Semi-trucks can be dangerous due to poor maintenance, overloading, poorly arranged cargo, and damaged electric parts. Moreover, you should be careful about fire hazards and explosions that can rupture the fuel lines and tank.
How Do Semi-Trucks Catch On Fire? Semi-trucks can catch fire because of welding and cutting sparks, lubricant ignition, faulty wiring, battery boxes, gasoline and propane hauling, overheated brakes and tires, oil leakage, and faulty exhaust systems.
It is necessary to maintain the several components of semi trucks to reduce fire-related hazards because these can compromise the safety of vehicles, drivers, and cargo.
What causes semi trucks to catch on fire?
They can catch fire because of overheated components igniting your vehicles’ combustible materials. Moreover, the situation also worsens because of plastic, wooden trims, leather, and floor mats, which are flammable materials.
Welding and cutting sparks
Many people use welding techniques to repair the damaged parts. It has ignitable material that comes in contact with plastic, rubber, or fabric and causes fire issues.
In addition, people also use electric cutters to install aftermarket accessories in their trucks, which causes issues. Flames and sparks from the welding devices and electric cutters come in contact with combustible material.
Hiring an expert to perform maintenance and installation procedures is necessary to reduce the risk of damage.
Several parts of semi-trucks need lubricants for their proper functioning. Lubricant allows the smooth movement of these parts by reducing friction.
However, some of these are ignitable because of the presence of hydrocarbon-based synthetic fluid and mineral oil. The chances of ignition increase when a spark from outside comes in contact with these combustible compounds.
Avoid using greases and lubricants that contain mineral oil or hydrocarbon derivatives.
Combustible components of semi trucks are vulnerable to catching fire because of faulty wiring, damaged electric connections, broken wires, and dirt accumulation.
Broken and poorly insulated wires produce short circuits, and flame from these short-circuited wires causes problems. In addition, the issue comes when these sparks come in contact with grease and dirt on wires.
Use dielectric cleaners to remove the dust and debris from the electric connections. Avoid using mineral oil-based grease for lubrication purposes. In addition, overheated batteries and fluid leakage can also cause problems.
Gasoline and propane hauling
Semi-trucks are specifically designated for hauling purposes. They can carry lighter to heavier freights from one location to another.
Some of these freights are combustible and require safe hauling. These are also used to transport gasoline and propane, and both of these are combustible gasses.
A spark from overheated components, damaged fuel lines, short-circuited wires, and faulty engine components can ignite these and cause explosions.
Overheated tires and brakes
Fire-related risk in freight-carrying trucks increases because of overheated components. The issue comes because of overheated tires and braking system.
Tires can overheat because of the underinflation, increasing the friction between these and road surfaces. In addition, flat tires are also prone to overheating issues because of increased friction.
Overheating in brake pads occurs when these become old. Moreover, you can also see this because of sudden braking and poor lubrication.
It is necessary to arrange the cargo properly so that uneven weight distribution cannot negatively affect the tires. Replace the brake pads when you hear uneven noise while applying brakes.
Fluid and oil leakage
Semi-trucks contain several fluids, including coolant, transmission, and brake fluid. These are combustible and can catch fire from faulty or damaged wirings, overheated components, and smoke ashes.
Moreover, the issue also comes because of damaged fuel lines. Fuel can ignite quickly because of exposure to sparks and flames.
You can face problems due to faulty engine parts that cause leakage of fluid, fuel, and motor oil.
Faulty exhaust system
Exhaust pipes are located beneath the trucks to remove toxic gasses, including carbon monoxide. These gases are also harmful to the environment and cause several health issues.
However, some of these gasses are extremely hot and they can increase the temperature of the exhaust system components.
Increases in the temperature of exhaust components allow their parts to catch fire and affect their surroundings.
How do you know when a semi-truck catches on fire?
It is not safe to drive the truck when it catches fire because air can trigger combustion and make the situation more dangerous.
Stop driving and turn off the engine when you feel a burning smell while driving. You can feel this smell because of the burning of plastic materials.
These odors can also come from burning several indoor and outdoor materials. Moreover, you can also see an indication light or warning signal on the truck dash screen.
You can see a warning light if the issue concerns the braking system, engine, or tires. Many people also experience sudden power loss because faulty components cause the engine to turn off.
What happens when semi-trucks catch fire?
It is dangerous when semi-trucks catch fires because they carry cargo from one place to another.
Explosions can destroy the loaded cargo and lead to economic loss. However, it can sometimes cause delays in cargo delivery to a specific place.
Fire hazards can also affect nearby buildings and hazards. In addition, it can completely damage the nearby property and put the life of the people at risk that lives in it.
The situation can also cause traffic disruption for several hours, and you have to select alternative routes to reach your destination. I prefer to call the emergency services as soon as possible to avoid the dangerous situation.
What should you do if your semi-truck catches a fire?
It is necessary to take safety measures to protect yourself from fire-related hazards. You should move some feet away from your trucks to ensure your safety.
Moreover, it is necessary to park your vehicle on the side of the road so it cannot damage the other vehicles and disturb the traffic flow.
Park these away from the buildings and trees because they contain combustible materials. Turn off the hood because it allows the oxygen to come inside.
Call the emergency service centers quickly to resolve the problem.
How do you prevent semi trucks from catching fire?
Preventing fire-related hazards in your semi trucks is necessary because it can affect the local economy. Drive carefully and avoid frequent braking because it causes overheating of brake pads.
Avoid smoking while driving because it is also against the law and poses a safety risk. Ashes from cigarette smoke come in contact with combustible material and lead to explosions.
Access its brakes and replace the brake pads if required. Ensure proper air pressure in tires because underinflation increases the friction, which eventually leads to overheating.
Maintain the electric connections and clean these with dielectric cleaner. Remove the dust, debris, and grease from the electric surface because these are ignitable.
Properly arrange your luggage in the cargo area so it cannot damage the fuel lines and incorrect weight distribution cannot affect the tires.
I always prefer to turn off the engine while fueling. Properly close the fuel filler cap after refilling because it can cause leakage.
How common are semi-truck fires?
It is not common for semi trucks to catch fire when their components are properly maintained. According to the estimate, more than 6000 vehicles are vulnerable to fire-related hazards.
It is damaging because it can also affect nearby buildings and trees. In addition, it can vary according to the maintenance practice and driving conditions.
Moreover, the chances increase because of poor driving habits, including frequent application of brakes and changes in speed.
Cargo-related incidents, malfunctioning batteries, faulty engine parts, damaged fuel lines, and cracked fuel tanks can make the situation more dangerous.