Due to flammable liquids, several flammable components and complicated electrical wiring, a car fire is a fairly common hazard. A car fire can be fatal given the possibility of damaging critical vehicle components.
Therefore, it is important to know the causes leading to a car fire to prevent them. Knowing what to do if your car catches fire is also just as important.
Read on to gain insight into all related details, including factors or causes of a car catching fire.
What to do if the car catches fire?
Just as there are many factors involved in what causes a car to catch fire, there are also several scenarios where a vehicle could catch fire.
Some of these scenarios are illustrated below, along with steps to take if you get stuck in any of them:
What to do if the car catches fire while driving?
If the car catches fire while driving, take the following steps to avoid the danger:
Turn the ignition off and out of the vehicle: The first thing to do if your car catches fire while driving is to stop at the side of the road and turn the ignition off.
The next thing they should do is get out of the car as soon as possible. In addition, they should also assist other vehicle occupants in getting outside safely. They can also unlock all car windows and doors before turning off the ignition.
Move away from the burning car: After getting out of the vehicle, move away to keep your distance from the burning car. This is because the flammable liquids in a four-wheeled car can lead to an explosion. In addition, if possible, warn oncoming traffic of dangers ahead.
Use a fire extinguisher: Given the unpredictable nature of a car's fire hazard, keeping a fire extinguisher on your vehicle is always a good idea. If a fire extinguisher is available, you can try to put out the fire before the situation gets out of hand, but only if it is safe to do so.
Refrain from opening the trunk / hood: Do not open the trunk / hood to put out a fire while the vehicle is on fire. Fire under the car or in the engine compartment is dangerous. Also, if someone tries to open the mask / shoe, the flames can explode and burn your hands.
Contact the traffic police and fire brigade: If a fire seems to be getting out of control, contact the fire department immediately. They must also notify the traffic police of this. The traffic police would help in alerting oncoming vehicles about the incident.
Contact an authorized car service center: Contact an authorized car service center and notify them of the problem. When reporting, they must explain the extent of the damage. They can additionally ask for a tug to take the damaged vehicle to a nearby service station.
Watch out for oncoming traffic: always stand behind a burning car, not in the middle of the road. This is to avoid getting hit by oncoming traffic.
Inform your vehicle insurer: After the fire is extinguished, individuals should inform their car insurer about the incident. They have to wait for the insurance company's director to arrive to pay their compensation.
What to do if the car catches fire while stationary or in a traffic jam?
Are you wondering "can a parked car catch fire?" The answer is yes.
This particular situation can be difficult to control and you should be aware of your surroundings before taking any avoidance measures.
Below are some points that a person should follow if they get stuck in this situation -
Turn off the engine and get off the car: Turn off the engine and ignition and get out of the vehicle if you see flames or smoke. Vehicle passengers must also unlock all car doors. This would make the car easily accessible for firefighting.
After leaving, move away from the burning car, keeping a safe distance.
Warn other vehicles and pedestrians: A burning vehicle in the middle of the road can also damage other cars. Therefore, inform other road users to move away from the burning vehicle. Additionally, they should warn pedestrians to stay away from the car.
Contact the fire brigade: a burning vehicle in the middle of the road can be dangerous. Therefore, individuals must immediately contact the fire department. This department then put out the fire and quickly controlled the situation.
Do not try to extinguish the fire yourself: People should not try to put out the fire by themselves. When the car is in the middle of the road, the risk of oncoming traffic is high. Moreover, it can be dangerous to try to extinguish a fire without properly understanding what to do in such situations.
Do not try to remove personal belongings from the vehicle: People should not approach a burning car to collect personal belongings. Given the harmful nature of the toxic gases, a burning vehicle can turn out to be very dangerous. In addition, the explosion can cause injury if a safe distance from the burning car is not kept.
Inform the service center and insurance company: Individuals must contact their car insurance company and service center after the fire has been extinguished. They must then wait for a director from your insurer to visit the site to assess the damage. Later, you can tow the car to the nearest garage.
What to do if the car catches fire as a result of a collision or an accident?
The vehicle may catch fire as a result of a collision or an accident. Getting out of the car is critical if it catches fire after an accident. A burning vehicle in an accident is a dangerous situation as the occupants may be injured.
People looking for 'what causes a car to catch fire in an accident' or 'why cars catch fire after an accident' also need to be aware of the following:
Exit the vehicle: If your car catches fire after an accident, get out of the car first. Even if you are injured, try to get out of the car as soon as possible. This is because a fire can cause an explosion which can again result in fatal injury.
Additionally, after leaving the vehicle, you should help other passengers to get out.
Contact with emergency services: You should immediately contact the traffic police, fire brigade and an ambulance. They will prove to be of great help in managing the situation.
Contact the service center and car insurer: Individuals can contact the service center and car insurer after the situation is mastered.
How to use a fire extinguisher when a car catches fire?
As mentioned earlier, keeping a fire extinguisher in your car can be very helpful. At the same time, individuals should have an idea how to handle it.
In general, every powder extinguisher works in a similar way. It is enough to pull out the key / pin closing the extinguisher, aim at the fire and squeeze the handles. People must remember that they should only use a fire extinguisher when it is safe to do so.
Warning signs that the vehicle is on fire
It is imperative to identify any signs that the car is on fire. This is crucial for taking evasive action.
The following is a list of the warning signs -
- Low fluid levels: Oil, fuel and fluid levels can drop dramatically in the event of a fire. Pay attention to sudden fluctuations in the oil and fuel gauges.
- Tire failure: Tires can burst due to fire under the vehicle.
- Blown fuses: Fuses tend to blow out due to excessive heat or problems with electrical connections. If you notice blown fuses while driving, a fire could result under the vehicle or in the engine compartment.
- Loud Exhaust Sound: Loud bangs will come from the exhaust if a fire breaks out in the back of the car or underneath it.
- Engine Temperature: The engine temperature will suddenly rise if there is a fire in the engine compartment or under the hood.
- Burning smell: If the vehicle is on fire, you may smell a burning rubber or plastic smell.
The reasons that cause a car fire
Several factors can cause the car to catch fire. Some of them are as follows:
- Mechanical failure: a car contains mechanical components that generate frictional heat. Failure of any of these components may cause fire.
- Electrical breakdown: The car has complex electrical wiring and other components such as the electronic fuel injection system, battery, lights, etc. Failure or failure of these components could result in a fire.
- Fluid leakage: leakage of vital fluids such as transmission fluid, power steering fluid, coolant, etc., may cause the car to catch fire. Therefore, individuals must always check for leaks before setting off in the car.
- Missing / Loose Oil Filler Cap: A missing or loose oil fill cap can spill oil all over the engine. Engine oil can catch fire due to high temperatures and can be fatal while driving.
- Using substandard components: Using substandard components or materials in the vehicle may result in fire. The mechanical parts of the car are subject to considerable stress and can be damaged and cause a fire if they are of lower quality.
- Loose / defective wiring: Faulty or loose wiring may lead to a short circuit. This, in turn, may cause a fire. In addition, the exposed wires are also susceptible to sparks which can again lead to a fire.
- Oil leakage: If oil is spilled into an engine bay during an engine change, it may catch fire as the engine temperature rises. So be careful not to spill oil into the engine compartment.
- Loose / worn hoses: Broken / loose / worn hoses can cause enormous damage to the engine as they carry fluids to the engine. A defective radiator, fuel line, etc., can cause a fire due to leakage of coolant or fuel.
Safety tips to avoid a car fire
If you are looking for tips on fire safety in your car, you can do the following to help prevent a fire from breaking out in their vehicle -
- Turn off the engine when refueling the vehicle. Fuel vapors can come into contact with the heat generated by the engine and ignite.
- Do not leave or carry flammable substances inside the vehicle. The temperature inside a closed car may rise, and flammable substances may cause a fire.
- Check the fuel lines regularly for leaks or wear. Fuel leakage is very dangerous due to its highly flammable nature.
- Get a fire extinguisher for your vehicle and keep it near the driver's seat.
- Don't smoke in their vehicle. Since the inside of a car contains plastic and other materials that can ignite easily, even a small spark can cause a fire.
- Stop the engine immediately if the vehicle emits a smell of burning plastic or rubber.
- Always park your vehicle in a safe place. And park it in a shady place, especially in summer.
- Avoid using aftermarket accessories that may interfere with the original wiring of the vehicle.
- Service the car on a regular basis or at intervals recommended by the manufacturer. Keep all fluids at an optimal level and make sure every component is in perfect condition.
- Stop your car immediately if you notice smoke coming from the brakes or the hood.
- Avoid parking your car near flammable liquids or gases. Generally speaking, the car's engine will be hot when parked, and it is better to avoid parking it near flammable materials.
Therefore, people need to be mindful of the above essential aspects of how a car ignites and other related important information. This will help them prevent a dangerous car fire scenario as well as manage it if something like this happens.