Nothing is perfect and aftermarket LPG system installs aren't any different. Engines are getting more complex and even though the technology is mature, some factors still give it a bad name. Let’s take a look and find out if there is any truth in these fears.LPG system errors
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Every forum thread about LPG systems has at least one user who has problems with his car all the time. Maybe the "check engine" light is on and off all the time, maybe it fails to change to LPG or the car judders more than it should. There are usually three different reasons for problems with autogas system.
a) low quality LPG system - In this type of business you normally get what you pay for. The gap between really cheap and really expensive conversions is substantial, but the more expensive conversions usually have better quality materials, more experiences with exotic engines and more professional trained installers.
b) sloppy installer - If the installer isn't careful, if he wants to connect everything too fast or if he is not experienced enough, errors are bound to happen.
c) engine and the system are not compatible - Exotic engines aren't installed daily so initial problems need longer to iron out.
Do your own due diligence before committing to a certain LPG system and installer. Find car owners who converted at that particular service, ask about their experience. Ask installers about your engine and if they already had the opportunity to connect the system to that particular engine.
There is a certain fear that LPG can destroy the engine and especially the valves and valve seats because LPG runs on higher temperatures than petrol and doesn't lubricate the intake manifold.
Some engines have hardened valve seats that don't wear as much even on autogas. For the engines without hardened valve seats you can use a valve saver kit, an additive for lubricating them. You can find more info in this article: Does my engine need additional lubrication and what are the Valve saver fluids?
LPG has a lower calorific value than petrol so more fuel is required to produce the same power.
Even though specific energy is lower in LPG it has a higher octane rating that makes it possible for a higher compression. If the LPG system setup is made correctly it should extract more energy from the same quantity of fuel. That is also one of the reasons to get an experienced installer/system for your car's engine.
People are afraid to drive in a car with a bottle/tank of propane/butane. It feels just like sitting on a ticking bomb.
A number of tests show that the LPG is at least as safe as the gasoline if not even safer. The tank is stronger, made for higher pressure and much more puncture resistant. It is impossible to overfill it because of a safety valve. And in case of any leakage through tubes the tank valves would stop the flow of gas.
The tank has a low capacity, so I have to tank every 200 or 300 km.
It is possible to buy a bigger tank that goes into your trunk to extend the mileage, but otherwise a small price to pay for a more economical and environment friendly fuel.
Not every gas station has an autogas pump, so I have to figure out where to tank.
The number of autogas stations per capita varies around the world. In some countries it is difficult to find one, in others it is impossible to miss one. Fortunately, a lot of webpages are dedicated to show lists of stations for a country with other valuable info needed, like price of autogas at that station. One of those websites is this one which also provides you with Route Planner, mobile app for iOS and Android and option to download POIs for your satnavs.
I like to travel around Europe and the connector on my vehicle is different than the one at a pump in another country.
There are four different connectors in Europe. It is possible to buy the adapters for each one on the internet, at bigger services or gas stations. The list of connectors for each country is available here: LPG adapters in Europe