Don’t go for cheap repairs, says Dubai car fire survivor

Owner of car that caught fire in Ras Al Khor urges residents to be more careful in picking garages

06:56 August 13, 2017
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Dubai: A man who managed to escape after his car caught fire in Dubai on August 6 has warned motorists not to risk their lives by getting their cars fixed in “cheap garages”.

Rana Touqeer, from Pakistan, had just got his 2005 Prado from a garage in Ras Al Khor for a test drive when drivers behind him signalled him to stop.

What to do to avoid fire in your car

“My car was in the garage because I had to have the whole engine replaced. The garage guy told me the car was ready, so I paid for it and took it for a test drive,” Touqeer, 22, who works in the real estate industry, told Gulf News.

“I had barely driven 500 metres and I was about to take a U-turn when the guy behind me started honking. I slowed down and they told me my car was on fire. I was totally shocked.”

Touqeer’s car was one of at least 10 vehicles that had caught fire in the UAE since summer began.

Touqeer parked his car on the side. He grabbed his fire extinguisher from the back of his car and tried to douse the fire. But it didn’t help.

A motorist driving on the other side of the road stopped and came to his aid.

“He told me to go back. He was trying to extinguish the fire by himself,” Touqeer said. “I wasn’t able to thank him then, as well as the other guys who came and gave their fire extinguishers. I really appreciate their help.”

Dubai Civil Defence arrived and contained the fire within minutes but the car was beyond recognition by then.

“I came to this garage for the full engine replacement for Dh11,000 because I thought that agency repair would cost more than Dh26,000.”

“My car just burnt in front of my eyes.”

Dubai Police took Touqeer’s car to the forensics department to determine the cause of the fire.

Thomas Edelmann from RoadSafetyUAE told Gulf News that vehicle maintenance and inspection are crucial to prevent vehicle fires. Research indicates that 75 per cent of vehicle fires are caused by poor maintenance, mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions. Extreme heat could exacerbate car problems, and may result in fires.

Although he cannot generalise, Touqeer said he will never go to to garages that he’s unsure of anymore for car repairs. It is wise to check the credentials and track record of the mechanics first before trusting them, he said.

“Now, I prefer to buy a brand new car, have it maintained by a trusted agency even if it’s a bit more expensive.

“Money doesn’t matter. Life matters. Since I have got a second life, I don’t want to waste it anymore.”