What Is The Best Type of Fire Extinguisher For Automotive / Aviation Use In 2018?:
When putting out a fire happening in your engine bay on either your airplane or your race car you want the fire extinguisher to be effective, put the fire out, and not damage your engine more. Now there exist “clean agent” type fire extinguishers that do not leave a residue after use, and are designed to work against chemical and liquid fires (such as Gas or Aviation gas in planes). There are a bunch of different clean agent fire extinguishers, each with their own pros and cons.
Why are Halguard extinguishers the best clean agent on the market in 2018:
Through my research, I have found the “Halguard” extinguishers are one of the top extinguishers as they expel a gas that is denser than oxygen and it will get into all the hard to reach places of an engine bay. Clean agent extinguishers also do not leave much, if any, residue behind.
However, if you use a cheaper ABC type fire extinguisher it will put the fire out effectively. However, it also creates a huge mess. The dry chemical also has been linked to damage to electrical components in the car. That is why dry chemical type extinguishers are banned for use in planes.
Clean agent extinguishers may cost more, but the pros outweigh the cons.
The H3R Halguard Fire Extinguishers are the best value for your money in 2018:
It should also be known that Halguard is produced by a gas company and then sold to fire extinguisher companies around the world.
It is studied, known to be effective, and a greener replacement to “Halon” type gas found in older extinguishers.
Read why Halon was outlawed in 1994 here.
H3R’s Halguard extinguishers come in a variety of sizes, but for noncommercial automotive / aviation / RV use I recommend the 2.5lb size.
If you want to save a little bit of money you can get the 1.4lb Halguard, which should work for most sized automotive fires.
As you probably know, I am a HUGE fan of products that meet the quality requirements for aviation use.
Both of these extinguishers meet the requirements for use in aviation. That means they will put out engine fires fast, easily, and are made with high-quality components.
They both come with a universal type mount to keep the extinguisher handy but not in the way. The last thing you want is an extinguisher bouncing around in a car or plane. Mount it properly.
Whether you own a Toyota Prius or a hot rod worth $40,000. It is time you protect your investments with a high-quality clean agent fire extinguisher.
Top Car Fire Extinguishers in 2018 (Clean Agent) That Are Highly Reviewed;
Specifications for Both:
- No thermal shock to electronics, no mess or damage to the vehicle and liquefied gas extinguishes hard-to-reach fires
- Includes steel strap and mounting bracket; high-quality steel cylinders; all metal valve construction
- Compact, lightweight, easy to use and has a 6 feet – 8 feet discharge range
- Does not impair the operator’s vision, EPA approved and is listed and rated 1B:C by Underwriters Laboratories
- Rechargeable; made in the U.S.A. and is backed by a six-year limited warranty
What Is The Difference Between a Clean Agent Extinguisher & Dry Chemical:
Fire extinguishers designed for use in your car (“Clean Agent”) are different than the ones for your house in at least 3 major ways. Household dry chemical extinguishers vary in size, quality, and the type of extinguishing agent put into the canister in the first place.
With most fire extinguishers designed for car/aviation use, you will find they’re filled with a non-corrosive type gas extinguisher.
They are referred to as “Clean Agent” fire extinguishers because unlike the fire extinguishers you commonly find in houses they don’t leave a messy residue after use.
Why is the residue left behind bad?
For automotive and aviation use this is important because the residue left behind by dry chemical residential fire extinguishers (either Sodium Bicarbonate or Monoammonium Phosphate) can eat away at electrical connections and cause a huge mess.
On the other hand, clean agent fire extinguishers do not leave a messy residue. From the Wikipedia on clean agent fire extinguishers, “…they do not leave any residue after discharge which is ideal for protecting sensitive electronics, aircraft, armored vehicles and archival storage, museums, and valuable documents.” Source link.
How engine fires can start fast:
In this video, Ericthecarguy is working on his car. He goes for the first start of his hot rod and it goes up in flames. He caught the whole thing on video. You can see from this video how important it is to have an extinguisher close by.
He used a dry chemical extinguisher in the video. But then he mentions he just bought a new clean agent extinguisher due to the amount of mess left behind. Plus his engine was brand new!
These Clean Agent Fire Extinguishers, also do not corrode electrical wires and connections under the hood of your car (causing sometimes irreparable damage).
Most home ABC fire extinguishers on the market will have a dry chemical type fluid that causes corrosion and damage to plastics / electronic components found in many cars. Once dry chemical fire extinguishers are used they leave a hard to clean residue. If not washed away quickly breaks down the plastic and electrical components.
Why are clean agent fire extinguishers more expensive than dry chemical ABC?
Dry chemical ABC type fire extinguishers tend to be about 1/2 the price or less than a “clean agent” equivalent.
This is because about 80 percent of the cost of an extinguisher is the cost to produce whatever chemical or gas it is filled with. For the clean agent Halgaurd extinguishers the gas is expensive to produce.
Car extinguishers do come at a higher price but usually are built to a higher quality. They also typically come with some mounting hardware.
They are not highly recommended for combustible materials (wood, paper, fabric, refuse) as they typically can blow the burned material around.
That is why I recommend buying a separate ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher for your garage, or to keep alongside your clean agent extinguisher in your RV / Camper.
If you want to read more about the different types of fires (A, B, C) and the most effective fire extinguishers to use for it– read here.
What Is The Best Kind Of Extinguisher To Have In Your Garage in 2018:
First, you should buy a clean agent type gas extinguisher and put it in your car. These cost the most money and should be the first thing you buy with some extra cash.
Then, once you know your car is protected, focus on the garage that you work on your car/truck/airplane in.
If a fire started in the garage, you will want a good all around fire extinguisher (typically ABC type) that also has enough capacity to handle a decently sized blaze.
The best dry chemical all around ABC rated fire extinguisher in 2018 is the very affordably priced 10lb Amerex Dry Chemical.
You will have enough extinguisher to handle fire and prevent it from spreading.
ABC or Multi-Purpose extinguishers utilize a specially fluidized and siliconized mono ammonium phosphate dry chemical. It works extremely well on most fires and is way less expensive than Halgaurd gas.
Here are some of the specifications for the Amerex B441:
• 6 Year Mfr Warranty
• All Metal Valve Construction
• Heavy Duty Brass Valve
• Stainless Steel Handle & Lever
• Temperature Range -65°F to 120°F
• capacity: 10lbs
• range (initial ft): 15-21
• Includes Wall Bracket
Manufactured and Tested to ANSI/UL Standards Complies with NFPA 10 Standard ISO-9001 / ISO-14001 Certified UL LISTED.
However, it will leave a crazy amount of residue in your engine bay if you use it to put out a car fire.
Also, the residue on a dry chemical mono ammonium extinguisher causes damage to plastics and electronics in the car or plane.
If the fire spreads to the garage and starts burning on wood, paper, or another organic material switch over to the dry chemical fire extinguisher.
It will help suppress the spread of the combustibles, whereas the other car fire extinguisher may actually blow the paper around and make the fire worse.
Halguard Fire Extinguisher Be Used On “A” Type Fires Or Will It Make Them Worse?:
Halguard will work to put out an A type of fire. In fact, H3R makes 11lb Halguard Extinguishers which mean the requirement to be labeled as ABC fire extinguishers. The smaller 1.4 / 2.5 lb halguard extinguishers just don’t have enough suppressant in them to meet the qualification standard for an A type extinguisher.
They also just don’t suppress it as well as a dry chemical type fire extinguisher.
How Do Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers Work:
Dry chemical type fire extinguishers create a “film” like layer over the combustibles and help prevent them from blowing around / spreading. From my understanding, this is why they’re such a pain to clean up. But they do work extremely effectively in class A type fires as well as BC.
But, ultimately if you’re going to buy a fire extinguisher for your car it should be a clean agent type and it will cost a little bit more.
Both use clean agent extinguishing agents, however, I would recommend getting the larger one for any RV use / larger trucks. With the 2.4lb H3R, you will definitely have enough to put out a small engine fire quickly and reliably. That is if you catch it happening soon enough, and start extinguishing it fast.
A video showing why H3R Performance HalGuard Fire Extinguishers are preferred over dry chemical extinguishers for car fires here: (Don’t worry I qued the video up for you to the perfect part):
Why Doesn’t Everyone Have the Halguard Style Clean Agent Fire Extinguishers In Their Cars?
Gas-filled fire extinguishers made for cars tend to be 2x as expensive than their dry chemical counterparts.
People also don’t understand the differences between different models and the different types. You see a red fire extinguisher on the wall or in a car and think they’re all the same.
Having any fire extinguisher is better than no fire extinguisher.
Now you can decide for yourself which suits your needs best.
I think that it is worth paying more for an extinguisher that won’t kill your vehicle’s electronics.
Even if the fire was small, the corrosive dry chemical can cause unexpected electrical issues. Don’t end up on the side of a road due to electrical problems later.
With an extinguisher that uses gas like my favorite car extinguisher in 2018, you don’t end up with much residue.
What’re the drawbacks of a clean agent type fire extinguisher (BC)?
Clean Agent Halguard fire extinguishers don’t work great for “A” type fires. Those include solid organic combustibles such as paper, wood, cloth, rubber, and many plastics.
If the fire spreads from the car into your garage. It is time to switch over to the standard ABC rated dry chemical fire extinguishers.
With any fire extinguishers, the most important things to keep in mind are as follows.
1. Easily accessible
2. Easy to find
3. They’re pressurized and ready to go.
Also, most car extinguishers come with a more robust and sturdy clamp so that the extinguisher won’t fly around in case of a crash.
Residential and homeowner style fire extinguishers most often come with a “wall mount” style mount. These don’t work well for automotive applications.
What Is The Most Important Thing To Remember About Fire Extinguishers?
The last thing you want in a crash or fire is to not be able to find your extinguisher because the mount broke (or it finds your head during a crash).
Place your fire extinguishers in an easy to find a location that is clearly visible.
In your car put them within arms reach of the driver seat. It works best to put it under the seat or on the roll cage (if your car has one).
They make a specialty mount for different cars so you can put your extinguisher in easy to reach spots.
Practice getting the extinguisher out of the mount and read the instructions on how to use it.
You do not want to be fumbling around with an extinguisher as every second count.
Tips For Putting Out a Car Fire Safely:
When putting out a car fire under the hood. Spray the clean agent fire extinguisher through the car grill towards the fire before popping the hood. Try to keep spraying as the hood is propped up.
You want to avoid a rush of oxygen that can fan the flames.
That was pretty sketchy. However, you can see how he started by shooting the fire extinguisher under the grill. That is a good habit to get into. Notice the extinguisher used was not a clean agent.
That car ends up covered in a residue. That car was also way far gone by the time he started spraying the extinguisher.
Be mindful of not risking your life, if it is a 2,000 car and already going up in flames.
This guy was lucky he didn’t get burned, and that the car didn’t spark up when he popped the hood. All that smoke is an indication that it was ready to go. Try to keep your distance.
How Do I Mount A Fire Extinguisher In My Car and Where Should I Put It?
You need to make sure that the fire extinguisher you bought for your car comes with a sturdy mount.
Here is a video on how to mount a fire extinguisher in your car, also he discusses the difference between a home fire extinguisher and a car one. He missed one important point however, he totally didn’t talk about clean agent vs. dry chemical! Still worth a watch to see how they mount the fire extinguisher.
They used a pretty cool tool in their video it was a rivet gun that used threaded inserts. This allowed them to rivet in threaded inserts so they could bolt down the extinguisher.
It is a cleaner install, and more permanent than just threading bolts and nuts.
Here is a tool like what they used in the video, I see a ton of potential for it. Click here to read the reviews and check the price on Amazon.
Place fire extinguishers in your car or garage in an easy to find a spot. Remember where they are.
Especially in a car, truck, or for racing application the extinguisher should be easily reachable by the driver. Some racing organizations require a quick release mechanism for your fire extinguisher like this one. (Click here to check price on Amazon).
What Is The Best Fire Extinguisher For Four Wheeling?
For four-wheeling, you are best off with the same type of extinguisher as for race cars, normal cars, and any type of car fire.
Fires start while 4x4ing because rocks can hit the fuel lines and spark. You also have cars pushed to their limits and the chance of overheating increases tenfold. An overheating car can go up in flames as gas lines can burst, fuel can ignite, and the entire car can start on fire fast.
My two recommendations in 2018 are both for clean agent type fire extinguishers that use Halguard gas. Click the links to read reviews and check the prices.
You may also run into issues with overheating your truck as you will be pushing it to the extreme. Overheating cars have a tendency to just spark up and go up fast.
Why are fires more likely to happen when four-wheeling?
Rocks and other debris can hit fuel lines or the fuel tank under the car and cause a leak quickly. Mix that with sparks, and extreme heat due to the nature of off-roading and you will want to be sure your extinguisher is a clean agent type and has enough in it to put out the fire effectively.
I recommend buying the listed above 2.5lb Halguard fire extinguisher for 4×4 use in 2018. In fact, I would highly recommend you have two, so you can hand one to a buddy and both fight the fire at the same (stop the spread quick).
Also, since you are typically out in the boonies when you’re four-wheeling you want to be sure you don’t start a forest fire that will kill people and ruin lives.
Just read this story that happened near me in Redding, California.
A blown out tire caused one of the largest fires in California history.
Would it of been different had they had a fire extinguisher and acted quickly? Yeah, probably so.
What Is The Best Fire Extinguisher For My RV?
This is a more complicated question. You should definitely have a clean agent type fire extinguisher underneath your driver’s seat, or easily accessible. The most type common type of fires that start in RV’s is going to be in the engine bays. Recreational vehicles typically are underpowered and asked to climb mountains with little relenting on the gas pedal from the driver.
Some RV drivers don’t understand they can’t do 65 up to a hill. Inexperienced drivers typically tend to push RV’s way too hard and ignore the warning signs. If you smell gas, burning, or any smoke from under the hood you need to pull over. It is time to assess the situation.
Just recently, my friends, RV burned up on the way back from Burning Man in 2018.
Simply because they didn’t pull over when the car started to overheat.
Luckily, they had a fire extinguisher and were able to put the fire out quickly.
The dry chemical residue ended up messing up the wiring under the hood. It was cheaper to scrap the RV.
That RV will never see the road again simply due to the electrical damage being too expensive to repair.
Moral of the story. Buy a clean agent extinguisher and use it for any gas or liquid type fires under the hood.
You should also have an ABC type dry chemical extinguisher in the cab of your RV. The dry chemical works better on any fires that have organic material in them like paper or wood.
That is why you should really carry both a clean agent extinguisher for the engine bay and a dry chemical type in the cab in case anything goes up in there.
What Is The Best Fire Extinguisher For My Camper?
If it doesn’t have a gasoline source, then just stick with a general purpose ABC type fire extinguisher. Make sure to get out of there quickly if the fire starts to get out of control.
What if the camper is attached to a truck?
Then you should carry a separate clean agent style fire extinguisher for any engine fires that may happen.
What Is The Best Fire Extinguisher For My Converted Van / Van Life?
You should have both a dry chemical fire extinguisher for any food-related fires / organic combustibles, and a clean agent fire extinguisher for any engine fires/gasoline-related fires. From the H3R website “Whatever your passion; hot rods, racing cars, classic automobiles, off-road vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, or even RVs or boats – protect your investment with a fire extinguisher that attacks fires involving flammable liquids quickly and safely, with no danger of electric shock, and without leaving a damaging residue to clean up.” Source here. For my favorite dry chemical extinguisher in 2018 click here, and for my top clean agent halguard extinguisher click here.
Where Can I Refill A Halguard Extinguisher in 2018 and How Much Does It Cost?
Ok, so you were out on the track in your sweet honda civic. You’re on the second lap. When the hood starts smoking and bursts into flames.
You had read my article.
Or maybe saw Eric The Car Guy’s video and bought the right fire extinguisher and got the fire out quickly. Your sweet car survived as did your pride.
By putting the fire out fast, other people get to keep racing.
You get your share of high fives. You call your mom to tell her what happened.
Thanks to the extinguisher she got you from Christmas, your car is fine. lol, wouldn’t that be nice?
Now, you’re home again. The adrenaline has worn off, and you realize. Oh no, I used my extinguisher– I need to buy another one or refill the one I have. It said online they were refillable, right? You check and yes it does say that, as well as the extinguisher has a 6-year warranty.
Refilling it will cost you as much as %80 of the price you paid for it.
It is up to you whether this is worth your time or not.
However, I would encourage you to simply save up to buy a new extinguisher.
The valves on extinguishers once used can be problematic later. You can be totally successful filling it up again and save %20.
For me, once you factor in the driving, it isn’t worth it. If it saved you once, retire it.
To read my article on 5 Reasons Why Everyone Needs A Fire Extinguisher In Your Garage & Car Click Here.
Do me a favor go read that article watch the videos. Then and tell me you don’t think a fire extinguisher is necessary to have in your garage and car in 2018. Please, convince me I’m wrong!
Once again here are my favorite clean agent Halguard type fire extinguishers in 2018:
And to better protect your garage pick up a regular dry chemical extinguisher like this bad boy (10lb):
Do me a favor and read my article on 5 Reasons Why Everyone Needs A Fire Extinguisher In Your Garage & Car Click Here.
What does H3R have to say?
I called H3R directly to ask them some questions about their extinguishers. Here is the recording! If you just want to listen to it, there is some good information in there that maybe I didn’t cover super well in the article. I was not paid or gifted anything by H3R.
You can tell because it took him a while to even warm up to me asking him questions. I like how the guy who I am talking with, isn’t even trying to push their product. It is more of just a discussion that has a lot of good information.
The audio clip below is 22 minutes long, and worthy of a listen if you like unfiltered conversations:
Recommendations in this post: