The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 65: Exploding Lighter

Premier Date: November 1, 2006

A lighter can explode when placed under a welding tool.


The heat generated from the welding tool was hot enough to cause the plastic lighter to melt and release its fuel which ignited, causing a small explosion.

A lighter can explode when put in a laundry dryer.


A lighter was left in a running laundry dryer but suffered no significant damage and did not explode.

A lighter can explode when hit with a golf club.


Hitting a lighter with a golf club did not make the lighter explode, but when the MythBusters decided to hit the lighter while it was lit, it exploded rather violently.

A lighter can explode on a car dashboard.


The lighter was put in a toaster oven to simulate the maximum temperature that the interior of a car can reach, around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. There was no reaction for several hours, and the lighter finally exploded when the MythBusters ramped the temperature up to over 350 degrees Fahrenheit, well above any temperature that can be expected in the interior of a car.

A single lighter in a person’s pocket could explode lethally.


The MythBusters placed a lighter in a pair of jeans and put it under a welding tool. The sparks and heat from the tool managed to set the pants on fire, but failed to ignite the lighter. This myth was labeled busted because of the improbability of a lighter exploding in someone’s pocket.

Five hundred lighters packed inside a car can explode with lethal force.


The MythBusters placed five hundred lighters in a car and slowly heated it up. One by one, lighters began to rupture and release gas fumes. When the MythBusters finally triggered an igniter, the gas fumes exploded, blowing out all of the windows and setting the car on fire. The myth was deemed possible as long as there is a suitable ignition source.

An Old West gunslinger could drop a coin and fire his pistol five times before it hits the ground.


Using replicas of actual Wild West pistols, Grant, Kari, and Tory attempted the stunt themselves. However, Grant and Kari were unable to clear the pistols from their holsters in time and Tory was only able to get off one shot. Grant then built a device which showed that the pistols were mechanically unable to fire that fast. The MythBusters finally turned to a professional gunslinger, but he could only fire three shots and he stated that firing five in that space of time would be “extremely difficult”. With no results, the myth was busted.

An Old West gunslinger could shoot a hole through a silver dollar.


The MythBusters used actual period silver dollars for the test. A professional gunslinger proved that hitting the coin was possible (with many tries) by piercing a lead coin. Both the Peacemaker and Navy revolver were only able to dent the silver dollar. While a .357 Magnum could easily pierce the coin, the myth was busted because the .357 was not introduced until the 1930’s – gunslingers didn’t have access to it.

An Old West gunslinger could save a man from being hanged by shooting the rope.


Firing at a rope with the pistols, even at point blank range, failed to break the rope. The bullets were merely deflected off of the rope. A professional gunslinger armed with a more powerful Winchester repeating rifle managed to shoot and break the rope, but it required multiple tries in order to pull off. With the difficulty involved in shooting and breaking the rope, the myth was considered busted.