Automotive technicians don’t need to worry when they hear the word “propane.” Aside from a few differences, propane autogas vehicles are much like gasoline-fueled models when it comes to keeping them running. And in some cases, even easier. Here are the top three tips from Roush CleanTech’s field service team to consider when maintaining a propane vehicle.
Tip #1: Don’t fear the unknown
Propane has been around for more than 100 years to fuel vehicles. More than 27 million vehicles travel worldwide with propane autogas in their fuel tank. This includes shuttles, school buses, delivery vans, construction trucks, transit vehicles and more.
Although propane is referred to as “propane autogas” when used as an on-road transportation fuel, it’s the same stuff used to heat up homes or fire up a back-yard grill. It’s a cost-saving energy source that is making strides in the U.S. transportation industry. For more than 30 years, the cost of propane autogas has been, on average, 50% less than the cost of diesel.
Propane autogas is a readily available, domestically produced fuel used to power vehicles. More than 90% of the United States propane autogas supply is produced domestically, with an additional 7% from Canada.
Tip #2: Know the maintenance differences
Today’s diesel vehicles are cleaner than those of years past, but the tradeoff has been expensive and high-maintenance emissions and aftertreatment systems, which aren’t required on propane autogas models. Propane’s chemical properties allow it to power an engine while reducing the emissions released into the atmosphere without aftertreatment equipment. Heavier-duty vehicles fueled by propane autogas emit fewer greenhouse gases and total hydrocarbon emissions, and virtually eliminate particulate matter, when compared to conventional diesel-powered heavy-duty vehicles.
In addition, engines fueled by propane autogas require less oil by volume than diesel and no additional diesel emission fluids or extra valve adjustments.
There are a few differences to consider. When depressurizing the fuel lines in a propane vehicle, follow manufacturer recommended procedures. Fuel lines typically maintain pressure after shutdown.
Since safety is key, be sure to wear appropriate personal protection equipment, such as propane safe gloves and safety glasses, whenever servicing a propane fuel system.
Tip #3: Follow the owner’s manual
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