5 of the Worst Things You Can Leave in Your Car

In our day-to-day lives, it’s so easy to leave things behind in our cars. In fact, there are a lot of things that can actually be useful to leave in our cars, like an extra pair of shoes or a cell phone charger. On a different level, there are items that are OK to leave in your car for a short while, and it wouldn’t make a difference. Then, of course, there are things that you should never leave in your car, even if that means having to go back to your car to grab it after you’ve already locked it and made it halfway inside. Cleaning out your car on a regular basis is part of standard maintenance, but leaving these items in there can be a total nightmare.

Electronic devices

Besides the electronics built specifically to stay in your car, like your car radio and infotainment system, leaving electronic devices behind in your car isn’t a great idea. Laptops, tablets, cell phones, and even handheld gaming consoles aren’t meant to be left in enclosed, hot spaces. Excessive heat can damage your devices’ internal mechanisms as well as the battery. If you live in a state that doesn’t get hot enough for this to be a concern, another good reason to take your electronics with you is to avoid them getting stolen out of your unattended vehicle.

The newly introduced Cobra iRadar Detection System | ROBYN BECK/AFP, Getty Images


Depending on what kind of food you leave in your car can determine how bad of an idea it is. While you are typically fine, leaving a stray, fallen french fry between the seats, leaving food in your car can cause several problems. Leaving food can attract all sorts of critters and bugs, and no one wants to see a cockroach crawl across the dash as they drive. It can also leave odors in your car that are difficult to get out, as well as potentially damage the car’s interior upholstery and carpets.

A worker hands food to a customer in a car at a Burger King restaurant | ROBYN BECK/AFP, Getty Images

Aerosol cans

While you probably don’t travel around with many standard products kept in aerosol cans like spray paint, there are still some common every-day items that you might forget about. Aerosol cans like hairspray can be dangerous if left in hot cars, but it can also get dangerous if it is left in a car that is in below-freezing weather.

Spray cans used by graffiti artists | Michael Jacobs/Art, All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images

Milk and other dairy products

There is no use crying over spilled milk…unless that milk is spilled in your car. If you live in any state where the inside of your car gets hot, leaving milk or other dairy products in your car can be a nightmare that never ends. The smell of curdling milk and dairy products seeps into every surface and can leave you buying stock in air fresheners for months to come.

A member of the Vermont National Guard loads milk into a private car during a Vermont Foodbank | Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Chocolate, or anything else that melts

As you could imagine, leaving anything in your car that could melt is typically a mistake. Chocolate and under candies can melt and get into small crevices and cracks, making it impossible to clean completely. Even worse, it’s just another thing that attracts bugs, and can make more surfaces of your car sticky.

A melted chocolate piccolo | Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

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