Manitoba Public Insurance is encouraging motorists to regularly inspect their extension cords after several vehicles have caught on fire due to faulty/broken extension cords.

A cracked or broken extension cord can result in “electrical arcing” which can quickly spark a fire. Each year in Manitoba about 1,000 vehicles are damaged by fire ─ several dozen are the direct result of damaged extension cords or worn blockheater/in-car heater plugs. The majority of these fires take place in winter.

Extension cords which are cracked or have exposed wires should be replaced. Corrosion can be caused by exposure to moisture, dirt and road salts. People are advised not to plug in their vehicles within a garage or any other enclosed structure.

A lot of vehicle owners also forget that their vehicles are plugged in and drive off. Their extension chords end up being dragged on their commute and gets heavily damaged.

Safety tips for extension cords/block heater plugs

  • 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.