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What to Do When Your Vehicle Catches Fire

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Driving your vehicle on the roads and highways of Canada can be tricky and sometimes even dangerous, especially when there are frequent blizzards and hailstorms during the winter months. According to one report, there has been a rise from 3.1 to 4.7 percent in car accident cases in the months of December and January, and an almost 49 percent rise in insurance claims. A lot of these accidents can result in your vehicle catching fire that can be put out, but in some cases, your car may explode as well. In either case, you should take the necessary safety precautions and contact your local emergency roadside assistance service.

While some vehicle fires are a result of a collision, they are more commonly caused by issues with a vehicle's electrical wiring or fuel system, leaving the engine to catch fire. To ensure a safe car and smooth journey, get your car checked out at every service call. Although the probability of your car catching fire in an accident is low, if it does, it can lead to a potentially deadly emergency. 

Read this article to find out what can cause a car fire to start, understand the signs that indicate your car is malfunctioning and what to do when you experience a vehicle fire.

The Reasons Behind A Car Fire 

Before understanding how to read the warning signs, you should know what can cause a car fire to start in the first place. Some of the most common reasons are written below.

  • Damage due to a collision 

  • A malfunction in car’s fuel system 

  • Breakage of fuel pipes 

  • Leaving burning cigarettes in the car

  • Electrical failure or faulty wiring

  • Misuse of a flammable product left too close to the car

  • Natural disaster

Some Potential Warning Signs To Watch For

  • Fuses that blow repeatedly

  • Spilled oil under the hood after an oil change

  • Oil or fluid leaks under the vehicle

  • Loose wiring, or wiring with exposed metal

  • Loud noises from the exhaust 

  • Rapid changes in your fuel and oil levels, or engine temperature

  • Oil filler cap is missing

  • Broken or loose hoses

What Do I Do When My Car Catches Fire?

If you see flames or smoke coming from your car while driving, knowing what to do can help you avoid injuries and stay safe. When faced with such a situation, it is important to remain calm as it can make a difference between life and death. A car fire does not always break out of the engine - you can also see flames or smoke come from near the tires, under the car, next to the brakes or from inside the vehicle, including the dashboard. In any scenario, it is crucial to act quick by following these steps if there is a fire hazard while driving.

  1. Stop The Car & Turn Off The Engine

As soon as you see smoke coming from your vehicle or smell burning wires, signal to get off the road. Drive directly onto an emergency stopping lane on the left side of the road and turn off the ignition. You should not wait to confirm if the flames are going to come out to make this decision. If you are stuck in the middle lane and cannot get to the breakdown lane, turn on your emergency lights, stop the car where it is. Do not worry about blocking the rest of the traffic — they will drive around your car when they notice smoke and flames. It is important to turn off your engine to stop the flow of fuel because it will lower the risk of a fire hazard. 

  1. Evacuate The Car

After turning off the car, evacuate as quickly as possible but practice caution so you don’t sustain any injuries, get burned or be struck by another vehicle. Help any children and elderly to get out of the vehicle and move to a safe distance - at least a 100 to 150 feet away from the car. If you are in the middle of a traffic jam, warn bystanders and other drivers around you about the danger as they might have to abandon their cars too. 

  1. Call The Fire Brigade & Police

Once you are at a safe distance, immediately call the traffic police and fire brigade. Make sure to give them your exact location so they can reach the place in time without any delays. You should wait for the emergency response services to arrive at the location, do not try to put out the fire yourself. If the fire hasn't started yet and you have an extinguisher in your boot, you can try to dampen the smoke while ensuring a safe distance between the vehicle and yourself. 

  1. Inform Your Insurance Provider

Call up your car insurance company and inform them about the fire incident involving your car. To raise an insurance claim with the company and get the car's damages or losses incurred due to the fire recovered, it is important that the insurance provider knows about all the details. Read their policy document or check online for their contact information.

  1. Contact Emergency Towing Services

Contact local emergency roadside assistance services and tell them about the situation. They will tow your car to the auto-repair shop after the fire has been doused in case of light damages, however, in the unfortunate event of the vehicle exploding or completely getting burned, they can also help in scrap removal.  It is important to ensure the complete removal of scrap and car remains after the fire in order to prevent harmful smoke and fumes from damaging the environment and posing a health risk to the public.

  1. Don’t Try To Retrieve Personal Belongings From The Car

If you see smoke coming out of your car, do not try to retrieve your personal belongings. A burning car is just like a ticking time bomb, it can explode at any moment and can cause serious injuries from fire and sharp objects, and even death from inhaling toxic fumes. You can retrieve your personal items after the fire has been extinguished by the firefighters and they have pronounced it safe to get near the car. 

Final Thoughts

In case of a fire incident involving your vehicle, the most important thing is to ensure the safety of the people inside the car and nearby. Make sure to follow the safety tips mentioned above and let the police and emergency response teams do their job. 

About Action Towing


At Action Towing Service, They provide a complete range of towing, roadside assistance, and free auto scrap removal services in Edmonton, AB. Their towing experts use fully certified equipment and accessories to ensure your safety and peace of mind.

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