Car fires can start from many different sources, but the result is usually the same which is a vehicle that is destroyed when the fire wrecks the engine, frame and body while also endangering others if the gas tank is compromised. However, understanding the causes of car fires can help you prevent them from occurring in many instances.

Leaky Fuel System

The leading cause of car fires, when gasoline leaks out of the tank before reaching the engine, it can spark and create a chain reaction leading to a fire. Proper maintenance is needed to ensure that the fuel stays where it is suppose to be.


Arguably one of the leading causes of car fires, although they still rarely happen. However, a hard enough impact on your vehicle that compromises the gas tank may lead to a spark which ignites the vehicle. Plus, a car fire can start minutes after impact, so if you can, clear away from a heavily damaged vehicle if you smell gas.

Electrical Systems

A compromised electrical system can cause problems, especially the battery if the wiring is loose or exposed. Plus, the wiring inside your car, including behind the dash and steering wheel may catch fire as well under certain circumstances.

Overheated Engine

An overheated engine on its own generally will not start a fire, but if it gets hot enough the oil and coolants can spill out from where they are suppose to be and ignite somewhere in the engine bay.

Bad Maintenance

This means letting faulty wiring, leaky seals or broken parts go without being fixed. In certain circumstances this can lead to conditions that favor a car fire, so keep your vehicle in good shape and check every so often for leaks that may lead to a car fire.

Catalytic Converters

One of the hottest parts of your vehicle, the catalytic converter can soar in temperature if it gets clogged which can cause long term damage to itself and the surrounding area. If it gets hot enough, it can ignite the cabin insulation even through the heat shield.

The Design Flaw

This is something that you can do little about because you simply will not know a design flaw exists in the vehicle unless a recall notice is put out. Check periodically to see if there are any recall notices for your vehicle and have them fixed immediately.


There are a number of reasons that car may catch on fire and arson is a very common one. Whatever the reason, arson is usually pretty easy to detect so protect your car at all times whenever possible.

Electric or Hybrid Car Batteries

The sight of a 2013 Tesla Model S catching on fire just after it was declared the “safest car on the road” was certainly a sobering sight. The use of many batteries with their toxic and flammable chemicals increases the chances of a car fire after impact.

Aftermarket Carbon Fiber Auto Parts

Whether a staggered wheel fitment is right for your vehicle, you should consider how aftermarket car accessories made from carbon fibre will affect your car or truck. You can choose such carbon fiber parts as spoilers, grilles or grills, bumpers, lip, trunk, hood and many other custom modifications or mods. Carbon fiber is stronger than steel, yet much lighter and more impact resistant as well. For those who want to improve the performance of their vehicle, carbon fiber aftermarket parts are the way to go.