Frequently asked questions
Is Autogas safe ?
Yes. Of course nothing that can burn or explode is totally safe, but in comparison to petrol, Autogas is much less dangerous to be around! Petrol is contained in a flimsy metal or plastic tank, with vents to the atmosphere. LPG is held in a heavy pressure vessel, and in normal circumstances will not allow any gas to vent. The tanks can take damage far beyond anything a normal fuel tank could absorb without rupturing. There are a number of safety devices on the vehicle to cut off fuel in case of an accident and each system is fitted in accordance with a strict protocol to ensure that safety is the first concern.
How do I know that the conversion has been properly carried out ?
A company that is registered with the LPG ASSOCIATION (now known as UK LPG) has gone through a strict vetting process to ensure that the conversion will be carried out to the highest standards. Registered installers are subject to ongoing quality checks. The LPGA are the only body recognised by central government to oversee our industry. They have set the stringent guidelines and codes of practice with which we must comply. You should check that the company you trust to convert your vehicle is registered.
What about servicing ?
Servicing and durability are covered elsewhere, but wear and tear on the engine is often reduced, with the exception of the valves. On some vehicle the additional heat generated can cause some valve seat recession. No special requirements are needed for a converted vehicle, and your normal garage should be able to carry on with the routine maintenance. If however the gas system needs to be touched for any reason, then it essential that only a qualified engineer does this.
What happens if I run out of gas ?
The system is dual fuel, so if you run out of either petrol or gas, you simply switch to the other. (However on gas this is an automatic process). A major advantage if you don't like filling up... A major disadvantage if you have bladder problems.
Will my vehicle feel different to drive ?
Maybe, the engine will possibly be smoother, and quieter in operation. Acceleration may be marginally down, so although a well-tuned-in driver may just notice the difference, their passengers almost certainly will not.
Is engine wear decreased ?
Yes and no is the answer....When you first start the engine on petrol the fuel sticks to the cylinder walls and washes off the oil which is there to protect it. This causes wear to both pistons and the cylinders. This petrol then drops down into the oil, and starts to dilute it, eventually destroying the lubrication qualities. Furthermore - because the fuel does not burn completely there is a build up of carbon deposits - which end up being pumped round the engine with the oil. These deposits are very abrasive and can contribute to engine breakdowns. That being said modern lubricants largely overcome this problem and it is not uncommon for engine to run for the life of the car without major work being needed. Some LPG fuelled vehicle have problems due to erosion of the valve seats. This problem is caused in the main by higher valve temperatures but it should be stressed that some makes of vehicle have no problems whatsoever. The advice is to ask the converter, all have information about susceptible vehicles and are able to advise on solutions to overcome the problem.
I have been told that I will need loads of different adaptors to enable me to fill the tank. Is this true?
No! The standard fitting in this country is the bayonet coupling, which is seen on all forecourts that I know of. The only variation you are likely to find in this country is at some of the more pre-historic sites, and they will have to use an adaptor from an "acme" thread. On the continent you will find that the only adaptor required will be to convert to the French claw filler. Many fuel stations keep adaptors to loan to customers, but they are not expensive to buy, and really easy to fit, and remove. The only problem you will have is finding the thing in the glove box amongst the crisp packets, and melted chocolate bars.
What about my insurance premium ?
When your conversion is carried out by a company approved by the LPGA you will be issued with a certificate of conformity. The insurance companies should not charge any additional premium to any customer who can produce this certificate.
A survey has been carried out to ascertain the attitude of insurance companies to gas conversions in general, and the safeguards they require before granting cover, to view this click here.
Will any vehicle run on gas ?
Not all vehicles are suitable. A diesel engine can only be converted after a considerable amount of work is done, after which it would not run on diesel again. So unless the need to change is great, the cost would far outweigh the benefit. This situation has changed slightly with the introduction of a dual-fuel system, that runs on gas and diesel at the same time. We do not offer this conversion.
Turbo-charged vehicles and some others have in the past had an increased risk of flat spots and a lean mis-fires in the inlet manifold. The very latest gas injection systems (Generation 4) have overcome all of these problems in most cases.
Will my car use more fuel ?
Yes. Depending on how you drive, and what vehicle you are driving, your fuel consumption will be higher on Autogas than on petrol, by between ten and twenty percent in normal circumstances. Although I have not known of anyone having more than this increase a number of customers have reported that their fuel consumption has increased hardly at all. (Remember the price differential though.)
Will I be exempted from the London Congestion Charge once my vehicle has been converted to run on Autogas?
The short answer is No!: The full answer is slightly longer.
To be eligible for exemption from the congestion charge a vehicle must be submitted for testing with the Energy Savings Trust. (EST) Simple? …I am afraid not. Because every manufacturer of Autogas equipment would need to apply individually and every variation of the vehicle would need a separate testing procedure, and testing is expensive (in excess of £1000 per time) Some companies have invested considerable time and money in having vehicles accredited and these specific vehicles are listed on the EST web site link below.
The current situation is that no new vehicles are being accepted onto the programme and it seems likely that the exemption for most Autogas powered vehicles will be phased out in the near future. So even if your car is eligible now there is a good chance that the situation will change.
After my vehicle is converted will my Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax) be reduced?
Vehicle registered after March 2001 are banded into groups dependant on output of Carbon Dioxide, by registering your vehicle as an "Alternative Fuel Vehicle" with the DVLA you will pay less, the difference is not huge but every little helps. Cars registered prior to March 2001 are not eligible for any reductions in duty. There is another bonus for registering your converted car as Alternative Fuel and this is that some local authorities discount car parking charges for green vehicles.
What other problems might occur?
Virtually none, however some vehicles will tend to bring on a check engine light due to the different fuel being used. In most cases the vehicle continues to run and perform as normal. All converters will attempt to stop these lights illuminating but on some occasions no matter how hard we try they continue to defy us. Occasionally there is just no solution to this problem.
Who should I inform after my vehicle has been converted?
You need to tell the DVLA (see above) your insurance company, and all your friends.
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