Does LPG Damage Your Engine? Is LPG Bad for Engine Life?
If you are thinking about converting your car or SUV to run on LPG, you would typically have a lot of questions.
Foremost, you want to know if the conversion will damage your engine in any way before deciding.
Let’s look at the facts so that you can make an informed decision…
Is LPG Bad for Your Engine?
LPG prevents pre-ignition (knocking)
Manufacturers offer dual-fuel models with the same warranties
Only the fuel storage and intake systems are different
Conversions do not affect factory warranties
LPG doesn't damage engine parts
LPG is cleaner burning than petrol or diesel
To the contrary, LPG may actually prolong engine life
High Octane Prevents Pre-ignition - Knocking
Using a lower than recommended octane fuel can cause pre-ignition.
This is also referred to as 'knocking' and can cause harm to your engine.
This would never be a concern with LPG, or Autogas, as LPG has an octane rating of over 100.
The LPG octane rating exceeds that of premium petrol and the recommended octane rating for all production cars.
This is important for cars with high compression engines, as they are the most prone to pre-ignition.
Factory Installed LPG Engines
Many European and Asian new car manufacturers offer LPG versions of their cars.
The Europeans include Volkswagen, Citroën, Fiat, Ford, Opel, Vauxhall, Saab, Peugeot, Renault, Skoda, and Volvo.
Toyota, Hyundai, Daewoo and Tata Motors are amongst the Asian manufacturers.
LPG cars can be OEM single fuel models or dual fuel conversions that run on petrol or LPG – also known as Autogas.
The dual fuel (bi-fuel) models, with two fuel tanks, run on either petrol or LPG.
They do not need to produce separate LPG dedicated engines.
Their normal petrol engines work well with LPG.
The warranties offered on these dual fuel cars are the same as for the petrol only versions.
This is indicative of the confidence that the manufacturers have in LPG.
The Differences are Few
The engines are just variants of their standard engines.
The two main differences are the fuel itself and the fuel storage and intake systems.
The engine block, pistons, spark plugs, ignition system, lubrication system and electricals all remain the same.
The driver can switch from gas to petrol or vice-versa.
The driver is typically provided with a switch and can select which fuel they choose to use.
With both the petrol and LPG tanks filled, cruising ranges of 1000km or more are not unusual.
LPG Conversions Do Not Void Your Warranty
Your new car warranty remains intact unless the LPG conversion itself causes the problem.
LPG conversions have a long track record and ever improving technology.
As a result, it would be rare that the conversion would ever cause a problem that would affect your warranty.
LPG systems are so reliable that more than 1 million LPG systems have been factory fitted.
When still operating in Australia, Ford and Holden (GM) both offered factory equipped LPG cars.
Ford chose a Liquid Phase Injection system for their factory equipped LPG Falcon EcoLPi.
Holden elected to go with a Sequential Vapour Gas Injection System for the LPG Ecoline Commodore.
Both came with full factory warranties.
The same liquid and vapour technologies are also available for aftermarket conversions.
The manufacturers of conversion systems also offer extended warranties on their LPG systems.
For example, Sprint Gas offers a 3 years / 100,000km warranty on late model vehicles.
No Damage to Engine Parts
LPG will not damage any of the parts of your engine.
The same does not apply to fuels containing ethanol.
Ethanol can damage fuel lines and other rubber and plastic parts of the fuel system.
LPG Engines Run Cleaner
In addition to lower fuel costs, autogas vehicles normally require less maintenance.
This means that you will have to spend less per year on vehicle upkeep.
LPG is a cleaner burning fuel than either diesel or petrol, so engine life is not negatively affected.
If anything, LPG may prolong engine life.
Using LPG is better for car engines, as it reduces carbon build up during the internal combustion process.
It produces less carbon overall when compared to either diesel or petrol.
That manifests itself in both vehicle emissions and the waste that will also start to coat a lot of the engine components.
The more waste materials that build up on these components, the more quickly that they are likely to wear out.
Using a fuel that burns cleaner should allow the engine components to last longer.
Engine oil and spark plugs need changing less often with LPG, reducing service costs.
Overall, this helps to lower your total regular maintenance costs
Far from damaging your engine, LPG may prolong engine life.
It reduces carbon build up and extends the period between certain service procedures.
This, along with fuel cost savings, helps make LPG conversion a great way to save money.
Comments, questions or feedback?
The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.