Car Fires: Causes and Prevention

Did you know most car fires begin while a car is in normal use, and not because of a crash or collision?  

There are a number of factors that can cause a car fire, and may combine to make the fire worse very quickly. Fires can be caused by human error, chemicals or flammable liquids, poor vehicle design, and other factors.  Once a fire starts, it spreads fast. Even a small car fire is reason to remove yourself from a vehicle as quickly as possible because it will soon consume the vehicle or explode.

Prevent Your Car from Catching on Fire

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that vehicle fires cause about 20 percent of all fires in the United States.  You need to know how to prevent these, and how to lessen your risk of becoming a victim.

Defective Vehicle Design

One reason cars catch on fire is because of a design flaw by the manufacturer.

Did you know that every single car manufacturer has recalled a vehicle, usually thousands of vehicles, at some point for design defects?

Usually design flaws are detected before a major car accident occurs. Automobile manufacturers obviously do not want to be known for the death of injury of a person caused by their mistake. However, these flaws are sometime overlooked, and they can make conditions very hazardous for the ignition of a car fire.  Design defects making the vehicle more susceptible to fires or deadly explosions upon impact are particularly dangerous and should always be prevented by careful design and hazard analysis.

Maintain Your Vehicle’s Health

One potential way to avoid vehicle fires is to maintain your car properly. Wires need to be checked, and other wear and tear needs to be avoided by careful inspection under the hood regularly. A well-maintained automobile is much less likely to catch on fire than one that has been neglected. Before you leave town, make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical order.

You May Not See the Fire

Most cars’ engines, batteries and gas tanks are protected pretty well by surrounded metal, but a hard hit can combine heat, smoke and chemicals, the perfect ingredients for a fire. If you’re inside the car and have an accident, even a fender bender, get out quickly. You may not be aware that a small fire has started, and it will quickly turn into a much larger and more dangerous fire.

Tesla Model S Cars Being Investigated

You may have heard recently about the Tesla Model S Electric Cars catching on fire. Investigations are being conducted because these cars seem to be catching on fire when they run over debris, and the debris strikes the battery, igniting it. If you visit this link, USA Today has a video demonstrating what can happen.

Overheated Exhaust is a Bid Problem

Overheated catalytic converters (exhaust systems) can actually overheat and burn up through the cabin of the car and the carpet. If your engine doesn’t do its job properly, this system has to work harder. It gets overheated, and runs the entire length of the underside of your car. This can lead to devastating car fires. Again, maintain your vehicle.

Don’t Ignore Signals

If your car is constantly overheating, don’t ignore it! Sometimes there can be a design flaw that is causing fluids to get too hot and spill out of their designated areas, leading to fires. Make sure to take heed of your temperature gauge in your car.

Flammable Liquid Explosions, Electrical Wires

Most often fires are caused simply because the fluids that are mixed up and circulating through the engine are flammable to begin with. Also, the electrical wiring causes many car fires. Car batteries are a source of problems, as they can ignite sparks. Electrical wiring that is frayed is another common issue in car fires…Keep in mind the wire runs throughout your entire car, and it can be difficult to know when one becomes frayed.

Injuries and Loss of Life from Car Fires

Bottom line…Keep your car maintained to do your part of staying safe on the roadways. Sometimes car fires will start through no fault of your own, and can be due to the negligence of a manufacturer, or a company who has negligently worked on your vehicle.

If you or a loved one is injured, or most unfortunately loses their life in a car fire due to the negligence of another, the Burn Injury Firm can help you sort it out. We will investigate and use highly reputable resources to get down to every detail of the fire and find out who is responsible.

We take special pride in representing victims of serious burn injuries, understanding the severe nature of these injuries — physically, emotionally, and financially — and knowing that many of these tragic incidents should have been prevented.

For a Free Consultation, contact attorney Matthew Passen at 866-293-2615 or email