How to Prevent Your Car from Catching Fire
There is no doubt preventing a car from catching fire is an important way to keep your family safe and avoid auto insurance claims. There are several key things you can do to help prevent the worst from occurring, though. As a responsible driver, it may be easier than you think to keep your vehicle safe and to avoid the most common causes of fire. Here’s how to do just that.
Auto Maintenance Can Help Prevent Car Fires
Perhaps the most important step in reducing car fires is to maintain your vehicle properly. Oil is a highly flammable substance that is necessary for your car to operate safely. However, oil can spill or leak onto the surface of the car’s engine, increasing the risk of potential damage and fires. Proper car maintenance can minimize these risks.
Proper maintenance for vehicles includes having the oil changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, usually every 3,000 miles or every three months, whichever is shorter. You also need to be sure any fluid leaks are dealt with right away by a licensed technician. If you notice your vehicle is using more fuel than usual, that could be an indication that the engine needs maintenance. Auto maintenance may take just bringing your vehicle in for a routine checkup every few months.
Avoid Distracted Driving and Accidents Involving Head-On Collisions
Distracted driving accidents are one of the most common causes for head-on collisions. When your vehicle hits another vehicle, the engine is most likely to suffer at least some damage to it. That puts oil at risk of spilling. It can also damage the vehicle’s fuel tank, depending on the location of the impact and the force. This can create an instant fire and a significant risk to all people involved.
Distracted driving occurs when you are paying attention to anything else aside from your driving. Avoid talking on the phone behind the wheel. Don’t text and drive. You also don’t want to change the radio or do makeup while driving. Distracted driving even occurs when you are involved in a heated conversation with friends while you are behind the wheel. It’s best to avoid any situation in which you are focused on other tasks aside from the road.
Minimize the Risk of Engine Fire Through Paying Attention to Warning Signs
Your vehicle is capable of providing you with some indication that things are not working properly. Listen to them. The most common sign of engine-related trouble is the engine light on the dashboard. It is common for the light to come on if there is a lack of oil or if the engine is not operating safely.
You can prevent your car from catching fire by getting the oil changed on schedule (your vehicle may provide a warning to you of this need). It may also alert you to the need to top up fluids, including transmission fluids and oil.
Then, there are other signs to look for that could indicate a problem. The vehicle may start smoking. If so, pull over to the side and get out of the car. If you smell oil burning or the vehicle is not running smoothly, this could also mean you need repairs.
Avoid Smoking in a Car to Avoid Car Fires
Smoking in a car can cause a fire to occur. The seats and other upholstery in the car are flammable. If someone is smoking in the car and ash falls on the seat, it can cause a fire to occur. While most cars have protections in place, it’s not hard for a fire to break out. Imagine a piece of paper on the floor of the passenger seat catching on fire, for example.
Avoid a Car Fire by Parking in a Safe Location
Park in a safe location whenever possible. A storm can cause lightning to strike the vehicle, causing a fire. This type of storm damage may be covered under your vehicle’s auto insurance policy. However, if you park your car in a safe location, chances are good you’ll minimize this risk.
Park your car out of the way of theft and vandalism as well. Parking in a garage, for example, can help you to avoid many of these risks. However, be aware of chemicals or flammable liquids in your garage. You do not want to create a high-risk situation.
Know Your Car Insurance Coverage
When a car fire does occur, know that your auto insurance policy may be able to provide financial coverage to you. Keep in mind, though, that car insurance applies only to situations that are unexpected and unavoidable, not for claims related to maintenance and routine wear and tear. If you have not done so yet, now is the time to have your vehicle maintenance taken care of to ensure your vehicle is always the safest it can be.