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Which Cars Catch Fire the Most?

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  November 28, 2018

Car fires; we’ve all seen them. Small flames that escalate quickly to engulf the vehicle and turn it into a blackened hull beside the road. It is horrifying to witness and unimaginable to experience. It is estimated that 17 car fires occur each hour in the United States. Electrical and mechanical failures are a factor in two-thirds of these disasters.

While you may not have experienced a car fire, here are some things every driver should know:

Why Do Cars Catch on Fire?

Many of the cars with recalls catch fire because of faulty manufacturing or a design flaw. Not every car with a fault will burst into flames, but you are at a higher risk while driving a flawed vehicle. There are several reasons any car can catch fire.

  • Forgetting flammable materials under the hood like rags or paper towels used for cleaning are a serious danger.
  • Overheated brakes can cause tires and brake pads to catch fire.
  • Lack of maintenance can cause rubber hoses and seals to wear out and leak flammable liquids.
  • Modifications can be dangerous. Cheap parts or careless labor can result in disaster.

5 Most Flammable Cars

Which cars catch on fire the most? Here are some recent recalls and news reports include the following vehicles that are most likely to catch fire:

  • Mitsubishi Outlander Sport:
    45,000 units were recalled with a potential transmission fluid leak. The 2015 Outlander Sport Crossover SUV was the most affected model.
  • Mercedes sedans and SUVs made from 2015-2017
    1 million cars were recalled globally after 51 reported fires. C-Class, E-Class, CLA cars, GLA and GLC SUVs were affected. The problem included an overheating starter port. If the car fails to start, repeated attempts can overheat the limiter and start a fire.
  • Nissan 2016 and 2017 Murano and Maxima, 2017 Infiniti QX60, and 2017-2018 Pathfinder
    215,000 vehicles were involved in a combination of two recalls. The reported cause is the anti-lock brake system leakage resulting in brake fluid dripping onto a circuit board causing a short and leading to fire.
  • Kia Sorento and Optima, and Hyundai Santa Fe and Sonata manufactured from 2011-2014, and Kia Soul manufactured from 2010-2015
    Kia and parent company Hyundai has recently been urged to recall nearly 3 million cars and SUVs with complaints of vehicles catching fire while driving. Drivers have filed 220 complaints of fires and 200 complaints of smoldering wires. These fires happen during normal driving.
  • BMW 1,3, and 5 series. Z4, X3, and X5
    1 million cars manufactured from 2006-2011 were recalled near the end of 2017. The problem was reported to be a rusty crankcase ventilation valve. The 3 series had additional wiring issues where the heating and air conditioner wiring could overheat and start a fire.

What to Do if You’ve Suffered a Car Fire

If your car was involved in a fire, it is important to contact a lemon lawyer. It is not unusual for vehicle manufacturers to claim the car owner is at fault. Lemon laws are complicated and often misunderstood. An experienced Lemon lawyer can explain your rights and how the system works.

Do you think you have been sold a faulty vehicle or have been a victim of a car fire? We can help. Contact Norman Taylor & Associates to learn more about how we can give you the legal assistance you deserve. Our team of experienced California lemon lawyers is here to answer all your questions and concerns.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.


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