Hyundai Elantra spontaneous combustion

Many people consider combustion to be spontaneous if they did not do something to directly set the fire. So if my car burns to the ground and I didn’t put a lighter to a rag in the gas tank, it spontaneously combusted.

That’s not accurate, but it’s the vernacular.

So your solution is to get nasty with me too. Don’t bother. You’ll only get yourself more wound up, and it doesn’t bother me at all.

Relax. Have a cup of coffee. Take your anger down a notch. You’ll live longer.
Have a nice day.


I propose: “Unintended combustion.”


The OP didn’t use the term “spontaneous combustion”, that was edited in by another person.

100% correct.
OP: “My 2008 hyundai elantra happened to combust into flames.”
First use of “spontaneous combustion”:
do you know what spontaneous combustion is?

Sorry. The trees were hiding the forest. OP used it in the thread title.

My guess is OP checked with their insurance and discovered the policy included comprehensive which covered the damage.

I think people use the term spontaneous combustion because they have no idea how it happened. As you say a catch-all or generic term.

I don’t think of knowledge of the combustion origin as being relevant to the term. We know well how combustion can be initiated in grain silos and piles of organic compound, yet we call that “spontaneous”. I understand the term to simply mean that the source of the combustion was not extraneous to the normal conditions.

But, hey, I DID flunk English! And I feel a bit silly arguing the meaning of “spontaneous” on a car forum. :smile:

My son’s in-laws owned a Lincoln Town Car manufactured somewhere in the 1990s that caught fire after the car had been off for at least 6 hours. The car was parked outside the garage, but the fire jumped into the soffit of the house and did considerable damage. A couple of days before the fire, the cruise control had quit working. Ford apparently had a problem with some component in the cruise control starting a fire even after the engine was off, everything off and the engine cold. The insurance company went after Ford and Ford did pay off. A dead short on a properly fused circuit isn’t a problem. The problem is a current being drawn through a circuit that isn’t enough to blow the fuse, but enough to overheat the wiring or some component.
Back in the early 1950s, my dad built a separate garage some distance from the house and converted what had been an attached garage to living space. The detached garage lowered his homeowner’s insurance premium. Insurance companies have been aware of problems with car fires for a long time.

That Recall over Ford cruise control brake switches which can lead to fires is huge. Two homes in OK City were partially burned when Ford pickups blazed up an hour or so after being parked in the garages.

The Recall letter I got on my Lincoln advised me to not park my car in a garage, near a house, other structures, trees, shrubs, and other combustible materials until the Recall was performed.

There is also the story some years ago of the woman driving a Windstar van down the highway when suddenly the electrics in the steering column blazed up. This was caused by the ignition switch failing and led to the van being a total loss.,

An insurance company settlement on a 10 to 11 year-old inexpensive car of unknown mileage is not going to amount to much. I would really doubt they would send out Columbo.

Instead they’d more likely send an adjuster. I’ve worked with adjusters before who know way less about cars than I do and in some cases probably less than the average person knows.

As far as finding a smoking gun, I meant smoking cigar… I believe my insurance would still pay out if I left a burning cigar in my car when I exited and the car later burned to ground.

To me, a bigger issue would be whether or not the car’s owner was paying for comprehensive insurance coverage or decided to “save money” by rolling the dice and accepting the risk that something like this could occur.

CSA :palm_tree: :sunglasses::palm_tree:

I’m trying to imagine an amount of current that an be drawn that will set a wire on fire without blowing the fuse. I’m not coming up with anything. That is exactly why there are fuses.

Often cruise control will stop working on cars with plugged catalytic converters. That would be a symptom along with power loss and bad mileage. Clogged catalytic converters can get hot enough how to set fire to what is under the car. But you say this car sat for 6 hours so that can’t be it.

This discussion is a waste of time because it most likely did not happen. The person that posted the question never came back. Spend your time answering questions that are from real people with real problems

And just how are you going to do that on an open forum that has screen names ? How do we know you are a real person with real problems .


@Carboncrank. There are house fires every winter from electric heaters. Suppose you plug in a 1500 watt heater to a circuit protected by a 20 ampere fuse or breaker. The heater is drawing about 12 amperes at 125 volts. However, you connected the heater to the outlet with an extension cord made with #18 wire rated at 7.5 amperes. The fuse won’t blow, nor will a breaker trip, but the #18 extension cord will get hot enough to start a fire.


when a poster asks a question months ago and never comes back is a good place to start. When a poster is asked fro clarification of what they posted and there is no reply is another. A profile with one visit and one question and never even comes back to the site would be another.

two months later there’s people criticizing me because they think the meaning of spontaneous combustion does’t matter where as I think they should learn what it is and stop misusing it. Words have meanings and language is supposed to be the agreed upon framework where we can be understood. I’d be more for learning what a word or phrase means and stop misusing it than I would be defending it claiming everybody does it. Everybody does not do it. It is not a catch all, it is not a generic term. It is a scientific term in the same way nuclear fusion is. 2 words that have meanings of their own but when used together mean something specific. If something caught fire and you weren’t watching, it did not spontaneously combust. Or maybe it did but you don’t know until you find out why and it would be wrong to tell somebody that it spontaneously combusted unless you knew it to be true. Words like suddenly or unexpectedly or it erupted in flames would be far better. If there was a car behind you and someone had soaked the seats with lighter fluid and threw a match in and you turned around and saw that it was on fire, " oh it spontaneously combusted" would be a dumb thing to say. The only way to quit saying dumb things is to quit saying dumb things!

If you think that is the vernacular you need to be hanging around smarter people.

Someone please close this senseless thread!!

did someone replace wires in that car with smaller wires?

Your story is about intruding wire too small to handle the load. In what way is that relevant to the car situation? The heater is designed no over heat at less than 15 amps. The car and it’s wiring are designed to not over heat with current less than what would blow the fuse.

I just realized I should have just given a one word answer. Strawman.

I had the following problem with a 1985 Ford Tempo that I purchased brand new. The fuse for the tail lights kept blowing. I replaced the fuse and a couple of days later, the fuse would blow again. The dash lights were on the same circuit as the tail lights, so I immediately knew when the fuse blew. I also observed that the fuse would blow when I went around a corner.
I took the car back to the dealer because it was under warranty. The problem was that there was that there was an optional tail light monitor that would light up a signal on the dashboard if a tail light was out. The wire going to the monitor signal was of thin gauge. My Tempo didn’t have this option, but someone at the factory had connected the tail lights through this thin wire. The current draw from the tail lights melted the insulation off the wire. When I went around a corner, the bare wire touched the body of the car causing a short circuit and the fuse would blow. This was fortunate, because had the short circuit not occurred, I might have had a fire in the trunk. The current drawn through this monitor signal wire was enough to melt the insulation. The service manager showed me the wire.

Responding to this comment is a waste of time.
I think we should ignore it and try to help those that post with problems.

Carboncrank, if you have nothing constructive to add, why do you make these kinds of comments? Is it BECAUSE you have nothing constructive to add that you simply claim the fire probably never happened? Is THAT the reason you simply imply that the OP made it all up and tell everyone else to ignore him/her?


I think you are try to provoke me. I’m asking you to stop. Is this your MO? . I said what I said. read it again, I’m not defending it to you. YOU are the one that is not being constructive here. You’re trying to make this personal and I’m asking you to stop.

I don’t know if it changes your analysis at all, but as Nevada pointed out, it wasn’t the OP who made the inartful choice of words. It was me.