Myth or reality: can your car explode?
Car exploding in fire
Car exploding in fire movie
Gasoline, diesel, gas or electricity: any vehicle carrying such a mechanism may catch fire, but ... could explode, like in the movies?
How to tell if a car can explode?... And if it catches fire? What security systems are in place to prevent an explosion?... Could catch fire ... but not to explode
Gasoline - Myth
Can it explode? ... No, in practice it is extremely difficult to give the necessary circumstances that could cause the car to jump into the air. Occur if, for example, start to burn a vehicle having a fuel tank without safety valves, but there are none, see below.
In that case, heat would cause the fuel to evaporate quickly and it would be a matter of time that the container burst due to excess pressure. At that time, the size of the blast would depend on the amount of gasoline that had.
Can you fire? ... Yes. The liquid gasoline does not burn itself, but it evaporates easily and the vapors can cause flash fire and is very difficult to extinguish if at the same time these three circumstances coincide: first, that there will be a gas leak, and second, gasoline that evaporates and mixes with air in a very particularly percentage of about 14.7 parts of oxygen per one of gasoline, and third, that the foregoing is a spark-add for example, by rubbing a metal part of the car on the pavement or a broken wire, by radiation from a mobile, by the glow of a cigarette...
And in practice, when they could take these cases?
A. When opening the container for fuel, provided gasoline vapors are released, so, at that moment, a cigarette, a simple electrostatic-energy spark -usually, when refueling you download this energy as you get off the car and walk- or a mobile phone radiation could ignite the gasoline if the oxygen-gasoline proportions are accurate. Therefore, no smoking or talking on the phone when refueling.
B. In case of accident, the fuel could ignite if the blow was so great that puncture the fuel tank, then the impact could ignite the vapors inside. Yes, the tank is well protected, so it is very unlikely to occur.
C. In case of leakage of gas, if could catch a short circuit or spark set fire to a trail of gasoline spilled on the floor, in this case, gasoline evaporates easily.
LPG - Reality
Vehicles that can run on either petrol or LPG gas.
Can it explode? ... Yes, and may occur in a poorly ventilated garage. If is an LPG leak, it will begin to focus on the ground, and it is sufficient to generate a single spark, for example, turning on a light ... - to all jump in the air, as with the explosion of butane houses. Therefore, these vehicles are prohibited from entering in public parks. On the street is very difficult to occur because the air currents disperse the gas.
Can you fire? ... Yes, but circumstances must be very similar to the gasoline explosion.
Natural Gas -Reality
Vehicles that can run on either gasoline or natural gas. Eg., The Opel Zafira
1.6 CNG, the VW Passat 1.4 TSI EcoFuel ...
Can it explode? ... Yes. Behaves very similar to LPG, with the difference that tends to spread much more easily, a feature that reduces the risk of explosion and fire. Still, it can explode in the same conditions as LPG.
Can you fire? ... Yes, but the risk is also lower than in the case of LPG due to its greater ability to disperse.
Diesel - Myth
Can it explode? ... No, diesel it burns only reaches a very high temperature and that would be heated for several seconds. In addition, diesel burns more slowly than gasoline, which is also a major impediment to the outbreak.
Can you fire? ... Yes, but would have to be produced a large oil leak and that could become hot enough to start a fire. Once burned, it is difficult to put down: better report this to the firefighters.
Electrical - Myth
Can it explode? ... No, this type of vehicle does not contain any fuel that may cause an explosion.
Can you fire? ... Yes, if a short circuit. If the fire reached the battery, their extinction would be very complex. If this occurs, notify the fire department.
Hybrid - Myth
Vehicles that use a gasoline engine and an electric motor. Eg., The Toyota Prius
, Honda Insight
, Lexus RX
Can it explode? ... Today all hybrids sold carry a gasoline engine, so the fire risk is as low as in the 'conventional' gasoline vehicles.
Can you fire?... Yes, just like gasoline vehicles ... and also in the case of electricity.
How you can tell if a car can explode?
It smells like gasoline, diesel does not explode: if the smell is intense, indicating a large amount of vapor in the atmosphere. This, rather than an explosion, may cause flash fire with large flames.
Should move away and avoid anything that is hot, as a cigarette or you can create a spark, to light, use your mobile phone...
Smell gas: if the site is closed and the smell is very intense, go away as fast as possible and as soon as possible alert emergency services. Do not ever use the phone in an area where smell gas.
The explosion is similar to that occurring in homes by leaking butane. And if it catches fire?
It smells of oil: there is no risk of explosion ... but it could cause a fire. Stop and smell to find out why.
Smoke or smell something burning: are the most obvious symptoms a fire. Stop and try to find out where the fire is and try to smother with a blanket or a fire extinguisher.
How could you put out a fire?... Ideally, keep a fire extinguisher in the vehicle. It has one or two kilos, is approved by the European Union and costs between 24 and 40 E in any store, must be inspected every three years by specialized companies.
If you have a small fire, you can put it out using the spray at the base of the flames. One option is to cover the flames with a blanket to leave the flames without oxygen... but it works only if the fire is minimal.
Could catch fire ... but you can operate the "shorts"
Often occur when a cable is damaged or broken and rubs or any other wire metal area of the car. If it happens, you will usually skip the fuse that controls the system to which the cable so that nothing would happen ... If the fuse could not help it, there will be a complex fire control; alerts the fire department.
Low start to burn ... It can happen if you park your car in the field. If the engine is warm and the grass high enough to touch the underside of the vehicle, about 20 cm is very likely to originate a fire. If it is small, you can control with a fire extinguisher, blanket, water ...
Oil leaks ... If an oil leak in the engine and flows through areas that reach a high temperature, as the exhaust manifold, the turbo, you can have a fire in the engine compartment. If you act quickly, you extinguish with a fire extinguisher.
What security systems are in place to prevent an explosion?
The fuel tank: Where is located ... To avoid overheating or a small spark that can ignite fuel vapors, the tank of all cars is located right on the spot opposite to the engine, back on most cars ... or in front for sports rear-engined cars.
It also tends to be as far away as possible from the sides of the body to be more protected in case of side impact.
What is done ... The tank of diesel and petrol cars is manufactured, at present, with high density polyethylene, a highly resistant type of plastic that allows any shape. In some cases, such as racing cars, is made from aluminum or steel.
Security systems ... The tank has inside a valve capable of delivering a controlled vapors generated in him. Otherwise, in case of fire in a model of gasoline, vapors that could generate pressure inside the tank that would eventually burst ... and cause an explosion.
Also the internal pressure is partitioned to prevent the fuel from moving too much and does not create surges, something which facilitates evaporation. Finally, in case of accident, all vehicles cut the fuel supply to the motor to avoid spillage and to reduce the risk of fire.
Gas vehicles ... They use heavy-duty metal deposits that can not be filled more than 80%, so in case of any impact in an accident, it is very difficult to produce a large enough pressure to burst the reservoir.
Systems for electric cars ... They have their corresponding fuses, capable of instantly cutting power to prevent sparks or short circuits.
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