2008 Trailblazer caught fire


#1

My husband, son and I rented an SUV (2008 Chevy Trailblazer) a few weeks ago to drive some of our belongings from Florida to Maine. One morning, three days into the trip, as we were packing up our things in the hotel to load into the SUV, the SUV suddenly started smoking from the passenger compartment and the back seat quickly caught fire. Luckily, we were not in the truck. Since the doors were locked and the keyless remote did not work, the front door of the truck had to be opened by key and someone had to reach back through the flames and unlock the back door. By that time, fire extinguishers had arrived and the fire was put out. It turns out that the fuse box is located under the passenger seat on the driver?s side and wires must have crossed or arched!!!



We did not get the rental company?s insurance since we have our own. They are claiming the ?incident? was not their fault so they are not responsible. Our insurance company will handle this except for the fact we have a $1,000 deductible.



Shouldn?t the rental company be responsible for paying for our losses in this fire? It is not that it was our fault either. The rental company didn?t even offer to no charge our rental for our loss. Is there some sort of recall on 2008 Chevy Trailblazers? It sounds like there should be.


#2

Without a full investigation into the fire, there is no way for you to prove that the rental company provided you with a defective vehicle. There have been no recalls for the Trailblazer for anything like what you experienced. Just because the fuses are located there is not a reason to assume that that is what caused the fire. But, rental cars do get abused by the people renting them. And, people don’t always say what happened to a vehicle they rented when it is returned.

Given the situation though, if I had rented you the car, I would expect you to cover the loss unless you could show that it was my fault.


#3

It turns out that the fuse box is located under the passenger seat
More accurately, a fuse box is located under the rear seat. It is not the only one as the main fuse box is in the engine compartment.

Shouldn?t the rental company be responsible for paying for our losses in this fire?
This will rapidly degrade into a finger pointing match. Unfortunately, the burden of proof will likely be on your shoulders. But that’s why you have insurance, right? At least you’re only out the $1k. You rolled the dice and came up short this time.

Is there some sort of recall on 2008 Chevy Trailblazers? It sounds like there should be.
Recalls occur when there is a history of a particular problem OR an investigation reveals a safety flaw that exists that affects a majority of the population of vehicles. So far, we only know of one instance. And, you have no idea what the root cause might be yet. The prior renter could have done the damage and that would be no fault of the car manufacturer.


#4

Who is the rental company? Just curious because I rent a lot of vehicles for work.

I would pursue the matter with the rental car company - asking to speak with the district and regional managers. Relate your case very calmly and respectfully to them, especially explaining that you suffered a loss too and that there could have been severe injury to people had this occured while the car was in motion.

IMHO your getting a lawyer is not a good option here and only for $1000. However, your insurance company may fight this in some way with the rental car company.


#5

Was the fire investigated???

Talk with the rental company…tell them you want a independent mechanic to evaluate the vehicle to determine what caused the fire.


#6

I don’t understand how the rental company can palm this off on you. Maybe there should be some serious reading of the contract fine print.
Getting run into or damage caused by yourself I can sort of understand but this was obviously a problem over which neither you or the rental company have any control. Can’t say as I would agree with your own ins. co. covering most of this anyway.

Wonder if the rental co. is going to try and collect on their end also?


#7

BUMMER!

thats why they have ins.(and you sound smart enough to have bought it)

so whats the problem?


#8

If you paid with a credit card check into your cc agreement. Some have rental insurance in them on top of your primary car insurance.


#9

I believe that Chevrolet will end up owing for the problem. Without seeing a cause an origin report, it’s hard to say, but if the wiring is what caught fire it’s obviously going to be a mechanical defect.

Personally, I would not turn the loss into my insurance company unless someone could prove to me that I was responsible for the fire starting in the vehicle. The rental company is wanting to take the easy way out. Pawn it off on you and your insurance company and let you and them deal with subrogating the loss back to General Motors. My contention would be that I did nothing to start the fire and it was their mechanically defective vehicle that caught fire and burned, and they need to work with GM and lick their own calf. I’m sure they’ll buck up and try to get you to roll over and take care of their problem, but the problem is between the owner/purchaser and GM not you.

Skipper


#10

Is there some sort of recall on 2008 Chevy Trailblazers? It sounds like there should be.
Recalls occur when there is a history of a particular problem OR an investigation reveals a safety flaw that exists that affects a majority of the population of vehicles. So far, we only know of one instance.

Sounds as if you counterdicted yourself. If this is an isolated occurance then there should be no recall but if a history of this starts then the general (GM) would check this out.


#11

I’m sure all rental car companies are alike as far as insurance goes. This one was Budget. We would rather not go through our insurance company because we believe our rates will increase in addition to paying the $1000 deductible. “galant” suggested that we look at our credit card company’s agreement to see if they automatically insure our rental cars. We just did that and found that they do have coverage in their agreement. A phonecall on Monday to AmEx will tell us how much we are covered for and if there is a deductible. Thanks for responding.