The 3 Main Reasons Why Cars Stop Running When Going Through A Fire Zone
Last year 2017, one of the most tragic wildfires of western countries hit Portugal taking the lives of more then 100.
Over 40 people lost their lives inside their cars, in one single two lane road. Post fire pictures showed how dozens of cars pilled up side by side with little to nothing they could do…
The question many folks had in the back of their minds was, why did these cars all seemed to have stop in the same zone of the road?
There are 3 main reasons for that and you will want to keep them in your mind…
No Oxigen, No internal Combustion, No Engine
You you have seen a video of a father and son driving right into the belly of wildfire? This video is really impressive. You can see the living hell a small fire can turn into really quickly…But it also shows you the amount of smoke a minor fire produces. Yes, this is, at least is this moment in this road a rather minor fire.
When you get into the belly of the beast like this, there is a huge risk that your car strands if the smoke concentration in the air is too high. If you remember your chemistry classes, oxygen plays a major role in sustaining a fire, and in your car engine, the very same happens. You need oxygen in your cylinders to “explode” the fuel, drive the pistons and ultimately move the wheels…
In a fire like this, air gets saturated with micro and nano smoke particles, competing for space with oxygen molecules. This means that, for the same amount of air pumped into your engine, a much smaller amount of Oxygen is actually getting there. When the concentration of smoke is that high, Oxygen is just not enough to drive combustion and the car stalls.
No More Cooling, No More Engine
When the surrounding air temperature is much higher then the optimal operating temperature of a car, the cooling is not as effective to remove the bi-heat produced inside the combustion engine while running. When that happens, heats keeps on being produced, but not removed away by the cooling. The internal temperatures of the engine keep on rising and rising while the the engine’s metal keeps on expanding (even when only slightly). When that expansion reaches a value that is close to the internal mechanical tolerances that allow the pistons to glide”, the friction becomes too strong to move and the engine stalls.
Impossible For The Driver To Carry On
Fires are very different from one another, they depend on material burning, density of material burning, weather. But, regardless their two main greatest hazards are excess of heat and smoke.
The detailed heat systems created by fires in general are subject of ongoing research but, what really matter to you is, this, you can be 5 meters, 10 meters away from a fire and still be getting temperatures of 300-600 Celcius. No man can drive with temperatures above 70 Celcius, so, when a driver enter a zone like this first instinct will be to to dive inside the car to hide from surrounding temperatures and stop driving the car.
What To Do To Prevent These Situations?
Most importantly, read your surroundings. Do not go into the belly of the beast. Do not get closed to increasing smoke and fire. Turn back as quick as possible.
If that is not possible and you do need to go into the belly of the beast, the only thing we know can help you is having a Faraday Kit underneath your driver’s seat to protect your from lateral radiant heat and smoke…
Remember, if car stalls at some point, the tarmac will be very hot and you will need strong rubber sole and walk on dust ground as much as possible.