As the weather heats up, the risk of a car fire goes up along with the temperatures. However, hot days are one part of the equation as car fires can occur in any region at any time of the year. eTags is dedicated to helping the public understand various vehicle safety issues, and very few are as scary as a burning engine. That’s why we wanted to take a second and talk about why car fires start in the first place, so you can take steps to prevent one from happening to you.
In general, car fires start because of four reasons: issues with the fuel system, electrical system, the exhaust system, and petroleum-based fluids. Problems with the fuel system occur when o-rings in the fuel injectors and fuel pressure regulators crack or wear down. This causes a fuel drip and if there is a malfunctioning spark plug wire or ignition coil, a fire could start. Fuel system issues are by far the main reason why car fires start.
Other less common issues that could cause a fire include the following: incorrectly installed battery or stereo system, an ineffective exhaust system that can’t effectively remove excess heat, and petroleum-based fluids that corrode the engine.
If you are concerned about engine fires, you can take steps to mitigate the risks. First and foremost, you should have your vehicle serviced based on the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule you can find in your vehicle’s manual. Having your vehicle’s o-rings and fuel injectors checked after 60,000 miles is recommended as well as this is when they start to break down. Finally, if you know that your car is prone to overheating, don’t push it as this is the quickest way to cause a fire. If you see the needle teetering above the mid-point, take the necessary precaution and pull over to safety.