Knowing the Cause and Prevention of Vehicle Fires

By Len C. Jorge

Photo by matt-hearne-LA0NPeHdp5A-unsplash

Vehicle fires are rare, but could occur. There are a variety of factors that can cause fire on vehicles. It could be mechanical, chemical, or human error. Whatever the cause may be, when your vehicle caught on fire, it is life-threatening. It is worth learning the causes of vehicle fire to lessen some danger in your vehicle.

Before we start discussing prevention, we need to identify what the hazards are first. Here are some of the causes that can help to prevent fires on vehicles:

Overheating Catalytic Converters

One of the hottest parts of a vehicle is the catalytic converter in its exhaust system and this converter is responsible for changing harmful exhaust gases into less harmful substances. Excessive heat generated by the converter can ignite a fire.

Overheated Engines

In addition to the overheated catalytic converter, an overheated engine can also cause a fire. Car engines usually don’t overheat enough to burst flames, however, when an engine is overheated the temperature of the fluids increases. If this happens the fluids in the tanks might begin to spill. Engine fluids or coolants are highly flammable, and when these hot fluid spill and land on hot surfaces it can ignite a fire.

Electrical System Failure

A car’s electrical system doesn’t just in the hood, but it runs through the entire car system. Any loose wires can lead to sparks and cause a fire. Any wire that sparks near the car’s battery can inflame a terrible fire.

Car crash

Not all automobile crashes can set off a fire, but some can. One of the highest causes of vehicle fire happens during a crash. Even if your car does not have a fluid leak before the crash, a significant impact will almost certainly result in fluid leaks, spilling, heat, and smoke. Fuel leakage or spark formation in dangerous spots like batteries, gas tanks, or engines combined with the heat will instantly give rise to fire.

What to do if your car is on fire

  • Pull over to the side of the road as soon as you can do so safely
  • Turn off the engine
  • Get everyone out and move back at least 100 feet away from the vehicle
  • DO NOT open the hood. Flames can flare up
  • Call for the fire emergency aid
  • DO NOT go back for phones, bags, or any valuable items inside the car

Car Fire Safety Tips

  • Periodic preventive maintenance
  • Drive safely
  • Maintain your battery
  • Avoid reckless driving
  • Check for damaged or lose wires
  • Be careful when and while installing aftermarket products
  • DO NOT smoke in the car
  • DO NOT leave flammables in your car (e.g. gasoline, lighter fluid, aerosol cans, nail polish, alcohol, etc.)
  • Check for fuel or oil leaks, and respond immediately to strange odors (e.g. gas, burning odors)
  • Carry a car fire extinguisher


Len C. Jorge, Compliance and Business Excellence. Len loves to travel, and she loves nature! She’s a taker of a good coffee and good conversation. Every travel she ventures, she makes sure it’s the best experience – every place is special. She loves going to places she has never been and meeting lovely people along the way. She always does what her heart beats for.

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