Heat magnifies mechanical problems in vehicles

The best prevention is to make sure your car is working properly.

Over the last three weeks KTVB has reported on multiple car fires and that made us wonder how the temperature outside affects vehicles.

Fire officials said the heat can play a role in car fires, but it's not the direct cause. That typically goes back to maintenance.

"We see car fires on a regular basis, regardless of heat, but it does seem like during the hot months we see more for whatever reason it is,” said Ron Johnson, a division chief with the Boise Fire Department.

Car fires have kept crews busy in recent weeks.

"It seems like several car fires a week lately whether that's from mechanical or electrical malfunctions or exasperated by the heat we're having,” he said.

Johnson said the leading cause of car fires is usually mechanical or electrical. And during these hot months those issues are magnified.

"If the vehicle is leaking oil or any other combustible liquids on a hot, an already hot exhaust pipe, and with the heat we're having it does definitely contribute to the possibility of car fires,” he said.

Here are some red flags to look for: Warning lights on your instrument panel, especially in newer cars, will you tell you something is wrong. Don't ignore that. Leaking fluid on your driveway is another sign that something is amiss. You'll also want to pay attention to strange smells when you start the car.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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