What Size Fire Extinguisher Do I Need For My Car?

What Size Fire Extinguisher Do I Need For My Car?

H3R Performance | Nov 18, 2021

Car fires are far more common than people realize. In fact, fire departments respond to an average of one highway vehicle fire every 3 minutes. If you’re reading this article, you have made the important decision to carry one!

So what about fire extinguisher sizes? Which size is right for your vehicle? The short answer is to get a fire extinguisher that's easy to reach and convenient to keep in your vehicle 24/7/365. Read on to learn more.

The Right Size Is Whatever You Can Reach Quickly

Seat mount

A vehicle fire extinguisher that's within arm's reach is always helpful:

  • In most vehicles, you can usually mount a 2.5 lb. fire extinguisher to the front passenger seat without any issues. Using one of our universal seat mounts - which bolt to the seat frame itself - a 2.5 lb. fire extinguisher is both easy to reach and also out of the way.
  • If you have a smaller vehicle, you may find that you can mount a 2.5 lb. fire extinguisher behind the passenger seat. Or, you may find that you can only comfortably fit a 1 lb. or 1.4 lb. fire extinguisher.
  • If you have a vehicle with a roll bar - like a Jeep Wrangler or a race prepped vehicle, etc. - we offer several roll bar mounts that are worth a look.
  • Many vehicles have a large center console or glove box that can also accommodate an H3RPerformance 1 lb. or 1.4 lb. fire extinguisher.

NOTE: Comfortable fit is important. If you purchase a fire extinguisher that's big and bulky and in the way, you might decide to leave it at home sometimes. That defeats the purpose of having a vehicle fire extinguisher. So, instead, make sure you get a fire extinguisher size that's convenient and easy to live with.

Some Vehicle Owners Mount More Than One Extinguisher

Extinguisher duo

If you take your vehicle off-road, if you like to camp, or if you park your vehicle in the race prep area, an exterior or rear mounted fire extinguisher is worth considering. Many overlanding enthusiasts, for example, will mount a fire extinguisher in the rear of their vehicle in addition to mounting one up front near the driver. This way, a fire extinguisher is always handy whether outside or inside the vehicle.

Another reason to mount more than one extinguisher on your vehicle is to have both a clean agent fire extinguisher and a dry chemical agent fire extinguisher:

  • Dry chemical extinguishers work well for most types of fires, but leave behind a residue that can damage electronics.
  • Clean agent extinguishers work well for fuel and electrical fires, but aren't as effective against wood or grass fires.

Many of our customers have both a HalGuard™ clean agent fire extinguisher designated for vehicle fires, and a MaxOut™ dry chemical fire extinguisher designated for outdoor fires (or as a backup).

Special Circumstances Require Different Sizes

Extinguisher in reach

There are a lot of special circumstances that require specific sizes of fire extinguisher:

  • Many sanctioning bodies in racing require race vehicles to have a 2.5 lb. fire extinguisher, as well as a sturdy quick release mount.
  • Federal regulations require commercial vehicles with a GVWR over 10,000 lb. to have a fire extinguisher that matches a specific UL rating - either 10-B:C or 5-B:C, depending on whether or not the vehicle hauls hazardous materials. (source - eCFR.gov)
  • Federal rules also require recreational vehicles (RVs) to have a 5 lb. fire extinguisher near an exit, but some state or national park rules may require any vehicle camping overnight to have a fire extinguisher.
  • If you're using your vehicle for any commercial activity, a fire extinguisher is a smart investment.

Always Buy A UL Listed Fire Extinguisher

Any fire extinguisher that's UL listed has been tested and rated by Underwriters Laboratories. This means that the extinguisher has met a series of rigorous standards for quality and reliability, and can therefore be counted on. All H3R Performance fire extinguishers are UL listed and meet or exceed UL listing requirements.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of automotive fire extinguishers on the market that are not UL listed. We don't want to name names, but we can't emphasize enough how important a UL rating is when buying a fire extinguisher. If you can't find the UL logo on the fire extinguisher body, and you don't see a UL rating in the fire extinguisher specs, it's not UL listed.

Not Sure Where To Mount Your Automotive Fire Extinguisher? We Have Pics That May Help!

Many people ask us about the best place to mount a fire extinguisher in a specific vehicle. While we don't have pictures of every make and model, we do have dozens of images showing extinguishers mounted in all sorts of clever ways. These images may help you find a good spot to mount a fire extinguisher in your vehicle, and we're happy to share.

Just contact us, let us know what year, make, and model vehicle you have, and we'll see what relevant images we can find.