Buying a used diving cylinder is a bit like buying a used car, you never quite now what you are buying. Just like buying a used car buying dive tank can be a bargain, saving you a considerable amount off a new one or a complete waste of money.
The first thing to keep in mind is that buying a cylinder out of test (in the UK currently two and half years since it’s last date stamp) is much like buying a car without a MOT, it’s a greater risk and you cannot use it until it passes again. Here are a few tips if you considering buying a used dive cylinder:
An obvious point to make is the newer the cylinder the less problems it is likely to have. Check the markings around the neck for the manufacture date. Avoid non metric valve threads (metric valves have M25 stamped on the neck) as replacement valves or parts for older imperial valves can be very elusive and costly.
A used cylinder requiring a test, a valve service and maybe an internal shot blast (to remove internal rust or corrosion) is likely to cost pretty much as much as a brand new cylinder. However if you get lucky and buy a used cylinder in good condition within it’s test schedule could save you over £100! For me a used cylinder represents a huge risk, potentially a huge pressurised bomb (a bit dramatic but 232 or 300 bar of pressure is a massive amount of stored energy). I like to know how a cylinder has been looked after from day one. New or used, always treat cylinders with respect and care. You may be amazed to learn steel cylinders are only around 5mm thick and aluminium walls 11mm thick.
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