JEEP CATCHES ON FIRE 1 hour after OIL Change

JEEP CATCHES ON FIRE 1 hour after OIL Change

The Jeep dealership (Michigan) who did the oil change on a 2009 Jeep Liberty with 13,000 miles denies that an mechanic can do anything wrong during an oil change that could cause a fire to ignite in the engine.

Well the Jeep caught on fire, turned off, in a garage, exploded, in turn exploded the 2007 Ford Focus, catch the condo on fire and it entirely totalled the condo with fire, water and smoke damage.

My daughter, husband and grandson escaped within minutes of the explosion.

Of course insurance pays for the cars but I am FURIOUS.

here is the TV station 4 in Michigan with live footage of the fire:


Does anyone have the knowledge that the dealership is lying that they are not responsible for causing the fire??

two fire inspectors concluded that the fire started in the jeep, a low burn start and in the engine area.

If the car was turned off for any length of time, it’s almost certain that they didn’t cause it. The only way to start a car fire with a botched oil change is to, say, spill a bunch of it on the catalytic converter or something else that gets very hot and then drive it around, and even then you’d need a bit of (bad) luck. Once you park the car, it starts cooling down, and so if it hasn’t already caught fire due to the heat + the oil, it probably won’t. It’s entirely possible that this was just coincidental.

It is no impossible, but I would consider it very unlikely that the fire was connected to the oil change.  However since different cars have different layouts, I would want to take a look at a like car to determine if a fuel line was located close to say the oil filter.  

Don't be furious, be glad no one was hurt.

I would wonder if the lube tech was missing one of those disgusting oily rags. If laid over the convertor or on exhaust manifold it may have smoldered for a while. Otherwise I wouldn’t think a cold car would ignite.

search the web…eg.

Let me get this scenario correct. The vehicle was burning and the driver drove into the garage and turned it off… Who was driving?

I think he’s saying it had already been parked in the garage, with the ignition off, before the fire started.

The fires in that article refer to minivans, not Jeeps. The Jeeps just have brake fluid leaks which would cause your brakes to fail, but would not set the car on fire.

I always ask that the person making the claim at least propose some kind of theory or construct a scenario has to how the “oil change” place could have caused this. Give it your best shot.Have the fire inspectors given an opinion as to how a oil change could have led to this fire?

I counter propose that most unattended vehicle fires are electrical in nature.

Sorry to hear about your loss. Hopefully the real cause will get resolved on this. Thankfully no one was hurt in this incident. I have never thought about having a fire detecter located in the garage but after seeing this I will have one installed now.

I have fire and CO2 detectors in the garage networked to the smoke alarms in the house. Just having one in the garage won’t help much if you can’t hear it from everywhere inside the house.

A point for consideration. A quick look at Recalls show that a few Focuses, or Focii, are under Recall for a faulty fuel filter fit. These filters were made by Purolator and the Recalls states this could lead to fuel spillage and fire with an ignition source.

What about the possibility this was caused by the Focus with the ignition source being any one of a number of things including something to do with the residence? (electric hot water tank relay, central heat or air relay, etc.)

With what is described as multiple explosions, a trashed condo, etc. I’d like to know how there was enough of this left to make a determination where it started.
It would also be interesting to know IF these fire inspectors were told of this oil change before making their determination the Jeep was at fault.

If the oil change is going to be blamed for this based on oil drippage on a converter, etc. then I’d think there should be some oil drips on the garage floor and in the drive leading up to that garage.

To me, “two fire inspectors concluded that the fire started in the jeep, a low burn start and in the engine area.” does not equate to an oil change negligence issue. Electrical plus gasoline in the engine compartment is far more likely.

Good points. You are a wise man Tardis.

Hate to add fuel to the fire, to turn a phrase. But just this week we had another event to which I posted this response. Was it in 4wd at the time?
the thread is

Wow very lucky. Regardless, let the insurance company handle it. They insure your daughter for loss, not Chrysler. Hopefully the homeowners or renters policy, whichever case it is, is with the same company as the cars. So it is simply a matter of dealing with the one agent for all loss and accommodations in the meantime. If Chrysler is to blame, let the insurance company go after them to re-claim their loss. Its called subrogation and they do it all the time after paying a claim. Something similar happened to my sister with their Ford but didn’t lose the house thanks to the sheetrock.

I can understand your fury. In a case like this it’s natural to look for someone to blame for the fire, but it’s highly unlikely that the oil change was the cause of the fire. Without a specific cause from either the fiire department’s investigator or your insurance company’s investigator, I’d be reluctant to accuse the dealership of anything. It’s more likely coincidence.

You might have something there. I had a really pungent fuel smell in my garage. At that time I had a 1968 AMC Javelin and a 2001 Ford Maverick Grabber. I assumed the problem was in the older car–the Javelin. I went up and down the fuel system and could find nothing. I took the car to a respected mechanic and he found nothing. Finally, I found a tar-like substance on the garage floor at the rear of the Maverick. The fuel tank on the Maverick was leaking and the fuel leak wasn’t apparent because the tank was covered with an undercoat material. The tar-like substance was the undercoat that was dissolved by the gasoline. The problem was in the Maverick and I was looking at the wrong car.

UPDATE - THANK YOU for the replies – very interesting indeed. It was verified it was the Jeep and not the Focus that started the fire. The Jeep dealership has paid out the Geico insurance claim for the 2 cars. My Daughter drove for only a few miles after the oil change and went home. I don’t think it was 4 wheel drive but there was snow on the ground and she might have put in 4 wd so I will check but usually we switch out of 4wd coming home (have to change while moving). She hopped out the jeep, walked in condo and closed the garage door.

I think it’s a great idea to put a fire dectector in the garage! Her husband is US Coast Guard and was off on leave that week. So baby slept and they fell alseep on the couch.

Obviously some people who hasn’t lost everything you own understands the sadness of losing your wedding album, Baby videos, etc. They were young couple (25/26 years old) and only had $20/K renters insurance thinking it was enough 5 years ago when they got married but they ‘grew’ their possessions but didn’t grow their policy. So they can not replace everything that they had before they got an oil change because they ended up with $14,000 after paying services to haul the stuff out and storage, and cleaning stuff.

I think the power steering remark is good since they provide a 7 point check or something like that and maybe overfilled or cracked the hose and started dripping. Again, she drove like 3.5 miles from dealership to home.

So again - thanks for the information and feedback. Very Helpful