You may have seen them around town—cute little Smart Fortwos that are as compact as they are lightweight. While it may seem like the perfect car for everyday errands and parking in the city, is owning a potentially flammable Smart Fortwo worth the risk?
Smart Fortwo fires
Though they’re tiny, two-passenger hatchback or convertible Smart Fortwos are hard to miss. They turn heads, start conversations, and are fuel-efficient.
However, older Smart Fortwo vehicles have a history of countless fire problems. According to
Car and Driver, “Between 2015 and October 2016, eight owners of 2008 and 2009 Fortwo microcars reported engine fires—three of which occurred in October and November.”
While no injuries were reported, six owners saw warning lights on the dashboard, heard noises and smelled smoke, or witnessed flames climbing out of the rear where the three-cylinder engine is housed under the cargo area.
“Two fires occurred when the car was stopped, including one in Oregon where the owner parked the car, stepped inside a friend’s house, and was alerted by a neighbor that his car was erupting in flames,” Car and Driver report.
Unfortunately, most of the reports contained accounts of Smart Fortwo’s completely engulfed in flames.
An open investigation on Smart Fortwo fires—and a national recall
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)opened an investigation on Smart Fortwo fires and upgraded it to an engineering analysis after receiving almost 30 reports of engine fires that were unrelated to any accident or crash.
Then, Mercedes-Benz recalled all 2008 and 2009 Fortwo models in the U.S. to aid its internal investigation. 42,781 vehicles were involved (29,253 coupes and 13,528 convertibles to be exact).
Owners were notified about the recall, and the rear insulation mat was replaced free of charge. According to Car and Driver, “The automaker concluded the insulation mat shielding the engine from the cargo area can sag, degrade, and ignite due to high temperatures from the catalytic converter, which is positioned close to the mat.”
No one wants a rear insulation mat in the engine compartment that can deteriorate and come loose. Fortunately, Smart Fortwo fires may be more rare in 2010 models and beyond, as these have higher temperature resistance and an exhaust system design that’s been modified. Since the mats have been replaced, non-collision fires have no longer been a common problem.
Insuring a Smart car
If you love your Smart car or are keen on purchasing one, make sure your tiny vehicle has big protection on the open road. Having the best car insurance doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank.
If you’re curious about your coverage, download the
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