10 Things you should never leave inside a hot car

It’s almost summer
by Drei Laurel | Feb 24, 2019
PHOTO: Drei Laurel

The sun is beginning to shine a little brighter, and the sweat’s beginning to pour a little faster—yep, it’s almost summer. And, of course, with soaring temperatures come a number of hazards that could potentially ruin your car.

But we’re not here to talk about your paint job, your tires, or your car’s interior trim. We’re here to discuss the everyday items you leave inside your vehicle when it’s sitting in the middle of a scorching-hot parking lot.

Depending on what you leave inside, you could endanger your belongings, your ride, or even a loved one. With that in mind, be sure never to leave any of these 10 things inside your car during a hot summer day:

1) Plastic bottles

Leaving plastic bottles inside your vehicle won’t just cause them to warp or melt—the heat can potentially release harmful chemicals into the liquid they contain. The US Food and Drug Administration even banned the use of Bisphenol A (BPA)—a common chemical found in plastic water containers—in baby bottles and sippy cups, though the agency has since amended its regulations as the use of the chemical in such products has since been prohibited.

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2) Battery-powered electronics

Do not leave power banks or any other lithium ion-powered devices inside your vehicle on a hot day. There’s a reason these aren’t allowed inside check-in baggage on flights. High temperatures can cause irreversible damage to such electronics, and in some cases even cause them to combust.

3) Pets

You wouldn’t want to be left locked inside a hot car to cook, would you? Yeah, well, neither would your dog, cat, gerbil—or any other pet for that matter. Doing so could kill your fur buddy.

4) Your family

If you’re not supposed to leave pets locked inside a hot car, obviously, don’t leave your kids. Don’t leave your grandparents or any other elderly individuals inside, either. Use your common sense.

5) Pressurized canisters

Cans of spray deodorant, hairspray, cleaning products, spray paint—never leave these, or any other similar products, inside a hot car. If you’ll notice, there’s a warning on their backside regarding high temperatures.

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6) Lotions and medication

Avoid leaving your meds, or lotions and sunscreen inside your car during a hot day. Exposing these products to high heat can shorten their shelf life and even alter their chemical composition.

7) Lighters

Okay, so the MythBusters actually tested if a lighter can burst inside a hot car, and apparently, it would take a ridiculously high cabin temperature for that to happen. Still, there are several reports online of incidents involving exploding lighters inside vehicles, so we think it’d be better to be safe than sorry.

8) Chocolates and candy

Simple reason: Melted chocolates and candy will ruin your car’s interior. These can be a pain in the ass to clean if they melt onto fabric. And more important, they usually don’t taste the same after they’ve melted.

9) Sunglasses or shades

Depending on the material used, high temperatures inside a car’s cabin can melt, warp or ruin your eyewear’s paint or finish. Best to keep them on you instead of leaving them inside your vehicle.

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10) Food

Remember: Food spoils faster in warm environments. Not only that, but you’ll also have to deal with the horrendous smell and potential mess that’ll result from leaving food inside a hot car.

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PHOTO: Drei Laurel
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