By Igono Joseph Okeme
It is almost common to see vehicles going up in flames in Nigeria. It is really a helpless sight to behold. The occupants, if lucky, escape the raging infernos and some, who are not too really lucky, get killed as a result of various degrees of burns sustained in such incidents.
On one instance, when I was returning from one of the holy ghost services at the Redemption Camp early in the morning some months ago (I’m not by all means trying to be a religious PR here), I suddenly saw a Corolla ’08 in flames on the road. The owner of the car was nowhere to be found. Maybe he had gone to look for ‘water’ to fight the fire. Note of caution please; don’t use ordinary water to fight an inferno. That accelerates the fire because fuel is denser than water.
That day, before 8:00am, the car was totally burnt to ashes.
You could imagine environmental, economic, and psychological impacts that incident must have caused the owner, and the environment.
What would have happened, if other adjacent cars caught fire? Imagine the ripple effect of that for a minute.
Incidences like these occur in Lagos, especially areas where vehicles are at close proximity with each other.
WHAT CAUSES SUCH CASES?
For a fire to start, there must be the presence of AIR, FUEL, and a HEAT SOURCE.
There are lots of causes of car fire incidents.
The most common ones are:
- Fuel (petrol). Leaks along fuel lines pose a dangerous threat to safety here.
Cars with a leaky injector nozzle system seals can allow tiny droplets of fuel drop on hot spots on an engine, or exhaust system, thereby leading to a fire. These seals are usually weak, when they are exposed to tremendous heat from the engine, and the atmospheric temperature of the environment. Normally at 60,000miles, such seals lose their sealing properties, and create fire risks.
- Electrical issues. When you open up the hood of your car, you see bunch of wire harnesses, connectors, etc, acting as a conduit for the flow of current to various components of the car.
If any of these wiring harnesses has a SHORT CIRCUITS problem, the flow of current would be limited, at the load, leading to the current traveling to an undesignated route. This route could be the body of the car, which acts as a ground. This undesired current flow that has found a new path, could trigger a fire. If for instance there’s already a source of fuel provided it by a leaky fuel system component. Bu!!! you hear. Suddenly there’s a fire raging.
- Exhaust system. All internal combustion engine applications work through lots of friction and stress in order to produce the motion for the movement you and I enjoy when we drive our SUVs, or in a “danfo bus”. But have you ever thought that those applications could go through temperatures of up to 2000C? With this kind of extreme temperature, coupled with outside temperature, that might be in the range of 30-40C, what do you expect your engine to do? A clogged catalytic converter would generate even more extreme temperatures that could instantly lead to a fire. Even car owners look for an escape route when faced with the heat from traffic logjam on the road and work stress. You escape that by putting on your car’s AC system to take away that heat in exchange for a clean cool air. Isn’t it? OK. Same thing happens to your engine. This extreme temperature is exited through the exhaust system of the car, and straight to the environment.
Now, how does that exhaust system looks like?
Fuel system routed close to exhaust systems are at risks of causing car fires.
Manufacturers, over the years, have routed fuel lines away from exhaust systems, and even shielded the exhaust systems with shield materials to protect excess heat from setting off fires. Some fuel system lines also use heat shields, to help reduce the risks of fires.
- Oil spills. Engine oils and automatic transmission fluids spill on engine components like the transmission system, cylinder heads, exhaust system manifold, rotating driven solid shafts, and on engine chassis, etc can cause car fires.
The reason being as these spills gradually builds up into a sludge on those components, they trap dirt made of combustibles, making them susceptible to generating heat and smoke, and then results into a fire while driving.
HOW TO PREVENT CAR FIRES
The most effective way to prevent car fires are:
- Carry out preventive maintenance checks on all fuel, exhaust, and electrical systems at every oil change. These checks would help you determine their integrity, and eventually point out potential problem areas before they occur.
- Ensure all maintenance/repairs carried out on the car’s fire prone systems, such as the fuel, exhaust, and electrical systems are properly done.
Proper laid down procedures regarding repairs and safety must be strictly adhered to. Do not allow your mechanics to tell you, “Oga. It doesn’t matter to put on an exhaust heat shield, or let’s manage the fuel line clips. It won’t do anything”. If you currently have a mechanic like that as your mechanic, you have to run brother!
- Carry out steam washing of the engine bay monthly, or so. That would reduce the accumulation of oil spill build up on the engine area.
If you’re scared of allowing your engine to be steam washed, you could hand wash it.
***use solvents such as petrol, or diesel fuel, to help remove oil spills, and apply a soapy solution to wash the affected parts mildly.
NB: Ensure the cars ECU (commonly called brainbox), and ignition control modules are protected from water sprays because they could foul the system and cause you tremendous money fixing them.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR CAR CATCHES FIRE
Well, I know some of us are so religious when it comes to predictive maintenance and stuffs like that. But I think it is cool for you to have some tips on your hand just in case, perhaps, your neighbour’s car catches fire, this is what you should do.
- If you notice smoke billowing out of the car while driving, pull over off the road to a safe place and park.
Don’t open the hood because there’s the risk the fire could spread further because opening up the hood creates more oxygen intake for the car and that accelerates the fire.
- Get out of the car as soon as possible If you can.
Do not attempt to return back to the car to rescue your laptop, galaxy note 7, and even your jewellery. I think it is better you’re alive than die in that fire; doesn’t make sense to me though. But maybe that’s not my business.
- Disconnect the power source if you can. Some cars like Benz, BMW, Renaults don’t have their batteries located at the front. They’re at the rear or at the front passenger seat. Be bold enough to disconnect the positive terminal in order to cut the current supply to the electrical systems.
- If you’re courageous enough, fight the fight with a recommended fire extinguisher class type recommended by your safety agency (FRSC); it could be a class B, or C, depending on the specifications recommended.
- Call the fire service immediately if you’ve got no guts to stand against a fire.
Car inferno don’t just start like that.
And even if they do, take preventive maintenance checks very seriously. Try monitoring the kinds of jobs and the safety/repair procedures your car mechanic employ fixing your precious car. If you don’t, someday, you might just laugh-cry.
Hope this piece has enlightened someone on this platform.
Autochek Begins Loan Services for Brand New Cars, Trucks
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
As part of its efforts to deepen mobility, the leading auto tech platform, Autochek Africa, has launched a loan services platform to allow users to get the credit facility to acquire brand new vehicles.
A statement issued by the firm said users can access the loans for the purchase of the new cars and trucks through a dedicated brand new cars section on the Autochek website and mobile app.
It was stated that through this digital financing package, customers can make repayments in 60 months at the lowest interest rates in the market from regional partners such as Ecobank and NCBA with a zero per cent equity loan product and Access Bank and Stanbic KE with unique financing solutions tailored specially for brand new vehicles with up to 90 per cent financing.
On the Autochek auto loan services platform, customers in East and West Africa can access a variety of financing options to purchase new cars and trucks from reputable manufacturers.
So far, the platform has on-boarded a network of financing partners and over 30 vehicle brands from OEMs, including key regional players like Inchape (LandRover) and CMC (Ford and Eicher Trucks) in East Africa and Dana (Kia), Coscharis (BMW, Landrover), Globe (Mercedes Benz), Elizade (Toyota) in West Africa.
Autochek is also working closely with indigenous manufacturers such as Innosson Motors and Nord Motors.
As part of the investment by Mobility54, Autochek has also partnered with CFAO (Toyota, Suzuki, Mitsubishi) across Africa to facilitate auto financing for all CFAO brands.
“We are excited to partner with financiers and the automotive industry to provide this facility. It is in response to customer feedback to democratise the purchase of brand-new cars through great and affordable financing options.
“It is complemented by Autochek Africa’s residual value analysis tool that can guide financial partners on the condition of the vehicle over time,” Autochek Africa’s COO, Timi Tope Ologunoye said.
The Autochek auto loan services platform offers a variety of financing options from over 70 banks, with attractive terms that include a 15 per cent interest rate and is repayable for a period of between four and five years. The loans are also processed within 24 hours.
Timi added that financing for new cars is part of the company’s vision to unlock a new frontier of automotive fintech and cement its position as the most innovative auto loan platform in the region.
Whereas customers are assured of a good deal for brand new cars and attractive interest rates, distributors also get pre-approved prospective buyers.
According to research, the African automotive estimated market size is currently valued at $90 billion in 2020, and this is expected to grow by 30 per cent largely driven by an increase in financing penetration at 10 per cent year-on-year.
Due to the impact of COVID last year, there was a decline in overall sales of new cars due to restrictions on production but is fast regaining momentum as economic activities resume.
Autochek’s SVP West Africa, Dr Mayokun Fadeyibi said: “We are on a mission to accelerate motorization across Africa by providing financing for brand new and used imports for our customers.”
With shifting consumer demands, the Autochek platform is building on partnerships opportunities with automotive manufacturers and financiers, to innovatively provide a more agile, tech-led approach to deliver options.
The company plans to extend its brand-new automobile portfolio through multiple carrier partners within the Autochek platform by the end of the year, with the goal of launching over 300 new cars listed across all markets.
The Autochek mobile app is currently available on Android and is due to be launched soon on iOS.
ABC Transport to Raise N394.5m from Shareholders
By Dipo Olowookere
One of the major players in the transportation industry in Nigeria, ABC Transport Plc, is looking to raise fresh capital, about N394.5 million, from its shareholders.
The company is seeking funds from investors through the sale of shares of the organisation and this is by a rights issue.
Already, it has submitted an application to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited for approval to list when eventually issued to qualifying shareholders.
A notice from the exchange disclosed that the application was filed by the stockbroker of ABC Transport, FSL Securities Limited.
The firm intends to sell over a billion units of its equities at 35 kobo each on the basis of 68 new shares for every 100 shares held by investors, with the qualification date at November 30, 2021.
“Trading license holders are hereby notified that ABC Transport Plc has through its stockbroker, FSL Securities Limited, submitted an application to Nigerian Exchange Limited for the approval and listing of a rights issue of one billion, one hundred and twenty-seven million, two hundred and thirty-six thousand (1,127,236,000) ordinary shares of 50 Kobo each at 35 kobo per share, on the basis of 68 new ordinary shares for every 100 ordinary shares held.
“The qualification date for the rights issue was Tuesday, November 30, 2021,” the disclosure from the exchange stated.
ABC Transport, which commenced operation in road passenger transportation on February 13, 1993, as an off-shoot of Rapido Ventures, operates luxury bus services across the country and also outside the country.
The company has recorded remarkable achievements in the transportation sector, resulting in various awards, including the Best Transporter in Nigeria by the Chartered Institute of Transport, Nigeria.
In March 2003, Capital Alliance Private Equity (CAPE) acquired 30 per cent shares of ABC Transport, a deal which re-positioned the company for greater performance.
Business Post reports that last week, on the floor of the local exchange, the shares of ABC Transport appreciated week-on-week by 3.03 per cent to 34 kobo per unit as against the preceding week’s value of 33 kobo per unit.
Ibadan Tanker Explosion: OYRTMA Issues Traffic Advisory
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Oyo State Road Transport Management Authority (OYRTMA) has advised road users to use alternative routes, while its men and other relevant agencies strive to return normalcy to the route.
This traffic advisory became necessary following an explosion of a petrol-laden tanker along the Agodi area in Ibadan, the state capital.
The Chairman of OYRTMA, Mr Akin Fagbemi, in a statement on Friday, stated that efforts were being made to bring the situation under control.
He stated that “the incident, which resulted to the slagging of powered electric poles and cables dangling across the road, portends danger to motorists plying the route hence, in the interim, the authority has barricaded the way from Total-Garden to Agodi-Gate, Ibadan to enable safety officials of relevant government agencies evacuate the affected vehicles and restore normalcy.”
“Motorists are advised to navigate towards the State Secretariat at the Total-Garden Round-about to link the Government Road towards the Kola Daisi Civic Center inwards Agodi-Gate to Iwo-Road,” he disclosed.
“Alternatively, Motorists could opt for the Premier Hotel road to link the State Secretariat and move as above.
“From Beere to Iwo-Road Motorists are advised to take the Oje-Market to link Agodi-Gate inwards Iwo-Road.
“Another alternative is for motorists to move from the State Secretariat and navigate Ikolaba via the Nigerian Customs Zonal Hq. to get to Iwo-Road, Ibadan,” he further stated.
The agency beseeched commuters to drive carefully around the affected area as its men and officers are working concertedly with relevant agencies to restore normalcy in the shortest time possible.
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