6 items you shouldn’t leave in your parked car

Cars are more than just a means of transport; they often become storage for a variety of items, ranging from the mundane to the potentially dangerous.

However, certain items, when left inside a vehicle, can pose serious risks, including the threat of fire. It is essential to understand why these items should not be left in a car, and how their presence can inadvertently lead to dangerous situations.

  • Lighter

    One such item is a lighter. We might think of a lighter as harmless when not in use, but under certain conditions, it can become a significant fire hazard. Inside a car, especially during the hotter months such as right now, temperatures can rise dramatically. This heat can cause the fluid inside a lighter to expand, potentially leading to leakage or even explosion. If an ignition source is present, it can result in a fire.

  • Powerbank

    Powerbanks, while incredibly useful for charging our devices on the go, can also pose a fire risk when left in a vehicle. They contain lithium-ion batteries, which are sensitive to heat. When exposed to high temperatures, such as those that can occur in a closed car on a hot day, these batteries can malfunction. The heat can cause the battery to swell, possibly leading to a process known as thermal runaway, where the battery overheats and can ignite or even explode.

  • Aerosol Can

    Aerosol cans, like those containing deodorant or hairspray, are pressurized containers that become highly dangerous when exposed to heat. The propellant inside an aerosol can is flammable, and when a can is heated, the pressure inside it increases. If the pressure becomes too high, the can can burst, releasing the flammable propellant, which can ignite if there’s an ignition source nearby.

  • Battery

    Even something as seemingly harmless as a spare battery can be a fire hazard in a car. Batteries, particularly lithium ion batteries, can suffer from a short circuit if they are damaged or subjected to high temperatures. It can cause the battery to rapidly discharge, generating intense heat. In severe cases, this can lead to a fire.

  • Laptop

    Laptops, like powerbanks and batteries, contain lithium-ion batteries and are therefore susceptible to the same risks.

  • Mobile Phone

    Mobile phones should not be left in a car due to similar reasons as powerbanks and laptops. The battery within the phone can overheat and cause a fire. Furthermore, if a phone is left in a charging state connected to a powerbank in a hot car, it can generate additional heat, which increases the risk of thermal runaway and a potential fire.

As a precaution, it’s best to take these items with you when you leave your car, or at least ensure they are stored in a cool and safe place. The temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to over 60 degrees Celcius. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.