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How did my friend's 2016 Acura TLX catch fire?

My friends’s car caught fire, exploded, and burned the house down while he was trying to change the headlight.
What the heck happened?

OK, I give up…

What the hell DID happen?

You haven’t given us enough info in any way to determine the cause of this guys house burning down.

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This is not going to look good on your friends resume.


Well, what I know is his head light went out. It is expensive to have replaced, so he decided to buy the bulbs and do it himself. The old bulb was out, and he was trying to see how it lodged before trying the new bulb. He could not lodge it because of the awkward location. I think he decided to drive to a garage. He turned the car on, it made a clicking noise. So he turned it off. He noticed smoke coming from the headlight, he put that out…he thought. He walked away for a few minutes, and came back to a fire. He and a neighbor tried to put it out, but the flame was growing too hot to go out.
911 was called. They ran away from the car. The car blew up, then the gas tank blew, then the electrical line to the garage ( the car was in the garage) . By the time the fire department got there, the house was burning.

The Acura TLX has LED headlights, no bulbs to replace.

Perhaps the car was an Acura TL, those have HID headlights that operate with a very high voltage. If a headlight bulb connector is left loose with no bulb connected there will be sparks jumping across the connector when the headlights are switched on. The question is what did he ignite? A rag near the connector? Cleaning solvent?

I have been working with HID lamps for 15 years, I have never witnessed a fire caused by a headlight repair mishap much less to set fire to a building.

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Oh boy. The insurance adjuster might be reading this account. At any rate why do your own work on a $150,000 car that is under full warranty that includes headlights? Something is not right. Maybe behind in car or house payments or something, divorce in the offing, I dunno.

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If your headlights go out…don’t ask this friend for help!!!

I think he didn’t get the headlight (without bulb) inserted right and had it grounded instead. Then when he moved to an area with better light to work with, the fire started.

this question would be better asked to the Fire chief.


Hi all… turns out To change a headlight on an Acura, the battery needs to be disconnected. Weird.

I think you answered the question, “He noticed smoke coming from the headlight,”, something shorted during the headlight replacement and heated the plastic nearby. Once that got going the rest of the car was not far behind.

Well, electricity can spark or heat stuff up, and the engine contains gasoline here and there. So a fire is certainly always a possibility w/cars. Repairing them or not. A friend of mine had her car catch fire due to a faulty starter motor that had welded its solenoid contacts into the on position.

Uh, I don’t know of anyone who has paid $150k for a Acura TLX, it’s a gussied up Accord.

Many vehicle have HID headlights, they operate with high voltage and have warning labels on the service covers.

@FoDaddy Acura NSX. $157,500 STARTING MSRP. …

Yeah I was thinking of the NSX.

This Acura wasn"t the extra expensive fancy one.