Can Tires Cause A Fire? Here’s What You Need To Know

Considering that tires are a vital part of keeping a car in full working order and keeping cars moving on the road, it stands to reason that they need to be tough and durable.

However, as durable as tires are, many often wonder whether they are a fire hazard and whether tires are actually flammable.

Can Tires Cause A Fire - Here’s What You Need To Know

But are tires a fire hazard? What would it take to set tires alight, and is it dangerous for them to burn?

If you’ve ever caught yourself pondering any of these questions, then you should read on down below, because we are going to find out everything you need to know!

Can Tires Cause A Fire?

Tires could very well cause a fire, and they are flammable, however, in order for this to happen, the tires would need to be subjected to fairly intense temperatures.

The reason that tires are flammable is that they contain a number of chemicals and compounds that are flammable. These include things such as carbon, benzene, and oil.

Tires are much more likely to catch fire if they are stored in massive quantities, with multiple tires in one stack, as there would be very little airflow between them allowing them to heat up much quicker.

What Would It Take For Tires To Catch Fire?

While it is very difficult to set tires on fire, whether accidentally or not since they are designed to deal with extreme conditions, they will still catch fire at certain temperatures.

Most ordinary tires will catch fire at around 752 degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Celsius), which is a significantly high temperature, and thus quite a difficult temperature to achieve.

However, tires have still been known to cause very intense fires regardless, so it is important to take good care of them.

Do Tires Catch Fire While In Motion?

While it is rare that it ever happens, tires definitely can catch fire while attached to a car, which can be particularly dangerous.

Again, in order to catch fire, the tires would need to reach a temperature of around 752 degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Celsius).

One of the most common causes of tire fires, while tires are attached to cars, is rogue sparks.

Whenever a car drives across the pavement, the tires are liable to release sparks as the friction between the tires and the ground creates energy. 

If there are too many of these sparks concentrated in one area, then the tire will begin to heat up, which could lead it to reach very dangerous temperatures.

In order to stop tires from igniting while you drive, you will want to make sure to check them regularly.

Check that the surface of each tire is healthy and not degrading rapidly, and also ensure that the tire pressure is optimal.

This will ensure that the tires work efficiently, and thus, are less likely to cause sparks.

Are Tire Fires Dangerous?

Tire fires are very dangerous. Tire fires can very quickly spin out of control, and can create very intense temperatures that make them difficult to deal with.

Worst of all, because of the combination of chemicals that make up tires, tires that are burning can also release carbon monoxide, which is incredibly poisonous to humans and is difficult to detect.

If a tire fire were to break out, it is best to maintain some distance from it.

Tire fires can also continue to pose a threat even well after the fire has been extinguished.

This is because tires retain heat very efficiently, and thus they can reignite themselves even well after the flames have been put out.

What Should You Do In The Event Of A Tire Fire?

Can Tires Cause A Fire - Here’s What You Need To Know

If you discover that one or a number of tires have caught fire, one of the best things to do is to cover the tires with sand or dirt.

This is because it completely cuts the tires off from access to oxygen, which significantly impacts the power of the flames, and will cause them to slowly die down.

Don’t use water or foam to extinguish a tire fire, as in most cases it will prove to be very futile, thanks to the fact that tires can retain heat for such a long time.

Once you have noticed that the flames have all been extinguished, allow the tires to rest for about an hour, to allow any carbon monoxide to be released, and to allow them to begin cooling down.

After this, frequently douse the burned tires with water, which will slowly cool them down and prevent them from reigniting.

Make sure to also do the same with any other tires, in case they prove to be a fire risk.

How Can You Prevent Tire Fires?

Try to ensure that tires are always stored somewhere that is away from direct sunlight, and where there is plenty of airflow.

If you are storing multiple tires, and you wish to stack them, try to ensure that no stack is ever taller than five tires, and ensure that there is ample space between each stack, to allow air to flow between them.

Keeping tires indoors keeps them from being warped by direct sunlight, and keeps them from freezing during the winter months.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Can Tires Burn For?

Tires can burn for an impressive amount of time, at around 50 minutes for an average tire.

How Hot Can A Tire Get?

Though tires will begin to burn at around 752 degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Celsius), before that, at around 392 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius), tires will begin to deteriorate and degrade, making them less efficient.

Can Hot Pavement Melt Tires?

Provided the pavement has reached around 392 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius), tires are likely to begin melting. This is why it is important to stay on top of tire health. 

To Wrap Up

As you can now see, tires most definitely can cause a fire, but it takes considerable heat in order for them to catch fire, at around 752 degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Celsius).

However, once a tire fire does start, it can be difficult and dangerous to control, so it is important to care for tires efficiently, by storing them somewhere cool, away from sunlight, and with plenty of space between and around them.