The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) estimates that one in every eight fires attended by fire departments across the nation is a highway vehicle fire. While the majority of fatal vehicle fires are caused by collisions, some vehicles may suddenly catch fire in transit due to a manufacturing or repair defect. If you or a loved one suffered burn injuries or other trauma from a car fire, it is important to understand the cause of the fire in order to determine who may be liable for your damages. Causes of car fires

Common Causes of Car Fires on Roadways

According to a recent USFA report, unintentional actions and careless behavior caused 38 percent of highway vehicle fires between 2014 and 2016. Additionally, mechanical failure was a contributing factor in many car fires. Depending on the specifics of the accident, there could be many different parties who share responsibility for a car fire, including a driver, the car’s manufacturer, a mechanic, or the maker of replacement auto parts.

Car fires can happen for many reasons, including:


USFA data shows that 62 percent of vehicle fires—and 36 percent of fatal vehicle fires—originated in either the engine, running gear, or wheel area of the vehicle.

Electrical malfunction.

Electrical systems failure is a primary cause of car fires. Electrical wiring runs all through a vehicle, and any overlooked frayed wire can ignite a fire. Additionally, when your car’s battery recharges, it can cause a buildup of hydrogen gas. The battery’s electrical current can generate sparks, igniting any leaking flammable liquid.  

Fuel ignition.

A car relies on several flammable liquids to run properly, and damage to gas tanks, heat shield, or exhaust components can lead to a fire or an explosion.

Have You Been Involved In A Rhode Island Motor Vehicle Accident?

If you've been hurt in a motor vehicle accident you need to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help accident victims in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.


Christopher L. Russo
Helping Rhode Island personal injury victims for nearly three decades to get the compensation they deserve.
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