RESTORATION RUINED: A police officer helps hose a burning 1978 Leyland Mini station wagon. The rare car, which was being restored, caught fire on Buderim-Mooloolaba Rd last year.
RESTORATION RUINED: A police officer helps hose a burning 1978 Leyland Mini station wagon. The rare car, which was being restored, caught fire on Buderim-Mooloolaba Rd last year. Richard Bruinsma

Up in flames: why cars are catching on fire

IMAGINE sitting behind the steering wheel of your car when smoke starts to billow from the bonnet.

Your eyes widen as you realise the car is on fire and you are travelling at 100kmh on the highway.

It's a worst nightmare, but it's happening every week to Sunshine Coast drivers.

Firefighters attended 237 car fires last year in the North Coast region, which encompasses Bundaberg to Beerburrum.

North Coast Region operations duty manager David Woods said car fires were a regular part of a firefighter's week on the Coast.

He said many fires started in abandoned vehicles, while others were blamed on faulty or dodgy at-home mechanical repairs.

"A multitude of things could trigger a fire," Mr Woods said.

"Private owners doing repairs and alterations to vehicles at home could cause an electrical short, exhaust systems that aren't maintained can cause the heat to transfer to the car.

"We advise drivers to pull over if they suspect there is a fire and if they don't have any firefighting equipment, they should phone 000 and get the fire service on the way while keeping well out of the way."

Woombye Mechanical Repairs owner Russell Webber said regular maintenance was imperative to avoid a car fire.

"Predominately car fires start from oil leaking on the exhaust," Mr Webber said.

"Sometimes a car that has a ruptured hydraulic hose can spray on the exhaust.

"It is normally poor maintenance that leads to oil leaks that can start to flare up when it hits the exhaust.''

 

PREVENTION TIPS

- Don't make repairs in your car beyond your abilities (have a professional to do that).

- Don't smoke in your car, when fueling or near the battery

- Proper maintenance to your vehicle (make sure the fluid lines don't have leaks)

- If you see leaks on the floor after moving you car, take it to the repair shop as soon as possible

- Have a fire extinguisher in your car (for accidental sparks inside your car)


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