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It's a dystopian future where people race, and the overseer of the races rig the cars to explode if they're rendered non-operational.
The car doesn't explode, but whatever it hits does.
Or when the car crashes, it implodes and either pops out of existence or becomes a tiny black hole.
Subverted: Alternatively a detective points out a hole in a claim of accidental death by pointing out "cars don't just explode like that."
Double Subverted: But it turns out that the car really did just explode on its own.
A Running Gag has all sorts of vehicles exploding when they crash — a bicycle, a baby stroller, a horse...
Every single car is actually a Ford Pinto.
A pinto horse crashes and explodes.
Zig Zagged: The car is subject of a rocambolesque series of incidents, and everytime we expect it to explode. Instead, it never explodes, while other things do. In the end, the owner comments that the car didn't explode because it was short of fuel. While putting in some gasoline, it inexplicabily explodes.
Averted: The car never blows up despite taking extreme damage from a crash.
Lampshaded: "I do not understand why every car you drive must inevitably explode."
Invoked: When a beast that can only be killed with fire leaps onto the back of his car, our quick-thinking hero lets it career over a cliff, jumping out Just in Time to watch it plummet to the bottom and roast the monster to death.
Defied: The car is an actual Ford Pinto and is either destroyed without an explosion (The Blues Brothers) or a scene looks like the Pinto's destruction is imminent, but it's either avoided or cut away from (Super 8).
Discussed: "What are you looking at?" "I'm waiting for it to blow up. They always blow up."
Conversed: "Why does everything always have to blow up? As if a car plummeting off a cliff and being smashed to bits wasn't dramatic enough!"
Deconstructed: Cars are no longer used as transport — everyone takes the subway because they're afraid of blowing up. Car races still exist, but they're a Deadly Game played by Condemned Contestants, because every minor collision results in a fireball. Veteran players are almost all covered in horrific burn scars from the past wrecks they miraculously survived.
Reconstructed: Even though cars have been banned by a government worried about the death toll, illicit gangs of petrolheads still drive at top speed along clifftops, driving convertibles and wearing parachutes.