Insured or not, watching your vehicle burn by the side of the road is an experience you don’t want to go through.
A vehicle fire poses a serious danger to you and your passengers. To protect yourself and your occupants, here are things to remember when your car catches a fire:
Watch For Potential Warning Signs
While some car fires occur in collisions, they are more often caused by problems with a vehicle’s electrical or fuel system. In between mechanic visits, look for these potential warning signs:
- Fuses that blow repeatedly
- Spilled oil under the hood left over from an oil change
- Oil or other fluid leaks under the vehicle
- Cracked or loose wiring, or wiring with exposed metal
- Very loud sounds from the exhaust system
- Rapid changes in fuel level, oil levels, or engine temperature
- A missing cap from the oil filler
- Broken or loose hoses
How To React
If you notice the smoke or fire while your vehicle is moving, signal and pull over to the side of the road. It is important to remain calm—but act quickly. Make sure to turn off the ignition, this will stop the electric current and flow of fuel.
If the vehicle is on fire, move away from the burning vehicle. Call emergency services from a safe distance. Be cautious of putting the fire out yourself. There is always a risk of an explosion and toxic fumes coming from the car.
Get as far away from the vehicle as you can (at least 150 feet), but make sure the area you move to is safe and secure. Warn onlookers and others to keep away, as well. If you have some signaling device, you can also attempt to warn oncoming traffic.
This comes in light of Ford Kugas catching fire on South African roads. The National Consumer Commission (NCC) and Ford SA announced on January 16, 2016 that a total of 4556 Kugas are being recalled in SA over this safety concern. The affected SUVs, built between December 2012 and February 2014, are equipped with the automaker’s 1.6-litre Eco Boost engine. Ford says Kuga models fitted with the 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre engines are not affected.
The automaker says with this safety recall, all affected vehicles, including those that have already been checked, must be taken to a Ford dealership as soon as possible.
“Feel free to contact your local dealer to enquire whether your vehicle has been included in the recalls. The internet is a rich source of information and can be used effectively in the search for vehicle recalls. Keep in mind that a recall repairs is free to the car owner and doesn’t have an expiration date – the manufacturer will have to fix your vehicle no matter how old the recall is,” says Ford.
Car fires can break out in places other than the engine compartment. They also can occur under the vehicle, near the wheels and brakes, in your dashboard, and even inside the car. In fact, interior fires can be among the most frightening because of your close proximity to the flames, fumes, and smoke.
Desh Pillay Bechan