LPG and CNG cylinder inspection: deadlines, costs and penalties

LPG and CNG cylinder inspection: deadlines, costs and penalties

LPG and CNG cylinder inspection

CNG and LPG cars represent a valid solution for those looking for a car with a "clean" supply in terms of CO2 emissions. In fact, these particular types of engines offer various advantages that cannot be underestimated, especially in an era where there are increasingly stringent rules regarding CO2 emissions; in other words, they represent a valid alternative to mobility even at a time when hybrid and electric variants are growing rapidly.

The Italian car fleet is partly made up of cars powered by methane or LPG, and not we exclude that the diffusion has been accelerated by the low cost of refueling as opposed to the progressive increase in the cost of petrol. Together with the ordinary maintenance that should be carried out regularly on any owned vehicle, vehicle inspection is a real legal obligation. In detail, the inspection is required in ways that depend on the use of the vehicle, its function and its registration. In fact, it is no coincidence that the current legislation on vehicle inspections provides for periodic inspections aimed at ensuring the necessary safety conditions. In the specific case of methane and LPG cars, these require special maintenance and revision of the cylinders in order to guarantee the right safety for all passengers. Let's see in detail when it is necessary to carry out the inspection of the CNG and LPG cylinders and the relative costs.

CNG cylinders overhaul: how much should it be done?

It is important to underline that gas powered vehicles require particular attention in order to avoid any malfunctions and consequent dangers to people. In this regard, it is first of all essential to know whether the cylinders are approved according to national legislation (DGM) or according to European legislation (R110 ECE/ONU). In the first case, in fact, the car system must be overhauled every five years. In the event that the homologation is R110 ECE/ONU, it is instead necessary to continue with the first inspection four years after the registration of the car and, subsequently, after two years. In this regard, however, there are important news: thanks to the entry into force of the decree 13/5/2022, the timing for overhauling the CNG4 cylinders, installed on M1 and N1 category vehicles, has been changed. The requalification must therefore be carried out every four years unless otherwise indicated by the manufacturer.

To find out the type of approval chosen for the methane cylinders, it is possible to check the GFBM tag issued after the installation of the system and the consequent tests, present in the engine compartment. This will therefore allow you to know the brand, number, capacity and expiry date of the cylinder test.

What are the costs of overhauling the methane system?

It is first of all important to reiterate that the methane system overhaul can be carried out by going to GFBM authorized testing centres, bearing in mind that, in the case of homologation European Union, the authorized installer must be in possession of the CUNA certification.

As for the cost, the overhaul itself is free given the surcharge already present on the price of methane. The car owner must therefore bear the costs of labour, disassembly, installation of the overhauled cylinders and replacement of the solenoid valves for a total of around 70/100 euros per cylinder.

With reference to cylinders approved under Italian legislation, subject to review every 5 years, the average cost is around 10 euros per cylinder, while for those with European approval, the cost varies according to the model of the vehicle.

What does the overhaul consist of?

The CNG cylinder overhaul consists of a number of tests to verify capacity and performance, so as to guarantee both road traffic safety and for vehicle passengers; this procedure can prove to be essential since an untested vehicle could cause fires and endanger the lives of the driver and passengers.

When the vehicle must be subjected to inspection by law, the first move of the inspector will be to weigh the cylinders in order to weigh any lightening of the material and damage to the system, sometimes linked to internal corrosion phenomena. This is followed by an internal and external inspection aimed at verifying the effective capacity of the cylinders which, due to erosion phenomena, could lose part of their ability to contain methane gas. Subsequently, testing is carried out using ultrasound and hydrostatic pressure at 300 bar. These steps are therefore a prerequisite for the complete overhaul of the vehicle's methane system. In the event that the cylinders should prove unsuitable to pass the inspection, they will have to be scrapped and replaced; however, the owner will be exempt from any replacement costs in the system. We also remind you that European legislation requires the replacement of cylinders once the limit of 20 years from installation has been exceeded.

LPG cylinder inspection: when does it go carried out?

As regards cars equipped with LPG cylinders, the inspection must be carried out  4 years after registration and, subsequently, every two years , like CNG cars with European homologation. For these vehicles, however, the revision of the entire LPG system is required, and therefore not only of the cylinders, which instead require a change every ten years. It is no coincidence that LPG cars have a tested system and therefore equipped with special solenoid valves necessary to guarantee safety against any malfunctions. It will therefore be the owner's responsibility to go to an authorized specialist who will proceed with the replacement within the established terms.

What are the costs of overhauling the LPG system?

The cost of overhauling the LPG system varies according to the place where you go to carry them out. In this case, in fact, the DMV requires a cost of 45 euros with postal slip and booking of the inspection by means of an application with the TT2100 form. In the event that you decide instead to go to an authorized workshop, the cost to be incurred will be equal to 67 euros. These costs will need to include the cost of any replacements, an amount that can vary depending on the region and can be between 300 and 500 euros.

What does the inspection consist of?

During the overhaul of the LPG system, it will inevitably be necessary to carry out a general check of some parameters, such as the regularity of the exhaust gas and noise. As in the case of natural gas cylinders, if any malfunctions are detected, the LPG filter or reducer will have to be replaced.

Penalty for expired cylinders

It is clear that the inspection of CNG or LPG cylinders is not a replacement for that of the vehicle but additional, as the purpose is to specifically verify the functioning of the cylinders and not the general condition of the car. We must therefore pay attention to expired cylinders considering that anyone who is involved in refueling a car with CNG cylinders with expired inspection will receive a fine.

The art. 80 of the Highway Code establishes, in paragraph 14:

Anyone circulating with a vehicle that has not been presented for the prescribed inspection is subject to the administrative sanction of payment of a sum ranging from 173 euros to 694 euros.

Regardless of the economic and practical reasons, buying a LPG or methane car is not quite the same thing, just think of the maintenance operations we have listed. In this regard, we remind you that with the new decree of the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport published in the Official Gazette there is no longer the obligation to test the installation of tow hooks as well as the replacement of LPG tanks in the Civil Motorization offices. In these cases, therefore, only a declaration that the works have been carried out in a workmanlike manner by a workshop accredited by the Ministry of Transport together with the update of the vehicle registration certificate will be required.

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