What to do in case your car catches fire – tips and tricks!

By now, most of you would have seen the video of the fuel tanker driver in Balochistan who drove his burning oil tanker for almost 3 kilometres to protect the people from getting hurt. This is something that can happen to cars as well, albeit for some other reasons as well, instead of just the fuel tank catching fire. In this blog, we are gonna talk about some of the steps in case you suspect your vehicle is on fire.

In case you fear your vehicle has caught fire and see some suspicious smoke, first of all, try not to panic..

  • Then, pull over immediately yet safely. Try to make sure you are not among bystanders although it can be difficult in some cases. 
  • Immediately turn off the car. Turn the ignition switch off.
  • Get out of the car quickly. And if there are others in the car, get them out as well.
  • Make sure you are at least 50 feet away from the burning vehicle.
  • Call the emergency services immediately. You do not want the fire to spread.

But in case you cannot get to the emergency services, putting out the fire on your own can be extremely dangerous.

There are too many things that can go wrong while you are near a burning vehicle. But in case you are stuck, and have to do the job yourself, here are some of the things you can do.

  • Try to find the location of the fire; is it in the back of the car, the middle or the engine bay
  • Determining the location can help you quickly get to the fire before it gets out of the hand
  • Secondly, see if you can locate the source as well
  • Do you see some fluid that is the source, or is it an electrical fire?
  • Use your judgement and if you feel the fire is too big for you, or if the location and source of fire is hard to reach as well as location is new something that can blow up, move quickly away from the car. You do not want to act like a hero in this situation. It is extremely volatile and can get out of hand sooner than you know.
  • Also, in the meanwhile, if you can, immediately disconnect the car battery.
    • It is important to put out fire quickly as the electrical current from the battery can be the source of the spark.
  • Ideally you should have a fire extinguisher in your car.
    • It is a really important tool that all cars should have because sometimes you don’t need it but others on the road might need it.
  • But if you do not have a fire extinguisher, and if you feel the fire is small and just about to start, and you can reach there WITHOUT hurting yourself, try getting water to put it on fire
    • Water is your best bet in such situations
    • Keep a spare water bottle all times in your car is a always helpful in emergencies
  • If water is not available, sand or sometimes, even a thick blanket or cloth can be used to put the fire out
    • Just don’t throw a wooden stool at your burning car!

But this all depends on a lot of factors that are going in your way. So it is better to call and wait for the fire brigade, then try to do it yourself.

These are all the things that you can do in case of fire. But how to prevent fire?

  • Routine inspection of wires. Cracked and loose wires can cause fire. If your car keeps blowing up one fuse again and again, have a trained technician inspect it immediately.
  • The wire joints should be securely fastened and there shouldn’t be any play in them
  • Electrical grips should be secure
  • Make sure there is no leaking oil or fluid
  • All the rubber hoses are in good health and no cracks
  • Make sure the oil cap as well as fuel filler cap are always fully tightened
  • Keep an eye on engine temperature when you are travelling. Overheating engine in some scenarios can cause other things to catch fire
  • Don’t drive on rough terrain where there is a chance that some loose rock or a jagged edge can puncture the fuel lines going underneath the car
  • Do not put pressurised cans of deodorant or car cleaners inside a hot car. They can blow up and cause damage to the dashboard and that can cause wires to short circuit leading to a fire.
  • Try not to do unnecessary electrical wiring work on the car like installing a headunit or cheap HIDs from a dodgy person. Shoddy electrical work is a disaster waiting to happen.

There are also some myths with regards to full fuel tanks catching fire. That is not true. Petrol needs air (oxygen) to ignite. Full tank means there isn’t enough oxygen in the tank to let the fuel ignite. In fact, the empty tank is more dangerous as those fuel fumes in the tank are highly volatile and can ignite even with the weakest spark.

Fire is unpredictable and can do some irreversible damage. So please be sensible about it and save yourself first. Possessions can be bought again, life cannot be replaced. 

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