With the petrol price inflation of the present, now is the best time to get a CNG car! CNG powered cars are cheaper and greener. Besides they also have got a greater fuel efficiency as well. Even though CNG cars do not come with a lot of power compared to petrol cars, with good maintenance you can eke out the best performance from them.
But first, let’s learn a bit about CNG cars.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is manufactured by compressing methane. CNG and petrol vehicles have comes fitted with a similar engine.
The CNG which is in gaseous form is stored in a fuel tank at the back of the car. How does this natural gas get the engine up and running? From the cylinder, the natural gas flows via the fuel lines to the motor, and to the intake manifold where it is combined with air. The pistons compress the air-fuel mixture and the sparkplug ignites it, which literally gets the wheels turning, pushing the car forward.
CNG cars don’t exclusively run on Compressed Natural Gas. But rather they operate on both petrol and CNG (but not simultaneously) and this makes the engine work swimmingly. When you start the CNG car, the engine runs on petrol, after a while, it switches to CNG.
CNG cars come with more pros than cons. But to be on the safe side, it is important to keep a few things in mind regarding maintenance and safety.
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Check the spark plugs
The spark plug is what sets off the fireworks and get the engine running. However, sparkplugs in CNG cars need more frequent replacing. But, you can save a couple of trips to the mechanic if you go for the ones that are designed for CNG cars.
Use the ‘Auto Mode’
Instead of deciding for yourself when the right time is to switch from petrol to CNG, it is always a better idea to let the machine do all the thinking. When you have got the Auto Mode on, the Electronic Control Module (ECU) monitors the engine temperature and determines when to use CNG.
Be wary of gas leaks
If there is a strong smell coming from the vehicle, this could be a sign that the CNG is leaking. Even though natural gas does not carry any inherent scent, manufacturers sometimes add odourants to make it easy for you to quickly spot a gas leak. If you suspect a leak, turn off the car’s manual shut off valve and take it to a service centre.
Do not smoke inside a CNG car
Cigarette smoking is injurious to health. You know how it goes, years down the line you’ll get lung cancer and will probably end up dead. But when you light up a cigarette inside a CNG car, the consequences would manifest themselves much sooner than later. It is also dangerous to carry around anything combustible in the car.
Compensate for temperature
Summer is coming. Ugh. India is no alien to the blistering summer heat. While fueling the CNG car, always compensate for the temperature. This because as a result of thermal expansion, you could possibly overfill a CNG container. As the temperature in the environment increases, so will the temperature inside the container.
Kill the engine before refilling
Here is another way you can ensure safety while using CNG. Before you let the good people at the refuelling station fill up the fuel tank, make sure have the car engine switched off. This can reduce the chance of fire or any such mishaps.
CNG tanks come with an expiration date
There is a literal expiration date printed out on the label of the CNG storage tank. In most cases, you can use a CNG tank for 15 to 20 years. Replace your CNG tank at a good service centre, where they would remove the fuel and later discard the tank in the proper manner.
Routine inspection of CNG tank
You should get the CNG tank inspected every once in a while. Even small damages like cracks and rust can be dangerous. It is also a good idea to get the tank inspected if you are ever involved in a motor accident.
Get a new fuel filter from time to time
The fuel filter makes sure that the fuel is free of any sort of impurities. You should make it a habit to get the fuel filter examined. In most cars, you would need a new one every year.
Hydro Testing and Compliance Plate
Once every three years, the CNG cylinder should be hydro-tested. The test ensures that the cylinder is strong, does not leak and is durable enough to keep using. You’ll get a compliance plate when they have deemed your cylinder safe.
Along with this find a cool shady place to park your CNG car, especially in the summer months. Periodic automobile servicing can go a long way and can improve your experience as a car owner. Take your CNG car down to us at GoMechanic. Install the GoMechanic App now!