What to Do if Your Car Catches Fire

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2016

Drivers have a great deal to worry about while out on the road, and while a car catching fire isn’t exactly a common occurrence, it’s still important to know what to do if you find yourself in such a situation. As with any other emergency situation, panicking will only make things worse, so try to remain as calm as possible throughout the ordeal.

Act Quickly and Calmly

Although it’s vital to remain calm, speed is crucial to prevent injury to yourself or others around you. You may not always see the fire immediately, and car fires don’t always start under the hood. If you smell smoke or notice fire in or on your car, the first thing you need to do is signal and move to the closest possible area to stop.

Once you’ve stopped the vehicle, kill the ignition and get everyone out as quickly as possible. Do not attempt to retrieve items from the vehicle – a car fire can escalate in an instant, and nothing in your car is worth your life.

After everyone is safely out of the vehicle, stay at least 100 feet away from it. The fire can create bursts of flame and toxic fumes, so it’s vital to stay as far away to avoid burns or poisonous air. Contact emergency services immediately.

Things You Should Not Do

If the fire is visibly small, you may be tempted to try and put it out yourself. Although you think you might save damage to your vehicle, this is simply not worth the risk. Opening the hood of your car to try and douse the flames will increase airflow to the fire, likely causing it to grow.

Don’t try to return to the vehicle even if it seems as though the flames have subsided. Wait until emergency responders finish their work and assess the damage. No personal item is worth risking your life. Once emergency service responders are done, ask them when it is safe to move the vehicle and have it towed to a repair shop.

Prevention Tips

You should perform regular maintenance on your vehicle, including checking fluid levels, performing oil changes, and taking your car to a shop for annual inspections. Some vehicle fires happen due to a crash, but faulty systems are often the culprits. A few warning signs to keep in mind include:

  • Oil spills under the hood after an oil change.
  • Any fluid deposits that form under your vehicle when parked.
  • Exposed or damaged wires.
  • Loud or strange noises from the exhaust system.
  • Damaged, loose, broken, or missing hoses.
  • A missing oil well cap.
  • Sudden changes in fuel or fluid levels.
  • Spikes in engine temperature.

What Can You Do After a Car Fire?

In some situations, poor maintenance or faulty manufacturing causes a car fire. Because determining who is at fault may be difficult, be sure to retain the burned vehicle for evidence in the event a manufacturer was at fault. If your car fire resulted from a crash, then you may be able to take legal action against the other driver or drivers at fault. If you’ve sustained any injuries from a car fire, it’s important to know your rights and what your legal options may be.

Contact an attorney once you’ve dealt with the immediate aftermath and any medical issues. The Liljegren Law Group has represented clients in various cases in southern California, and we are committed to securing the maximum recovery possible for our clients. If faulty manufacturing was to blame for your car fire, we know how to handle product liability cases. We can also handle any type of personal injury case, so reach out to our team for more information or for a free case evaluation.


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