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Do Propane Tanks Expire?

Published on December 2nd, 2022 by Lynne Fedorick
This post was updated on February 28th, 2024

When Do Propane Tanks Expire?

Propane is really handy to have in the RV. RVers love it for the heat it creates as it burns. This heat is used for warming the RV, cooking, and heating water. Many RVs also have a 2- or 3-way fridge that uses a small propane flame to refrigerate food when you aren’t hooked up to power. 

Although we always use propane in its gas form, propane isn’t transported or stored as a gas. Instead,  propane gas is compressed by 270 times until it reaches a liquid state (LPG), so we can easily transport and store it.

RVers transport or store propane in either propane cylinders or a propane tank, depending on what type of RV they have. Because the two terms are often used interchangeably by RVers, they could mean either one when asking,  “Do propane tanks expire?” 

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In this article, we’ll look at the differences between propane cylinders and propane tanks and tell you everything you need to know about propane tank expiration and recertification.

Propane cylinders 

On trailers, propane is transported and stored in DOT-approved propane cylinders.  We all know DOT stands for Department Of Transportation. You might be wondering, “What does propane have to do with the DOT?” 

The answer is that the DOT makes sure propane cylinders are safe enough to withstand the rigors of being transported separately from the RV for refilling.  Propane cylinders frequently used for RVs are 20 lb, 30 lb, or 40 lb.   

Do propane cylinders expire? 

The short answer is that propane cylinders only expire if they are damaged beyond repair. However, every propane cylinder is required to be inspected and recertified every 10 years. 

The collar on a propane cylinder is designed to protect the valve from damage, but the DOT makes sure it has some important information stamped on it.

If you look on the collar of the cylinder, you’ll find a date stamp that gives you the month and year that the tank was manufactured. Every 10 years after that date, the tank will need to be visually inspected by a certified technician for wear and tear to ensure it can still be safely used. 

The inspector will check the following:

  • The cylinder collar is intact and in good condition
  • Check for leakage
  • Make sure the paint is still on it
  • Ensure rust is no deeper than surface
  • Check the bottom of the cylinder
  • Measure the depth of any dents

If your tank passes inspection, the inspector will put a sticker with the inspection date on it. In the US, you’ll need to get the cylinder re-inspected 5 years after recertification.  In Canada, you will have 10 years after recertification before you need to have the propane cylinder recertified again.  

Many RVers see this as a hassle when there is an easier option. Instead of recertifying their cylinders, they choose to trade it in for another tank at a propane tank exchange like Tank Traders. Typically, the exchange company will then inspect the cylinder and recertify it themselves. After the cylinder is recertified, they put it into their trade-in program. 

ASME Propane Tanks 

ASME stands for American Society Of Mechanical Engineers. The society developed ASME propane tanks to be permanently mounted in motorhomes. 

ASME tanks never require recertification, although you should visually inspect them from time to time (about every 6 months) and ensure that any rust isn’t deeper than surface rust. Pitted areas will mean the metal is weakened and you should replace your tank. 

If you see surface rust on your ASME tank, you should brush off any loose rust, and paint it with a rust converter. The rust converter will be black when it dries. For aesthetic reasons. you’ll probably want to paint over it with acrylic paint that matches your tank. 

The gauge on an ASME tank will eventually wear out. Some are clip-on models, an easy DIY. Others need to be replaced by a propane tank company.  

Get tips from other RVers

Forums such as and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.

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10 thoughts on “Do Propane Tanks Expire?”

  1. The last time I checked the UD government could not decide on ten year or twelve year on initial certification of all sizes of propane tanks. Riverside County in California there isn’t anyone that recertified any of the propane tanks. I heard one person tried to refill a propane tank that was stamped 1942. That is pushing it safety wise.

    • Hi there Tom, I am a retired RV technician, and yes you can change your LPG tank, I would say that it’s going to depend on the area where the original tank is mounted to the coach, and the space that it’s in now, you will need to take some measurements of the space where the tank is to see what would be the largest size tank you can put in its place, and another thing you need to take into consideration is that the new tank would not sit to low to the ground to where it can touch any obstacles, like sidewalks if you were to drive off a curb, or even rocks and other debris if you are driving through a camp ground, and then if you were to run over some debris on the highway that can be kicked up and hit the tank, so with all of that being said you can look for a used tank from a RV recycle center, or just buy a new one from a RV store like camping world, and even on the internet to a website like, but it’s mostly going to depend on the compartment size you have for the new propane tank.
      good luck,

  2. You may as well buy a new tank in Canada. The cost of an inspection (at 5 years in some provinces) is greater than the new one. Secondly, if you insist on getting it ‘refurbished ‘ make sure they restamp the tank or you will not be able to refill it.

  3. “Trading tanks” at the local store is fine for those who use the 20lb tanks. Larger tanks are not available from tank exchanges. The one issue to be aware of is that at a tank exchange your will get a tank that is less than full. They do disclose it near the price but sometimes they sell by the gallon and quote for the pound. Pay attention as this does raise the price of the actual propane by a significant amount. Reinspection costs between $5 and $10 in Washington state.

  4. I recently took a tank to be recertified as ten years approached. The distributor/licensed recertification site told me that the ten year concept was an error initially committed by the DOT, and now corrected to twelve years. You might want to check this for the accuracy of your article!

    • This isn’t correct. A new tank is good for 12 years and a visual inspection is good for 5 years. Relief valves need to be changed every 10 years.

  5. You missed the fact that DOT tanks need their relief valve changed at inspection. This is because the relief is in the Main valve and the spring is exposed to the elements and can rust. The ASME tank has the relief in the fuel side of the tank in an oxygen free area. However if the plastic plug is missing when being serviced it may have to be replaced due to debris in the valve. RV’s should be serviced regularly and thus the tank will be inspected then.

    • Need to have this set up to take a photo.z

      gave a lady a ride home— after taking her food shopping ___was driving taxi at the time / the woman didn’t have any $
      soo she gave me her propane tank
      In the garage ( looked ok
      she said it was old but it might be still good’
      I said that works.

      IT was old. Butt had been garaged.
      can take a photo of it so you can see what super duper Rush looks like so that people can make the determination to recycle it at the salvage yard for steel RV guy Mass

      any item you have concerning on safety you should have a photo because people are stupid *
      especially in


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