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Types Of Gas A Lincoln Navigator Takes (Explained)

Types Of Gas A Lincoln Navigator Takes (Explained)

On this blog, we extensively research your queries about various automobiles. Today, we’ll look at the Lincoln Navigator and see what kind of gasoline it needs. We looked through the 2003 – Present owners manuals to find the answer. Here is a quick response:

2003 – 2006 model years of the Lincoln Navigator take premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher. 2007 – 2021 model years of the Lincoln Navigator take regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87, although some model years preferably take 91 octane for optimum performance.

Using the right fuel is essential to get the best performance from your car. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story. Below, we will detail what kind of gasoline should and shouldn’t be used in the Navigator. Furthermore, we´ll discuss this car’s fuel tank capacity and gas mileage. Read on!

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Infographic on the fuel types for a Lincoln Navigator.

Fuel Requirements Based on Engine Type

Let´s first talk about the use of regular and premium gasoline in the different model years since there´s some nuance.

As stated, the 2003 – 2006 model years only take premium gasoline with an octane of 91 or higher. Anything below this will have adverse effects on the 5.4L V8 engines that are used in this generation.

From 2007 – 2014 onwards, Lincoln recommends 87-octane for the Navigator. Interestingly, this generation also uses one of the same 5.4L V8s used in the previous generation; however, this time, it´s tuned for regular gasoline. Furthermore, Lincoln does not mention using premium gasoline to improve lifespan or performance, indicating that premium gasoline carries no benefit for these model years.

The 2015 – 2017 model years received a refresh, and it got a 3.5L EcoBoost V6; models made from 2018 onwards also had a 3.5L EcoBoost V6, although these carried a twin-turbo as well. All these model years have 87-octane listed as their main recommendation for gasoline. However, Lincoln does state with these engines that 91-octane is preferred in situations in which optimum performance is needed. Typically, this is when towing a trailer, driving uphill, or driving in very hot weather.

What Type of Gasoline Can A Lincoln Navigator Take?

Furthermore, different types of gasoline are and aren´t appropriate to use in your Navigator. Below, we´ve outlined all these types so you know exactly what can and can´t be used.

Reformulated Gasoline

First, we have to talk about the use of reformulated gasoline. This is a type of gasoline that burns cleaner than non-reformulated gasoline. For this reason, it´s mandatory to use in some regions of the United States. Lincoln Navigators can run on reformulated gasoline just fine. If you have the choice between these two types of gasoline, it´s best to go with reformulated gasoline since it doesn´t cost anything extra but does help the environment and the air quality in your region.

Gasoline/Oxygenated Blends or E-85

Secondly, there´re oxygenated blends of gasoline. Oxygenated gasoline blends typically contain ethanol or methanol, both of which are bio-sources of gasoline. Using both of these substances comes with strict rules that must be followed.

First, methanol cannot be used in any model year of the Navigator. Methanol is a very corrosive substance that will damage the internals of your engine and fuel system.

On the other hand, ethanol can be used in specific percentages depending on the model year. 2003 – 2008 model years of the Lincoln Navigator can take gasoline with a maximum of 10% ethanol.

2009 – 2014 Navigators gained flex-fuel capability in many cases, which meant many of them could take gasoline with a maximum of 85% ethanol (more on that in the following subheading). However, for non-flex-fuel vehicles, it´s unclear what percentage of ethanol is excepted, to stay safe, we recommend not going higher than 10% ethanol if the vehicle is not flex-fuel ready.

From 2015 onwards, Navigators can take gasoline with a maximum of 15% ethanol. None of the model years in this generation are flex-fuel-ready.

Let it be clear that if a Navigator is not flex-fuel-ready, gasoline that´s sold as E30, E50, or E85 cannot be used, and doing so will result in engine damage.

Flex-Fuel (E85)

Some 2009 – 2014 vehicles can take flex-fuel gasoline, also referred to as E85. However, there are some common rules you need to be aware of when using this type of fuel.

First, not all vehicles produced between these years can take flex-fuel. You can recognize a flex-fuel vehicle because it has a yellow fuel bezel and/or it has E85 badges on the vehicle (see image below). If these things aren´t there, don´t assume your vehicle can take flex-fuel because this will result in significant engine damage.

flex fuel cap and flex fuel badge

Switching Between Regular Gasoline And Flex-Fuel

For optimum performance and the longest possible lifespan of your Navigator, it´s best not to switch between regular/premium gasoline and flex-fuel too often. If you do switch fuel, please keep in mind the following precautions:

  • Add as much as possible of the fuel you´re switching to, preferably half a tank or more.
  • Do not add less than five gallons (18.9L) of the new fuel; less will result in engine knocking.
  • Drive the vehicle for at least 5 miles (8km) immediately after refueling to allow the vehicle to adapt to the change in ethanol.
  • If you use E85/flex-fuel exclusively, fill your tank with regular, unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 for every scheduled oil change.

Cold Starting With Flex-Fuel

Furthermore, it´s essential to remember that cold starting while using flex-fuel is notoriously more difficult. Therefore, it´s recommended not to use flex-fuel when ambient temperatures fall below 0°F (-18°C). Please ensure you´re using winter-grade ethanol when temperatures drop below this. Summer-grade ethanol will result in very poor start-ups and could cause engine damage.

Do not crank the engine for more than 10 seconds at a time, as starter damage may occur. If the engine fails to start, turn the key off and wait 30 seconds before trying again. Do not use starting fluid such as ether in the air intake system. Such fluid could cause immediate explosive damage to the engine and possible personal injury.

Suppose you should experience cold weather starting problems on E85 ethanol, and neither an alternative brand of E85 ethanol nor an engine block heater is available. In that case, adding unleaded gasoline to your tank will
improve cold starting performance. However, it´s advised to use an engine block heater when temperatures fall below 0°F (-18°C).

Addition of Cleaning Agents

The use of cleaning agents or octane boosters is something that you´ll hear about from time to time. Therefore, it´s good to know that Lincoln recommends against the use of these cleaning agents. This is because cleaning agents often use silicones or metallics that will damage your engine’s fuel system and the internals.

Instead, Lincoln recommends the use of TOP TIER gasoline. TOP TIER retailers sell this type of gasoline. This group of retailers is an alliance that provides gasoline that contains all the suitable cleaning agents your car needs and in a larger quantity than what´s stated by law. You can find a TOP TIER gasoline retailer at

What If The Engine Makes A Knocking Noise?

Suppose you hear a knocking noise coming from your engine. In that case, you´re most likely using gasoline with a lower-than-recommended octane rating, using fuel with a higher-than-recommended ethanol level, or switching between flex fuel and regular gasoline without following the guidelines.

You must stop the vehicle immediately and call your dealer or mechanic if you hear a loud knocking noise from your engine, especially right after refilling. Your car needs to be towed away and drained from its gasoline, and your fuel filter will also need to be replaced.

Continuing to drive with a loud knocking noise will result in irreparable damage that is not covered by any warranty.

Also read: 7 Common Problems Of A Lincoln Navigator

What’s The Gas Mileage Of The Lincoln Navigator?

As expected from a large SUV like the Navigator, it´s certainly not the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market. Furthermore, it also doesn´t help that Lincoln has continued to use V8s and V6s throughout the generations, and they don´t have an option to get the Navigator as a hybrid.

EngineModel YearCombined MPGCity MPGHighway MPG
5.4L V82003 – 2006131117
5.4L V82007 – 2014141218
5.4L V8 FFV2009 – 2014111013
3.5L V62015 – 2017171520
3.5L V62018 – present181622

What Is The Tank Size Of Lincoln Navigator?

  • 2003 – 2006: 28 gallons or 106 liters
  • 2007 – 2017: 28 gallons or 106 liters standard, with an option to pick a larger fuel tank of 33.5 gallons or 126.8 liters.
  • 2018 – present: 23.6 gallons or 89.3 liters standard, with an option to pick a larger fuel tank of 27.8 gallons or 105.2 liters.


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