Now, it's rats who can blow up your car

Following MiDDAY's report on the miraculous escape of two unfortunates who were caught in separate car fires ('How we survived burning cars, October 1, 2011), car experts told SMD that rodents are one reason for deadly fires that break out in automobiles.

"A clean environment, free of any organic garbage, is essential for the health of your car. Rodents tend to nest in places where food (read litter) is readily available. They end up residing in parked vehicles and start gnawing on wires," said car expert Raju Jassal.

Jassal said most car owners aren't aware of the problem, since they seldom open the bonnet and look for signs of rodent infestation like bones or other eatables stacked up in corners.

Nitin Dossa, Executive Chairman of the Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) said poor maintenance, not collisions, lead to more fires. "Every ten years, the entire wiring of the vehicle should be changed. People should also avoid going to roadside mechanics who do patchwork on electrical faults."

Car expert Vimal Shah said, having a class ABC extinguisher (one that can put out any kind of fire) is not enough. "It should be checked regularly. In case of a car fire, it should be sprayed directly into the bonnet to minimise contact with air, which actually aggravates the fire," he explained.

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