A driver pulled over on to the hard shoulder of the A19 after his car caught light.
The 4x4 stopped on the northbound carriageway, just after Seaham, at around midnight after smoke began to filter into the car.
Firefighters from Peterlee and a crew from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene, and found the fire had taken hold of the vehicle.
The fire was put out using hose reels, with one lane of the road closed off while the area was cleared.
The driver of the car, who is from South Shields, was not injured in the incident.