Transporting gas cylinders

What you need to know about safely transporting gas cylinders on a road trip.
Gas bottle.

Planning a road trip in a caravan or going camping? Chances are you’ll take gas bottles with you to power appliances.

Whether you’re powering a gas stove, a lantern, or any other gas-powered camping appliance, make sure you know how to transport LPG cylinders safely.

Queensland law allows the transport of two 9kg cylinders in an enclosed vehicle.

But, as LPG is highly flammable, RACQ doesn’t recommend transporting cylinders in an enclosed vehicle in case there is a leak.

Gas cylinders must be stored and secured upright in the vehicle with a plug firmly fitted to the valve to reduce the risk of leaks.

RACQ Principal Technical Researcher Russell Manning said it was essential gas cylinders were stored and transported safely and correctly, as incorrect handling could lead to dire consequences.

“Let’s not sugar coat this, people have been killed and seriously injured by gas cylinders,” Mr Manning said.

“They are perfectly safe if handled correctly, but they can be extremely dangerous if not afforded the proper respect.”

Mr Manning said most people did not understand the contents of a gas cylinder expanded 270 times when released into the atmosphere.  

“That’s a pretty big cloud of highly flammable gas to deal with, particularly if it’s in a closed space, which is why we don’t recommend transporting cylinders inside cars,” he said.

“It’s also important to not lay the gas cylinders on their sides as this can impair the proper operation of the cylinder’s safety valve.

“Keep the bottles cool and don’t leave them in vehicles unnecessarily.”

If you’re moving states, most removalist companies will not transport cylinders. Instead, most gas suppliers operate an exchange system, where you can surrender your cylinder in one city and receiver a voucher to pick up a replacement cylinder in another.

Gas bottle safety tips

  • Check the cylinder’s test date. Gas cylinders have a test life of 10 years which is stamped on the cylinder. After 10 years the cylinder must be tested to confirm it is still safe. You won’t be able to get an out-of-date cylinder refilled.  
  • Listen for leaks and check for smells before transporting. LP gas on its own is odourless, so manufacturers add a chemical called methyl mercaptan which has a strong rotten egg or cabbage-like smell. If you smell this, you have a leak and need to close the cylinder valve and let the gas disperse.  
  • Test for leaks. The best way to find the source of a leak is to use a spray bottle with soapy water. Spray the soapy water around the hose, the regulator and the connections, and particularly around the cylinder connection.
  • Turn on the gas for a safety check. Turn the gas on and check for bubbles which will indicate the source of the leak. Once you have determined the source of a leak, you can attempt to tighten the connection or replace the part and repeat the above steps until no bubbles appear. Remember systems carrying fuel gasses, such as LPG, use left-hand threads which will tighten in the opposite direction.  

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Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.