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Highway Vehicle Fires

Can you imagine the above image being your vehicle and the sight seen coming out of the mall? Base camp alone or with your family or friends? How about bursting into flames while driving down the highway or locally?

There are more than 170,000 highway vehicle fires a year in the United States alone every year. That breaks down to a little more than 19 vehicle fires an hour and accounting for 1 in every 8 calls local fire departments across the nation answer every day.

Most fires begin with problems in the engine, transmission or even wheel areas while not excluding faulty or defective other parts. Trucks and passenger cars account for 83% of all highway vehicle fires according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Vehicle fires kill an average of seven people every week along with causing 1,300 additional injuries while being responsible for over $1B in property damage. Still think it can’t happen to you?

Our motivation for bringing this product awareness to you? Having seen a recent YouTuber in the overlanding community we’ve followed for some time now having to find out what the flashpoint of his JEEP JKU is while filming on location. Knowing that JEEP vehicle fires have been reported to have killed 75 people.

You can Google search vehicle fires to remain less discriminatory of specific brands and see so many people in our overlanding & off-road communities who’s vehicle’s end up charred like a plate of “Bark on a Pork Shoulder” meal. Being a part of a community of active adventurist at large both in industry and as a hobby all the while having the mindset of being prepared for the unknown. Having the right tools and skills & training to use them of course falls on you but we feel our job is to make sure we can make you aware of a product that is useful for preparation making them available.

Anything can happen at any time and any place and you just might be the hero, if not someone else’s. Having resources to handle a campfire that gets out of control, or a lit cigarette starting a fire considering the State of California and the West coast from Mexico to the Canadian border of B.C. is on fire right now - again..

A vehicle fire is extremely dangerous and poses many risks to health and safety causing additional concerns and hazards to firefighters let alone average road-side Jane or Joe. A lot of variables can alter a situation and or a situation can change in a second or two and become even more dangerous, especially while out on the trails. Smoke inhalation, dealing with a source of fuels, additional accelerant concerns, toxic chemicals that can kill you, and there is always the threat of an explosion when dealing with fuel tanks even under a small amount of pressure. Your vehicle is expendable, you're not!

The start of a fire or within the first couple moments at least may be a time when you can minimize damage and or save someone in need of a prepared individual from massive property damage, maybe even the loss of life.

What are some warning signs to check for?

- Oil or other fluid leaks under the vehicle

- Very loud sounds from the exhaust system

- Fuses that blow often or repeatedly

- A missing cap from the oil filter

- Broken or loose hoses

- Cracked or loose wiring, or wiring with exposed wire

- Rapid Changes in oil levels, engine temperatures, fuel levels

So how do you best approach a fire? First, we would have to post a disclaimer stating that if you smell smoke or see flames coming from your vehicle while you are driving, it's important to remain calm - but act quickly.

The National Fire Protection Association Council recommends following these steps if you're driving and a fire starts.

Generally, it's not recommended that you try to put the fire out yourself. Opening up any doors or even the hood could accelerate the fire by increasing air supply. As a business that prides itself in its work of 12 volt, performance related modifications, and some altering of vehicles and how they behave on and off the tarmac. Safety is of an utmost concern not only short sighted but long term, so extra precautions are taken and no short cuts with our name signed on the job are taken and everything is accounted for and double checked.

For years recommending, suggesting, even outsourcing a vendor for fire extinguishers was common practice both personal wise and in business. Problem is because a fire extinguisher is a device that requires periodic maintenance. Keeping any sort of inventory and rotating any form of stock is difficult which draws concerns as to how they sit on a shelf at a normal hardware store which is where most people opt to pick one up? What if it's a slower moving stocked item? We would think or hope that the vendor has a system for monitoring shelf life. However, fire extinguishers haven't changed much if at all in the last 100 years. A large heavy cylinder of compressed water or gas filled with a messy powder is an antiquated way to put out a fire.

Then we found Element - An Italian company that has developed a tested and proven technology, created for the space program, that fights fires on a molecular level. By chemically interrupting the chain of combustion, Element safely and effectively puts out fires without the mess, toxicity, or danger associated with a traditional fire extinguisher.

Element fights ALL major fire classes quickly & easily; Class A, B, C, K and has 5x the discharge time as a standard 5lb fire extinguisher and more than 80% smaller in size. There are no moving parts and an operating temperature of -140°F to +320°F rendering it unaffected by harsh environments or humidity. It can even be stored in wet or damp environments as long as the yellow cap covering the tip remains allowing the tip to stay dry. This makes it great for those of us in warmer mixed tropical/desert like climates to be stored in vehicles.

This also means it will never need any service or upkeep. In addition the solid chemical that makes up the Element extinguisher has no effective expiration to be concerned with either. General safe practice are always recommended that the discharge not be aimed directly at children or animals. However, Element discharges a non-toxic gas that will not harm children or animals. Element's discharge is safe to breathe and is non-corrosive making it safe for nearly every environment.

Originating in Italy, Element has been certified for sale in Europe by CE and TUV. Institutionally it has been tested and certified for use by multiple international military and police LEO [Law Enforcement Officer] groups who have adopted it for active use. And you know how we here at 12° North Industries like that kind of technology available to us.

In North America, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is responsible for the certification of fire extinguishers. UL does their testing to a standard that contains a form (physical shape) component followed by a performance component. Because Element's form "does not fit inside of the UL's guidelines of what a traditional fire extinguisher looks like" (i.e. compressed cylinder with a hose and measurement gauge) it is immediately passed over for performance testing. At present UL is being campaigned to update it's standards to recognize the different form offered by Element and allow it an opportunity to be tested and certified.

Until the standards are updated, Element cannot be used to substitute extinguishers in regulated in regulated environments that require a UL (or UL endorsed) certification. Element can however be freely used as an supplement to the extinguishers used where regulation exists. There are no restrictions in non-regulated environments (car, home, personal garage, etc.) allowing Element to be used freely.

12° North Industries is proud once again to be working with another unique product and company like Element, offering piece of mind and a better option for safety that actually meets and exceeds traditionally thoughts and used equipment. We honestly hope you never have to use it but at the same time, we really wouldn't want you to be without Element in your possession or home & garage.

Element comes in 2-configurations and can be found on our site here:

A host of additional creative and practical mounting options are available outside of the standard and included option. Everything from magnetic to a quick fist. We also are adding in specific vehicle under-seat brackets that will be able to be pulled up when looking up specific vehicles (i.e. 2016 Toyota 4Runner or 2014 Ford F150) making searches less tedious. Of course, as always you can always reach out to us at and we can help you find your application for you.


Element is certified for international transport by surface (land or sea) only. Any method of shipping that involves air (including personal or checked baggage on commercial aircraft) is prohibited by national and international safety regulations. For this reason we can only ship Element by surface transportation methods and do not offer express shipping options. 

We do not ship to PO boxes / APO.

For any additional information or photo credit corrections, we can be reached below.


Sales: 702.781.0302



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