Car fire safety

  • Published
  • By National Fire Protection Association
Cars can catch fire for many reasons. Mechanical or electrical issues are the most common cause. A car can also catch fire as the result of a bad crash. If you see smoke or flames, or smell burning rubber or plastic, respond immediately.

What to do if your car is on fire
- Pull over as quickly as it is safe to do so.
- Be sure to use your signal as you make your way to a safe location off the road such as the breakdown lane or rest stop.
- Once you have stopped, turn off the engine.
- Get everyone out of the car. Never return to a burning car for anything.
- Move everyone at least 100 feet from the burning car and well away from traffic.
- Call 9-1-1.

How to prevent a car fire
- Have your car serviced regularly by a professionally trained mechanic. If you spot leaks, your car is not running properly, get it checked. A well-maintained car is less likely to have a fire.
- If you must transport gasoline, transport only a small amount in a certified gas can that is sealed. Keep a window open for ventilation.
- Gas cans and propane cylinders should never be transported in the passenger compartment.
- Never park a car where flammables, such as grass, are touching the catalytic converter.
- Drive safely to avoid an accident.

Know the danger signs
- Cracked or loose wiring or electrical problems, including a fuse that blows more than once.
- Oil or fluid leaks.
- Oil cap not on securely.
- Rapid changes in fuel, fluid level or ending temperature.