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Q:
What can cause a car fire? Was it my fault?

A:

Your car is about a month over due for an oil change, but with today’s pay, you were going to get it done. You hate lapsing on your car maintenance, but this month it couldn’t be helped. So, you made an appointment and you were on your way.

You had just merged onto the Beltway when a semi-truck decided to move over into the right lane. You are not sure if he just didn’t see you or he underestimated his space, but either way, it caused you to slam on your brakes and spin out onto the shoulder of the road. The truck continued on without even realizing what he had done.

After about five minutes of heavy breathing and trying to calm yourself down, you began to assess the damage. You seemed to be fine, but as you got out of the car to check out your car, you noticed your engine was smoking. You opened the hood, and a bright orange flame licked your arm. You immediately jumped back as several more flames came toward you.

You ran several yard away, and dialed 911 to get the fire department. As you told the dispatcher what had happened, you couldn’t help but wonder what caused the fire in the first place? The truck tapped you enough to spin out, but the hood was otherwise undamaged. Did the old oil somehow ignite because you didn’t have it changed on time? What other possibilities could have caused the flames?

Typical Reasons Why Your Car May Ignite

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly 300,000 vehicles catch fire each year. Despite this danger, many drivers are clueless about their risks, as well as how vehicle fires begin in the first place. Thankfully, you no longer have to be left in the dark. Once you learn these common causes of car fires, you can take the proper precautions to help avoid serious injury. These causes include:   

  • Ignition of flammable liquids. The leading cause of vehicle fires occur when flammable liquids, such as gasoline and oil, accidentally ignite from a spark or overheated engine.
  • Fume ignition. Fumes from gasoline, oil, and coolants can be extremely flammable. This means that even if your gas tank isn’t leaking, the fumes from the tank alone may be enough to create a flame large enough to travel back to the tank and ignite the fuel. Likewise, oil vapors in your engine are specifically designed to ignite with the help of your engine’s spark plugs. If that ignition isn’t controlled, or too much vapor is expelled, an explosion could result.
  • Collisions. Depending on the severity of a collision, the impact force of the crash can cause shrapnel to tear into the gas tank, engine, or flammable liquid compartments. This tear can release flammable fumes—along with a spark that will ignite them.
  • Electrical malfunctions. Today’s vehicles include a lot of individual parts that could malfunction and cause a fire. Faulty metal can break and cause sparks, electric accessories and add-ons can cause electrical fires, and faulty storage containers can leak combustible fumes.
  • Poor maintenance. Poor maintenance can enhance an already dangerous environment. If you allow faulty wiring to go unchecked, it could spark and cause a fire. If you allow a loose seal to leak fluid, the liquid or fumes from the fluid could ignite. Make sure you routinely check your engine and take your car in for bi-annual check-ups and maintenance.

Proving Car Fire Fault

When a car fire causes you or your family serious injury, it can be difficult to determine who’s at fault, especially if the fire didn’t result from a collision. However, with the proper representation, your lawyer can help you discover where and how the problem started, as well as who was to blame. If the incident was not caused by your own mistakes, than you may be eligible for a vehicle injury settlement.

Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your case. We’re determined to make sure justice is served and you and your family get the compensation you deserve. Call now to see how we can help you!

Safety is the most important thing for you, your family, and your friends. Help us spread the word about what causes car fires by sharing this page on Facebook and Twitter. Help us make sure your loved ones are aware their risks before it’s too late.

 

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