Really Hot Cars
May 10, 2014

Really Hot Cars

The saying, “I’ve got a hot car,” can be meant one of two ways. One, it’s cool looking, fast and turns the heads of passers by. Or two, it can be that your car is actual hot, as in it‘s actually on fire.

With the recent incidents of cars bursting into flames, I thought I would do some investigating on what cars are considered to be a fire hazard. Surprisingly, there are many of them and they span a majority of the car manufactures in the world.

Understandably, vehicles of any make and model posses a fire danger when involved in an accident, but I’m talking about the ones that just catch fire while you’re leisurely driving them down the highway or they burst into flame just sitting in your driveway.

Back in February I posted a blog on the Porsche 911 GT3 recall due to a potential fire hazard. There were 785 GT3’s sold and Porsche is recalling all of them due to the fire risk stemming from a malfunction within the engine compartment. Oil can leak onto the hot exhaust and cause a fire.

Recently, Ferrari is suffering from the same dilemma of cars being engulfed in flames while being driven. Back in 2010, Ferrari recalled the 458 Italia due to several of the supercars bursting into flames. The culprit was an adhesive the company used that would melt under high heat and catch fire. It’s now 2014 and it’s happening again, but this time with the Ferrari FF. In Hong Kong, a Ferrari FF owner was having the car returned after being serviced, when it exited a tunnel and the car burst into flames that originated from the engine compartment, possibly from an electrical short.

In June of 2013, General Motors began recalling around 231,000 SUVs with a potential electrical short that could cause a fire. This was an expansion of the previous year’s recall on 249,000 SUVs with a faulty circuit board in the driver’s side door. The models involved were the 2006-2007 Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Saab 9-7X and Isuzu Ascender. This fire hazard could happen even if the car wasn’t being driven.

More recently, in April of this year, Volkswagen was in the process of recalling 26,000 vehicles due to a faulty O-ring in the transmission cooler. The O-ring can leak transmission fluid onto the exhaust and possibly start a fire. As far as the company knows, there have been no reports of fire, but as the saying goes, better safe then sorry.

We move away from the gas-powered vehicles with potential fire hazards and reveal some electric vehicles that pose a potential fire risk. The technology in these vehicles is relatively new and with every new venture there is a potential of unfortunate incidents. In 2010, several plug-in electric vehicles caught fire from their lithium-ion batteries. The list includes the Zotye M300 EV, Chevrolet Volt, Fisker Karma, Dodge Ram 1500 Plug-in Hybrid, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Mitsubishi I-MiEV and Outlander P-HEV. Since these incidents, many electric vehicle manufacturers have switched from the lithium-ion to the nickel-metal hydride batteries, which do not pose the same fire risk.

The fire hazards are not limited to road-driven vehicles. Back in July of 2012, 800 golf cart and transport vehicles were recalled by Club Car LLC from Augusta, Georgia due to a fuel line that could become disconnected from the tank and cause a fire.

This is just a short list of potential fire hazards in some vehicles. This is not to say these vehicles aren’t any good; just check with your mechanic or manufacturer for any fire hazard risk before you buy or if you already own one.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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