What is the cause of car fire explosions?


Posted by: Chris Odogwu

Share this post:

Latest news articles

Cars are prone to exploding in flames due to their making, and this can be fatal. Find out the factors responsible for car fire, and how to avoid them!

Fire isn’t child’s play; it’s very dangerous. The popular saying that “you don’t play with fire” isn’t a joke. If you do, you’ll get burnt.  Having your car all up in flames is a horrifying sight. First, you have to be hopeful that no one is in the car when this happens, and that you don’t have any important documents in it. And with a car being expensive, your hard earned money will diminish before your eyes. This is difficult for anyone.

The fact is, it’s quite easy for a car to catch fire because it has lots electrical elements. One little spark is all it needs to burn to ashes. The big question is, what is the exact cause of car fire explosions? As always, Naijauto identified 10 most typical factors to answer.

1. Fuel leakages, easy guess!

Leakages in cars are bad omen. They indicate that something is dripping from the wrong place. It gets car fire even worse if the leaking substance is fuel or diesel because it’s highly inflammable. When fuel hits 45 degrees Fahrenheit, it can catch fire at the snap of the finger. Ensure that you fix all leakages promptly to avoid this.

2. Electrical system failures

There are various electrical components in cars. If care isn’t taken, they could spark. Since wires run through the entire part of the car, there are chances that unnoticed fray wires could touch a wrong place, igniting fire.


A small problem in electrical components may ignite fire inside your car

3. Spilled fuels

Different kinds of car fluids found under the bonnet including diesel and petrol can cause a fire if their container is damaged, causing them to spill on the car.  A collision could also force them out of their containers due to exerted pressure.

>>> If your car got burnt, you might react exactly like this man: Man refuses to be consoled after car he borrowed to attend funeral catches fire

4. Overheated engine

Overheating is a situation where the engine has risen beyond its normal level. At this point, it’s a ticking time bomb. During overheating, fluids spill into places beyond their designated locations. They can easily find their way onto hot instruments like the exhaust system, giving way for ignition. Overheating shouldn’t be ignored. Have your mechanic check and fix it ASAP.

5. Overheated catalytic converters

When over used, catalytic converters move from their average temperature rate 1,200 to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit (648.9 to 871.1 degrees Celsius) to over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,093.3 degrees Celsius). Overheated catalytic converters cause long term damage to both the car and its surrounding parts.

6. Electric and hybrid vehicle batteries

Worries about electric and hybrid cars in some quarters are valid. Every new design comes with its own potential risks. Driving on high speed, Tesla Model S hit debris that damaged its tire, and it exploded. It was observed that the explosion in such cases is caused by an interaction of a leaking coolant with the damaged batteries.

7. Car accidents

Fire is one of the aftermaths of an accident. Due to the high force involved when two or more cars collide, fluids are spilled over, touching sensitive areas of the car. And with a high level pressure, sparks occur, igniting a fire. It’s advisable to drive safely. But sometimes, accidents happen. Quickly get out of the car if you are involved in an accident. Stand at a reason distance and get help!


Car fire explosion resulting from car crash is an often scene

>>> In case the car fire occurs, check this step-by-step guide to deal with car fire!

8. Negligence - the root of all problems

Your car needs proper care and attention. Failure to fix broken parts will lead to more serious problems in the future. If something isn’t working properly, take it to the mechanic for repairs. The money you are trying to save by not maintaining your car will still be spent if your car catches fire.

9. Smoking in the car, you're committing suicide!

Smoking is a choice. If you must smoke, ensure that you don’t drop a lit cigarette in your car. Properly discard your cigarettes after smoking. Or better still, step out of your car to smoke to avoid triggering fire.

10. Design flaws

No one is above mistakes. Despite having good intentions, sometimes, automakers make design flaws that result to the car catching fire. Major manufacturers have, in the past, recalled some of their brands due to design flaws.

>>> Check out more essential Safe driving tips by Naijauto experts on our website!

Chris Odogwu
Chris Odogwu

Chris Odogwu

Car events

Chris Odogwu is a Content Writer and Journalist. He holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from University of Jos and a master's degree in Mass Communication from University of Lagos. His works have been published in top local and international publications including Forbes, HuffPost, ThriveGlobal, TheNextScoop and Nigeria360 among others. A member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), the thrill he gets from writing about exotic cars feels almost the same as riding in them.

See more