14 Precautions That Every CNG Car Driver Must Take
Many people travel daily by cars, especially in metro cities. While some people travel due to work or to take their kids to school, others commute every day to reach their colleges or institutes. As a result, a lot of people have started using CNG cars or have installed a CNG kit in their petrol cars. CNG stands for compressed natural gas which is an odourless, clear and non-corrosive natural gas mostly comprised of methane gas, such as petrol.
Whether you have a petrol car or a CNG car, it can be easily insured under the best car insurance in India. Petrol cars that have been converted into CNG can get their CNG fuel kit covered by opting for additional cover. Car owners can choose the best car insurance for their vehicle by making car insurance comparison online.
How is CNG Better than Petrol?
Over the last decade, there has been a surge in the purchase of CNG cars as well as installation of CNG fuel kits in petrol cars. This is because using CNG in cars comes with several benefits. To understand why is it better to use CNG than petrol in cars, here are some of the benefits of using CNG:
- CNG is a safer fuel than petrol. With a narrow flammability range of 5%-15% and a higher auto-ignition temperature, CNG does not catch fire easily on hot surfaces, thereby, reducing the probability of a mishap.
- It is more affordable to buy CNG fuel for cars as it costs almost half the price of petrol. For instance, the price of petrol in Delhi is Rs 80.43/ litre and the price of CNG in Delhi is Rs 43/ Kg (as of 6th July 2020).
- CNG is a greener fuel and thus, is more environment-friendly as compared to other fuels. This is because CNG produces up to 95% less harmful emissions or greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide. For instance, CNG emits 44% carbon monoxide as compared to 80% emission on burning petrol.
- It reduces noise pollution as a car engine run on CNG move silently due to the higher octane rating of CNG.
- It is more cost-effective and easy to maintain a CNG car. This is because CNG does not contain additives and burns cleanly without contaminating the spark plugs of the car by not leaving any by-products of combustion.
- CNG easily mixes evenly in the air due to its gaseous form.
- It is a non-toxic gas and therefore, does not contaminate or pose a threat to the nearby environment, such as groundwater, in case of a leakage.
- Since CNG burns cleanly, it does not contaminate the engine oil and increases the life of the lubricating oils.
Precautions To Take While Using a CNG Car
CNG is no doubt a safer fuel than petrol or diesel. Nonetheless, a car owner must exercise some precautions while using a CNG in his car to ensure the safety of the car, its passengers and the surroundings. Take a look at 14 precautions that every
CNG car owner must take while using a CNG car:
Do Not Use Unauthorized CNG Kits
Although people are advised to buy a CNG car with a factory-fitted CNG kit, many people try to convert their petrol cars into CNG by getting the fuel kit installed in their vehicle. On top of that, they get the installation done by a roadside mechanic or dealer instead of an authorized dealer to save money. This not only messes up the mechanics of the car but can also result in leakage leading to a fire. Thus, a car owner must avoid installing unauthorized CNG kit in his car.
Avoid Using Mismatched/ Substandard Accessories
While installing a CNG kit in the car, a car owner must ensure that the fuel kit and cylinder being installed matches with the make and model of the car. The CNG kit and cylinder must be compatible with the original wiring and fixtures of the car. Moreover, the CNG cylinder to be installed should be of an approved brand and manufactured as per relevant standards. If mismatched or substandard CNG kit is fitted in the car, the chances of a fire or damage increases due to difference in voltage and current ratings.
Replace Spark Plugs
While converting a petrol car into CNG, the car owner should ensure that the spark plug of the vehicle is compatible with CNG kit. This is important as spark plugs tend to wear out faster when used on CNG. If the special CNG-compatible spark plug is not available, the gap between the source of spark and the metallic tip of the plug should be reduced.
Get CNG Cylinder Test Certificate
Once the CNG kit has been installed, the car owner must obtain a CNG Cylinder Test Certificate by the CNG Retrofitter or licensee. The certificate acts as a proof for installing approved CNG cylinder in the car.
First Petrol, Then CNG
A CNG car driver should always start his car on petrol and switch to CNG after running the vehicle for at least one kilometre. Doing so helps the car engine to stay lubricated and reduces its wear and tear.
Regular Leak Test of the CNG Cylinder
A car owner must regularly check the CNG fuel cylinder for leakage. Improper fitting of the CNG kit or overfilling the fuel cylinder often leads to gas leakage resulting in a fire and bursting of the cylinder. To avoid such a situation, the gas cylinder should be regularly tested for any signs of leakage and should be immediately taken to an authorized service centre in case a leakage is detected.
Regular Car Servicing
A car owner must regularly get his vehicle serviced if he is planning to get a CNG kit installed or has converted his petrol car into CNG. Short circuits in cars mostly happen because old wires are unable to provide necessary insulation. Regular check-ups can help to maintain the car and detect any wear and tear. Moreover, a car with pre-installed CNG kit or additionally installed kit should be checked for regular wear and tear of the CNG kit and cylinder at least once in every five years at an authorized service centre.
No Smoking Inside the Car
The owner of a CNG car should not smoke inside his car. This is because smoking can lead to a fire in the CNG car which can have devastating consequences.
Follow CNG Car Usage Rules
CNG car owners must adhere to all vehicle usage rules as per the motor vehicles laws. They should not use a car heater for a prolonged period, transport flammable materials or burst crackers near the car. Defying these rules can be extremely dangerous as CNG car can easily reach its ignition temperature of 540 degrees Celsius while being used and can catch fire. Since the car damage would be a result of the car owner’s carelessness, even the best car insurance companies may reject the claims.
Turn Off the Car Before Refilling CNG
Before the gas station technician begins to refill CNG in the car, the driver must ensure that the vehicle engine is turned off and the key is turned to the ‘Off’ position. This ensures that there are no sparks in the car’s engine and thus, no fire.
Don’t Use Mobile Phones/ Electronics While Refilling
While getting CNG refilled in the car, the vehicle owner must ensure that he or any of his co-passengers are not using their mobile phones or any electronics as it can lead to a fire.
Keep an Eye on the Cylinder Pressure
While refilling a CNG cylinder at a gas station, the car owner must ensure that the CNG cylinder pressure is not more than 200 bars. Doing so avoids overfilling of the CNG cylinder and subsequent leakage. The cylinder pressure can be checked by monitoring the gauge fitted at the gas filling machine.
Refill CNG Up to Two-Third of Cylinder Capacity
During the summer months, a CNG cylinder should not be refilled more than two-thirds of its total capacity. This is because the temperatures are soaring high in summers and thus, a full fuel tank can be dangerous.
Try to Park Vehicles in Shade or Covered Area
A CNG car owner should always try to park his vehicle in a covered or shaded area, especially in the daytime. This is important to avoid direct exposure of the car in the sun which can easily heat the car making it prone to fire.
In a Nutshell
Driving responsibly and taking the necessary precautions is sure to let a person have a seamless CNG car experience. Every CNG car owner must take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of his car and its passengers. Moreover, he must make car insurance comparison to choose the best car insurance with preferably a comprehensive cover so that any loss or damages to the car is taken care of.
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