Why Cars Catch Fire After Accidents

Posted By Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC || 20-Apr-2015

If you’ve ever wondered why some cars ignite after a collision, this article will explain the different factors involved in vehicle fires.

1. Crumple Zones

Two sections of any given vehicle is designated the “crumple zone” – the front and rear. These are the two sections of a car that are most prone to “crumple” in the event of a car accident. Although most vehicles are design to have strong crumple zones that absorb the impact of another car or object, sometimes even the strongest crumple zones aren’t enough to shield sensitive vehicle components like the engine, battery, and gas tank – all of which can spark a car fire.

2. Improper Design

Some car fires are caused by defective vehicles or vehicle components. Everything from electrical failures to poorly positioned gas tanks can cause a car to ignite more easily in the event of a collision. Just recently in fact, Volkswagen recalled about 38,000 vehicles over fire risks associated with a defective sealing cap that could cause fuel to leak into the engine and ignite. Sadly, it’s not uncommon.

3. Failed Maintenance

Some vehicle fires happen because of improperly maintained vehicles. Frequent maintenance is essential to prevent things like overheating catalytic converters, engine overheating, and electrical wiring malfunction – all of which can cause car fires.

4. Electric and Battery Powered Vehicles

Many electric, battery-powered cars have come under scrutiny for battery malfunctions. Some hybrid car batteries, upon impact, can ignite – not unlike what would happen to any other type of battery under pressure.

5. Exposed Fluids

Cars run on a number of different highly combustible fluids. If these fluids are exposed to a heat source, they can easily ignite. This makes properly sealed and functioning containers essential. Sometimes, even properly manufactured vehicles, when involved in a serious crash, can leak fluid and ignite.

Paulson Coletti invites you to contact our Portland injury lawyers if you or someone you love was injured in a vehicle fire. We represent wrongfully injured individuals, so tell us what happened in a free evaluation and we’ll inform you of your legal rights and options.