How to Prevent Your Car from Catching Fire
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How to Prevent Your Car from Catching Fire

As summer approaches, it’s important to prepare for the scorching hot weather ahead. On the whole, the sizzling heat can affect you (and your car) in more ways than you realize. Obviously, there’s nothing fun about getting into a hot car: the welcoming burst of hot air as soon as you open the door; the too-hot-to-handle steering wheel; and the leather seats that fill you with instant regret! Summer in Saudi is the time to be spent indoors, with the air conditioning on full blast; not stuck on the side of the road with a steaming engine! During summer your car could lose its fluids, overheat, sustain exterior damage due, and even catch fire due to the scorching sun rays. Before the heat gets here, prepare your car for a hot Saudi summer.

Prepare your car for hot weather

Staying on top of your car’s maintenance helps you discover any small, hidden malfunctions before they worsen and turn into a major, costly headache. Schedule a regular car maintenance appointment at your local service center to stay as cool as a cucumber this summer!

Summer car maintenance checklist 

  • Tires: Checking your tires is key to safe and efficient driving. Make sure to check the tread closely; if it’s starting to wear down, then your tires will lose traction and won’t grip the road. Also, check your tire pressure. When the pressure is over or under your car’s recommended PSI, your tires will begin to wear unevenly.  
  • Air Conditioning: Driving with no AC is unbearable, so keep your cool! Now is the time to make sure your AC works just fine and blows cool air into the cabin. If not, then you most likely need to top up your refrigerant or replace your air filters.
  • Car Battery: Summer can be harsh not just for you but for your car battery as well — Consider how hard your car battery has to work to make sure your air conditioning won’t let you down this summer! When the summer heat gets extreme, the liquids inside of your car’s battery start to evaporate. This could cause your battery to overheat and lead to complete battery damage. So, check your car battery health and save yourself unnecessary trouble.
  • Oils and Lubricants: Before going into the summer months, get plenty of fluids! You have to keep your car fluids level in check; because when the levels are low the chance for engine corrosion, overheating, and self-ignition increases.
  • Emergency kit: To get summer ready for the road, prep an emergency kit supply kit in the trunk. You should keep a spare tire kit in case of a remote breakdown, jumper cables, a first aid kit, and a fire distinguisher. Summer is also a good time to consider roadside assistance, a valuable add-on, that could provide a lot of peace of mind for those desolate drives where you might need mechanical help.

Regular maintenance and check-ups could save you from a disaster. Without it, drivers may be unaware that they are operating unsafe cars that might overheat and catch fire.

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Signs of an overheating car

Engines can overheat for many reasons. But, when the summer heat gets extreme, the chance of engine overheating increases. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the warning signs of an engine overheating; in order to prevent serious damage from happening.

Generally, you can tell if your car is overheating, when:

  • The car starts stalling frequently, or breakdowns.
  • There is a regular thumping sound coming from the engine.
  • Temperature gauge spikes to “H” & temperate warning light flashes.
  • Steam starts coming from under the hood.
  • The hood feels too hot.
  • There is coolant leaking under the car.

What do you do when a car overheats in summer?

As soon as you notice the engine overheating, take the following steps:

  • Pull over immediately and turn off the engine.
  • Allow the engine to cool down before checking the engine. Don’t be tempted to check before that, because there’s a risk of being sprayed with hot water or steam.
  • Then, open the radiator cap and top off the coolant if it’s running low.
  • Normally, a quick top-off could help pull heat away from the engine; and bring things back to normal. If not, an overheating engine could be a sign of a serious issue. Call a friend, a tow truck, or your insurance roadside assistance for help.

An overheating engine isn’t something you want to turn a blind eye to or let linger. Otherwise, your engine could sustain serious, if not permanent, damage. Sometimes, engine overheating could even trigger a chain reaction that sets your car on fire.

Can car engines catch on fire?

It’s not common for cars to catch fire due to engine overheating. Still, when you combine faulty hoses, leaky seals, and worn-out electrical with excessive engine temperature, it can trigger a chain reaction that will set your car on fire.

Common causes for car fires

Fortunately, car fires don’t happen frequently, but they are incredibly hazardous and can cause a lot of potential damage when they do. In most cases, when a fire outbreaks in a car it’s a combination of human errors and mechanical issues. Specifically, the most common causes of a car fire include:

  • Ignoring safety measures and poor maintenance.
  • Installing car accessories, or modifying your car. This too could make your car’s warranty/ insurance claim void if the modifications are unauthorized or undeclared.
  • Leaving electronics plugged in the car. This also includes leaving devices with a Lithium-ion battery, like mobile phones and portable chargers, which could catch fire under excessive sunlight.
  • Storing inflammable substances inside the car such as perfume, sanitizers, lighters, and of course compressed gas cylinders.
  • Smoking inside the car. Even worse, smoking while pumping gas.
  • Design flaws and they’re a major reason why recalls will happen.
    • Visit the Ministry of Commerce website, recalls.sa, to check for open recalls on your car. All you have to do is enter the 17-digit VIN number

Does car insurance cover fire damage?

Car insurance covers fire damage if you have the right insurance coverage in place. This will also depend on how the fire started. For example, comprehensive car insurance will provide coverage against loss or damage caused to your car by:

  • Car self-ignition, a fire that occurs without any external spark or flame due to design flaws or engine overheating.
  • A fire that happens as a result of a traffic collision.

This means that your insurance would help pay for repairs to your car or reimburse you for your car’s actual cash value if it’s a total loss.

But it’s not just engine overheating and accidents that can lead to fire damage in your car. There are many reasons why your car can catch fire. Sometimes, these reasons are beyond your control, such as:

  • Lightning
  • Arson

In such cases, contact 998 first to obtain the Saudi Civil Defense report. When you file a claim against fire damage, you must attach the Civil Deference report to receive coverage.

Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with any car fire ever. But, unfortunately, accidents happen out of our control and without any warning! Once your car catches flames, there’s little that can be done to tame the fire, or stop it from engulfing your car. Thus, the best thing you can do is have the right insurance coverage in place to protect you when it’s all over.

Start learning about comprehensive insurance coverage and compare car insurance offers now. wakeel can help you compare car insurance prices from different insurance providers in Saudi Arabia — the best way to seal the best insurance deal!