My 1-month-old Honda City catches fire, is destroyed

The engine bay of my car was aflame. It took 10-15 minutes of rigorous effort to put the fire out.

Thanks to Saket Saurabh for sending this in. Heartfelt gratitude for sharing it with other enthusiasts via this Team-BHP share page!

Dear Team-BHP,

My name is Saket Saurabh and I own a Honda City Car (4th Generation V MT Petrol Pearl White Colour). We had purchased this car from Magnum Honda, Kanakpura Road, Bangalore. The car was registered on 24th September 2021 and we took the delivery on 26th September 2021.

We got the car serviced (first service) at Magnum Honda, Kanakpura Road Branch on 24th October 2021.

We decided to go for a small holiday over the weekend to Chikmagalur in Karnataka which is around 280 km away from our home.

Here is a summary of the traumatic incident which happened with us.

My wife and I decided to travel on a small holiday to Chikmagalur (a hill station in Karnataka). We left our Bangalore home at around 8.15 am on 5th November 2021 for Greenwood Resort, Chikmagalur. We reached the resort at around 3.30 pm the same day and parked our car in the resort. The resort is located around 25 km from the city centre on the hills.

The next day on 6th November, we took our car sightseeing at around 10.30 am. After visiting a couple of places, we reached the resort back at 4.30 pm and parked our car in the resort. We would have driven the car around 60 km on 6th November including stops.

Subsequently, at around 10.30 pm, we heard a loud commotion happening downstairs from our room. As we came out of our room we could hear noises from downstairs of people shouting and smoke coming out. Fearing that some fire had caught downstairs we rushed towards the area where our car was parked to leave the resort immediately.

As soon as we reached our car, we were horrified to see that our car’s engine bay had caught fire by itself. Due to the smell of smoke coming out from our parked car engine the hotel staff had already rushed to get a fire extinguisher. Immediately the engine bay started glaring with fire and the extinguisher couldn’t control it.

Till that time we, the entire hotel staff and guests had arrived near the car and looking at increasing flames of fire they brought in water pipes and started to throw water on the fire. It took around 15-20 minutes of rigorous effort from all of us to put down the fire.

Both my wife and I were shocked beyond belief on that scene of our new, first and “world proclaimed safest car” from Honda to just catch fire in front of our eyes and collapse.

We had done all possible and available research, read all reviews before purchasing Honda city. We had purchased this car with our hard-earned money and with the sole purpose to provide a safe and comfortable means of transport to our family.

This was the first car we purchased together after investing a good part of our savings and our time in so much research. Seeing a parked car burning in front of our eyes has shocked us.

It’s been 6 days since the incident and we are still waiting for an answer from Honda.

We have a few questions that we would want to ask India and the global Honda team:

  • How a parked car, Honda City, which is 40 days old, 1st servicing done just 12 days back can catch fire on its own?
  • What if my wife and I would have been in the car or we were driving (the two of us went alone for the first time for a weekend holiday)?
  • I live in a building with underground parking - what if it had caught fire there? The entire building would have blasted?
  • I had taken all necessary insurance and RSA service as was suggested by our seller and still I have spent close to Rs 50,000 to get my car from Chikmagalur to Bangalore and I don’t know how much will I have to spend more.
  • Why is the Honda team so careless and unbothered that they didn’t even try to reach out to address this serious issue of safety and life risk of their customers even after 6 days of the accident?

The entire experience over the last 6 days, right from the fire incident to getting our car towed from the resort, has been very emotionally and financially draining. We had to even pay for towing despite having RSA purchased.

It’s our sincere request to you to please help us through your platform to demand answers from Honda on how a 40-day-old parked car can catch fire and the entire bay gets burned down.

I am attaching photos of the same. I cannot even imagine what would have happened if we were inside the car and something similar would have happened.

The car had barely run 1700 km and was also serviced a few days back.

We would be grateful if you can get this highlighted so that it reaches Honda management. We have also reached out to them but we have got no response on this from them.

Request your sincere consideration not only to help us reach out to the Honda team but also to create awareness about the risks of buying Honda cars.

Here's what BHPian vigsom had to say about the matter:

Sorry to hear of an almost new car having to suffer this fate. I fully empathize with the owner. I'm just presenting an argument based on whatever has been reported. It hopefully might help in knowing what caused the fire.

  • Based on the details provided, the car was driven to Chikmagalur twelve days after the car was serviced. The 7-hour drive was uneventful.
  • The car was fine on the night of 5th November and all of 6th November till approx. 10.30 pm. The incident has occurred just before 10.30 pm on 6th November, six hours after the car was parked for the day.
  • From the images, the right side of the car has borne the brunt of the fire (looking at the right ORVM, the right headlamp and the right portion of the grille). The fire has originated from inside the engine bay somewhere to the right side of the car.
  • The flame has impacted the hood and because it got deformed, the hood support frame got detached from the hood top.

There is no fuel line on the right side of the car. The only hot surface there in that portion is, IIRC the exhaust manifold, but then, even that would have gone to ambient temperature in 3 hours max (viz. 7.30 pm of 6th November).

If you can get the CCTV footage, it would throw more light on what has happened. It definitely cannot be a short circuit as most people happily report.

Here's what BHPian lsjey had to say about the matter:

Firstly, I'm sad about the fire accident. Glad to know that both you and your wife are safe. Please share if any third-party accessories were fitted in the car. RSA not coming to the aid is appalling. Was the RSA taken from Honda? Request you to share the details.

Assuming that no third-party accessories were fitted:

  • Escalate to Honda customer care. They usually transfer the case to a dealer, though, which is a sore point. But you have no choice in this matter.
  • Work with the Insurance company as well. I do hope that insurance from a Honda-approved company has been taken. This will make your experience a bit better.
  • This whole episode will be very stressful. One has to power through this phase. There is no other option.
  • Please document all communications with Honda and the dealership.
  • Inform the police and get a report from them on the accident. This will help with Insurance.

These are the points that I can think of. Experts can add in more.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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