A car bursting into flames is not an uncommon sight on the big screen. But did you know that statistically speaking, more people face injury in car fires than apartment fires? It is potentially a more common risk than you know.
Obviously not every car crash involves a fire, though. So what can potentially contribute to these fiery incidents?
Autocatch discusses some of the most common causes of car fires. Of course, due to the flammability of fuel, this always proves a potential issue. Fuel leaks serve as the biggest cause of car fires. The flashpoint of gasoline is -43°C, so it is constantly evaporating into combustible gas. If it vaporizes under the hood, this combination along with the oxygen can create fires and explosions if a spark ignites it. Sometimes a spark is not even needed, such as if the temperature under the hood rises above 257°C.
The second most common cause of fires involves failures of the electrical system. The 12-volt battery of a car may create hydrogen gas, leading to explosion hazards when charging. Starter cables and batteries also hold strong enough currents to ignite combustibles. Component breakdown, poor repairs or installation and poor maintenance can all lead to safety features breaking down and no longer working, too, which can end up allowing electrical fires when they otherwise would have gotten stopped.
Finally, watch out for aftermarket accessories. These are additional components of a vehicle installed after purchasing the car by a company or person who was not the vehicle’s manufacturer. If improperly stalled, some of these things – especially electronics – can contribute to fire hazards.