Cars totalled by fire

Joined
Nov 26, 2002
Messages
1,715
Location
Texas & BWI Area
I have question. On every so occasion you may drive by a vehicle engulfed in flames. Usually these are onboard fires (versus something next door getting them.) Call me a paranoid owner or what ... so I wonder on an otherwise highly maintained car what can I do as she ages to minimize some kind of fatal fuel related fire? I ask this as I would hate to see a babied car engulfed in flames and have the insurance company give me back nothing of the thousands I spend to keep her alive. 1)Preemptive Replacement of fuel rail-line rubber hose interfaces? 2)Inspection of fuel lines? 3)Do nothing and not think about it as fire is statistically unlikely as a complete brake failure? Thanks!
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2005
Messages
4,353
Location
FL
If you have a car with an oil filter right over the exhaust (such as late model Hondas) make sure the oil filter isn't dripping.
 
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
5,579
Location
earth
the cars i have seen are mostly ones that have been burnt out after it has been stolen by some kids (i won't go into that any further) for a joyride and burnt out to destroy evidence.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Messages
5,570
Location
New Zealand
99% of burned out cars here are stolen.However I notice on American TV programs and movies that cars seem to burn out all the time...maybe it's the air over there?
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2004
Messages
2,441
Location
snowblind in TX
The majority of car engine fires are oil related. Fuel is relatively benign as it evaporates quickly and is difficult to ignite without open flame. It is rare to get a combination of an ignitable mixture plus an ignition source anywhere except the combustion chamber. Oil (engine/trans/p-steer)clings to exhaust parts and is relatively easy to ignite once vaporized on a surface that is already above ignition temp. Then there are electrical fires. EDIT: And brake fluid if you have a Ford or Toyota.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 19, 2004
Messages
7,430
Location
beaver land EH?
 Originally Posted By: outrun
I have question. On every so occasion you may drive by a vehicle engulfed in flames. Usually these are onboard fires (versus something next door getting them.) Call me a paranoid owner or what ... so I wonder on an otherwise highly maintained car what can I do as she ages to minimize some kind of fatal fuel related fire? I ask this as I would hate to see a babied car engulfed in flames and have the insurance company give me back nothing of the thousands I spend to keep her alive. 1)Preemptive Replacement of fuel rail-line rubber hose interfaces? 2)Inspection of fuel lines? 3)Do nothing and not think about it as fire is statistically unlikely as a complete brake failure? Thanks!
IMHO it's statistically insignificant. In addition to what other posters comments on this (all good points BTW, except the no panels after Saturn one...which I just take it as a good cheer-me-upper for the day) Cars caught on fire these days mainly due to the following reasons: -kids stole them for joyride, then abandon them, set them on fire to destroy evidence. -robbers/professional criminals did the same thing: burn stolen vehicles to destroy any potential evidence. -cars with mis-wired/damaged wiring due to poor practice: boom boyz adding things that draw excessive currents, causing shorts(wiring loom overheating), etc. which may lead to wiring induced fires. -manufacturing defects. -cat converters too close to dry grass or something flammable... -other reasons unknown but was induced by man-made cause (someone set it on fire delibrately?) There could be some more but I cannot recall now. Also: unless there's a need to replace rubber fuel lines, etc. due to defects or so, I personally would not do that under most circumstances for the fact that (a) most EFI fuel lines are of high pressure, fuel and fuel-additive resistant, fluoro-elastomer variety that only good quality ones like the original OEM ones would survive years of services w/o any significant degradations and such. Replacing it with aftermarket ones will surely guarantee failures due to different rubber compositions and such. (b) Since my first car (a 1976 Plymouth Arrow, actually it's a Mitsu Celeste hatchback in Plymouth disguise) that I came across fuel line deterioriation, I have yet to encounter anymore rubber fuel line degradations on automobiles anymore, even with cars in-service by yours-truely for the past 20 yrs, with combined mileage of over 1 million kms to date, never a single fuel line degradation esp. on EFI pressured lines even with high mileage cars. Q.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 21, 2003
Messages
3,775
Location
Houston, Tex
 Originally Posted By: Quest
-cars with mis-wired/damaged wiring due to poor practice: boom boyz adding things that draw excessive currents, causing shorts(wiring loom overheating), etc. which may lead to wiring induced fires.
I have seen direct evidence of a couple of these. Cars that, uh - "fit the profile", one with the sorrowful owner standing by the trunk with the bass cabinet pulled out (the fire was in the front).
 
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
10,910
Location
Nokesville, VA
 Originally Posted By: outrun
1)Preemptive Replacement of fuel rail-line rubber hose interfaces? 2)Inspection of fuel lines? 3)Do nothing and not think about it as fire is statistically unlikely as a complete brake failure?
4)Know what you're doing when you modify the vehicle's electrical system.
 
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
10,910
Location
Nokesville, VA
 Originally Posted By: TooManyWheels
I have seen direct evidence of a couple of these. Cars that, uh - "fit the profile", one with the sorrowful owner standing by the trunk with the bass cabinet pulled out (the fire was in the front).
Many of the AGU fuses sold for car stereo use are complete garbage. Ever wonder why no automaker ever used AGU fuses?
 
Joined
May 12, 2005
Messages
2,698
Location
Silicon Valley
Can't one pay extra for an insurance policy that values the car higher than 'blue book' value? I think many of us BITOGers would be devastated by having to accept this small settlement for an obsessively maintained but high-miles older car, especially considering it's almost a lottery system deciding when a car gets 'totaled.' An unfortunate fender bender could total a car...
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
11,985
Location
Phoenix
Arson is the main reason, oil leaks are generally the other cause of a total loss vehicle fire. Electrical fires generally just smolder and usually put themselves out. Arson it not only due to theft, but people who got into a payment that is over their head will often torch it before it is repo'd. Also cars with recent mechanical failure are often torched by people who can't afford a replacement or repair.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
515
Location
Va
There is an interstate that intersects a mountain pass near my home, at a moderate but not steep grade and about five miles from ascend/decend, about 1800ft alt. Every spring and summer there are about a dozen cars/trucks that wind up not surviving the trip. You can still see the scorch marks on the shoulder for months afterwards, they litter the pass. I'd attribute the majority of them to vehicle neglect as most of them were late models.
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2002
Messages
18,982
Location
Silicon Valley
 Originally Posted By: outrun
what can I do as she ages to minimize some kind of fatal fuel related fire?
1) Don't get a car loan that is not affordable 2) Don't get a car that has high depreciation that you may be upside down in a car loan 3) Don't set the car on fire 4) If you absolutely have to set the car on fire, don't make it fatal. 5) Don't park your car on flammable objects (like dry leaves). My co-workers car got totaled in the parking lot because the CAT caught on fire on the dry leaves. Know for sure it is not arson because it is a $2k car with salvage title.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 12, 2005
Messages
4,353
Location
FL
I was in a parking area once after an airshow and waiting to get out, but there were two many cars and one entrance/exit in the fenced off area so there was a bottleneck. It was pretty much a empty grass area. I sat there for an hour waiting to move. I was afraid dried grass might touch the exhaust and start a fire. The cat story is funny. I hope the cat either lived or died a quick death.
 
Top