CHECKS on vehicles converted to run on liquid petroleum gas (LPG) have revealed that alarming numbers fail to reach basic safety standards.

More than 40 per cent of the vehicles tested in Northallerton, Harrogate and Scarborough failed.

A total of 62 vehicles were examined and despite the shock findings, the number of passes was higher than that seen in similar exercises held elsewhere in the country.

But the county's trading standards team fear that garages are installing equipment without have received proper advice - creating conversions that are potentially dangerous.

Yesterday, department head Stuart Pudney said: "Of the 25 vehicles which failed the test, 12 were deemed to be major safety failures and the owners of four vehicles were advised not to run their vehicles on LPG until the fault had been repaired.

"A further 13 owners were referred back to the installer for a variety of minor safety matters and as a result investigations have been instigated."

The checks were carried out earlier this month after the trading standards team voiced concerns about the safety of some LPG conversions.

In the past there have been occasions when cars have burst into flames because conversions have been incorrectly fitted.

Examples of the effects of unsafe installations include:

l If the wrong equipment is fitted, the standard fitted plastic manifold found in some vehicles can blow - causing the vehicle to stop suddenly

l If there is no access to the tank shut-off valve, or there is no electronic device fitted to shut off the tank, when there is a break in the pipe the gas will leak out and could easily be ignited

l If gas tanks are not securely fitted in a safe location, the tank could break free from its fittings and possibly vent its contents

Mr Pudney said: "Installations carried out by trained experts will avoid these sorts of issues and a safe LPG installation can be as safe, if not safer, than a petrol run vehicle."

Evidence shows that conversions carried out by the vehicle manufacturer or an LPG Association Approved installer were of better quality.

For details of approved installers, go to or call (01425) 461612.