Major cities in the world have started embracing the idea of CNG-driven cars as it is a sustainable, environment-friendly, cost-effective option.
This concerted effort meant to save the environment has gained a lot of attraction and users of a CNG-driven vehicle are not only using it more but also convincing friends and family alike to opt-in for this.
Benefits of CNG Over Petrol
- Environment friendly – CNG fuel cars ensure that it reduces harmful emissions of greenhouse gases by 95%. CNG cars emit 44% carbon monoxide as opposed to 80% emissions by burning petrol. Also, as it is a non-toxic gas, it does not pose any threat if in case there is any leakage from the engine.
- Affordable – a CNG fuel car costs nearly half the price of a petrol car.
- Do not catch fire easily – CNG is a safer fuel than petrol as it has a narrow flammability range of 5%-15% and a higher ignition temperature. The probability of an unfortunate incident is thus reduced greatly.
- Reduces noise pollution – car engines that run on CNG are rather noiseless due to the high-octane rating that they have.
- Cost-effective – it is easy to maintain a CNG car as it does not contain additives and does not leave by-products after combustion.
- Increases the life of lubricating oils – CNG burns cleanly without contaminating the engine oil. This is how the life of the lubricating oil increases.
What are the Precautions that a CNG Car Driver Should Take?
- Never use unauthorised CNG kits – Retrofitting one’s car with CNG kits purchased from a roadside mechanic or a dealer is not advisable. It might save money in the short run, but it will lead to a lot of issues in the future for it tampers with the mechanics of the car. It is not worth the risk.
- Avoid using mismatched accessories – the CNG kit that is being installed must be compatible with the internal mechanics of the car – the original wiring and the fixtures must fit in well with the retrofitted kit. In case of a mismatch, the chances of fire or any other damage increases exponentially. This usually happens due to the difference in voltage and current ratings.
- Replace spark plugs – it is common knowledge that spark plugs tend to wear out faster in the case of CNG-driven engines. Therefore, it is important that one fits a specially designed CNG-compatible spark plug. These are manufactured in such a way that the gap between the source of the spark and the metallic tip of the plug is reduced.
- Get a test certificate for your CNG cylinder – the car owner must at all costs get a CNG Cylinder Test Certificate by the CNG Retrofitter/licensee. The said certificate is proof of installing an approved cylinder in the car. Having this certificate is very important while one is getting car insurance or modifying it as the car insurer will ask one for this certificate.
- First Petrol and then CNG – experts advise that the driver must run the first kilometer or so on petrol and then switch over to CNG to keep the car engine well lubricated. This reduces wear and tear in the long run.
- Perform regular leak test – as improper fitting or overfilling can result in leakage of gas resulting in a fire or bursting of the cylinder. The leak test must be done in an authorized service centre and at regular intervals.
- Do not skip on your servicing dates – a car fitted with a CNG kit requires a lot of care and servicing. One must go to the service centre in a timely manner to check if the wires are provided with necessary insulation if there is any wear and tear in the kit/cylinder, etc. It is recommended that this thorough check is done every once a year.
- No smoking at all – as this can have disastrous consequences of setting one’s car on fire.
- Follow the rules for driving a CNG car – the Motor Vehicle Rules have laid down several rules that one must follow regarding the use of a CNG driven car. It must be followed to the T. If the car sustains any damage due to non-adherence of rules, then the insurer is likely to reject the claims.
- Before refilling the cylinder, turn off the car – to prevent any sparks in the engine of the car, consequently preventing it from catching on fire.
- Do not use electronic gadgets near the car while refilling – to prevent any chances of fire.
- Check the cylinder pressure – the car owner has the responsibility of ensuring that the CNG cylinder pressure does not exceed 200 bars at any point in time to prevent leakages of any sort. The cylinder pressure can be checked with the help of the gauge at the gas filling machine.
- Re-fill only two-thirds of the cylinder’s capacity – during summer it is best that the cylinder is only filled up to two-thirds of its capacity as soaring temperatures and a full tank can spell disaster.
- Try to avoid sunny areas while parking – avoiding direct exposure of the car to sunlight is advised as it can make it prone to fire.
It is important to remember that retrofitting a CNG kit into one’s car will require an enhancement of one’s car insurance cover and consequently a higher premium (typically 4%-5% of the CNG Kit Value).
Keep the above points in mind and research more in order to make a well-informed decision.