15 Things Never to Leave in a Cold Car (2023)

Chill Out—Just Not With These Items


15 Things Never to Leave in a Cold Car (1)

As we all learned from George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, “Nothing burns like the cold!” And nothing can cause quite so much damage to the items with which we surround ourselves. When winter weather strikes, it can be tempting to rush back into the warm house after running errands and put off unloading the car. But while you're thawing out indoors, groceries and other cargo left in your cold car could be damaged beyond repair, or may damage the interior of your car. Put your boots on and rescue these items from your vehicle ASAP.


Musical Instruments


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Guitars and other musical instruments that are constructed of wood can suffer serious damage in the cold. The wood can warp, split, or crack, and the strings may tighten or snap. Once an instrument has been damaged by freezing weather, it can be costly—and sometimes impossible—to repair.

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Bottled Water


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A standard 16.9-ounce bottle of water can freeze in as few as 30 to 45 minutes when the temperature drops to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and it can freeze even faster at lower temperatures. The water expands as it turns to ice and can crack the plastic bottle, leaving you with a wet mess to clean up when it melts.

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Canned and Bottled Soda


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Soda is mostly water, so it poses the same risk as a frozen bottle of water. That said, a can or bottle of soda can withstand cold temperatures for a bit longer than water because the sugar content lowers its freezing point. Beware, though, if the container cracks or bursts, it will cause an even bigger—and stickier—mess.

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Cellphones and Computers


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It’s bad enough that someone might break into your car to steal your electronic devices, but the cold can be almost as devastating. That's because many of today’s gadgets contain lithium-ion batteries, which aren't designed to endure chilly temperatures. Repeated freezing and thawing can cause condensation inside the unit, shortening its lifespan and potentially voiding your warranty.

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Drugs and Medication


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Many prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications lose their effectiveness when they freeze. Take care not to leave medications in a cold car, especially insulin or other drugs that are in a liquid suspension, including eye drops and cough syrup.

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Household Cleansers


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Many cleaning supplies, including glass cleaners, dish soaps, and multisurface cleaners, are high in water content, which means that freezing temperatures can cause these liquids to swell and crack their containers. Other types of household cleansers such as including laundry detergent and floor cleaners contain surfactants and polymers that may separate or clump when exposed to the cold, which will reduce or eliminate their effectiveness.

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Water-based and latex paints should never be left in freezing temperatures because the ingredients in the paint can freeze, expand, separate, and clump, rendering the paint virtually unusable foryour next redecorating project.

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Canned Goods


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Nearly all canned vegetables and fruits are packed in water, which makes it just as risky to tote around canned corn as bottled water. Even if the can remains intact, the seals could break, allowing bacteria to get into the can and spoil the food. When in doubt, toss it out!

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Beer and Wine


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You may have heard that that thealcohol content in beer and wine will prevent it from freezing. That's not exactly true. Although it takes longer, alcohol will eventually freeze—wine at 23 degrees, and beer at around 21 degrees Fahrenheit. Once that happens, those bottles will be just as prone to cracking and breaking as any other.

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Eggshells are designed by Mother Nature to keep harmful bacteria from damaging the precious cargo inside. When eggs freeze, the shells will often crack, allowing germs to enter and cause the eggs to spoil. Even if the shells do not appear to be cracked, eggs that have been frozen won't look or taste like you're used to—the yolks become thick and don’t mix well with other ingredients.

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Aerosol Cans


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Many people think of aerosol cans as fairly indestructible, but these handy containers for hairspray, spray paint, antiperspirant, lubricants, and other household products are all labeled with optimal storage temperatures. Aerosol cans are ideally stored at temperatures between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit; exposure to freezing temperatures can cause them to crack and even explode, which could damage the interior of your car—and maybe break its windows.


Eyeglasses and Sunglasses


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Those pricey prescription lenses or stylish shades you just shelled out big bucks for should never be left in a cold car, because the frames and lens are susceptible to cracking and warping when exposed to freezing temperatures (to say nothing of the potential for theft!). Extreme cold also can cause glasses' frames to snap, and can shorten the lifespan of any protective coating on the lenses.


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A Low (or Empty) Gas Tank


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Have your parents always nagged you about filling up the car when a winter storm is coming? Well, they were right. Keeping your gas tank filled more than half-full in the winter prevents your car's fuel lines from freezing. You also may want to keep an eye on the tire pressure, because a drop of 10 degrees in temperature can cause a 10 percent reduction of the air in your tires. And while you’re checking on fluids, make sure you top off the antifreeze and window washer fluids.

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Everyone knows how what a bad idea it is to leave pets in a closed car in the summer, when temperatures can rise to dangerous, even fatal, levels in a matter of minutes. Cold temperatures can be equally dangerous for our furry friends, because it doesn't take long for the temperature inside a parked car to plummet to the ambient temperature outside the vehicle. Pets can succumb to hypothermia quickly, collapsing or even sinking into a coma; danger signs include shivering, lethargy, pale or gray gums, stumbling or lack of coordination, fixed and dilated pupils, and low heart and breathing rates.


Very Young (or Very Old) Loved Ones


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It should be a no-brainer, but babies, young children, and elderly people should never be left in a cold car. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the young and old are particularly susceptible to hypothermia, which can lead to symptoms such as confusion, excessive shivering, exhaustion, heart arrhythmia, and even possibly a coma. Escort your loved ones inside with you.


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What should you not leave in a cold car? ›

10 things you should never leave in your car in the winter
  • Your loved ones. Children, elderly people and pets are especially sensitive to the cold. ...
  • Pop or beer cans. Liquids expand when they freeze, which can lead to a big mess. ...
  • Eggs. ...
  • Canned foods. ...
  • Drugs. ...
  • Eyeglasses. ...
  • Almost empty gas tank. ...
  • Cell phones and electronic devices.

Can I leave my groceries in a cold car? ›

Different types of food can be left in different temperature differences. A good number of refrigerated food can be kept between 34-39°F. Foods kept in the freezer can be in the vehicle when the temperature dips around 0°F. Beverages, on the other hand, should be kept around 30°F, especially soda.

What can freeze in a car? ›

Take these items inside. Musical Instruments – Extreme cold can wreak havoc on guitars, brass, woodwinds – just about any musical instrument. Bottled or canned soda – These will start to freeze, expand and potentially explode in your car. It's not a mess you want to clean up.

How long can groceries sit in a cold car? ›

Information. Two hours is the limit for keeping food safe outside the refrigerator or freezer; one hour if the outside temperature is 90 °F ( 32.2 °C) or above.

What should you always have in your car in the winter? ›

Blanket, gloves and hat.

For heat, AAA recommends running the car for about 10 minutes every hour but keeping it off the rest of the time to avoid running out of gas. Make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow and ice when the car is running to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

What 3 items must always be in your car? ›

It may seem obvious, but you should always have your license, registration, and insurance in the car whenever you are driving it.
Keep all of your important car documents in a file folder in the glovebox:
  • Owner's manual.
  • Car maintenance receipts.
  • Registration.
  • Insurance.
  • Emergency contact information.
Jan 12, 2017

What are 5 things you should keep in your car? ›

5 Things You Should Always Keep in Your Car
  • First Aid Kit. Out of all the things you should keep in your car, a first aid kit may be the most crucial. ...
  • Jumper Cables. ...
  • Flat Tire Kit. ...
  • Blankets. ...
  • Fire Extinguisher.
Oct 13, 2016

Why you shouldn't sleep in your car? ›

Leaving your car engine turned on while sleeping could lead to dangerous exhaust fumes containing carbon monoxide entering the vehicle. Carbon monoxide is an odourless and colourless poisonous, gas emitted from the exhaust system, which can build up dangerously quickly in enclosed spaces.

Is the trunk of a car cooler than the interior? ›

Surprisingly the inside of a trunk is cooler than the inside of the car itself. This is because most the heating occurs from objects being heated by sunlight and those in turn heating the air. Since no sunlight gets into the trunk the temperatures are cooler.

Is frozen food safe at 20 degrees? ›

If the freezer thermometer reads 40°F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen. If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can't rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 °F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.

Can you leave canned goods in a cold car? ›

Items such as mobile devices and canned goods can be damaged if left inside a car in frozen temperatures.

Will bottled beer freeze in car? ›

When water freezes, it expands. So, if you have a bottle of wine or can of soda, beer or other water-based liquid in your car it can explode, leaving you a sticky mess. Water and diet soda freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Regular sodas (with sugar) freeze at about 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can you leave hairspray in a cold car? ›

Aerosol cans, such as those that contain hairspray or spray paint, shouldn't be kept in extremely cold conditions. Exposure to either heat or cold temperatures can destabilize the pressurized cans. Cold can make the cans crack or even explode.

Will eggs freeze in my car? ›

But for the same reason as canned beverages, canned foods should be taken inside immediately or you may find yourself scrubbing pork 'n' beans or Chef Boyardee off your upholstery. Similarly, the USDA warns that eggs can freeze, as well, and that eggs with shells cracked by the cold should be discarded.

How long can milk stay in car? ›

In general, perishable foods like milk should not sit out of the refrigerator or cooler for longer than two hours. Cut that time down to an hour in the summer if the temperature reaches 90 degrees F.

Is the trunk the coolest part of the car? ›

The floor tends to be the coolest area, and with the air conditioner on, the car should be cool enough to get you home before the fresh produce wilts and the ice cream melts. The cabin also tends to be better insulated than the trunk. So you'll have a better chance of avoiding extreme swings in temperature.

Can you leave milk in a cold car? ›

Shopping for milk during the cold season is great because you don't have to rush home to refrigerate it. It can remain fresh in a cold car if the temperature is 40 degrees or below. If the car is cold, but the temperatures are above 40 degrees, don't allow your milk to sit out for more than two hours.

What do you keep in your car trunk in the winter? ›

Winter also brings an increased risk of getting stuck in your car, so dress warmly before heading out.
Items to keep in your trunk:
  • Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping)
  • Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid.
  • Tow rope.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Warning light or road flares.

What needs to be in car at all times? ›

Food and water are essential in any emergency on the road, whether you've broken down or you're sitting through long delays. As such, you should keep your car stocked with non-perishables like cereal bars, dried fruit, crisps and so on. If you tend to drive with passengers, make sure you pack extra.

Should you keep blankets in your car? ›

Most importantly, a blanket will provide much needed warmth for a stranded driver in cold weather. A blanket can also serve as a pad on which to lie if you need to get underneath your car to inspect damage or make a repair. A simple blanket can also be useful in a variety of medical emergencies.

What are the 10 most important pieces of a vehicle? ›

Top 10 Car Parts You Should Know About
  • Battery. Your car's battery is a critical component; without it your vehicle won't turn on, as it provides the electricity needed to power and start your car's engine. ...
  • Axles. ...
  • Brakes. ...
  • Pistons. ...
  • Radiator. ...
  • Shock Absorbers. ...
  • Air Filters. ...
  • Muffler.
Apr 19, 2022

What is the most popular car color? ›

America's Most Popular Car Colors (according to iSeeCars.Com) Grayscale colors (white, black, gray, and silver) represent a total of 78.5% of all vehicles on the road in the United States. White sits atop the list as the most popular choice.

What are the top five things most important to you in a car? ›

A first aid kit, jumper cables, a tool kit, a flashlight, and a spare fuel can are five of the most important things you should keep in your car.

What are the 4 things a car needs to run? ›

  • Chain Lubricant.
  • Engine Oil.
  • Fuel Cans & Storage.
Jun 25, 2019

What can hold a car but can't lift a feather? ›

A garage can hold a car but can't lift a feather. A garage can hold a car but can't lift a feather because a garage is not at all designed to lift a feather. There are other examples that are used in the same context. A garage is used for parking or holding cars.

Can you sleep in your car at Walmart? ›

The policy of Walmart welcomes RVers to spend a night in their parking lot, as long as you have the individual location's permission. In some places, city zoning laws or ordinances will prohibit overnight stays in parking lots. Typically, larger cities are most likely to have these types of restrictions in place.

Do you need to crack a window when sleeping in a car? ›

It is generally safe to sleep in your car overnight, providing the engine is turned off and you're parked in a secure location. Cars are not airtight, meaning oxygen can enter the vehicle during the night to allow comfortable breathing, even when the windows and doors are closed.

Where is the safest place to sleep in your car? ›

Traditional Campgrounds/ AirBNB

Campgrounds are one of the safest places to sleep in your car. Even if you pay a small fee to stay there, you have the peace of mind that you are staying in a campground instead of a parking lot.

Can you leave electronics in a cold car? ›

Never leave your smartphone, notebook, tablet, or any other mobile device in your cold vehicle for extended periods of time. Even with a case, such extended time can cause permanent internal and external damage.

Can I leave alcohol in a cold car? ›

When the temperature dips below the 5° mark – you can expect to find a frozen bottle of wine in your car within just 5 hours. Bottles left in your vehicle for extended periods will freeze and can break the seal or shatter under extreme temperatures.

Can you leave glass in a cold car? ›

Try not to leave your glasses in the car, as both heat and cold can affect the frames. Extreme cold can cause the frames to snap. Did you know bifocal safety glasses are available?

Is it OK to leave cell phone in cold car? ›

It can affect Android phones, too. Here's what Samsung's website says, for example: Extreme heat and cold can damage your battery. For example, don't leave your smartphone in the glove compartment of your car on very hot or cold days.

How cold is too cold to store electronics? ›

Electronics are best stored in HVAC regulated environments between 50 and 80 degrees. Humidity control is another important factor in climate controlled indoor storage as moisture can be one of the biggest culprits for electronics damage.

At what cold temperature do electronics get damaged? ›

Why? Well, most consumer electronic devices use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and those batteries cannot be charged at subfreezing temperatures (below 32°F or 0°C) without causing damage.

Does WD 40 freeze? ›

Yes, WD40 does freeze. Its freezing point is -81.4 degrees Fahrenheit. To prevent freezing, you should store it between this temperature and no warmer than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. WD40 comprises different kinds of hydrocarbons with all different freezing points.

Is wine OK in a cold car? ›

Will leaving wine in a cold car cause issues? Leaving wine in a car overnight when temperatures can drop below freezing is never a good idea, but it unlikely the bottle will explode if the wine completely freezes and most wines can be thawed with no real noticeable effects to the wine's integrity and flavor.

What temperature does Coke freeze? ›

Soda or beer

Water expands when it freezes. And for canned liquids under pressure, that can mean explosion. The freeze temperature for Coca-Cola is 30 degrees, and the temperature for beer that's 5% alcohol by volume is 27 degrees (higher-alcohol beers freeze at lower temperatures), as NJ.com reported.

Can a beer freeze? ›

Water freezes twice faster as alcohol if the temperature ranges from 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. So to answer your question, “Does beer freeze?” the answer is yes! Beer freezes because of the components inside the beverage itself.

Does Toothpaste freeze? ›

According to the blog Dawn In Antarctica, toothpaste does freeze.

Can mirrors break in the cold? ›

Moisture between the housing and the mirror itself can be the cause when a mirror cracks in subfreezing temperatures.

What temp does glass crack? ›

When heated, thin glass begins to crack and typically breaks at 302–392°F. If a glass container is placed on a very hot source of heat (e.g., 500°C), it can gradually lose its shape and change from a permanent solid form to a plastic state. In general, glass jars should not be heated in a microwave or oven.


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