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LPG - profitability of installation and operation of the installation
Date Added: 19-10-2017
Fuel prices, which have been rising for many years, are the main reason why decisions are made to install LPG systems in cars. The desire to drive cheaper is a sufficient argument to decide on a one-time expenditure related to the purchase and installation of the installation in the car.
However, is this the only expense that users incur in connection with the operation of a LPG car? Or maybe there are other hidden costs that make driving on gas not really as profitable as it may seem? We decided to check it.
Input expenditure - purchase and installation of LPG
The first and at the same time the largest expenditure related to the use of gas is the purchase and installation of LPG installations . Currently produced LPG installations for modern cars are sequential installations. What does it mean? That their work is controlled by a computer. There is no need to remember to switch to gas only after the engine has warmed up, as is the case with older generation I and II installations.
LPG installation controller (ECU) not only automatically switches the power supply from petrol to gas, but also monitors the operation of the entire installation, adjusting the so-called map to the current conditions and driving style. Why is it important? Because of to this, driving on gas is no different from driving on gasoline. The power drop is almost imperceptible, as is the driving dynamics (good converted engine save 95% power on LPG/GPL from GASOLINE condition). What you can tell if the car is running on LPG or on petrol is how the fuel injectors work. Gas injectors sound slightly different than petrol injectors.
So what is the cost of the LPG investment? Depending on the car model and its engine, as well as the manufacturer of the LPG installation, you should be prepared for an expense of EUR 600 to EUR 1500 including assembly (in Poland). The final price is also influenced by factors such as the location of the workshop - in large cities it is usually slightly more expensive than in smaller towns.
Servicing LPG/GPL conversion set
Now let's move on to what's most important. What is the cost of the current gas installation service? As you know, the secret of long and reliable LPG operation is its proper servicing. Regular inspections, replacement of filters, system calibration, as well as refueling with good quality fuel make the LPG car repay us with trouble-free operation and low driving costs.
LPG filters replacement
The gas installation in cars is equipped with 2 filters. The first is a liquid phase filter, and the second is a vapour phase filter. The standard frequency of replacement is 1 to 2, which means that the liquid phase filter is replaced every one service, and the volatile phase filter every two. Of course, there is nothing to prevent you from replacing both filters every time, especially if there is a risk that the LPG fuel is of lower quality. The price of the filters themselves is a dozen or so zlotys, and we will pay twice as much for their replacement on the site. Replacing yourself is as simple as it is quick. A few basic safety rules should be observed, such as replacement with the LPG system turned off and the earlier discharge of gas from the system by disconnecting the pipes.
Calibration of LPG installations
Another important element of regular servicing of LPG installations is its calibration and diagnostic. Over time, the uploaded LPG map may "drift" in relation to the original gasoline map. This results in a change in the fuel mixture, which can destroy driving performance. To prevent this from happening, the map should be calibrated regularly (few times a year) . The differences between them are something natural, resulting, among others, from from contaminated filters, wearing out plugs and ignition cables, etc. as a standard, LPG map calibration is performed by a service technician during a test drive lasting several dozen minutes or when the car is idling. The cost of such a service is about EUR 10-50.
Can it be done cheaper and, above all, independently? Yes of course! They are ready to help LPG diagnostic interfaces, the possibilities of which are really great. They serve, inter alia, for diagnostics of LPG installations, i.e. monitoring of operating parameters, reading and erasing errors, as well as introducing changes. The same interfaces allow you to calibrate the maps on your own and upload new ones that are saved in the device's library. Simple and intuitive operation, and above all, no risk of "reprogramming" the installation.
How much do LPG interfaces cost?
Depending on the selected interface model, we will pay for it from about 19 EUR for an LPG / CNG regulation interface with FTDI protection and electronics, to about 50 EUR for professional LPG interfaces with multiple adapters for workshops professionals. As you can see, the cost of the purchase is not high and it pays for itself after one use, which corresponds to one visit. Each subsequent service can be carried out with its own effort and time, which brings an average saving of EUR 10-100. Let us add that the recommended frequency of inspections is about 10,000 km or every year. Having a car powered by LPG, which means cheap driving and cheap refueling, this distance is usually covered in six months or less. Total sum, 2 to 3 inspections of LPG installations should be performed per year, which gives even greater savings, from 100 to 250 EUR/YEAR.
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