Subaru Ascent Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey All You Ascent Owners/Gearheads,
All theories welcome as to how my 2020 with 2500 miles ends up consumed by flames after hitting a small deer going 50 mph. Deer hit the driver's side front corner, bounced onto and off the windshield, airbag deployed (but car kept moving till I applied the brakes). I had time to exit with my dogs and purse as the car started burning. I'm bruised but otherwise fine. The car burned to the shell. Has anyone heard of this before with Subarus? Should the car have come to a complete stop when the airbag deployed? Thanks in advance for any feedback. Denise

4585
4586
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
Joined
·
1,985 Posts
This is not a known or common thing with the Ascent or Subarus, but it does happen sometimes in vehicle accidents, no matter what the make and model. It's likely something carrying flammable liquids under the hood came loose in the impact and the fire was subsequently sparked by engine/exhaust heat or something electrical from the impact.

'Glad you and your furry friend were able to get away safely when this happened. The vehicle can be replaced...that's what insurance is for. But your safety is what counts the most.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
533 Posts
Wow!..wth,that’s some scary stuff.Glad you and your dogs got out safely.Hope Subaru will examine the vehicle to see what actually caused the fire for future reference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
853 Posts
Just hypothesizing: The battery is on the driver's side under the upper front of the hood. Conceivably it got shorted and ignited adjacent flammable materials, though off-hand I don't what those would be.

Fuel runs to/from the high pressure fuel injection pump on the upper forward driver's side corner of the engine. If the pump or fuel lines got damaged it could spray fuel around the engine compartment.

Probably better to hit the deer with the passenger side
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
497 Posts
Hey All You Ascent Owners/Gearheads,
All theories welcome as to how my 2020 with 2500 miles ends up consumed by flames after hitting a small deer going 50 mph. Deer hit the driver's side front corner, bounced onto and off the windshield, airbag deployed (but car kept moving till I applied the brakes). I had time to exit with my dogs and purse as the car started burning. I'm bruised but otherwise fine. The car burned to the shell. Has anyone heard of this before with Subarus? Should the car have come to a complete stop when the airbag deployed? Thanks in advance for any feedback. Denise

View attachment 4585 View attachment 4586
Yikes, glad all are okay. I'm on two Ascent Facebook pages and have never heard of this happening.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,735 Posts
Glad you’re ok. Did the deer get roasted with the Ascent?

I didn’t see any mention of any braking included in the srs section of the owners manual. The seatbelt tensioner should activate and depending on the collision various airbags will deploy. Did the engine keep running?
 

·
Registered
2020 CWP Touring
Joined
·
292 Posts
Denise -- I think we're all glad you're okay (and your pups). When you asked if the car should have come to a stop when the airbags deployed -- are you asking if the emergency braking is initiated by an airbag deployment? I don't think that's the case. The car will brake itself if it senses something in front of it...aggressively if it thinks a crash is coming. But I don't think an airbag deployment itself would initiate the automatic emergency braking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
750 Posts
So glad you and the dogs got out safe. That is an unusual series of events that must have happened under the hood of your Ascent to have that happen. It would be interesting to find out what caused the car to catch on fire.
 

·
Registered
2020 Ascent Touring
Joined
·
208 Posts
Just hypothesizing: The battery is on the driver's side under the upper front of the hood. Conceivably it got shorted and ignited adjacent flammable materials, though off-hand I don't what those would be.

Fuel runs to/from the high pressure fuel injection pump on the upper forward driver's side corner of the engine. If the pump or fuel lines got damaged it could spray fuel around the engine compartment.

Probably better to hit the deer with the passenger side
When the govt and iihs crash tests aren't the engines running? The driver's side small offset test would have effected the same area of the Ascent and the car didn't combust in those tests.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
When the govt and iihs crash tests aren't the engines running? The driver's side small offset test would have effected the same area of the Ascent and the car didn't combust in those tests.
And those offset tests are at 45mph into a stationary object, far more violent than hitting a moving deer, regardless of vehicle speed. Glad the poster is ok. The vehicle can be replaced...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
683 Posts
There was a couple killed last year near where I live in a single car Accent crash and fire. I never saw a cause for either the crash or the fire.

Fatal Ascent Crash and Fire
 
  • Like
Reactions: DOGoldberg

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
I can't speculate much, but it has happened to at least two other Ascent owners, one impact definitely a deer (not sure of the other), according to the Facebook Ascent group and records on NHTSA. It also just happened to a 2020 Forester, found on the Subaru Detailing page.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
853 Posts
When the govt and iihs crash tests aren't the engines running? The driver's side small offset test would have effected the same area of the Ascent and the car didn't combust in those tests.
They do test, but not every possibility occurs as there are a lot of variables and some randomness involved.

For a fire to start, you need a source of ignition, a fuel, and oxygen. Shorting a battery would be a possible source of ignition. Oxygen is in the air. Unless a fuel line got damaged IDK what other flammable material in/near the engine compartment would ignite and cause such a conflagration.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I would like to thank everyone for all the thoughtful comments. I'm learning a lot. It seems to me now that the fuel line must have been damaged and spurting fuel. As I walked away from the car I saw licks of flame on the asphalt. The fire ignited quite quickly. This leads me to my next question... Is there a way to protect against this kind of event? How about a giant bumper like I see on some trucks? I drive this stretch of road all the time and the deer are not going away. I'd like to replace my Ascent but it is a difficult decision after this event. Denise
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,735 Posts
How about a giant bumper like I see on some trucks?
There are skid plates available for the ascent and some lower bumper guards. Here's one example from LP Aventure
The issue with having something to protect the whole front end on the Ascent is if it extends above the hood line it'll interfere with eyesight.
 

·
Registered
2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
Joined
·
1,985 Posts
I would like to thank everyone for all the thoughtful comments. I'm learning a lot. It seems to me now that the fuel line must have been damaged and spurting fuel. As I walked away from the car I saw licks of flame on the asphalt. The fire ignited quite quickly. This leads me to my next question... Is there a way to protect against this kind of event? How about a giant bumper like I see on some trucks? I drive this stretch of road all the time and the deer are not going away. I'd like to replace my Ascent but it is a difficult decision after this event. Denise
Unfortunately, deer are a hazard and a growing one almost everywhere as development progresses and the wild animals are essentially forced to coexist with humans. I generally get one or two per year that I have to scrape off my front lawn...

That said, skid plates can help keep debris from coming up off the road surface as has been noted and they are actually good for snow and sand driving, too. Aside from that, I believe this truly was just an unfortunate and unusual situation where something came loose and the combination of fuel and heat did what it did. It doesn't matter that it was an Subaru Ascent which is one of the safest vehicles on the road. Big trucks catch fire occasionally, too. And no, I'm not trying to willfully minimize things for you because I know this event would scare the living you-know-what out of anyone. I'm just suggesting that it's not a specific problem with the Ascent. You could, of course, opt for a bigger, taller, heavier vehicle but that comes with tradeoffs, too.
 

·
Registered
2020 Ascent Touring
Joined
·
208 Posts
I read a little about the crash tests. The govt and insurance labs actually drain all the fluids and replace them with dyed fluids of similar densities. They don't want to burn their labs down. They both make note of broken hoses, pipes, wires, housings, etc and where the dyes were found. The test would make note of a fire risk if gasoline or hydrailic fluid splashed onto a hot manifold or live wiring. They impute the fire risk of the vehicles but it doesn't factor into the star ratings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
There are skid plates available for the ascent and some lower bumper guards. Here's one example from LP Aventure
The issue with having something to protect the whole front end on the Ascent is if it extends above the hood line it'll interfere with eyesight.
Thank you. That is the kind of add-on I was thinking about. I've got to recover my peace of mind.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top