5 common causes of car fires

Your car catching on fire is probably one of the scariest things that can happen to you. Car fires happen for a variety reasons, from manufacturing flaws to electrical malfunctions. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), automobile fires resulted in 764 injuries and 209 deaths between 2006 and 2010. 

But how exactly do cars catch on fire? Learn more about some of the most prominent causes of motor vehicle fires and explosions. 

1. Design flaws

Certain cars are more prone to fires than others. If the manufacturer does not catch a problem, it could lead to an explosion or fire. Manufacturer flaws that may lead to fires include electrical issues, faulty batteries or fuel tank leaks. 

2. Car accidents

Auto collisions can result in fires. Data from the NFPA shows that while accidents only accounted for four percent of car fires, they caused 60 percent of car fire-related fatalities. Whether an accident will cause a fire depends on what area of the car is hit. For example, if the gas tank is hit, it could cause a leak and ensuing fire. 

3. Electrical problems

The NFPA states that electrical and mechanical failures caused two-thirds of cars catching fire. This includes problems with:

  • Heated seats
  • Batteries
  • Heating systems
  • Aftermarket accessories

Even just a stray, frayed wire could result in a catastrophic fire. 

4. Overheating engines

If your engine gets too hot, it could result in fluids rising to dangerous temperatures and spilling out onto the engine or exhaust system. Overheated coolant or oils can quickly ignite in these circumstances. 

5. Overheating catalytic converter

The catalytic converters on your car emit a lot of heat. If there is an issue or they are not properly maintained, they could catch fire, causing damage to you and your car. 

Now that you know about these causes of car fires, you can be safer. If you get injured in a car fire, get immediate medical attention. 

 

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