Your Car Catches Fire

Car Catches FireWhat if your Car Catches Fire

Although we discuss what to do if your car catches fire in our defensive driving class, it’s worth mentioning here.

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. Remember that you have a gas tank. The reason cars sometimes explode is be cause of fumes contained within the tank. So, if you have a quarter of a tank of gas, you have more fumes than if you had a full tank. Thus, an explosion can be more dramatic.


  • Pull over as quickly as it is safe to do so, be sure to use your signal while 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.

Prevent a Possible Fire

  • Have your car serviced regularly by a professionally trained mechanic. Then, 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, sealed, gas can. 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.

Exercising simple safety precautions can safe your life and the lives of your passengers. State Farm Insurance has a good article on this. State Farm