Many drivers acquire a car first aid kit and fire extinguisher just to pass a MOT. And then they carry them with them without replacing them with new ones. However, this is fundamentally wrong. The same fire extinguisher can last the life of your vehicle and not be needed. However, there may be an accident on the road where a standing fire extinguisher will come in handy. And a fire extinguisher that doesn’t work will result in the total loss of a car or someone’s life. What is the shelf life of the car fire extinguisher, we tell you now.
The shelf life of a fire extinguisher is equal in importance to a first aid kit. The requirements for car fire extinguishers are determined by the ZDP. According to these documents, a fire extinguisher for a car must weigh at least 2 kg and have a volume of at least 2 liters.
For freight transport, the norms are higher – 5 kg, 5 liters. At the same time, each fire extinguisher must contain an active substance that effectively fights the fire and the spread of the fire. As a rule, fire extinguishers are powder or carbon dioxide. There are also aerosol ones, but more often drivers have one of the first two with them.
You should know that powder fire extinguishers are further divided into several types. They are divided according to the types of pressure created, due to which the powder mixture comes out: “pumping”, with a high-pressure cylinder and fire extinguishers that generate gas. The foam from such creates a powerful layer on the source of ignition, which does not allow the passage of oxygen, which is necessary to maintain combustion. And they have one minus – the foam film is very difficult to wash.
Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers work differently. They release a stream of carbon dioxide over the flame, preventing scorching. Extinguishing is not very effective, in addition, there are peculiarities in use – improper handling can lead to gas poisoning and even burns. At the same time, regardless of the type of fire extinguisher, they all have a certain expiration date that must be monitored.
It is scary to imagine a situation where a driver runs with a fire extinguisher to save another from a fire, and when he activates his fire extinguisher, it turns out that it does not work. And sometimes in such situations every second is precious. That’s why you need to know exactly the expiration date of the fire extinguisher that you carry in your luggage compartment.
However, the resource of the fire extinguisher is quite high. If you are guided by the regulatory framework, then the shelf life of the powder fire extinguisher is 10 years for the cylinder and 5 years for its contents. In principle, cylinders can be charged throughout their entire service life. But after its expiration, the fire extinguisher must be replaced with a new one.
Gas fire extinguishers last longer – 15 years. But this is subject to such assistant passing an annual test. It also needs to be recharged every five years. The aerosol type of fire extinguisher lasts as long as the powder type. It doesn’t require reloading, but it’s also good to check.
Spontaneous ignition is considered one of the main problems of electric cars. Tesla CEO Elon Musk regularly reminds that cars with traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) catch fire much more often, but few people believe him. However, you cannot argue with the official statistics.
Authorities in the USA have published official statistics on car fires, and the first 4 times in this negative ranking are for models with internal combustion engines. The data is from the American insurance agency AutoInsuranceEZ, which also used the statistics for recalled vehicles due to fire hazards.
In first place is the Hyundai Elantra, where there was a risk of ignition in 430,000 units. They are followed by Kia Cadenza and Sportage – 308,000 cars, Honda Odissey – 250,000 and Hyundai Genesis and Genesis G80 – 95,000. Only in fifth position is the electric Hyundai Kona – 82,000 units, and in sixth is the Chevrolet Bolt – 70,000 units.
Hybrid versions of the Chrysler Pacifica minivan (27,600 units) and BMW and Mini hybrid models (4,500) followed in the rankings, all of which were models found to be a potential fire hazard. In 2021, Chevrolet, for example, recalled over 140,000 units of the Bolt, but the actual number of ignitions was only 16.
When it comes to the number of car fires, statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) show that hybrids are the most at risk, with 3,500 cases per 100,000 vehicles, while the total number of these incidents last year was 16,051.
In second place are cars with an internal combustion engine – 1,500 per 100,000 vehicles (199,533 fires for 2021), while electric cars practically do not burn – 25 cases per 100,000 cars (52 fires for 2021).