Normally, fires start in the engine area (18%), passenger area (15%), control area (4%), and fuel area/line (4%). In car and truck fires, the most common causes were part failure, leak, or break (17%), arson or vandalism fires (21%), and electrical short circuits (13%). Frequently, the first area to catch on fire in cars and trucks is gasoline (18%). Even though accidents only cause 3% of car/truck fires, they accounted for 50% of the deaths.
Tips to Prevent Car and Truck Fires
Often times, car/truck fires can be avoided with some simple care and maintenance. Regularly check fuel lines, and repair any leaks upon finding them. Gasoline, oil, and hydraulic fluids are extremely flammable; all they require is a source of ignition. If you smell gasoline, it is essential to find out where the smell is coming from and fix the problem immediately to reduce the chance of building up combustible vapors.
If you are carrying gasoline in your vehicle, make sure to use a container that meets the minimum safety requirements. Experts recommend transporting said container in the trunk of your vehicle with the lid slightly open to air out the fumes. Do not store any type of fuel in your vehicle, and try to avoid running extra errands or driving around anymore than you have to while moving the hazardous fuel.
If you take it upon yourself to fix the electrical system in your vehicle, make sure to insulate any splices made, and be careful not to re-route wires closer to a heat source than initially planned. Battery cables need to be snug and corrosion-free to avoid “sizzling.”
Take precaution if you are a smoker. A lit cigarette or butt that has fallen can smolder for hours before actually starting a fire.
Be cautious of where you park. A hot engine in a car or truck parked on grass can start a fire, especially if the catalytic converter touches dry grass.
Follow the correct procedures for filling up propane tanks. One of the most important safety rules, if not THE most important with propane-fuelled cars and trucks is to make sure you NEVER over-fill the propane tank.