Top 5 Common Causes of Vehicle Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), vehicle fires account for about 20 percent of all reported fires. In fact, a vehicle fire is said to happen every 96 seconds in the United States. These fires can cause significant property damage so you’ll have to have your vehicle checked by a body shop. Serious or fatal injuries can also arise from fires so it’s essential you are aware of the top common causes of vehicle fires. The more you understand how these fires form, the more likely you will be able to prevent them and stay safe.
  1. Design Flaw
    There has been a lot of coverage in the news regarding vehicle design flaws as many of them can lead to unexpected fire. When the auto manufacturers become aware of such design flaws, they typically issue a recall so all owners can be notified of the possible danger and get the vehicle fixed (for free). If you receive a notice or hear about a possible recall, it’s important you act immediately and contact your local dealer for assistance.
  2. Electrical System Failures
    Your electrical system is one of the most common causes of vehicle fires. A standard car battery’s charging cycles can cause hydrogen gas to build up on the engine bay and the electrical current of the battery can produce sparks along with faulty or loose wiring. This can quickly ignite any dripped fluid or leaked vapors. And since your vehicle’s electrical wiring runs throughout the entire body, it creates a substantial danger.
  3. Overheating Engine
    While your vehicle’s engine isn’t likely to overheat enough to catch fire on its own, it can be hot enough to make the vehicle’s oil and coolant rise to dangerous temperatures.  When this happens, these internal fluids spread throughout the engine bay and onto the exhaust system. This is where they can dangerously ignite and spread.
  4. Spilled Fluids
    The typical vehicle has numerous flammable fluids under the hood from gasoline or diesel fuel, transmission fluid, engine oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid and engine coolant. If anything happens to any of their lines, hoses or reservoirs, any of them could catch fire when the car is on and they are circulating. When you combine an accident or a failed part with one of these instances, your chance for fire increases.
  5. Accident
    While most vehicles have crumple zones which help the sheet metal absorb the impact of a crash, an intense blow can still spark a fire. Leaking fluids combined with heat create ideal conditions for a fire. If you are in an accident, you may not realize what is leaking under the hood, so it’s a good idea to always move away from an accident quickly.

Remember, it’s important you keep up on your vehicle’s regular maintenance, because if you don’t, you run the risk of not being aware of certain issues harboring under the hood. If you don’t fix faulty wiring, broken parts or leaky seals, for example, your vehicle is more susceptible to an incident that can spark a fire.

If you need any work done, or existing damage repaired, contact the Collision Center of Andover, your full service auto body shop, at (316) 733-9310, and we will get you back on the road.

 

photo credit: FontFont via photopin cc

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