Always.I make sure my guys always have them on.They can put them on in the engine on the way.Too much bad stuff to breathe to not put them on.I don't even know why we have to tell them,should be obvious to them.Just my opinion.(Yep,I know what opinions are like.Everybody has one.)
There are so many reasons to wear SCBA at car fire. 1. the gases that are release! 2. super heated smoke and gases that can turn and be inhaled. 3. exploding air bags, tires, hood cylinders, bumper mounts....etc. 4. you knoever know what is in that vehicle!! I opened a trunk one night to find five or six small propane cylinder in there!
I wish I had an old report from about 15 years ago, it talked about vehicle fire investigators getting sick and dying from the fumes and left over products from car fire days before. As they dug through the debris, they didn't wear masks or SCBA.
I agree with you, they should be worn. Simply because of all the different types of materials used in auto construction today. When on fire these plastics and metals combine to make who knows what kind of possible TOXIC SMOKE.