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As the winter season approaches and temperatures drop, many people find themselves leaving various items in their cars, from trash and water bottles to papers and more. While it may seem convenient, one item you should definitely avoid leaving in your car during the winter is carbonated drinks like soda. The reason? They can explode when exposed to freezing temperatures for an extended period. 

Why does soda explode in freezing temperatures?

Soda, or carbonated drinks, contain dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) under pressure. When exposed to cold temperatures, especially below freezing, the CO2 gas becomes more soluble in the liquid, causing the gas to contract and the liquid to freeze. This leads to pressure buildup inside the sealed container, such as a soda can or bottle.

Over time, as the temperature drops further, this pressure can become too much for the container to withstand, resulting in an explosion. The freezing liquid also expands, further exacerbating the pressure issue. This phenomenon is why you may have heard stories of soda cans bursting in cars left out overnight during the winter.

Safe drinks to keep in your car during winter

If you want to keep beverages in your car during the winter without the risk of explosions, opt for non-carbonated drinks. Here’s a list of safe options:

  • Water: Plain bottled water or even reusable water bottles are excellent choices. Water doesn’t freeze as readily as soda, and it won’t explode.
  • Juices: Most fruit juices, such as orange juice or apple juice, are non-carbonated and can withstand freezing temperatures without issues.
  • Flavored Water: Flavored water is typically non-carbonated and safe to store in your car.
  • Sports Drinks: Popular sports drinks like Gatorade are also non-carbonated and designed to handle a range of temperatures.
  • Tea: Bottled or canned tea beverages are usually safe for winter car storage, as they lack carbonation.

These beverages won’t pose the same risks as carbonated drinks, making them suitable choices for those cold winter nights.

Drinks you should avoid storing in your car during winter

On the flip side, there are several types of drinks you should steer clear of when leaving them in your car during freezing temperatures. These include:

  • Energy Drinks: Energy drinks often contain carbonation and should be kept at a controlled temperature to prevent explosions.
  • Canned Coffee: Like energy drinks, canned coffee products may contain carbonation and should be avoided in the winter.
  • Beer: Beer is prone to freezing and expanding in cold temperatures, which can cause cans or bottles to rupture.
  • Carbonated Water: Similar to soda, carbonated water can explode when exposed to freezing temperatures.

These drinks are at risk of freezing and causing a sticky mess or potentially damaging your vehicle.

Other items to avoid storing in your car during winter

While we’ve covered drinks, it’s essential to be aware of other items that are better off kept out of your car during winter:

  • Medications: Extreme cold can affect the efficacy of medications. It’s best to store them at a consistent temperature indoors.
  • Electronics: Cold temperatures can harm electronic devices, causing battery issues or screen damage. Don’t leave laptops, smartphones, or other gadgets in your car overnight.
  • Canned Food: Just like beverages, canned food can freeze and expand, leading to deformation or even ruptures.

The Origin Story of Cupholders in Cars

Winter car storage wisdom

Being mindful of what you leave in your car during the winter will help avoid unwanted surprises like exploding soda cans or damaged items. Stick to non-carbonated drinks and consider the weather conditions when deciding what to store in your car.

By taking these precautions, you can ensure a smooth and trouble-free winter driving experience.