Vehicle Fire Extinguishers Buyer’s Guide

While fire extinguishers aren’t a legal requirement for private cars, caravans or motorhomes in the UK, it’s always a good idea to have one in case of an emergency. It’s also recommended that you take a fire extinguisher with you whenever you drive in Europe.

However, not all fire extinguishers are the same and each is designed for a certain type of fire. So, what fire extinguisher do you need for your car?

We’ve pulled together this guide to help you decipher the best fire extinguisher for your vehicle.

Fire safety

Before looking at the different types of car fire extinguishers, let’s brush up on a bit of fire safety.

Your priority in an emergency should always be getting everyone to a safe location as quickly as possible. Fires can escalate quickly and what starts as a small fire can engulf a whole vehicle in a matter of seconds. So, even if the fire is only small, don’t touch a fire extinguisher until everyone is out and a safe distance from the vehicle or caravan.

Even then, it’s generally best to wait for the emergency services. Remember, vehicles are full of combustible liquids and materials that can ignite unexpectedly.

Therefore, only ever attempt to use a fire extinguisher when it’s safe to do so.

Types of fires

There are six classes of fire which are determined by the fuel powering them. Most fire extinguishers can only be used for certain classes of fire, and this will clearly be displayed on the extinguisher.

If you already have a fire extinguisher in your vehicle or plan on buying a new one, make sure you know which classes of fire it can be used for.

  • Class A: Fires involving solid materials such as paper, wood, straw and textiles
  • Class B: Fires involving liquids such as petrol, diesel, engine oil, solvents and greases (not including cooking oils)
  • Class C: Fires involving gasses such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas
  • Class D: Fires involving metals such as sodium, magnesium and potassium
  • Fires involving ‘live electrics’ (formerly Class E)
  • Class F: Fires involving cooking fats and oils

Best car fire extinguishers

So, which car fire extinguisher should you use? This will depend on which vehicle you are using.

For cars, a dry powder, category ABC fire extinguisher is most suitable.

However, they’re not recommended for confined spaces and should be avoided for caravans or motorhomes. Instead, an AFFF foamed-based extinguisher is best.

Whichever extinguisher you choose, make sure it is manufactured in accordance with BS (EN) 3 and is either BSI, LPCB, or BAFE approved. All fire extinguishers sold by Halfords have this approval.

Here’s a selection of vehicle-suitable fire extinguishers, including the Firexo range. Market-leading experts Firexo have developed new fire extinguishers which can be used on every type of fire. Created after years of research, they remove unnecessary choice in the case of a fire, as you no longer need to question whether you have the right extinguisher or not.

Fireblitz 1kg ABC Fire Extinguisher – suitable for cars

  • Class A fires
  • Class B fires
  • Class C fires
  • Live electrics fires (formerly Class E)

This multipurpose and easy-to-use fire extinguisher is suitable for vehicles, homes, offices, boats, and other commercial and industrial uses.

Firexo 2-litre All-Fires Extinguisher – suitable for all vehicles

  • Every class of fire

Firexo extinguishers are the only ones on the market that can be used for all types of fires, helping to protect any vehicle, garage, home or business.

Firexo 500ml All-Fires Extinguisher – suitable for all vehicles

  • Every class of fire

Designed to be portable, this option can easily be stored in a glove box or toolbox and should be an essential part of your vehicle, camping or caravan equipment.

Caravanning and motorhome fire safety tips

A caravan or motorhome is essentially a home away from home. They’re packed with lots of amenities and technology, but that means there are also more potential fire hazards. Here are some more fire safety tips you need to be aware of:

  • Safety essential: They may not be legal requirements, but fire extinguishers are a must-have safety essential for any caravan or motorhome.
  • Checks and replacement: Fire extinguishers must be checked at regular intervals in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Typical lifespans for extinguishers are 3 to 5 years.
  • Fire extinguisher position: Ensure the extinguisher is positioned in a bracket near the door, but not too close to cooking appliances (these are often the cause of fires and could make the extinguisher impossible to reach).
  • Using an extinguisher: Make sure you know how to use the extinguisher – you need to be confident doing so in an emergency.
  • Smoke alarm: A smoke alarm is essential, and any new or second-hand caravans bought from National Caravan Club (NCC) approved dealers must come with one. However, private dealers do not have to fit these so you may need to buy one separately. Make sure any alarm meets the appropriate British Standard (BS 5446 Part 1, EN 54-7). Alarms with ‘hush buttons’ are a good option as this allows you to desensitise them while you’re cooking (as caravans are small spaces, cooking is more likely to trigger the alarm). Once installed, test the alarm regularly to make sure it works.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms: Although not a preventative measure against fires, carbon monoxide alarms are also important. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that can be deadly and can be emitted from cooking appliances. Therefore, place the alarm near any cooking appliances but not directly above them.
  • Fire-resistant upholstery: New touring caravans must use flame-retardant foam in the upholstery, and you should consider upgrading to flame-retardant materials if you own an older caravan or motorhome.
  • Caravan spacing: For additional safety, make sure your caravan or motorhome is appropriately spaced from other vehicles. On Caravan and Motorhome Club sites, this must be 6 metres from other caravans and 3 metres between other equipment such as cars. Even when not visiting one of these sites, it’s best to stick to these distances.
  • Risk assessments: Like in a house, there are many potential causes of fires in a caravan or motorhome. Therefore, you should carry out a fire risk assessment and correct any issues.

Fire extinguishers are an essential piece of safety equipment for vehicles, and you can find our full range here.

Don’t forget, you should only attempt to tackle a fire if everyone is safely out of the vehicle, and you’re confident it is safe to do so.

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