The Arlington Co. web site reminds us not to park on the leaves that line many of the streets. The site also refers to a Post article from last December about a fellow who parked in a pile of leaves and lost his car to flames just minutes later. I’ve seen this happen elsewhere as well. It’s not pretty to see a burning car with the owner running around screaming, unable to do anything as firefighters douse the heap of junk.
It’s been quite a number of years since I was behind the counter of a car parts store, but as I recall, your catalytic converter can reach temperatures up to 1000 degrees. Why, that’s even hotter than two rats in a wool sock. The converter is essentially a chemical reaction box that restricts the flow of exhaust gasses, causing major heat build-up and thus danger when parked in leaves, which apparently ignite at around 400 degrees.
I am pretty certain that other areas outside Arlington can benefit from this warning as well, but since it was on the Arlington web site I wasn’t sure…
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs