8 Ways to Prevent Summer Heat Damage in Your Car
Longtime valley residents know their vehicles become incubators in the high temperatures of the summer months. However, newcomers to the valley may not know just how dangerous heat damage can be for both car parts and items left behind in the vehicle.
Here are some items you should never leave behind in your car in the heat of summer:
Any items that contain wax in them will almost instantly melt when left behind inside your vehicle because they have a low melting point. Even when temperatures are in the 90s and climbing, your vehicle’s interior can reach well beyond 120 degrees Fahrenheit (safekids.org). Items to be wary of leaving behind include lipstick, crayons, candles, lip balms, sunscreen, and lotions. Good luck trying to remove stains from your carpet or seats!
There are warning labels on cans of WD-40 and hair spray for a reason. When the interior temperature of a can gets to a certain level, the gasses inside can combust and create an explosion. This is not only dangerous for anyone opening the doors of a vehicle after the fact, but the fumes alone can be deadly. Just look at any warning label of an aerosol can to see the temperature threshold and what inhalation dangers they possess.
Unless you want a sugary explosion all over your vehicle’s interior, be careful to not leave any unopened cans of soda in your vehicle. These are just as dangerous as aerosol cans, but the gasses are not toxic like those in hairspray and vehicle care products. Check underneath your seats and in any pockets or cup holders for any cans that have not yet been opened and remove them from the vehicle.
The carbonation within the cans acts as a gas and expands as the temperature heats up. Eventually the pressure will cause the can to explode.
Humane societies and local news stations throughout the U.S. have made animal travel safety a top priority because there have been numerous cases of both children and pets being left behind in vehicles, at risk of heat stress symptoms as well as death. Be careful when traveling with a pet, and make sure you direct air flow towards them to fend of signs of heat stress such as excessively panting, pacing or acting lethargic.
Gum and Candy
Most candies and gums have a low melting point, and the result can be a sticky, gooey mess that is difficult to eradicate. Whenever you transport either of these, do a second glance to make sure no stray candies rolled onto or underneath the seat to prevent any melted mess.
Dairy, Produce and Deli
Know how bad sour milk smells after it’s been in the fridge too long? That same smell and worst can happen in your car if you should forget any dairy, frozen or chilled, in your vehicle. In some cases the dairy containers have even exploded, causing a sour smell to spread throughout the vehicle (The Weather Channel). Similar strong bad smells can also be a problem with left-behind meat and produce. If your grocery bags contain loose elements, and the bag has tipped, thoroughly look throughout the space for any hidden missing items from your grocery bags.
Thankfully, water bottles do not emit any rancid smells if you leave them in the car. However, high heat can cause chemicals in the plastic to leech into the water after it reaches a certain internal temperature. These chemicals are rumored to be linked with certain types of cancer (UF/IFAS). Studies are still being conducted throughout the world to this day, and the above study (UF/IFAS) did reveal that children were most at risk.
Regardless of whether your children are able to manually unlock the door and get out of the vehicle, do not leave them in the car unattended. Children who have fallen asleep during the car ride especially should never be left behind because the interior vehicle temperatures reach well beyond the danger zone of children’s heat tolerance. Supervised or not, these children are at severe risk for cognitive impairment. If a child’s core body temperature reaches 103-104 degrees Fahrenheit and is not sweating, but showing other signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion, then they are at risk of heat stress (WebMD).
Some items left behind in Arizona cars can cause significant interior car damage. Others, on the other hand, are much more precious than a left-behind gallon of milk or can of cola. Take care of your vehicle by removing all materials that can cause interior damage as well as those who are unable to rescue themselves from severe heat.
Premier Coach Works is an auto body repair shop right in the heart of the heat. Located in El Mirage, Arizona, we know how dangerous Arizona’s summer heat can get, and we want to help you protect your vehicle and your loved ones. If you would like to learn more information about our auto body repair services, visit our website or call 623.935.6678.