Trust me; I was one of those people who hated to add anything to my car that would clutter the interiors. The plush upholstery and the two tone interiors deserved to remain the way they came from the factory and a fire extinguisher was the last thing that I’d fathomed, would occupy prime spot in my car.
You’d be surprised at how fast your perception and your belief about things change when you see a car fire with your own eyes.
Today, I have two fire extinguishers in my car. One is to deal with Class A and B fires and the other one to deal with Class C fires.
And contrary to what most people believe, it hasn’t cluttered my car at all. In fact, both the fire extinguishers are concealed to perfection and yet within reach in case of an emergency.
Before I get to how you can mount a fire extinguisher, let me give you five good reasons why you need one in your car.
#1 – Fires can start in ways which you’d least expect them to
One of the things with automobile fires is that people never expect that it can happen to them. ‘I have no dangerous chemicals in my car’, ‘I regularly check under the hood for any electrical or mechanical problems’. But the fact is that fires can start due to numerous reasons, many of which are beyond your control. There’s human error, temperature, mechanical problems and electrical causes which can trigger a fire out of the blue. Sometimes, even pests can cause a fire. Did you know that according to the NFPA, 20% of all reported fires are caused due to automobile fires? Now that statistic alone is an eye opener and should prompt you to get a fire extinguisher for your car.
#2 – It can save the life of your loved ones
Insurance will probably pay for the damage that occurs to the vehicle. But think about being trapped inside a burning car with your loved ones. That thought just sent a shudder down my spine. A fire extinguisher can help you contain the fire before it spreads. There’s nothing more valuable than the well being of the people we love. And this small but very useful tool can help you when you are in the most helpless situation of your life.
#3 – You can help others out
I don’t know about you but seeing someone in distress in the middle of the road triggers the Samaritan in me. I just like to help people. And if you see a vehicle on fire, a fire extinguisher can be the best tool in hand until fire fighters arrive.
#4 – Everything that you read or heard about it is wrong
There are so many misconceptions floating around on the internet about fire extinguishers that it is no wonder that people steer away from adding them to their cars. One of the most common theories is that a fire extinguisher can explode if the temperature in your car exceeds a certain limit. Not true! Fire extinguishers for car are designed to function flawlessly even after being exposed to high temperatures. There are people who have kept it in the trunk for years in the desert and it has worked perfectly when needed. Another notion is that you can aggravate the fire by using the wrong type of fire extinguisher, which is partly true. A workaround is to get one that can deal with any kind of fire. That’s why I have an extinguisher that can deal with Class A, B & C type of fires, which are the most common ones that occur in automobiles.
#5 – You can mitigate the damage to your engine
Some insurance policies do not cover electrical fires. Even if it does, the adjuster who investigates your case may deem that the fire broke out due to negligence or lack of maintenance. In such a scenario, having a fire extinguisher can prevent the fire from running unabated and allow you to prevent extensive damage to your vehicle, mainly, the engine.
Where to place the extinguisher in your car
While there is no dearth of places where you can install a fire extinguisher, I like to keep it at arm’s length. The last thing I want is to get stuck in my car with my seat belt locked and unable to reach the fire extinguisher because I stowed it away too deep.
The ideal location for the installation will also depend on the size of the fire extinguisher model that you select.
One of the best places to install it is under the driver’s or the passenger’s seat. You can buy a universal mount online that will allow you to install most commonly used auto fire extinguishers under the seat without making any changes or drilling holes. This can make it aesthetically pleasing too.
Other possible locations include under the center console, on the door or even on the floor.
You’d want to ensure that it does not interfere or inhibit any feature of the car.
Some people who rarely drive alone often install it in a place that the other passengers can access.
I hate keeping the fire extinguisher in the trunk. But that’s precisely where my second or backup fire extinguisher is stowed away at the moment. Ironical, isn’t it?
If you only have one fire extinguisher in your car, you’d rather have it where you can access it immediately. On the other hand, if you have multiple ones, you can store one in the trunk too.
Last but not the least; ensure that a minor fender bender doesn’t launch the extinguisher due to the impact. Install it in a mount that protects it from accidentally getting launched or activated. And never leave it lying free.
If you are unsure about what model to buy, you can check out my picks for the best fire extinguishers for car over here.