Abu Dhabi authorities have issued a fresh reminder to motorists to carry out a service check on their cars as the hotter summer months approach.
Police and civil defence in the capital said most car fires happen due to the lack of regular maintenance.
“It's important to prevent car fire incidents by carrying out regular maintenance at specialised garages and repair shops,” said Lt Col Eng Salem Al Habashi, director of the public safety department at Abu Dhabi Civil Defence Authority.
“Non-specialised workshops and mechanics may repair a malfunction but cause another.”
Main causes of car fires
Major Engineer Adel Al Saqri, head of the fires section at Abu Dhabi Police’s forensic science department, listed five main causes of car fires.
“These include unnecessary modifications that do not meet approved specifications, leaving liquids that may contain flammable materials in the vehicle, using non-original parts that are not compatible with the electrical system of the vehicle, failure to disconnect electrical devices inside the vehicle, especially during summer, and installing parts in the vehicle by a non-specialised technician.”
Motorists were also urged to keep a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit inside their vehicles for emergencies.
Experts said maintenance is more essential in cars that are more than five years old.
“A car’s lifespan during which it will show little or no problems is five years, but after this period, malfunctions will begin to clearly appear,” said Khattar Omar, owner of Abu Omar vehicle repair shop in Ajman.
He said fuel leakage, old or loose wires and pipes in poorly maintained cars can lead to fires.
“Cars contain flammable elements such as fuel and oils and internal parts that are made of plastic or rubber, and all of these can easily catch fire,” he said.
The cause of fire in the majority of cars that he has worked on was faulty wires and old pipes.
“The only prevention is to conduct checks for every 100,000 kilometres, whether driven in a day, a month or a year,” he said.