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7 Uncontrollable Car Fire Causes and Prevention


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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.

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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. 



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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
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  • 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...

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