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Fire Safety & Suppression Systems to keep your Classic Car Safe

When it comes to keeping your pride and joy safe there are a couple of threats which sadly you must prepare yourself for, namely vehicle fire and theft. Unfortunately, stories of cherished cars being stolen and quickly given a new identity, broken for parts or simply joyridden and abandoned by reckless youths are all too familiar. Whilst thieves might strike during the night, or when the vehicle is left unattended, a car fire is far more likely to occur when you are inside, while the vehicle is running and in motion. The good news is these give you a chance to do something about it.

Why is buying a fire extinguisher so important?

It for this reason that a car fire extinguisher, or an in-car fire suppression system is such a vital purchase to protect your cherished vehicle, and your financial and emotional investment within it. You only need to peer through the window of a classic 911, 356 or even a modern GT car and you’ll see most have a Porsche fire extinguisher easily within reach of the driver, should the worst happen.

Best Quality In-Car Fire Extinguishers

We pride ourselves on offering the best quality fire extinguishers from all the biggest brands. We work closely with manufacturers such as BlazeCut, DAUS and Firechief to ensure we are supplying automotive fire safety products that you can really rely on. Please speak to our team if you have a specific requirement or brand of choice.

What causes a vehicle fire?

Fire needs three factors to occur: Oxygen, Heat and Fuel. All three are present in abundance in and around a motor vehicle, which is why preventative maintenance and mechanical vigilance is so important. The need for a campervan fire extinguisher is even greater, with the presence of gas to cook with and copious soft furnishings which can fast track the spread of a camper fire in seconds, and that’s before you consider that a family could be asleep inside when it starts. 

How to prevent a campervan fire

Campervan owners are advised to ensure all fabrics and furnishings are treated with a flame retardant spray, so should they get hot, or even catch alight they don’t turn into an inferno. The other safety staple inside a motorcaravan is a fire blanket. A fire blanket is designed to be placed over a camping stove fire, smothering it of oxygen, and putting it out. This is often preferential to a traditional travel fire extinguisher as the fumes from those can be toxic in such an enclosed space.

How to stop an engine bay fire in your classic car

One of the main causes of classic vehicle fire is a perished or split fuel hose leaking onto a hot engine or exhaust. If you smell something burning, or can see smoke coming from the engine bay, proceed with caution. Don’t immediately open the hatch or bonnet as a sudden rush of the oxygen can be all that’s needed to ignite an engine bay fire. Instead, use some preventative blasts with foam fire extinguisher from underneath, or a powder fire extinguisher through the grille before inspecting the issue further.

How an automatic vehicle fire extinguisher works

For added peace of mind a fully automated fire extinguisher system could be fitted into your vehicle engine bay. These fire suppression systems work using a tracer pipe which is preloaded with a pressurised gas or powder and attached to the underside of the bonnet or roof of the engine bay. In the event of a dramatic spike in temperature, such as a vehicle engine fire, the pressurised tube is designed to automatically burst above the hot area deploying the fire extinguisher gas or powder and putting out the fire.

The beauty of an engine bay fire extinguisher system like this is that it can go off before you have even noticed a threat to your vehicle, let alone stopped, got out and investigated it. Whilst an automatic fire extinguisher system is more expensive, and in some cases might need professional installation, its cost is still dwarfed by the expense that repairs from a fire could easily amass.

What causes an electrical fire in a classic car or campervan?

Another reason for a classic car fire to start is because of an electrical wire or component overheating. Depending on location this might turn into an engine bay fire or occur inside your vehicle, beneath your dashboard or below a fold out seat in a campervan.

If you detect a burning smell or spot smoke and suspect a vehicle fire, you should switch the vehicle engine and electrics off at the key. This will stop the current passing through the vehicle wiring and help to cool any overheating wiring. Wiring can overheat and cause a vehicle electrical fire for a few reasons, but essentially it is because of an increase in resistance. Frayed wiring, incorrect cable size, poor connections or short circuits could all lead to a car electrical fire.

An overheated wire only needs to touch a bit of dry sound deadening, foam from your heater box or even a splash of fuel and it could create a vehicle fire.

Picking the correct fire extinguisher for a car fire

It’s crucial you use the correct fire extinguisher to tackle a car electrics fire. Water and electricity don’t mix, so a powder or gas fire extinguisher is best used in this circumstance.

It goes without saying that you should only try and tackle a vehicle fire if you feel it is safe to do so. If your whole car is ablaze, sadly it is going to beyond you and a couple of handheld fire extinguishers to rescue.