Fire Extinguisher FAQ

Purchasing a new Fire Extinguisher system for your race car can seem a daunting task. There are a lot of different systems available and it can be difficult to know which is the right system for your needs. This list of FAQ's for Fire Extinguishers should help but if you do need more assistance then please call or email us for more guidance. If you have questions on servicing/refilling of extinguisher systems then please click here.

There are a lot of rumours about new regulations, how do I find these out for myself?

In 2022 there are a lot of stories about new regulations for extinguishers in the UK. This is actually the governing body (Motorsport UK) completing the changes that were started in 2017 (there was a 5 year grace period for competitors to implement those changes and we have now reached the end of that period). The MSUK Blue Book Section K.3 (Page 174) is that starting point, but you should also check your championship regulations (some championship do state specific sizes, makes and models). There are a lot of different rumours going around at the moment so please do check the rule books for yourself.

What types of extinguisher systems are available?

There are a lot of different ways to differentiate the types of extinguisher available including handheld/plumbed-in, mechanical/electrical, FIA homologation (Technical List 16 or 52), suppressant used, cost, material, size, weight, stored pressure or remote pressure. Further in this list of FAQ we explain these terms and the affect they have on the performance/cost of the extinguisher system.

Do I need a handheld or a plumbed-in system (or both)?

A handheld system is an extinguisher which can be picked up and used, a plumbed-in extinguisher is one that is fixed in the car with tubing running from the bottle to nozzles located throughout the car (usually mixed between the engine bay and the cockpit). Racing usually requires a plumbed-in extinguisher (although some historic categories do only require a handheld system, usually pre-1961 cars, please confirm with your championship regulations and the Blue Book). Rallying requires both a plumbed-in extinguisher (minimum weight of suppressant 3 KG) and a handheld system. Cross country and time trial events usually require a handheld extinguisher. For Hill Climb is is recommended that you have a plumbed-in extinguisher but it is not required (if you do have one it must comply with the service regulations, see blow).

What is the difference between mechanical or electrical operated systems (activation)?

Mechanically operated systems are set-off by use of a pull cable (one fitted outside the car, one inside and both capable of operating the extinguisher independently). An electrical system can be fired by pressing a button (one fitted outside the car, one inside and both capable of operating the extinguisher independently). The option between the two is usually a personal choice (a very few championships do state which type you have to have). Mechanical are usually cheaper.

What homologation do I require, what is the difference between Technical List 16 and 52? (Plumbed-In only)

Often an area of confusion is that there are 2 different sets of FIA standards (homologations) for plumbed-in extinguishers. The vast majority of categories require Technical List 16 extinguishers and these are the most common models. A few categories such as LMP, WRC, TCR, WRX, R5, RGT and GT3 require a Technical List 52 extinguisher., these meet FIA standard 8865-2015. Both lists are available for viewing from the FIA website, please read the list carefully, and the notes at the bottom of the pages.

What do the different types of suppressant mean?

Suppressant refers to the mixture in the bottle which is used to put out the fire. Usually extinguishers have either AFFF (there are a few different types including EcoLife), ABF or Novec. Some extinguishers use a mix of these suppressants. Very few championships specify a requirement of suppressant. Novec does give a better performance for the volume of liquid (meaning you can have a smaller bottle) but Novec systems do cost more (as well as the servicing and refill costs being higher). Regardless of suppressant all extinguishers pass the same FIA tests.

How much does a new system cost?

This is very dependant on the make/model of the system your require. Handheld systems are between £75 - £240. Plumbed-in systems are between £180 - £2000. Most club competitors will spend between £180 - £600 depending on their requirements. Size, suppressant, weight and activation all have an impact on the price. If you are trying to stick to a budget then please let us know when selecting an extinguisher. Please call or email with details of your requirements for a quote, the more detail you can give the more exact we can be about your options and the price.

What material is the bottle made from and how does this effect weight?

Usually bottles are made from either aluminium or steel. Aluminium bottles tend to be lighter but more expensive. Cheaper, heavier bottles are usually made from steel.

What size extinguisher do I require?

Rallying requires a plumbed in extinguisher size of 3KG (this refers to the suppressant inside the extinguisher and not the total weight of the bottle itself), the handheld bottle needs to be a minimum of 2.4ltrs for AFFF or 2KG for Novec. Sizes for FIA categories/championships may differ.

Racing does not specify a minimum size bottle in the Blue Book, however a few championships (usually saloon racing) do state a minimum requirement. Please check your championship regulations to make sure.

What is the difference between a remote discharge and a stored pressure system?

Most bottles that Raceparts offer are a stored pressure type. These keep the suppressant and the pressure in the same bottle. A remote discharge system keeps the suppressant un-pressurised whilst there is a separate cylinder (usually much smaller) for the pressurised gas. Remote discharge systems are very slightly quicker to actuate however they are much more expensive (to purchase and to service/refill).

Which fire extinguisher systems do Raceparts offer?

Raceparts offers systems by Lifeline, OMP and FEV. There is a large range of different sizes, specifications and capabilities. We can find a solution for most needs but if you require a model we do not usually offer then please contact us either via phone or email with details and we will try to help.

How often does a fire extinguisher need to be serviced?

Every 2 years and they have a life of 10 years from the date of manufacture. For more details on servicing/refilling of systems please click here.

I don't know which extinguisher I should buy, what information does Raceparts need to help me?

We currently offer 37 different models of plumbed-in extinguisher. When asking for a quote or details on which extinguisher system you should purchase then please let us know as much of the following as you can (we don't need everything, but the more specific you can be to more specific we can be):

  • What vehicle is the extinguisher going into? - Saloon car, GT, TCR, Single-seater (make and model can help)
  • Which championship you are planning on competing in?
  • What's the maximum physical size bottle you have space for? - If possible then please specify the total length and diameter in mm
  • Any preferences in make/model, amount of suppressant, weight or actuation that you have?
  • What's more important to you weight saving or price?
  • Any other requirements that you have?

How many nozzles do I need in the cockpit and/or engine bay

In the Blue Book 2022 there is no specified number of nozzles require for each area. However under the homologation for each extinguisher the number of nozzles required for the cockpit and/or engine bay is specified by the manufacturer. Details of installation are in the manual for the extinguisher (if you need a new copy then please let us know and we can email you a pdf if required).

My question isn't covered here, what should I do?

Please call or email with details of your question and we will try to help you.