(please repost or forward to anyone you know who has encountered something similar. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE -- email us anything of interest. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Friday afternoon as my girlfriend pulled up to our house, her car (a 2003 Pontiac Sunfire) was enveloped in a fire, in under 2 minutes.
The story: Lyndall was coming home from the gym early on this chilly -27 day. Her heat was on full, and she was only a couple hundred feet from home when she smelt smoke from her heating vents. She stopped the car in our ally, where i was standing and told me she smelled smoke. At this point, i saw it pouring out of the vents on her dash and told her to turn the car and heat off, then pop the hood.
After a quick look under the hood confirmed nothing was wrong there, we pulled the car into our spot, smoke now billowing out, and went to call a tow truck. This whole process took about 40 seconds.
By the time we had walked up to our house, the car was pouring smoke from the open, driver's side, window. I told her to get me a phone so i could call 911... before i finished dialling, flames were shooting out of the now-shattered front window. Firemen arrived a minute and a half later, from down the street.
They put it out, the investigators said is was probably some sort of electrical fire in the heating system. The car is a write-off.
The next day, Lyndall's brother mentioned this story at a work saftey meeting, and someone there had an identical story about their folks Pontiac Sunfire. Still, i can find nothing online about it at all.
Her insurance is going to cover the car, but the problem is she still owes more on it to the bank than it is actually worth. Not only could this have resulted in an accident, house/garage fire and possibly death in either event, but she is left owing on a car that GM decided was not worth recalling, endangering the lives of it's drivers.
We need to track others down with similar stories about their sunfire's. Please forward this to people you know with this car, or who have had similar stories to tell.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE -- email us anything of interest. email@example.com
here are the photos:
That really sucks.
But its something we kinda already know about....
Bomex's 03 Cav
Im pretty sure it was a recall...
however, i don't know how well its going to work out if you were notified of a recall and didn't do it....
Edited 1 time(s). Last edited Saturday, January 13, 2007 11:41 PM
that sucks man. did she have total value on the car? which means that the purchase price of the car is paid to you if the vehicle is a total loss within the first 3 years. check with the insurance company usually they add it to a new car policy because its only like $30 a year.
i have seen quite a few "interior burns" as we call them at work, in GM vehicles. generally low-mid level GM cars. all the burns i have seen originated in the "center stack" in the same area hers burned.
i know that the grand am's had a problem with the radio/wiring causing a fire. could be the same thing im not sure. i don't know if it means anything but most of the grand am burns had an ECOTEC motor in them.
I know of two ecotecs that were kindling on this site. It's something to keep in the back of your mind.
Sorry this happened to her. It's pretty crappy that she still owes on the car.
Hey guys, thanks for the replys. please keep them coming if you have anything to contribute.
reguarding her loan: i'm unsure if she got the GAP protection for the first 3 years, but in either event -- she is outside of those first 3 years now and i think that means she'd still be outta luck. We are going to meet with the bank tomorrow and see if there was any coverage at all for this. fingers crossed...
reguarding the recalls: she has gone in for every recall that she's been notified of. i think those include one for her back lights and another, maybe for her ignition? i'm not positive about the second, but i don't beleive we missed any. the ignition one may have been before the 2003... i'm just guessing at thwat the other recal on her car was for.
reguarding the burn: Yeah, i have been reading about other GMs burning as well. I haven't been able to find any identical to ours yet though. this is just a guess on my part but i think the fire started in the heating system. the reason being that no smoke was coming out from under the dash when this started, only the vents which i imagine are a closed system (can one of your technical gurus confirm this perhaps?) . She also had a aftermarket stereo installed but the fire appears to have started above it -- when i looked into the burn area there was plenty of untouched insulation and even paper wire-tags exposed lower down which i can only surmise survived because the heat was much lower 8 - 12 inches below where the fire occured.
that is the problem she didnt drink her a coke , lol
sucks that it happened , glad she got out of it ok
i havent seen or heard of alot of fires in cavs or sunfires
There was a recent recall for the ignition switch or something that could cause a fire. I remember I had to take my J in for service for it. Sucks to hear what happened to her car.
Yesterday on my way into work there was a Sunfire coupe on the side of the highway in a raging inferno. Totally Hollywood style.
I have no idea what happened but it made me think of this thread so I figured I'd mention it.
The car was black and it was still dark outside so I don't even know if it was a 03+ or one of the older ones. Only that it was a Sunfire coupe.