As the winter weather creeps in, motoring experts from LeaseCar.uk have revealed eight items you should always take out of cars and vans as a matter of health and safety.
Most drivers will take their belongings out of their vehicles after every journey to prevent break-ins and theft, but even low-cost items like sun cream and water bottles should be removed as extreme temperatures can reduce their efficacy.
And although the research is still a bit unclear, studies have linked chemicals found in plastic water bottles with health conditions like cancer and heart disease, and leaving them in the sun could cause these chemicals to leach into the water.
A spokesperson for LeaseCar.uk said: “In normal times, commuting Brits will spend quite a few hours in their cars each week or even each day, and as a result, our vehicles can become homes for a variety of essential items like medication, water bottles, and even some food and snacks.
“But as this list reveals, there are some risks involved in leaving certain items in our cars, particularly if they’re exposed to extreme temperatures.”
Most medicine should be left at room temperature, but parked cars rarely remain at that point during summer and winter. Heat, cold and moisture inside your car probably won’t make your drugs directly harmful, but it could make them less effective.
2. Sun cream
Ironically, the active ingredients in sun scream break down in high heat. So, while unlikely to happen in the winter, leaving it in the car on a hot day could reduce its efficacy. Plus, the heat could cause it to explode.
3. Water bottles
Although the research is still a bit unclear, studies have linked chemicals found in plastic water bottles (BPA and phthalates) with health conditions like cancer and heart disease. Letting a bottle sit in the sun and heat up could cause these chemicals to leach into the water. Plus, if the bottle has been lying around for a while, it could start developing harmful bacteria.
4. Aerosol cans
Cans of deodorant, hairspray, or spray paint can all expand in extreme temperatures, potentially creating a full-on explosion if they’re left in the hot or cold weather for too long.
5. Important documents
Vehicle registration documents need to be kept in cars but storing other important papers such as tax forms or bank statements in your car can leave you vulnerable to identity theft. With enough information about you, thieves can assume your identity to make purchases in your name.
6. Canned foods
You should never leave canned or tinned food in the car during freezing weather. When canned food freezes, the liquid expands and can break the seal, spoiling the food.
7. Mobile phones
Many phone manufacturers advise against storing their products at temperatures below zero degrees. Performance of the lithium-ion batteries that power many mobile phones withers in extreme cold. Plus, you don’t want to risk them getting stolen anyway.
Try not to leave your glasses in the car, as both heat and cold can affect the frames. Extreme heat could cause frames to warp and extreme cold could cause them to snap.