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I spoke with the service guys at the mercedes dealer and they suggested that I downgrade to a lower octane in the winter to help with the starting problems. ie. lower octane lower burning point. Any thoughts on this?
 

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Octane rating is the measurement of the resistance of the fuel to detonation. It has nothing to do with with ignition temperatures, AFAIK.

One old cold start remedy is to add a little alcohol, usually ethanol. The enthanol will absorb any water in the fuel tank and fuel lines. BTW, ethanol raises the octane rating of the fuel, but has a lower ignition temperature. If you line in an area which adds ethanol for emissions reasons, don't add any more.
 

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I asked about this as well, adding a gas line antifreeze product, and was told not to do it. The service guy said these recommendations about octane usage were coming from Mercedes and that they were revising the octane guidelines for some of their cars.
 

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we have been instructed by mercedes benz that in many instances the cars will run better on mid grade gasoline. we see a lot of runability/idling issues everytime the switch from winter blend to summer blend gas happens (and vice versa). the official solution is to have the customer use mid grade gas and see how the car reacts. most of the time we don't hear about the problem again. i don't think the octane recommendations have been officially revised, this is just what we do for certain situations. if a car is using premium and experiences no problems, i would definately recommend that the customer continue to use that octane.
 
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