4x4 Magazine 4WD how to article 250

By Joel Moranton

Let us chat a bit about a situation that we all hope we never experience, a vehicle fire. Take a second and think about all the close calls you’ve had with fire over your years of exploring. I, for one, have had used oil spill in the bed of my truck that dripped onto the exhaust, melted power inverters, and had wiring fry after an engine swap. I never had flames, but it was still nerve-wracking to think about how close I was to losing it all.

4x4 Magazine 4WD how to article 125There are also wildfire scares; I am sure you’ve seen a charcoal BBQ fall over or a camping neighbor putting gas on his fire pit… that’s always an exciting moment – is this going to go wrong or not? The point is, as careful as we are, we can’t foresee all the scenarios that put us in fire danger. This is why I recommend everyone, in every vehicle they own, carry at least one fire extinguisher, if you’re in competition – make it two. It is not enough to have the fire extinguisher in your vehicle; the extinguisher also needs to be mounted somewhere for easy access. It does you no good if it is buried under a bunch of other gear. Here’s my fire extinguisher set up and why I chose it. Hopefully, this will give you some ideas on how you want to set up your fire extinguishers.

H3R Performance

In my overland vehicle, I use H3R Performance fire extinguishers and mounts. H3R is known throughout the aviation community for its chemical compounds and quality control. The aviation community adheres to strict standards we can emulate. Fire extinguishers have to meet many different safety ratings and 3rd party testing, including Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL). The features that make H3R’s fire extinguishers perfect for the aviation community also make them perfect for the automotive community. Since H3R are automotive enthusiasts, they chose to bring their quality into the automotive market. Offering sizes and color options suited to the automotive community.

Why did I choose H3R for my vehicle? The reliability and quality! There is no plastic; everything is metal. When you pick up these fire extinguishers and compare them to the fire extinguishers you are replacing, you can feel the difference in quality. When I need a fire extinguisher, I don’t want to deal with plastic that could break and cause the fire extinguishers to fail. I also like that these use a tried and true design – extinguishing agent in a metal cylinder, pressurized with a propellant. Activating the extinguisher by pulling a pin and then the trigger is intuitive, and there is a gauge for easy confirmation of charge. I would avoid non-traditional, flare-type designs that are becoming more common. Activation is not intuitive – at least for a fire extinguisher, and they have a very long discharge time and a short discharge range. Effectively taking more time while standing closer to the fire than you do with a traditional fire extinguisher design like H3R’s.

Two different compounds

4x4 Magazine 4WD how to article 124H3R offers two different chemical compounds in their fire extinguishers; both have their place in the off-road and automotive community. Their MaxOut fire extinguishers would be the standard upgrade for typical fire extinguishers found in most homes. If you can only have one, this is the one to have. It is a dry chemical fire extinguisher that has been time-tested and proven to work again and again. It is perfect, not only for vehicle fires, but more importantly, brush fires. This is why I carry MaxOut fire extinguishers in my rigs. If my rig is on fire, it could likely cause a brush fire that I want to make sure does not grow. Campfires and brush fires are the more likely scenarios to occur when exploring nature.

The other line of fire extinguishers that H3R has is the HalGuard. This fire extinguisher uses a specifically formulated “clean agent,” meaning that it leaves no residue behind. When your vehicle is on fire, this is the fire extinguisher you want to grab. Once the fire is out, you will not have any chemical residue to deal with along with the fire damage. However, the HalGuard fire extinguishers would have a tough life with brush fires, so it is important to know the difference.

MaxOut™ summary:

A size for every need. Place behind your vehicle seat, in your car’s glove compartment, garage, etc.
Fully rechargeable
The industry standard, and very effective
Do not cause a thermal or static shock when discharged
Come with aviation brackets for secure mounting to vehicles or walls
All metal valve construction

HalGuard™ summary:

A size for every need. Place behind your vehicle seat, in your car’s glove compartment, garage, etc.
Fully rechargeable
Attack fire in hard-to-reach areas
Do not cause a thermal or static shock when discharged
Leave no corrosive residue
Come with aviation brackets for secure mounting to vehicles or walls
All metal valve construction
Know your ratings

When shopping for fire extinguishers, it is good to know how they are rated, so you can get the right one for your vehicle. These ratings are standardized by UL. Each type of fire has a class, A, B, C, D, or K. The number before the letter indicates the size of the fire it can cover. Except for class C, as it only indicates that the extinguishing agent will not conduct electricity.

A – ORDINARY COMBUSTIBLES: wood, paper, cloth, trash, and other ordinary materials.

B – FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS & GASES: gasoline, oils, paint lacquer, and tar.





4x4 Magazine 4WD how to article 123There are hundreds of companies that offer different mounting solutions for fire extinguishers, H3R has several themselves. In my vehicle, I mounted my fire extinguishers on the seats by my feet. This ensures that they will never get covered with other gear, and they are always easy to access. H3R has a universal seat mount bracket that can be adjusted to just about any position. Then I used their Extreme Duty Flat Mount brackets for a quick release. I could have used the bracket supplied with the fire extinguishers, but I didn’t want a buckle that could snag on my pants and cause the fire extinguisher to come loose. The Extreme Duty mounts are also available in a tube mount if you would like to mount your fire extinguishers on a roll bar. H3R also has multiple billet mounts available. Their new ProLock bracket is particularly nice.

Wrap up

Something is better than nothing, but when it comes to safety, never cheap out. Plastic can become brittle and fail over time, so it’s important to make sure your fire extinguishers are made with all-metal components. Consider, too, that cheap household fire extinguishers have chemicals that can clump up and cause them to fail. You can hit the bottom hard to loosen the chemicals and get the extinguisher to function, but that’s adding an unnecessary risk.  I would rather have a quality H3R fire extinguisher ready to go in all my vehicles. Whatever fire extinguishers you get, make sure they are securely mounted in an easily accessible location. Let’s all hope we never have to use them.  https://www.h3rperformance.com/


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