15 Things You Should Never Keep in Your Car (and Why)

Mitch
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You may not think twice about what you leave in your car, but you might be surprised by the things that simply shouldn’t stay there. From the potentially dangerous to the just plain ruinous, we’re taking a pit stop to clear out the clutter. Here are 15 items you should NEVER keep in your vehicle, and why.

Young Children

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You might be thinking, “But I’m just dashing into the store!” However, consider this: the interior temperature of a car can rise approximately 20°F within just 10 minutes, and kids’ bodies heat up 3-5 times faster than adults’, according to the National Safety Council.

According to a report from Kids and Cars, an average of 38 children die every year from being left in a hot car.

Aerosol Cans

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Aerosol cans are pressurized, and when they’re exposed to high temperatures (like the inside of your car on a hot summer day), they can explode. And we’re not talking a tiny pop.

These cans can explode with a force that shatters car windows. According to the National Fire Protection Association, temperatures inside a car can reach up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit on a hot day.

Lighters

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In the sweltering heat, the inside of your car can reach temperatures of over 120 degrees Fahrenheit — that’s hotter than a summer day in Death Valley. Your innocuous little lighter, basking in this heat, can transform into a mini firecracker.

The fuel inside may cause the lighter to explode, potentially causing damage to your car and giving you an unpleasant surprise.

Sunscreen

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Sunscreens have active ingredients that can degrade when exposed to heat, significantly reducing their effectiveness. A study by the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology found that temperatures above 77°F (25°C) can cause sunscreen to lose its potency.

Art Supplies

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Before you stash away that oil paint and those pastel sticks, consider this: Extreme temperatures inside your car can wreak havoc on these sensitive items. Oil paints, for instance, can freeze or become goopy in hot or cold climates, respectively.

Plus, those pastel sticks are more fragile than a Jenga tower on a trampoline, and a bumpy ride could reduce them to colorful dust.

Makeup

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Cosmetics, especially liquid-based ones like foundation and lipstick, are designed to be stored at room temperature. Parking your car in the sun can raise the inside temperature to a scorching 160°F within an hour, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Don’t let your car turn your favorite lipstick into a melted mess.

Wet Clothes

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Why, you ask? Well, apart from the risk of cultivating your very own in-car mold farm (eww, right?), damp materials in closed spaces can cause humidity levels to skyrocket.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this can lead to a growth in mold and mildew, turning your car into a moving petri dish. Not to mention the oh-so-pleasant aroma of dampness that’ll greet you every time you hop in.

Medicine

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High temperatures, typical in a parked car, can degrade the active ingredients in the medicine, making it less effective or even unsafe. A study published in the journal “Pharmacy Practice” found that some drugs lost their potency by up to 75% when exposed to heat in a car at just 104 degrees for an extended period.

Electronics

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Cars, particularly on a sunny day, can turn into an oven, reaching temperatures as high as 116 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour. Those high temperatures can wreak havoc on your electronics’ sensitive inner parts, leading to irreversible damage or even, in extreme cases, causing batteries to explode.

Glasses

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Plastic frames can warp, while metal ones can become hot enough to scald your skin. Worst yet, the heat could potentially damage the lens coatings.

According to the American Optometric Association, exposure to high temperatures can degrade the anti-glare and UV protection layers on your lenses. Who knew, right?

Wine

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Not only can the inconsistent and often high temperatures in a car affect the wine’s flavor and aroma negatively, but it can also cause the wine to ‘cook,’ leading to flat tastes and aromas.

According to a study by the University of California, Davis, wine can start to cook as low as 78°F. So, unless you’re driving an air-conditioned wine cellar, it’s best to keep the Pinot at home.

Pets

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On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature can reach 120 degrees.

This can lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal for pets.

Gasoline Containers

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It’s a no-brainer that gasoline is highly flammable, but did you know that even a small amount of heat can cause the fuel to expand? Not to mention, the vapors are hazardous to your health and the environment.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a mere 20°F increase in a closed vehicle can cause gasoline to explode.

Groceries

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You may be thinking, “It’s just a quick run to the store and back,” but even in a short amount of time, your car can turn into a mini greenhouse on a sunny day, causing your groceries to spoil quickly.

Dairy products, meats, and eggs can start to spoil if your car’s interior exceeds 40°F. That candy bar you saved for a rainy day could be a melted mess when you need it most.

Musical Instruments

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It’s not just a matter of them getting stolen, which is a considerable risk in itself. Instruments, especially those made of wood like violins, flutes, and guitars, are highly sensitive to temperature changes.

When exposed to the heat or cold in a parked car, they can warp, crack, or become detuned.

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Buckle your seat belts, folks! We’re about to take a swerving ride through the winding lanes of an online opinion highway, where the rumbling engines of myths and biases echo. Our destination? The online community cites a bustling parking lot of unpopular reasons to validate the claim that women are worse drivers than men.

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Author

  • Mitch

    A computer science enthusiast with a keen interest in technology and games, Mitchelle (Mitch) contributes a cutting-edge perspective to the Frenz Hub writing team, integrating her academic knowledge with her personal passions

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