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Old 04-08-2011, 12:26 PM
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,475 posts, read 19,561,668 times
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The odds would favor you winning the lottery every week for a few months straight before the car would catch fire...The best possibility of such a thing happening would be the neighborhood arsonist doing his handy work,,,
I could think of much better reasons not to allow a neighbor to park in my carport than a fire.
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:28 PM
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,523,609 times
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A few quick thoughts:

Some electrical components bypass the ignition switch, such as the headlights. Faulty wiring there could create a fire. So could a cigarette left burning on a seat. Of sun shining through a piece of glass that acts like a prism.

In the days before electric fans, car engines actually got hotter after you turned them off. All kinds of fluids can be spilled or splashed in your engine compartment.

If there is a faulty catalytic converter, the exhaust system can get hot enough to glow red.
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:37 PM
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Can a Car Catch Fire While the Engine is Off?

It can if it's a Ford with cruise control Ford Fire Recall: Update on Ford Fire Recall
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Old 04-08-2011, 01:09 PM
8,402 posts, read 19,527,792 times
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Originally Posted by thrillobyte View Post
Well, here's the latest skinny, and by the way thanks to all for your excellent and friendly responses to this thorny issue: I talked to the insurance co about the matter and they said it's not so much the car catching fire as it is having to assume liability for the car if it is vandalized or if someone should be injured getting into it while it's running, or if the carport should collapse or any one of an infinite number of possible scenarios. Bottom line: ins. co advised me to ask her to not park there anymore.
As I read through the posts and agreed with those who said the likelihood of fire is so small that it's not a concern, I was thinking about your liability. This exact scenario happened to me about 15 years ago. I rented two carports in the apartment complex I lived in. I sold my truck, and at the same time a buddy asked to park his project Blazer in my spare spot so his wife wouldn't find out he'd bought it. Bad idea all around, but I didn't think it through. He paid me the $20 a month for the carport, so I basically forgot about it.

One windy storm later, and his Blazer was dented on the roof from the carport falling on it. The management wouldn't authorize payment because it wasn't my car, and told me to get it out of there, canceling my carport rental and fining me $100 for having his truck there. I ended up not paying it, but my buddy wanted me to pay for the damage. We went a couple rounds, including a call to an attorney who said if anyone is responsible it was the apartment complex. Eventually he really got me angry by threatening to sue, so I had it towed to his house. His wife took care of it after that.


Originally Posted by Gimme3steps View Post
Can a Car Catch Fire While the Engine is Off?

It can if it's a Ford with cruise control Ford Fire Recall: Update on Ford Fire Recall
I finally took my '95 F150 in for the recall repair. It took about 2 minutes to do, and 20 minutes of paperwork.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:02 PM
Location: Earth
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Of course an auto can catch fire when it's off. Don't you ever watch TV? Or the movies? It happens all the time there.

All jokes aside, YES it can happen. It actually did happen come to think of it.....as a matter of fact, in my high school parking lot. We were leaving the school and noticed amidst the park cars, a smoldering Ford Taurus. The fire trucks hadn't even made it to the scene yet.
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Old 04-09-2011, 04:22 AM
Location: Great Plains
25,584 posts, read 30,493,706 times
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Yes, I can think of two cases where the vehicle was off and engine was cold in the 15 years I have been a firefighter. One was a 77 Ford pickup with hacked up wiring. The other was an 83 Dodge Omni... Nuff' said there.

It is rare. If you want to reneg on your agreement do it honestly.
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Old 04-09-2011, 07:42 AM
Location: South Jersey
7,780 posts, read 17,779,267 times
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Originally Posted by thrillobyte View Post
How could it happen? I'd like to be able to explain it to her when I ask her to move the car just so there's no hard feelings.
simply an electrical short or a failed(overheated) electronic component can start a fire.. But it is very unlikely
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:57 AM
Location: H-town, TX.
3,398 posts, read 5,460,110 times
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Originally Posted by Gimme3steps View Post
Can a Car Catch Fire While the Engine is Off?

It can if it's a Ford with cruise control Ford Fire Recall: Update on Ford Fire Recall

I was waiting for that.

Oh well, my F150 was built too late in 03 to have that particular switch.

Now, I did see an F250 HD where the guy and his ladyfriend actually made it to the parts store I was at and the switch had started melting and smoking while he was on the road...that was interesting to say the least.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:14 PM
Location: Northeast Tennessee
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Yes, it can and does happen, but like most have said, its not that common. I think the #1 cause is modifications to cars original wiring, especially if not done properly. Such as a radio, speakers, etc that was not properly wired and the original wires "chopped" and "taped" up. Some cars as mentioned have had recalls, such as some 90s Fords with the cruise control switch recall, many reports of fires from cars/trucks parked in the garage, even hours after the car has been turned off. I dont think there were any fire related recalls on the 1996 Acura Integra and if its a well-kept car, I would not worry too much. Think of all of the hundreds of thousands of cars on the road 1990 and older... they are still going fine, no fires, but never no gaurantees... as someone posted above, even a brand new car had bursted into flames when parked. Search youtube for car fires... several you can find of where the car lit on fire when parked, but the percentage is super low compared to all of the cars on the road.

Some cars have more issues than others, some have recalls, etc.

I actually have one of those "Fords" that had the recall. I have a 1995 Lincoln Town Car that was under that cruise recall. I took the car in for the recall, but it didnt appear to me that they had done anything... there was no fused harness which is what everyone else was getting. I took it to other dealers later to get an explanation, but they said my car had a whole new switch, but it was confusing to me why the dealer I took it do didnt put on a new switch, it was the same one, but yet the records showed my car had NOT been taken in for the recall. So to be safe, I park the car away from the house as far as possible.

When my grandpa had his 1955 Cadillac, when we would park it in the garage (attached to house), it had a "quick disconnect" battery that we would disconnect for safety. The car didnt have any electrical woes and the original wiring still looked fine, but it was just for peace of mind ya know? Now my uncle has the car in his garage (attached) and I dont think he ever disconnects the battery, but the car may be fine forever, who knows.

Yesterday there was an old S-10 truck at a traffic light, smoke boiling out from under the hood and fender wells, but the owner pulled out and went on. I told my mom I bet that truck would soon be toast... something was leaking!

Again, if the Acura is in good order, I would say all would be fine. Honda/Acura fires are quite rare on original well-kept cars, but alot of teenagers "modify" these cars when they get ahold of them, big radios, speakers, additional lights, etc and could be a recipe for disaster.

Here is a video of a late 80s Lincoln Continental PARKED in a parking lot that erupted into flames... after you click this one, you can see many more related videos of car fires that are simply parked. Some of that could be where they were first parked and had some type of leak and then caught fire...

and (and notice other cars catching on fire too!)


you will notice its not limited to one car make... most every make has had a fire at sometime or another, some more often that others. The 80s-90s Mopars were bad for engine fires on the 3.3L V6 (fuel leaks). Also there was a certain period of BMW X5 SUVS (from a few years ago) that would have the dash catch on fire from some sort of electrical short.

Last edited by Tennesseestorm; 04-11-2011 at 10:28 PM..
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Old 05-21-2011, 02:22 PM
2 posts, read 28,816 times
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husband died in fire while checking horn going off ,car on trickle charge witness says car lurched forward pinning him between other car,there was fire under hood of car being charged.any thoughts how this could happen?contact us please as soon as possible as there is a law suit pending. Thanks
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