You might not think that carrying a fire extinguisher in your car is necessary, but it’s definitely a smart decision. Fires can start on almost any vehicle, and it takes very little for it to happen (parking over dry grass after driving for a little while can be all it takes). By having a fire extinguisher in your car, you protect yourself, your passengers and your vehicle.

When considering the right fire extinguisher for you, you’ll need to consider a few things. Size is definitely one of them, but you’ll also need to consider weight, type, body material and more. Here are some tips for choosing a good fire extinguisher:

  • Size and Weight: Car fire extinguishers need to be compact. You should be easily able to store it in your car within reach, without taking away from your limited cargo or seating capacity. It should also be relatively lightweight. Most drivers find a two-pound cylindrical extinguisher is the best choice.

  • Body Material: The fire extinguisher’s body material needs to be strong enough for durability and to restrain interior pressure. The problem is that some materials (steel, for instance) are very heavy. Lightweight aluminum is a better choice for automotive situations.

  • Storage Features: Look for an automotive fire extinguisher that offers storage features, such as clips that let you mount it under a back seat, or in the trunk easily. Make sure the clip/mounting system is strong and durable, too.

  • Type: Not all fire extinguishers should be used in a car. Make sure that the suppressant in the extinguisher is rated for gasoline and/or electrical fires. This is Class B:C. Note that Class A, D and K are not appropriate choices.

Ensuring that you have a (filled) fire extinguisher in your car is an important safety consideration.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Good Quality Fire Extinguisher and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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