Car fire or Carbecue – words scary enough to send shivers down the spine.
Out of all the dangers of roads and cars, vehicle fires are the least common yet the scariest and deadliest thing to happen to you. What starts as a small fire at one end of your vehicle can (and will) soon lead to a catastrophic explosion, severe burns, and even fatalities.
Data from the United States Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reveals,
- Nearly one out of seven fires that are reported are vehicle fires.
- 19 percent of the 1.55 million fires reported last year were vehicle fires.
- Of those fires, there were an estimated 550 fatalities, and 1,500 were injuries in 297,000 vehicle fires, at the cost of more than $1.3 billion in property damage.
- On average, 75 percent of the vehicle fires during 2006 were caused by inadequate maintenance, mechanical or electrical failures, or malfunctions. Only 3% of these fires were caused by collisions or overturns.
However, despite the frequency of vehicle fire reports, very little is conveyed about how and what sets these vehicles ablaze. And not knowing what caused the fire and how to deal with it makes the situation even more hazardous. For this reason, it’s worth reviewing the most prominent causes and warning signs of vehicle fire and explosions mentioned below.
Potential warning signs of a vehicle fire
Fortunately, cars have their own way of telling us there’s something wrong with them. Though unforeseen, car fires are predictable due to a variety of warning signs. Here are the most common fire warning signs that should not be ignored.
- An oil spill after an oil change
- Leaking oil or other fluids under the hood
- Frayed or loose wiring
- Very loud sounds coming from the vehicle’s exhaust system
- Rapid drops in fuel levels or changes in engine temperature
- A missing cap from the oil filler
- Damaged or loose hoses
- Smoke from under the hood
Your best line of defense against these warning signs is regular vehicle maintenance. Routine system checks and proper care go a long way and might even extend the life of your car. But unfortunately, many drivers neglect their vehicles until it’s too late.
If you experience any of these fire warning signs during a road trip, immediately get out of your vehicle and move as far as possible. Call a professional towing service in Detroit and let them know what troubles your car is facing.
Common reasons for vehicle fires
Cars can blow up for a variety of reasons – or put it another way – for a combination of reasons. From human errors to mechanical troubles, through to chemical causes, there is never a single cause for any given car fire.
A vehicle is designed with flammable parts, electrical wirings, and combustible liquids. Once a car engine catches a flame, these materials mix with the fire to create a hazardous situation.
Some of the most common reasons behind the fire in the car are.
- Car accidents
While most fender benders only cause minor injuries and vehicle damage, hard auto collisions, significantly directly impacting the gas tank, can lead to horrible fires. When a car is hit, leaking fluids and high heat is the perfect recipe to initiate a spark from a collision. Thankfully, modern vehicles are designed pretty well, with their crumple zones protected by metal sheets. However, that does not mean the risk of a fire is eliminated.
In such a case, it’s best to escape your vehicle fast enough and move to a safe distance.
- Manufacturing flaws
One of the most common causes of vehicle fires, a manufacturing defect cannot initiate a fire on its own. In other words, any flaw in the manufacturing of your vehicle can complicate situations of car fires that result from a human or chemical cause. A few manufacturer flaws encountered frequently are faulty batteries, electric system issues, and fuel tank leaks.
Usually, manufacturers catch the flaw and issue recalls for the flawed cars off the streets to fix them.
- Poor maintenance
Automobile fires are indeed preventable and frequent occurrence of neglectful ownership. For example, frayed wirings can spark due to a collision; Leaking parts can drip combustible fuel that can contact that spark leading to an explosion.
So, any delay in getting that faulty wire, broken part, or leaky seal fixed can increase the chances of your car catching fire.
To avoid catching a dangerous fire and reduce other potential risks, it is crucial to peek under your hood from time to time. In case you find an imperfection, schedule a visit to your mechanic.
- Overheating engines
Your car won’t heat up to burst into flames immediately but overheat enough to increase the fluid and engine temperatures to dangerous levels. This makes the engine oil and the coolant heat up and spill out of their tanks, causing them to drip onto the hot engine bay. And since these fluids are flammable, they spread overheated parts to ignite and catch fire. So, an overheating engine is not a warning sign to ignore
Mechanical attention can prove beneficial to help keep the engine at a safer temperature when a leaking gasket or a lifeless radiator may be the culprit.
- Overheating catalytic converters
The exhaust system running through the entire length of your vehicle is already the hottest part of your automobile that works too hard continuously. However, exhaust pollutants clogging the catalytic converter in the exhaust system can force even more work on the system producing extra heat. The overheating temperature of the catalytic converter will damage the exhaust system and the surrounding parts. Any damage to the sensitive components of your vehicle can further lead to small fires and, ultimately, massive explosions.
SPN America Towing is a reliable tow company Detroit MI, offering a variety of services. Whether your car overheats in the middle of nowhere or you are hit by another vehicle, our expert tow drivers will tow your vehicle to the nearest repair shop. Prioritizing our client’s safety, we provide prompt vehicle breakdown assistance throughout the country. To get the assistance, call us at 469-331-0777, communicate important information about your situation and wait till help arrives.