further.

It became well-known all around the world, but the consequence was much beyond our ability to control. 

The tetraethyl-lead was mixed up in the air, causing the toxicity level to skyrocket. The practice of adding tetraethyl-lead to gasoline was criticized, whereas unleaded fuel was greatly valued.

Using unleaded 88 fuel won’t harm your engine, but the higher the ethanol content, the lower the mileage.

3 reasons why you cannot use unleaded 88 in a car

As for you can use them if your car is compatible, but there are also a few reasons why you should not use them. Let’s find out.

Moisture damage:

The hygroscopic quality of ethanol can certainly result in moisture damage. The ability to rapidly absorb moisture from the air and dissolve it into the fuel is kind of concerning and a major red flag. 

Unleaded 88 carries more ethanol than standard gasoline, which is beneficial when looking for a purer form but makes it more vulnerable to moisture damage.

If an automobile engine is built to run on unleaded 87 with 10% ethanol, using unleaded 88 with 15% ethanol will impose additional strain on the fuel transmission system.

When someone shifts into unleaded 88, the most typical worst-case scenario is corroded fuel or a congested transmission system.

Chemical decomposition:

Unleaded 88, like most other gasoline types, goes through the catalytic cracking process. This technique lowers the size of molecules over time, making them acceptable for use in automobile engines.

However, most unleaded gasoline, particularly those with greater ethanol concentrations, reacts horribly over time.

The catalytic cracking isn’t an absolute process, there is a high possibility of chemical breakdown. Any chemical decomposition in fuel can cause problems with engine efficiency.


When ethanol is blended with gasoline, the efficiency may increase, but there are some disadvantages to this combination.

Ethanol, being alcohol, has all of the properties including a low boiling point and the ability to evaporate when exposed to air.

The evaporation may not be that bad but only certain bits of it get evaporated and the rest of them goes through the oxidation process. The sticky gooey varnish-like compound is certainly not made for your engine to process as fuel.

It often happens when you have an old model car with open vents. If your car’s engine only accepts unleaded 87, leave it that way. Unleaded 88 may not always be the best option.

What happens if you put unleaded 88 in my car?

There are two possible outcomes when using unleaded 88 in your car. The first would be absolutely no reaction, which indicates that your car’s engine is compatible with unleaded 88.

The second conceivable effect of using unleaded 88 is a drop in performance, which would be so minor as to be almost insignificant, but it might leave a nasty impression on the engine in the long run.

If your car has an open vent or any other means for air or moisture to touch the unleaded 88, a lot of things can happen. The high level of ethanol makes the gasoline subject to moisture damage, chemical breakdown, oxidation, and other problems.

Before making any gasoline-related decisions, it’s better to learn as much as you can about your car’s engine, fuel system, and other components.

What cars can take unleaded 88?

Unleaded 88 is quite acceptable in most current automobiles. That so, it’s always a good idea to check the user’s manual for any instructions or limitations.

It was always thought that any automobile built after 2000 would be fine with unleaded 88, but a well-known brand, Ford, has recently indicated that if you use unleaded 88, only if you have a 2013 model or newly updated car.

Including Ford, there are other manufacturers like

  • Toyota
  • Audi
  • Honda
  • Jaguar
  • Volkswagen
  • Porsche

All of these companies claim that if you’re thinking about using unleaded 88, it’s safe for any vehicle built after 2012. After certain modifications, several luxury vehicles such as Mercedes Benz and Land Rover will operate on unleaded 88.

Nowadays most manufacturers are attempting to dominate the electric vehicle market, you may not see many changes or upgrades to gasoline-powered models.

When can you use unleaded 88 in your car?

There are no additional benefits to using unleaded 88, so it’s difficult to say when you should use it.

However, it’s less expensive than unleaded 87, so you can try it out. But nevertheless, don’t get too used to it because the low price is only a marketing ploy; once it becomes popular, the price will skyrocket. 

When a new product enters the market, people get skeptical, so the maker will do everything possible to win them over by lowering the price, offering other amazing bargains, and even paying individuals to spread the word about it.

As a buyer, it is preferable to use trial and error to decide if something is excellent or poor.

At the moment, nothing particularly detrimental has been said regarding unleaded 88. If you have a new model automobile, give it a try and decide for yourself whether it is right for you.

At the very least, it is less expensive than others, so it won’t put too much burden on your wallet.

Final Thoughts 

Unleaded 88 is just a combination of octane and 15% ethanol, and it is regarded as high-quality gasoline that will not harm the engine in any manner. That being said, switching from unleaded 87 to unleaded 88 may save a few bucks, but the unleaded 88 does not offer any greater performance.