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Old 17th February 2017, 15:49   #31
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

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Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
Please forgive me for playing the devil's advocate here, but...

(eg. rats eating the wiring causing a short circuit).
Is this even possible ? Can a car battery have enough juice to burn solid metal and heat resistant plastic to gummy tar ?

In my limited knowledge, even if the battery goes up in flame it will not cause so much damage that we have witnessed in this unfortunate car.

Something is really really fishy. Is it possible that they mag alloy used to make engine block was defective and heat from it (fueled by magnesium) just burned things through ? In this case the whole block would have blown on the face of people dousing flames since even Fire fighters sit this one out and allow it to burn through instead of watering it down.

Feeling sorry for car owner, just heartbreaking to see the pics.
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Old 17th February 2017, 17:17   #32
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

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Originally Posted by Epic View Post
Yes there possibly have been rare cases of VW cars going up in flames but definitely not as much as the Tata Nanos that were notoriously known for catching fire.
Also, one must also take into account the cause of the fire; was it due to a manufacturing defect or carelessness of the owner/driver.
Any car going up in flames is an unfortunate incident. Be it Nano or Jetta.
Yes, its too early for coming at conclusion, and I concur with what you have mentioned in this regard.

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Originally Posted by Tanveer_2558 View Post
Yes RAT chewing up wiring's cannot be ruled out, Its really sad to see the car in this state and more over how you must be feeling right now, I really hope VW comes up with a solution to your favour asap, Do keep us posted.
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Originally Posted by rohiT Nonu View Post
The real culprit has to be identified by volkswagen and this has to be addressed by them even though there has been a rodent mischief under the hood. Now atleast the volkswagen and all automotive companies shall inculcate a rodent resistant harnesses in their machines.

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Until a proper forensic analysis is conducted, we won't know much about the cause of the fire. VW will surely conduct it, but whether they share the report with you or not is doubtful.

My first guess upon seeing your post was wiring damage from rodents. It's either that, or related to the many recalls VW has conducted internationally. However, because it happened in the morning (rats attack cars at night only), I think it's the former.

For a change, I think that VW has handled the matter well.
First of all, the fire happened when the car was warm after a drive, and it happened when the car was parked. Wonder how can the fire originate. I do understand the fact that electricals of any modern car wont be completely off till battery is disconnected, but would there be enough current in all circuits leading a fire igniting in engine bay ?
In case of short-circuit, wont the fuse first get blown and cause the circuit to break ?

Also, if rat chewed some wire, should it not give some check light/indicator on instrument cluster ? And shall it not have operational error on one or the other accessories /parts of the car ?

VW history is not all rosy, we are aware of DSG's reliability cases which are still not extinct. India didn't see a recall, and with such experiences, I wont be giving benefit of doubt to VW.
However, lets hope for a fair investigation from VW.

Last edited by aaggoswami : 17th February 2017 at 17:24.
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Old 17th February 2017, 19:41   #33
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

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Originally Posted by ithack View Post
My car, a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta Highline 2.0AT had on 8:30 am Wednesday, 1st February 2017 caught fire when parked at my office in Cochin
Feel sad to read this. Irrespective of its age, a car is never supposed to catch fire on its own.
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I was informed by the neighbor's watchman, who was in a frantic and tensed state, that fumes were arising from under the bonnet of my car. On stepping outside the office, I was shocked and stunned to see dark fumes arising and also a burning fire under the bonnet, as visible from the sides through the tires.
Have you thought about the possibility of arson/ sabotage? Please check the CC camera footage from the time you parked the car till your arrival at the scene of mishap.
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It took a 45 min effort, during which the entire neighborhood stepped in, to douse the flames using buckets of water and garden hoses.
Using water to douse the fire might have wrecked havoc with even the electricals that might have survived the fire.
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My shock and surprise about this incident is difficult to put into words. I shudder to think as to what would have happened, if I was in the car and the ignition turned on. The car's fuel tank was 75% full.
You were indeed lucky. Had you been in the car, the loss would have been monumental. The loss of you car can be compensated for. But life?
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Today marks 15 days from the incident. Numerous emails have passed between me and Volkswagen Group Sales India with respect to this matter, to date. All I get is a funny sounding call center person reading to me from some script in response.
Not really surprising, given VW's service reputation in India. They must be feeling jealous of the negative press Skoda has extensively garnered and might be itching to overtake them.
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In the interim, Volkswagen Ernakulam KTC Cars has raised an estimate of over Rs. 30 lakhs for repairing the car! The on-road price of the car at the time of purchase was only Rs. 25 lakhs.
We must realise that a car is never a sum of its parts. With the passage of eighteen months since the date of purchase, cost escalation, inflation, labour charges and assorted taxes, the estimate appears not too far fetched. But having read two recent threads on Mercedes and Skoda taking their customers for a ride, I may be completely off the mark here.
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Nobody has any answers.
Allow me to cross post from ach1lles' Hyundai Tucson ownership thread.
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The service head of the dealership, as well as the sales head need to visit the owner's home with prior appointment on 15 days, 6 months and 18 months after purchase of the car. I infact told the guys to not bother, specially for the first visit after just 15 days, but they were adamant. Apparently they need to send pictorial proof to Hyundai of the visit. Honestly, I've found Hyundai's service excellent even with my 6 year old i20.
Need I say more.
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I write this here today as a dismayed, disgruntled and distressed customer. The purpose of writing this is 'caveat emptor' i.e. let the buyer beware. Being one of the first Latin terms I was taught when I took up law, the same has always stuck with me. But today, it seems I wasn't aware enough.
You seem to be a practioner of law. Never despair. Wait for a few more days. Let us find out the actual reason of the fire. If VW is indeed the culprit, you can always sue them.
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Old 17th February 2017, 23:32   #34
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In order for a fire to happen you need something akin to a spark, but you also need something that will actually continue to burn after ignited. Even if you have a significant short I m not sure that will lead to a real fire unless a fuel line or similar gets damaged too. If a car or rather engine is hot, fuel leaking on say an exhaust manifold can ignite and start a fire too.

My limited experience with fires in and around engine says its usually caused by some sort of fuel leak. The fuel subsequently got ignited by a spark or via heat.

Petrol is much, much more likely to ignite and burn then diesel.

Jeroen
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Old 18th February 2017, 00:12   #35
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Just to clear a couple of things, The amount of damage a rat can do is totally under estimated by many people, For instance a error light would pop up if something is damaged! Well it happened with me when one fine morning i started my jetta and outside temperature was shown as "--", I was like maybe the sensor has gone kaput, I drove the car for 2-3 hours and everything worked fine and then suddenly the AC stopped working, And after half an hour the check engine light came up, What was the most shocking thing? I popped the hood and saw a big fat rat jumping out and running away! He was inside the car all this time, This isn't even the first instance with me, Even during my 1st XUV i spotted a rat leaving my car when my car was been taken on a flat bed, The car was in working condition only the error lights popped up, Rats can literally stay in the bonnet and you would never know.

For this incident this is just an option that may have happened, Lets wait out for a proper report from the VW and see what do they say, In short all i mean to say is Rats can cause major major harm to the car, Also never underestimate how much the rats can chew inside an engine bay.
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Old 18th February 2017, 02:44   #36
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Does insurance cover cars catching fire by themselves? If yes then insurers have a threshold percentage for repair estimate beyond which they will declare a car 'totalled'. Not sure but I think that threshold is ~80% of insured value. The least you should try to do if VW fail to provide any remedy is to get the car declared total loss and collect on your insurance money.
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Old 18th February 2017, 03:14   #37
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Bhpians,
The owner of the car/OP has given details about a 2 week + old situation and used the forum to give a very restricted view of the situation; and has not come back to respond to any of the questions raised by those playing devil's advocate (or the devil himself).

We do not know what has transpired between the OP, insurance, dealership folks and VW engineers; or what could have been the cause of the fire; mechanical failure or something that the OP might be responsible (or force majeure).

It's been more than 24 hours, one OP post with limited information, and already we have 3 pages and 30+ posts deliberating on the ifs and buts.

Let's take a break; wait for the OP to share more details. I don't see a single post offering any (realistic) support/help to the OP so far; so I'm guessing there isn't anything we can do at this point of time.


P.s. I'm not doubting the OP. But there has to be more information to be shared before anyone can start drawing conclusions / inferences.

Last edited by ninjatalli : 18th February 2017 at 03:16.
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Old 19th February 2017, 05:12   #38
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

I suggest you drop a mail to VW Germany as well as post the pics on social media and also make some Tweets.

Public embarrassment will get things moving quicker, I hope.

Sorry for your loss. Just one consolation, nobody was hurt.
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Old 19th February 2017, 11:06   #39
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

After the post here and on Facebook, VW Group Sales India has finally responded.

Due to the apparent non-availability of equivalent cars in this city, they have agreed to compensate me for my daily travel, subject to me raising an invoice against their local dealer.

The inspection has been completed and the car is now lying in the scrap area of the dealer. Practically each and every component in the engine compartment, or rather whatever was left of it, has been removed and inspected. I have not been told of their conclusions, and from what I understand, neither has the dealer. The have now requested for 8-10 days for them to prepare a report, discuss among themselves, then Germany, and finally get back to me as to the course of action they intend to take.

Going public surely seems to have invoked a fast response. Shall update again once they respond. I'm sorry I couldn't reply earlier; was having a busy week at work.

A few pics of the present situation follow
Attached Thumbnails
My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!-img_2780.jpg  

My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!-img_2830.jpg  

My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!-img_2832.jpg  


Last edited by Rehaan : 21st February 2017 at 13:34. Reason: Rotating pic :)
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Old 20th February 2017, 15:34   #40
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
In order for a fire to happen you need something akin to a spark, but you also need something that will actually continue to burn after ignited. Even if you have a significant short I m not sure that will lead to a real fire unless a fuel line or similar gets damaged too. If a car or rather engine is hot, fuel leaking on say an exhaust manifold can ignite and start a fire too.

My limited experience with fires in and around engine says its usually caused by some sort of fuel leak. The fuel subsequently got ignited by a spark or via heat.

Petrol is much, much more likely to ignite and burn then diesel.

Jeroen
Yes, absolutely and one possibility could be engine overheated due to coolant leak (or something else) As long as car was moving there was some airflow, but after parking there was no way to dissipate the heat so the temperature may have gone up further, thereby triggering the fire.

It would be interesting to check if the pistons got seized as well?
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Old 20th February 2017, 15:40   #41
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

The more i see the engine bay, why do i get the feeling that this was due to fuel leak and leading to fire. Seems to have started from the area where the fuel pipes are. Now was it a small leak triggered off by a hot engine part or was it electrical (low chance) is a guess for now. Hope VW shares a detailed report soon.
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Old 20th February 2017, 19:45   #42
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Post re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

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Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
The more i see the engine bay, why do i get the feeling that this was due to fuel leak and leading to fire. Seems to have started from the area where the fuel pipes are. Now was it a small leak triggered off by a hot engine part or was it electrical (low chance) is a guess for now. Hope VW shares a detailed report soon.
For a fire to Burn this hot, this intensively, and for so long, strongly points to the fact that the materials that VW used in the engine bay are highly flammable and easily combustible.
Remember reading somewhere about the firewall insulation materials to be highly combustible, not to mention the various plastic parts, belts and fluids!

the images attached(3rd page, 2nd and 3rd image) show that the fire burnt so intensively and at such a high temperature that the top of the, well can't really make it out, below the Strut mount(visible blue part in image) is completely deformed-presence of magnesium somewhere in the bay i presume!?

the third image sort of shows that the fire might have originated at the bottom of the bay and burnt around the engine and everything that was in the way, sides and the top was just collateral damage. do remember that coolant is highly flamable .

Quote:
Originally Posted by ithack View Post
............
My shock and surprise about this incident is difficult to put into words. I shudder to think as to what would have happened, if I was in the car and the ignition turned on. The car's fuel tank was 75% full. It is also shocking that a VW premium car, which is not even two years old, would simply burst into flames when idle.
.........
Considering the fact that the Jetta in your case is a diesel, it wouldn't add, dare i say it, more fuel to the fire.

Take any fuel for that matter, only the vapours combust, which is why petrol is as inflammable as it is. Diesel on the other hand, requires high temperature and pressure to combust. Which reminds me of this experiment which was conducted with two barrels filled with petrol and diesel respectively. A lit match was thrown into each and the diesel didn't ignite. This is because petrol vaporises at room temperature while diesel vaporises at a much higher temperature.

Also, its safer for a car to ignite on a full tank of fuel rather than a dead empty tank. what happens when a tank is full is that theres very little vapours present and no space for the fuel or the vapours to expand, this in turn causes the metal (fuel tank) to flex, to a break at a point rather than exploding. An empty tank on the other hand however is filled completely with vapours(which is what combusts). On extreme heating of the metal, the vapour expands so much in volume that the fuel tank well, explodes. Imagine two glasses (made of actual glass, not stainless steel tumblers) one full of water or some liquid and the other empty, when both of them are dropped, the one filled with water breaks, while the empty one shatters all over the place.(Not the best of analogies, but should drive home the point)

Last edited by One:1 : 20th February 2017 at 19:48.
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Old 21st February 2017, 13:37   #43
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

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Originally Posted by prithm View Post
Is this even possible ? Can a car battery have enough juice to burn solid metal and heat resistant plastic to gummy tar ?
Yes, absolutely! They hold so much current that you can even weld with them.

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Question: Is it safe to start a fire with a car battery?
I was watching a show the other day, and they used a car battery to start a fire. It seemed like a good way to get a fire started in an emergency if there was something else wrong with your car, but I was wondering if itís actually safe. Is shorting out a car battery to create sparks and start a fire actually safe, or would it be better to use a different method, even in an emergency situation?


Answer:
Starting a fire by shorting out a car battery has been done on a number of reality shows, and while it does work if you have appropriate tinder available, there are a number of safety concerns that you need to be aware of. Since car batteries can explode under the right circumstances, itís absolutely imperative to take the necessary measures to avoid creating those circumstances. There are also a handful of ways to start a fire using your car battery that donít involve a direct short and a lot of other ways to start a fire in a survival situation that don't involve your battery at all..

Source
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Old 21st February 2017, 14:22   #44
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

A 60AH battery has a lot of power and with a rough calculation, it can drive a 100 watt bulb/appliance for around 6 hours. In case of short circuit and fuse not blowing up, causing a fire is not a big deal.

If you have even seen somebody short circuiting a battery with not so thick wires, you would have seen the wire insulation burning away in seconds due to heat generated.

Formula to calculate run-time from 60ah battery: 10 x (60 Ah) / (100W) = 6 hours
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Old 21st February 2017, 14:25   #45
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Sad. Cars should not catch fire. Not today. You'd think that poorly engineered cars that were sold in the 80's had a higher chance of going up in flames. They did not, atleast not at the rate I hear of a car going up in flames today.

Below is a photograph of my 5 year old son standing next to a JNNURM funded Volvo low floor bus parked at Palakkad bus stand. To his left, you find a little box that reads Fire Suppression System and that is for the engine. Volvo and many other heavy vehicle manufacturers adopted this system after several engine fires were reported not just in India but globally. Ashok Leyland are on board too. Volvo never got to the cause of the fires as like the case being reported here, almost everything was gutted. There was nothing left to investigate. I am beginning to wonder if such a system needs to be implemented for cars. Sure; you don't have a lot of room to do all the plumbing. If you ask me, I want my family to be safe versus getting locked up and choking on fumes.

The requirement for a Fire Suppression system, was a norm set by JNNURM, for buses that were procured under this scheme. For once, someone at the government level was thinking about passenger safety.
My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!-img_5414.jpg

Here is an interesting article on how the Fire Suppression System came about and its importance in our market. I have not fully understood what they mean by "Special conditions at the Indian market". Whatever it is, it is a solution that works. Putting out a fire in less than 2 seconds is an achievement and will help investigate the cause of it.
http://www.dafo.se/globalassets/docu...cle-motorindia

Last edited by sandeepmohan : 21st February 2017 at 14:35.
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