Every few days on the traffic station, I hear of a “traffic jam due to a car fire”, which I take to mean where a car catches on fire without some external cause (accident, etc.) The other day I happened to see one in progress - a car, just parked on the side of the highway, engulfed in flames.
In a certain way, it’s not surprising to me that this happens. After all, a car is full of various flammable liquids, around which we purposely set off thousands of explosions per second. It’s actually somewhat amazing that they don’t catch on fire more often.
But it struck me that the burning car I saw was a recent model and didn’t externally look like a beater or anything. Now it has me looking at my car thinking “So, what does it take to set one of these things off?” I’ve never seen anything on car maintenance that says: check your X every Y miles, if it develops a Z it might result in a fire.
Is it generally an electrical problem? Timing problem causing a misfire? Excess friction on moving parts? Gas Leak? Oil dripping on a hot exhaust? Etc.?