שריפה. אילוסטרציה
שריפה. אילוסטרציה צילום: iStock

A car fire is often caused by faulty wiring. The reason may also be deliberate arson, installation of additional non-standard equipment, or smoking in the car. Whatever the reason, a fire causes significant damage to a vehicle, which raises the question: is it possible to restore a car that caught fire? In this article, we will consider situations when the car can be restored, and when it is better to sell your fire-damaged car.

Assessment of the condition and diagnostics of the fire-damaged car

Damage assessment of the car after a fire is carried out by experts of the service station, who carefully inspect the car, revealing the degree of damage. Having determined the damaged parts, the direction of work is established, a list of materials necessary for repair is compiled, and their cost is calculated.

When repairing a car on your own, you need to use drawings, technical documentation, training literature, and video materials.

Fire damages a large number of components and elements of the car. Restoring a car after a fire is a complex and costly process in every sense, consisting of many stages. Let’s consider some of them.

Car dismantling.

First of all, complete disassembly of the car is carried out. Bumpers, hood, doors, and windows are sequentially removed from it. This stage allows you to fully check the vehicle and identify which parts are damaged and which survived.

Body cleaning.

The body of the car is made of metal, so as a result of a fire, it receives the least damage in the form of burnt paint. To avoid further decay, it is removed from surfaces using abrasive materials and chemicals. After cleaning the body, you can evaluate whether a complete painting is required or whether restoration of color in certain areas is enough.

Replacement or restoration of body elements.

With the help of welding, they restore or change body elements. The choice of method depends on the material of the parts.

Metal welding is usually performed by the electrode method. For aluminum, only argon welding is used, since other options lead to the oxidation of the element. The argon method needs professionalism, high-quality equipment, and materials. If you do it yourself, you can learn the welding technique from manuals and videos. Details without serious damage are restored by local repair.

Frame restoration.

Cars with a frame structure of the body after a fire require the restoration of the frame. This is the basis of the body, to which the remaining modules are attached.

To detect defects in the form of microcracks and deformation damage, sandblasting is used. Then the frame dimensions are checked against the factory data. Often mechanical defects are discovered after an accident, but there is also corrosion and metal fatigue caused by fire.

Repair of components and assemblies.

Repair of damaged components and modules of the car is carried out, including the engine, transmission, brake system, etc.

When repairing an electric motor, special attention should be paid to the health of the winding, which ensures a continuous and uniform supply of current from the starter to the rest of the motor. To check the engine in the absence of a battery, you can use an autonomous starting device.

Wiring replacement.

An important stage in the restoration of a car is the replacement of wiring. The wiring itself, the instrument panel, and the entire electrical system are subject to updating. It is worth replacing even the surviving parts because after a fire they exude the smell of burnt synthetics and composites. Replacing wiring is a complex type of installation and requires professional skills.

Painting work.

After the repair of the elements, the machine is subjected to painting and protective polishing.

Salon restoration.

Having brought the external surfaces of the body back to their former state, the interior is restored: the upholstery is replaced, glass is installed with the replacement of seals, and the seats are dismantled. Usually, professionals combine this process with the replacement of wiring.

At this stage, the necessary car accessories and components damaged by fire are purchased: car compressors, pumps, fire extinguishers, etc.

Do not try to wash the interior from traces of a fire on your own, only dry cleaning can cope with stains and eliminate the smell of burning.

The feasibility of restoring a car.

Restoration of a fire-damaged car is carried out taking into account its expediency. Repair costs should not be higher than the price of the car. The main damage to cars exposed to fire is corrosion. It leads to the unusability of most body components. Therefore, fire-damaged cars are classified as “non-repairable”, and only rare models require restoration.

Repair and restoration of a car after a fire require a lot of financial costs, time costs, and professional skills.

Restoring a car after a fire in the engine compartment is impractical. Restoration in this case will consist of 90% repair work. At best, the rear of the car and a small part of the cabin will remain intact. Then, using dry cleaning to remove the smell, the surviving elements of the vehicle can be put up for sale or used as spare parts.

Restoring a car after a fire is rarely worthwhile. But if the fire was eliminated at an early stage, and the equipment was partially affected by the fire, then you can achieve positive results and return the previous look to your favorite car.

Final thoughts

In almost all cases, if a car catches fire, it all ends sadly: the wiring is all melted, the interior is filled with smoke, and the body is charred. Restoring a car after a fire is rarely worthwhile. However, if serviceable fire extinguishers were at hand and the flame was actually extinguished in the bud, then the chances of restoring the car are high. In other cases, if the car burned down partially, then it is possible to restore it and generally achieve a positive result, returning it to its original appearance, but this can cost the owner a tidy sum.

In this case, if the question is whether to restore the car after a fire or not, it is necessary to commensurate the cost of restoring the car with the result obtained from the restoration. Many owners of fire-damaged cars, having made the calculations, still prefer to sell them or sell what is left of them. If you decide to sell your fire-damaged, then contact JunkCarsUs. The company is a leading junk car buyer in the USA, so if you want to get rid of your unwanted car with JunkCarsUs you can do it quickly and easily.