The Ford “Kuga-gate” cases raised public awareness about how cars can catch fire, not only reducing a vehicle to a smouldering wreck but also threatening lives. It isn’t common, but what causes vehicles to ignite? The highest risk is from fuel leaking in some way (petrol is more of a risk than diesel).
Electrical, exhaust and oil fires are all medium level risks, and coolant and brake fires are considered low risk. While lack of maintenance is not going to directly cause your car to catch fire, it may lead your car to be more at risk, not only from fires but other potentially dangerous problems. Regular maintenance by a certified mechanic is essential.
6 things to remember if your car catches fire
Cape Town - When smoke billows from your car it does not necessarily mean your vehicle will catch fire - although it can be quite scary and matters can quickly escalate if you don't address the situation immediately.
A vehicle fire poses a serious danger to you and your passengers.
'Stay calm and don't panic'
Jonck says: “I believe that we need to be pro-active and not wait for such an event to occur. If you are the owner of a vehicle and/or the manufacturer in the limelight, I’ll advise that you visit your local dealer.
"Your safety, and the safety of your family, is worth taking the time to visit your local dealer to have your vehicle checked before you continue using it."
Arrive Alive suggests the following tips if your vehicle is smoking/on fire:
1. Although this can be difficult it is important to stay calm and not panic.
2. If you notice the smoke or fire while your vehicle is moving, signal and pull over to the side of the road.
3. Make sure to turn off the ignition, this will stop the electric current and flow of fuel.
4. If the vehicle is on fire, move away from the burning vehicle.
5. Call emergency services from a safe distance.
6. Be cautious of putting the fire out yourself. There is always a risk of an explosion and toxic fumes coming from the car.