Can A Propane Tank Explode in a Hot Car?

blue-propane-tank

If asked to choose between propane and charcoal grills, many avid grillers would choose gas grills. Propane grills are super-easy to turn on and heat up faster. In addition, they can maintain a steady temperature and deliver great taste. 

Propane grills are also versatile, which is one reason most people fancy them. But then, one has to be careful when cooking or grilling with gas. Gas is highly combustible and may become a huge risk when used or left in the most unpleasant condition. 

So, if you have a propane grill and you would like to know if the propane tank explodes when left in a hot car, you’re in the right place. Let’s go deeper. 

Is It OK To Leave The Propane Tank in a Hot Car?

No, don’t ever try this. When you shut the car’s window, heat can build up super fast. And if your propane tank is in the car, it could explode in no time. It’s a general rule concerning propane tank handling. 

Users are advised not to subject their propane tank to an extremely high temperature, as doing so can raise the tank’s pressure quickly. Furthermore, don’t leave your propane tank filled with gas in a car under the sun. It doesn’t matter whether you left the tank in the trunk or passenger side. 

In the same vein, avoid smoking while transporting a tank filled with gas. A tiny leak from the tank can cause a fatal explosion. 

A Handy Tip: It’s crucial to note that the hotter a propane tank gets, the higher the temperature within the car. A propane tank filled with gas can only be in a hot car for 10 minutes before going up in flames.    

But don’t wait this long as the explosion can happen even before the 10 minutes. So, if you don’t have plans to watch your car burst in flames, never leave a propane tank in it, especially with the windows shut and on a sunny day. 

What Temperature is Dangerous For Propane Tanks?

It’s no longer news that high temperature is hazardous to propane tanks. Not an empty propane tank but one filled with gas. 

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Your propane tank won’t BLEVE the moment you place it outdoor, under the scorching heat of the sun. It will only do so when the temperature reaches or exceeds the limit it can handle. 

Now, what temperature range can the propane tank handle? It’s 120 °F or (49 °C). If the temperature exceeds or reaches this point, the tank would explode. 

When you heat a propane tank, the propane in the tank expands as the temperature rises. Thus, it would reach a point where a fire or any ignition can cause the tank to explode. 

So, is it safe to use a propane tank outdoor? Yes, it’s safe. You can use it under the scorching heat of the sun safely. Nothing would happen. 

However, avoid the temptation of leaving your propane tank outdoor, under direct sunlight. If left under the sun for long, keep in mind that the tank could explode. 

So, the best thing to do is to place a shade over the tank, as this can help minimize the heat that falls on the propane tank. By so doing, you can enjoy grilling outdoor, under the sun, and evergreen grasses all around, without any fear. 

A Handy Tip: BLEVE occurs when you expose a propane tank to extremely high heat or fire. The temperature rise will cause the propane to expand. This expansion then causes the propane to exert higher pressure on the tank, which it can’t handle. This leads to a crack on the tank and possibly, an explosion.

Don’t forget that propane gas is explosive. It’s a synthetic combustible material. So, mind the temperature you expose your propane tank to within or outside your house. Note that temperatures at or higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius can cause the tank to erupt.   

Can Propane Tanks Explode in a Fire?

Yes, propane tanks can explode in a fire. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Remember that fire produces heat. So, when you place your propane tank in a fire or when fire eventually surrounds it (in the case of a wildfire), things can get messier. 

The heat from the fire can cause the tank to become cherry red and, thus, raise the gas’s pressure. When this happens, expect the worst from your propane tank. It could rupture and explode. 

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A Handy Tip: Many people dread propane tank because it can fly to any direction once it explodes. Thus, it can injure anyone or cause instant death. 

However, have in mind that propane tank explosion is quite rare. The primary causes are leaky gas rather than experiencing a failed tank. 

But then, whether structure fire or wildfire, don’t test your propane tank by dropping it in the fire. It could explode and put someone’s life in danger.

Can Propane Tanks Freeze And Explode?

No, it doesn’t. It’s crucial to have in mind that getting propane tanks to explode isn’t an easy task. They are kept in a solid metal container. So, it would take a lot for the tank to rupture or for an explosion to happen. 

Even under extremely high temperatures, there has to be fire or ignition for a propane tank to explode.

About freezing, keep in mind that leaving your propane tank outside during the winter period isn’t dangerous. It’s much better than leaving it outdoor, under the scorching heat of the sun.    

If the pressure increases as temperature rises, the reverse is the case when you leave your propane tank outside during the winter period. A low and probably, freezing temperature would never be as dangerous as a high temperature for a propane tank. 

However, some things should be of great concern to you when you store your propane tank outdoor during the winter month. The first concern is the corrosion of the metal container. Exposing the tank to moisture can give rise to that. 

The corrosion might not happen immediately. But when it does, it would reduce the tank’s quality and force you to get a new tank much earlier than expected. So, if you don’t want your propane tank to corrode faster, ensure proper maintenance during the cold winter months.   

Another thing to be wary about is the propane tank freezing. A temperature of -44 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold for the propane tank.  

The propane tank can also freeze. And while this can be quite alarming, there’s no reason for you to fear. You’re not going to be in any danger.

The only primary concern is that you might be without propane for a while. But things will get back to normal, and you can start grilling your favorite barbeque when the tank finally unfreezes.   

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Is It Okay To Travel With a Propane Tank in a Car?

Yes, it’s okay. It would be unfair to say otherwise. But then, just because it’s okay to transport a propane tank in a car doesn’t mean you should neglect safety precautions. If you must transport a propane tank in a car, there are things you need to consider. 

Firstly, let’s begin with the ideal way to move a propane tank. 

  • If you’re driving a vehicle with a trailer connected to it or a pickup van, here’s what you need to do. First and foremost, ensure the propane tank is standing up front. Then find a rope or something to tire the tank to any corner. Just ensure the tank doesn’t bounce or slides while driving. 
  • You can keep your propane tank in the space in-between the back and front seats. And again, ensure the tank is standing upright. Additionally, you need to ensure the tank isn’t sliding or bouncing around when driving. Have this in mind. If it doesn’t stay firmly in-between your front and back seat, use a rope or bungee to make it so.   
  • You can transport a propane tank in your trunk. But avoid the temptation of shutting the trunk. Instead, leave it open throughout the journey. If you can’t find a ready-made item to keep your car’s trunk open throughout the trip, you can create one yourself. But check the trunk of the vehicle from time to time while driving. 

A Handy Tip: In all three positions, you can transport a propane tank. However, you can see that the tank has to be upfront. Please, don’t lay your propane tank horizontally when transporting it. It’s the wrong position to transport propane tanks. 

Conclusion

Can a propane tank explode in a hot car? Yes, it can. The tank can handle temperatures up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above this can result in a severe disaster. You surely don’t want that. 

It’s also essential to handle your propane tank carefully when transporting it, whether it’s a long or short distance. Avoid leaving the tank in your vehicle with the windows shut. Remember that this can cause your car to heat up quickly, and you could put other people’s lives in danger. 

About Sarah Walker

Sarah is a homemaker and is passionate about fixing little things in and around her house. She loves to do DIY hacks and keeps on writing about those things in her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her twins Cathy and Mickey.