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Faulty Block Heater Cords Can Spark Fire: MPI

January 25, 2013 11:15 AM | News

Block Heater Plug CordA faulty or worn extension cord can create the risk of vehicle fires, Manitoba Public Insurance is warning.

The public auto insurer said recent fires have been contributed to cracked extension cords, or block heater cords with a corroded plug.

MPI says about 1,000 vehicles are damaged by fire each year — the majority in winter — which can be prevented. Some of the reported incidents are deliberate, which are then forwarded to MPI’s Special Investigation Unit.

Corrosion of cords can be caused by exposure to moisture, dirt and road salts.

MPI recommends the following safety tips to prevent fires:

  • Don’t drive over your extension cord. This can cause cracking/breaking during bitterly cold weather.
  • Cover your block heater plug-in with its protective cover.
  • Unplug your block heater by using the hard, rubber end. Pulling on the electrical cord can cause breakage and potential electrical issues.
  • Have your block heater cord inspected each fall by a qualified mechanic.

— Staff