I bought an imported (from Japan) Mazda Axela 2010 (i-stop, 1990cc, sedan) and the dealer asked me to use 95 octane petrol.

There are a lot of misconceptions about octane and I heard many dealers recommend higher octane fuel, just to be safe as they don't know the actual required fuel type. Also, it is more expensive to run a car (in New Zealand) with 95 octane, as the additional cost per liter outweighs any possible efficiency increase compared to regular 90/91 octane fuel.

So I would like to know what fuel types I can use on this car (90? 91? 95?) and what are the consequences of using regular 91 octane fuel.

The vehicle does have EFI.

Also, right now the tank is filled with 95 octane. Can I simply add regular fuel the next time I fill up? or do I have to go to a mechanic to drain the tank and fuel lines first?

UPDATE: Got my friend to read the Japanese Owners Manual for the car, and it says 87 or higher is acceptable. Thanks everyone.

2 Answers 2


According to what I'm reading, the Axela is another name for the Mazda-3 we have here in the states. There are two engines offered for the vehicle: 2.0L & 2.5L. Both engines only require "regular unleaded", regardless of transmission type. I don't believe either of these engines are turbocharged from the factory, so there's no forced induction necessitating the use of higher octane fuel.

From your numbers (and also what I read), it looks as though New Zealand uses a different method of rating octane that we do here in the States. Here we use the (R+M)/2 method, which gives us the average of the two rating methods (Research Octane Number or RON & Motor Octane Number or MON). I'd suggest you are using just the RON which is the most commonly used world wide, plus the higher octane ratings than I'm used to. With that in mind, our 87 octane, would probably most closely equate to your 91, and so on up the scale. If 91 is considered "regular unleaded", I'd suggest that is what you should be using.

Something you can do is to run the 91 and see how it runs. Stress the engine a little bit. A couple of ways to stress the engine would be to:

  • From a dead stop, take off in a spirited way ... IOW: get on it ... but not so much you make the tires break loose
  • While travelling down the road, place the vehicle in a higher than normal gear (if manual shift). If you are going 25kph down the road and would normally be driving in 3rd gear, put it in 5th gear, then get on the go pedal a little harder than normal

In both cases, you'll be listening for the dreaded "ping" or "knock". If you hear this, DO NOT push the car any further or harder. You'll want to put the next higher grade in at the next fill up and do this all over again. If you experience it at the next grade, then fill up with the 98 after that.

I believe you'll be able to use the 91 octane with good results, though, as that's what it seems your car is supposed to be using.

  • So it has 95 octane in the tank now. What's the procedure to change to 91? Can I just fill it with 91 octane the next time? or should I drain the tank and fuel lines first?
    – Madushan
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 23:58
  • 1
    You'll not have any issues running the higher octane ... just run it until you need to fuel up, then put the correct octane in the tank. It will cause you absolutely no issues. Remember, the octane rating is basically telling you, the higher the number, the harder it is to burn ... that's about it. It won't cause a problem. Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 0:13

Don't trust the dealer. Instead, read your owner's manual and do keep in mind the different octane rating schemes pointed out by Paulster. If you don't have an owner's manual, see if this one has your specific engine. If it does, it recommends RON 91.

  • yes I think it's the 4 door sedan explained in that manual.
    – Madushan
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 23:28

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