Flammability of Automotive Materials (FMVSS 302)

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 302 (FMVSS 302), Flammability of Interior Materials, is used to determine the burn resistance capabilities of materials used in the occupant compartments of motor vehicles. This test is typically performed on materials in passenger cars, trucks, and buses.

Test Methods

  • FMVSS 302 (49 CFR 571.302)
  • CMVSS 302 (TSD-302)
  • ISO 3795
  • SAE J369
  • ASTM D5132-04

Test Summary

A test sample is aligned horizontally and exposed to a small Bunsen burner flame at one edge. The flame is applied for 15 seconds and then pulled away from the sample. The rate of flame travel across the sample is measured between two points. The pass/fail criteria is based on the burn rate across the test sample, with a maximum burn rate of 102 mm per minute.

Test Sample Requirements

Test samples must meet the following requirements:

    • The standard sample size is 102-mm x 356-mm (approximately 4-in. x 14-in.).
        • If the available width is less than 102 mm, the maximum available width should be used.
        • If the available length is less than 356 mm, multiple pieces should be provided so when laid back-to-back they reach 356 mm.
    • The thickness is that of the single or composite material used in the vehicle, unless the material's thickness exceeds 13 mm, in which case the sample is cut down to 13 mm total, measured from the surface of the sample which would be closest to the occupant compartment air space.
    • 5 samples must be tested.
    • If the material could react differently depending which direction it is cut, it must be tested in two directions. For example, woven materials (e.g. carpet, fabric, etc.) must be tested with 5 samples cut up the roll and 5 samples cut across the roll.
    • If the material does adhere to other materials at every point of contact, it must be tested as a composite build-up with those other materials.
    • If the material does not adhere to other materials at every point of contact, it must be tested separately.
    • When it is not possible to obtain a flat sample because of surface curvature, the sample is cut to not more than 13 mm in thickness at any point.

Regulatory Requirements

This test is typically used to show compliance with the following U.S. Federal Regulations:

    • 49 CFR 571.302

Products Requiring This Test

Any portion of a single or composite material which is within 13 mm of the occupant compartment air space must meet the requirements of this test. The following products typically require The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 302 (FMVSS 302), Flammability of Interior Materials:

  • Seat Cushions
  • Seat Belts
  • Headlining
  • Convertible Tops
  • Arm Rests
  • Trim Panels
  • Floor Coverings
  • Crash-Deployed Elements
  • Head Restraints
  • Compartment Shelves
  • Sun Visors
  • Curtains
  • Shades
  • Wheel Housing Covers
  • Engine Compartment Covers
  • + any other interior materials

History of the Horizontal Bunsen Burner Test

In 1969, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined the need to address fire safety in vehicle interiors. A new test method was created based on the 1951 Federal Specification CCC-T-191b, Method 5906* "Flame Resistance of Cloth, Horizontal". The new test method, known as FMVSS No. 302, was adopted in 1971 to establish a maximum burn rate for interior materials. The goal was to reduce the severity and frequency of burn injuries during vehicle fires by increasing the occupant evacuation time, especially fires caused from discarded cigarettes and matches.

The FMVSS 302 regulation is located in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49 - Transportation, Subtitle B - Other Regulations Relating to Transportation, Chapter V - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Department of Transportation, Part 571 - Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

*The CCT-T-191b, Method 5906 test method was superseded by FED-STD-191, Method 5906, and is still in use.

Additional Resources

Resource Description
49 CFR 571.302 (FMVSS 302) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 302; Flammability of interior materials.
U.S. Regulations for 49 CFR § 571.30 as amended at 63 FR 51003, Sept. 24, 1998

Ready to Order?


Ask the Experts

Expert photo

Stuck? Our experts will help you determine the best solution for your needs.

Contact Us