A car fire is a scary thing. The best-case scenario is that you’ll be left without a vehicle. Worst- case scenario? Car fires can be deadly. While they aren’t exactly the most likely thing that will happen to you on any given day, it’s important to know what factors can contribute to car fires and how you can prevent them.
- Some cars are not manufactured properly and are therefore more likely to catch fire. However, when these instances occur, the cars are generally recalled to keep the public safe. You can check to see if there have been any recalls issued on your vehicle by visiting www.safecar.gov and searching by VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).
- Auto accidents are a common reason for cars to catch fire. Driving safely by avoiding tailgating, and slowing down is a good way to avoid a collision.
- Keeping your car in good working order is a step you can take to prevent fires. Have it looked over periodically by a mechanic to ensure that parts are replaced timely, wires aren’t frayed, and nothing is leaking. You can also keep an eye on things yourself in between tune-ups.
- Relevant to the point above, avoid letting your car overheat. Sensitive parts such as spark plugs, the catalytic converter and other pieces of the exhaust system can catch fire when allowed to overheat. Often if these parts are malfunctioning, your check engine light will come on. Don’t ignore it.
- Your engine can overheat, too. Watch your temperature gauge and if it’s showing your car is too hot, take it to a mechanic. Generally, a car will not overheat for no reason. Whatever that reason is, you’ll want to have it repaired as soon as possible. While the car overheating doesn’t always mean it will catch fire, it’s certainly an indication that it could and that’s not a chance you want to take.
- Your car is full of flammable liquids, and not just gasoline. There’s brake fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, engine oil… even the coolant is flammable! If anything is leaking out of your car, you should have this looked at immediately.
If you sense something is wrong with your car, don’t take any chances. While it’s possible something could break down suddenly causing a fire, there are often warning signs. If your car does catch fire, get as far away as you can as quickly as you can.
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