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How to SAFELY Transport Propane Tanks for Your RV

| Updated Sep 10, 2023

Want to avoid an EXPLOSION or CO poisoning? Learn how to safely transport propane tanks from a certified RV inspector…

Though propane incidents are rare, they happen, and sometimes with catastrophic results. That's why it's imperative RVers know how to safely transport propane cylinders when getting them recertified, serviced, or refilled and topped off.

In a recent podcast episode, a certified RV inspector from Queen Bee RV shared tips on safely transporting propane. We share her advice in this article.

But, before we get into her advice, let’s quickly review the importance of safely transporting propane. 

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The Importance of Safely Transporting Propane

How to SAFELY Transport Propane Tanks for Your RV

RV Propane tank disasters are rare, but they can still occur. If you google propane explosions, you will see that this can happen and have dire consequences. This is all the more reason to ensure that your tank is stored correctly!

The following are important reasons to transport your propane safely and what can happen if you fail. 

  1. Fire Hazard: Propane is highly flammable and can ignite even at low concentrations. Any leaks or mishandling can lead to a fire or explosion, endangering the lives of occupants and causing significant damage to the RV.
  1. Health Risks: Propane leaks can lead to health issues, as inhaling propane gas can cause dizziness, nausea, respiratory problems, and even loss of consciousness. Long-term exposure can lead to long-term damage or death.
  1. Legal Compliance: Laws and regulations govern the transportation of propane in RVs. Not adhering to these regulations can result in fines, penalties, or even loss of insurance coverage.
  1. Insurance Requirements: Many RV insurance policies have specific requirements regarding the safe transportation of propane. Non-compliance may result in a claim denial in case of an accident or damage related to propane.

How to Safely Transport Propane Tanks

Brenda of Queen Bee RV is a certified RV inspector and a regular guest on our RV Lifestyle podcast. She focuses on educating RVers on how to care for their RVs properly. In this podcast episode, she shared propane safety tips.

Many RVers transport portable DOT cylinders, commonly called propane tanks. You typically see these tanks on a 5th Wheel or travel trailer.  Some motorized RVers also use these in conjunction with their extend-a-stay adapter.

If you need to disconnect and transport your tanks to fill them, trade them in, or get them recertified, there are critical steps you need to follow:

  1. Turn off any appliances calling for propane inside the rig, such as the refrigerator, furnace, stove/oven, or water heater.
  1. Turn off/close the service valve at the tanks.  This is the triangular-shaped handle on the top of the tanks. Follow the arrows to know where to turn them to open and close the valve.
  1. Disconnect the pigtail/excess flow valve.  No tools are needed. You can simply use your hand to unscrew it.
  1. Put the dust cap on the opening of the service valve to keep debris and dust from entering during transport.
  1. Release the tank from its platform on the tongue of the trailer or holding area in the cargo storage bin.
  1. Lift the tank up and out of the area and carry it to the transport vehicle.
  1. It is imperative to keep the tank upright during transport. Keep it from slipping over.  You can place it in a carrier or something secure in the truck's bed, or you can even put it in the backseat of the car. HOWEVER…

No matter where you put the tank for transport, you must follow some safety tips to ensure it stays secure. 

The tank must be secured in all directions, over its shoulders, and around its belly so that there is no movement. Do not let it slide around the bed of the truck.  

Another great way to do this is with the seatbelt inside the vehicle. However, be sure to crack a window just in case your service valve has a small leak.

  1. Do not leave propane tanks in a hot vehicle. If you take it to a dispenser or store, go straight there and return it when you are done. 
  1. When you return, follow the above steps in reverse.  Secure the tanks in the cargo storage bin or on their platform, remove the dust cap, attach the pigtail, and open the service valve.  

Do all of this BEFORE you turn on any appliances calling for propane in the RV to avoid a propane lockout.

These simple and essential steps can help you feel confident about refilling the propane tanks. 

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We summarize Brenda's tips above, but watching the above video is very helpful! Brenda walks you through what you need to know.

We also suggest you tune into our podcast for more troubleshooting tips, camping recipes, and lots of great RV-related information. A new episode airs every Wednesday!

Subscribe with your favorite podcast platform: Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Email | TuneIn | RSS

Additional Propane Articles

RV propane is an important topic. We have written several articles about propane. The following outlines a few articles that may interest you. 

1. 7 RV Propane Safety Tips to Prevent an EXPLOSION

These simple tips can help keep you safe from an RV propane tank explosion. Keep reading…

2. Diesel vs Gas vs Propane RV Generators: Pros and Cons

Propane can fuel many things, including your stove and fridge. But when it comes to Generators, which type of gas is best? Keep reading…

3. Carbon Monoxide and Propane Issues Spike in Spring for RVers

Propane explosions also rise when the weather warms and people start heading out in their RVs. You can take steps to ensure your family is safe while traveling. Keep reading…

4. 11 Critical Tips on How to Detect Carbon Monoxide in Your RV

All of us must know how to detect carbon monoxide in your RV. This is serious if you want to make sure you are safe in your RV. Keep reading…

5. The Innards of Your RV Propane Tank

Are you curious about what exactly is inside your RV propane tank? Keep reading…

How to SAFELY Transport Propane Tanks for Your RV 1

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How to SAFELY Transport Propane Tanks for Your RV 2
Mike and Jennifer Wendland

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On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page that links to them. We update this all the time.  CLICK HERE to go to it directly. Have you caught one of our Amazon LIVE events yet? Just go here and Follow us – to be notified every time we go live.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-09-11

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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