Jump to content

Summer Off-road Adventures

7 Uncontrollable Car Fire Causes and Prevention

Recommended Posts

Car fires are no joke. Plastic, cloth, hot oil, fuel, the whole car can go up in a few seconds. 

Fire extinguishers are a waste of time unless you know what you’re doing with it. If you have a big fire in your engine bay don’t even think about opening the bonnet to put it out, the flames will come out around you. Even if you’re not going to use the fire extinguisher, take it out of the car with you if possible. If you can’t get it out, make sure everyone stays back and tell the rescue services. These things can go off like a bomb if they get hot. Sometimes it’s better just to stand back and let the car burn. That’s what your insurance is for. 

Don’t underestimate how flammable engine oil is. Sure, you can stick a lit match in it and it will go out, but try pouring some on a hot exhaust manifold to see what happens. 

Personally I wouldn’t hang around after an accident trying to grab personal things, just get the heck out of the car. In rallying, drivers work on the 5 second rule. So as soon as the car stops bouncing, you have 5 seconds to get your belt off, get out of the car and start running. Something work practising. 

Never throw water on a car fire either. The water vaporises when it something hot and turns to steam. The steam carries fuel and oil into the air which can turn into a fireball. Sand is always a better option. Fire needs 3 things to burn, fuel, oxygen and heat so if you can stop one of these, you can kill the fire. 

I’ve seen a lot of fires from my time in motorsports and I could write a 10,000 word essay on it but that will do for now.

  • Like (+1) 4
  • Thanks (+1) 3
  • Totally Agree (+2) 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/28/2019 at 11:33 PM, Gaurav said:

Although most of the time the electrical fire is controllable by a car fire extinguisher,

I agree with @Barry- the types of fire extinguishers people keep in their cars are mostly absolutely useless, hence the quote from Gaurav's post. 

Moreover, once a car catches fire, it hardly matters what caused the fire, and debating the percentages of possible causes becomes a useless exercise. I have like @Barry seen cars catch fire, and in my experience, the only thing you can do when your car catches fire is to get out of it, and away from it as fast as you can- taking only your children with you if they are in the car. 

Doing something stupid like opening the bonnet to see what caused the fire only feeds the fire with oxygen, so don't do it. If the fire starts in the passenger compartment, and the windows are closed, get out, and shut the doors to starve the fire of oxygen. If the windows are open, get out, and get away as fast as you can- again taking only your children with you. 

In short, once a car fire takes hold there is nothing you can do to stop it, but Gaurav's post contains some good advice on how to prevent your car catching fire- except the bit about car fire extinguishers being effective against electrical fires. The only time this might be true is when you can actually see and reach the fire, which is not possible if the fire starts under the dashboard, for instance. 



  • Like (+1) 5
  • Thanks (+1) 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Cars are a magnet for fire it has all what is needed fuel the fire from paint to oils and fuel to upholstery everything is fire ready you just need to make it happen...

Keep in mind that whatever is not in it's place is a hazard or a catastrophe waiting to happen...

Like the fluids if not inside the fuel tank, engine , transmission , power steering break lines but dropping down is a fire hazard what do you think when driving in speed where those drops end up actually it gets all smeared up the undercarriage of the car and surprise the exhaust also is hanging there so what do you expect sooner or later on will happen...plus oils leaking and going in to the electrical components like alternator usually ends up with you servicing or changing it and it costs making you spend more down the road...

Remember one thing once there is a fire nothing is worth your life just steer clear

The next thing which I agree with is the electrics it should never be attempted by someone who has no understanding of load and using the right types of wires for the different type of application's 

I know proper gauge wiring and good work costs but what you gonna do when that cheap fixing components of yours starts a fire act a fool...

Edited by shadow79
More info
  • Like (+1) 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
42 minutes ago, Rahimdad said:

@shadow79 well written, but surprised where this is coming from. The king of cheap fixes.

Doing work on own car ain't gonna pay bills you see so I have to make do with whatever I got and always cross my fingers that it lasts for awhile but doing work for my customers I have to keep in mind that they don't have any expertise so I have to make it proper so it lasts...

  • Like (+1) 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Similar Content

    • By Gaurav
      People do understand that they need fire extinguisher in their car at some point and make a well research purchase, at least 70 out of 100 cars do have some type of fire extinguishers these days. What many people don't realize the importance of how to use it right. There are few basic limitation of using car fire extinguisher and many people don't even know them.
      I remember doing the same mistake when I first saw the fire and ran to the extinguisher and emptied the whole can without even reducing the size of fire, let alone extinguishing it.
      I have been regularly trained and certified Fire Warden with more than 10 years of annual training from Gulf Technical & Safety Training Centre, in Abu Dhabi. I also have a history of saving 4:1 cars, means I saved 4 cars and lost one to the fire (sadly).
      In any event of fire, time is of an essence, so sooner and smarter you respond the better the outcome may come. You also need to remember that not all car fires are controllable and it's better to walk away in case fire spreads too quickly, rather than making an attempt to fight it. If fire is not spreading fast then you might have a good window of opportunity ONLY if you know how to correctly use the car fire extinguisher. Wrong use of car fire extinguisher will help spread the fire every second and also running out of your fire extinguisher.
      Every car fire extinguisher is timed for 5-10-20 seconds of use ONLY. Shooting fire extinguisher from far away is absolutely useless. Find and aim the source of the fire and not the flames. Test / Top up your car fire extinguisher every year. Place your car fire extinguisher within your reach. RIGHT WAY TO USE CAR FIRE EXTINGUISHER
      Always try to aim and cut off 1 of 3 these things "SAFELY" if you can: Heat, Oxygen and Fuel. If the fire is inside the engine bay, switch off the car immediately as that will cut off the fuel if its fuel related fire. Do not open the hood and wait to see if smoke or fire subsided. If you are in offroad, let few people constantly throw sand on top of close hood (bonnet), that will help lowering down the temperature (removing HEAT) and in case sand seeps through hood louver it can also help in suffocating fire to cut off the oxygen or at least will let you buy few more seconds to fight it.
        Find the source of the fire is a key to extinguish with limited timed fire extinguisher in hand. Even if you see smoke or flames from the hood, but fire source is always down and may be accessible through wheel arc, front grill or even under the car from the sides. Once you spot the correct source, go as close and safe as possible to shoot the fire extinguisher on the base of the fire and sweep (if you can) for at least 5-6 seconds. Base of the fire is always lighter and brighter in color so don't shoot red color flames, instead look for bluish, yellowish, purplish source of the fire. After the first shot, if fire has been put off then wait for 30 minutes to open the hood, if its still on and accessible, shoot again from as close as you can and sweep it from left to right for 5-6 seconds. Once fire is successfully put off, wait for at least 30 mins to open the hood, as cooling off extinguish fire is equally important.
        Extinguishing car fire works best with a teamwork, instead everyone coming and emptying the fire extinguisher from various sides. So if you are in offroad and your car catches the fire and you see smoke or flames from the hood, as a first rule of thumb, switch off the car and get your shovel and extinguisher out. If someone is leading then you can support whatever he ask. If you are leading then be ready to get close to the base/source of the fire as soon as possible and advise everyone to keep throwing sand on top of hood and aim to hit the fire base or flame if they can with sand shower. Use every fire extinguisher wisely as its the only thing that can extinguish the fire base very quickly and efficiently. Do not panic, as that will worsen the situation for you to burn your hands or face.
      Do not get carried away and you should know when to stop fighting and run away with your critical belonging if fire spreads out quickly.
      Disclaimer: All the above knowledge I intend to share with everyone to let them know how to use fire extinguisher safely rather than just wasting it. I do not intend them to become a hero and get burnt. Cars are replaceable but lives and limbs are not.
      Example: He could have used 1/2 of the extinguisher if he would have reduced the distance from 6 feet to 3 feet.

      MUST READ: 
      7 Uncontrollable Car Fire Causes and Prevention Types of extinguishers that are out there to stop a fire in your car
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of use