Car Fires: What To Do If You Have One

Car fires make up about 16 percent of the 1.3 million fires that are reported every year to the US fire departments. It is essential that you have some understanding of the causes, so you know what to do in the event of a vehicle fire.  This guide will provide you with tips to help you prepare for vehicle fires and to ensure your safety should you encounter one.

What To Do When There’s a Car Fire

For a vehicle fire to occur, it will need to encounter flammable liquids such as gasoline, combustion, and high heat. Vehicle fires may occur under different circumstances. For example, it may be due to an electrical system failure, a fuel system leak, spilled fluids, an engine that overheated, or issues with the battery.

If you are wondering what to do when there’s a car fire, the following tips will help you. However, it is always imperative that you respond right away to prevent injury to you and your passengers.

If you are wondering what to do, or how to extinguish a vehicle fire, here are some useful tips to follow:

  • As soon as you are able, pull your car over
  • Turn the car engine off
  • Make sure that everyone is out of the car and keep at least a 100 feet distance
  • Never open the hood of your car. This could cause the flames to burst.
  • Dial 911
  • Avoid going back into your car to grab any of your items.

Tips for Preventing Car Fires

  • Make sure that you maintain frequent maintenance on your vehicle as well as annual inspections.
  • Only use approved replacement parts for your vehicle.
  • Never part in tall grass that can reach areas of the car that heat up.
  • Use gasoline with caution. Only use containers that are approved. Never keep gasoline containers in your car, and never carry them on the passenger side of your vehicle.
  • If you need to carry the gasoline container in the passenger area of your vehicle, only purchase a small amount. Ensure that the container is properly secured and keep all windows open.

Repair These Vehicle Fire Hazards:

  • Loose or broken wiring
  • Fuses that have blown multiple times
  • Loud sounds coming from your exhaust system
  • Significant changes in gasoline levels, oil levels, or temperature of your engine
  • Oil that spills following an oil change, an oil cap that doesn’t fit, or one that is missing
  • Hoses that are loose or damaged
  •  The burning smell of metal or rubber
  • Smoke that is coming from your brakes or engine


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