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Items that should never be left in a hot car as UK gets set for mini heatwave this week



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The UK is set to be graced with the latest heatwave as temperatures are predicted to soar and last for the rest of May, with Newark and Sherwood seeing highs of up to 22°C this week.

The feeling of getting inside a stifling hot car parked in the sun isn’t a pleasant one for drivers, but what some motorists don’t know is that the heat build-up in a car’s interior can cause damage to a manner of everyday objects.

When the sun’s energy enters the car and begins to heat solid objects, it begins to create what is called a greenhouse effect. Studies have found that an outdoors temperature of 22°C can cause a car to heat up to 47°C in the space of an hour. When objects are left in such a stifling heat, it can cause damage to them and potentially your car.

Don't leave these items in your car in a heatwave.
Don't leave these items in your car in a heatwave.

To help, Select Car Leasing has warned drivers of five objects that should never be left in a hot car.

1. Your bottled water poses as a fire risk

It's commonly known that warming a plastic bottle causes chemicals such as Bisphenol A and phthalates to be released in the water, even in temperatures like those inside a hot car in summer. However, water bottles also pose a fire risk. Plastic and water filters like a magnifying glass, concentrating the sun's rays into an energy beam that can burn your fabric car seats.

This was discovered in Drew Anderson, a 69 News Meteorologist in the US, when he left his clear water bottle on the passenger seat of his car and came back to see the sun had been hitting the bottle at the right angle to burn a hole in the front seat of his vehicle.

The weather is expected to be nice and warm all of May. Picture: by John Westhrop
The weather is expected to be nice and warm all of May. Picture: by John Westhrop

2. Sun cream can become less effective if left in a hot car

Sun cream bottles have been known to explode in warm environments. Not only can the plastic warp it's shape if left in direct sunlight, warming the cream can actually alter the shelf life of the cream, meaning you could be going without valuable UV protection and risk damaging your skin.

3. Soft drink cans can burst and spill

Even when not left in direct sunlight, heat applied to compressed cans of soft drink can cause them to explode. Although it's little more than a nasty mess most of the time, it could cause enough distraction to cause an accident if it burst while you're behind the wheel.

4. Deodorant cans will explode if left in a hot car

It's best practice to take any aerosol cans out of your car when the weather warms. A study found that temperatures of 22°C outside can generate temperatures of up to 47°C inside a car in as little as an hour. An environment that hot can cause the pressure inside the canister to increase and potentially burst.

5. Heat can cause irreparable damage to your gadgets

Gadgets like iPads, mobile phones or other tablets are not only a target for thieves if left in a car, but they're also vulnerable to heat. Leaving battery-powered devices in a hot car can permanently damage the gadget's internal components, causing the miniature circuit board to flex and warp the battery. It can also damage screens, causing them to pixelate, crack and become unresponsive.

Graham Conway, general manager at Select Car Leasing, recommends avoiding direct sunlight where possible when parking.

“In the UK, it’s easy to overlook the dangers of leaving objects in our cars in summer, especially when you think other countries experience much warmer weather, but that does not mean there’s no risk," he said.

“Parking in the shade will best protect your car, and its contents, from the summer sun. If you do happen to leave any vulnerable objects in your car when you’re out on a journey, store the items in your glove box or in your boot so they’re out of direct sunlight until you reach your destination.”



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