Car fires aren’t the most frequent thing you think of going wrong with a vehicle, but they do happen. According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), there were about 173,000 US highway vehicle fires in 2016 alone, leading to 280 deaths and over 1,000 injuries.

Common Causes of Vehicle Fires

Surprisingly, automotive accidents aren't the most common cause of vehicle fires. More often, they're caused from problems with a car’s fuel or electrical systems. To give your vehicle the best chance of avoiding these issues, State Farm suggests you have these systems checked at every regular service call:

  • Broken or loose hoses
  • Oil or other fuel leaks under your car
  • Cracked or loose wiring
  • Wires with exposed metal
  • Very loud sounds from the exhaust
  • Fuses that blow repeatedly
  • Missing oil cap, spilled oil under the hood
  • Rapid changes in fuel or oil levels, or in engine temperature

Knowing what to look for and where a fire is likely to break out can mean the difference between getting out scorch-free, being trapped, and/or dying. So, keep these potential warning signs in mind. Vehicle fires can start in places such as near the wheels or brakes, the undercarriage, the engine compartment, the dashboard, or inside the car.

What to Do in the Event of a Car Fire

car fire, tire fireIf you find yourself in a fire situation while driving, it’s important to act quickly and remain calm. If you smell smoke or see flames, take action immediately. According to the National Safety Council, these steps can prevent injury and save lives:

  • Using your signals, immediately move to the closest safe place to stop.
  • Stop the car and turn off the ignition.
  • Get everyone out of the vehicle.
  • Move as far from the burning vehicle as possible. At least 100 feet is recommended to avoid toxic fumes.
  • Call 911.
  • Don’t try and extinguish the fire yourself – opening the hood or car doors can increase the air supply and may accelerate the fire.

Getting the Help You Need

Has a vehicle fire, or other unfortunate situation left you seeking a new ride, but bad credit is keeping you down? Never fear, Auto Credit Express is here. We work with a leading, nationwide network of special finance dealers that have the lending resources available to help consumers facing credit challenges. Let us point you toward a dealer in your area. Fill out our no-obligation online auto loan request form to get started today.