5 Things You Shouldn't Keep in Your Vehicle

Don't tempt disaster by stashing these items in your car, truck, or SUV.

A cell phone and headphones lie on the passenger seat of a vehicle in plain view.Austin Lott | Capital One

Article QuickTakes:

Some drivers practically live in their cars, which can mean using their vehicles like storage lockers. But with the threat of theft or fraud, certain items are likely not best stored in your vehicle. Additionally, vehicle interiors can reach extremely high and low temperatures that could damage certain items. Here are five things it might be unwise to keep in your vehicle.

Important Personal Documents

After returning from a trip to the bank, it's easy to place your receipts or papers on a car's seat or in a cubby, but it could be dangerous to leave them there. Savvy thieves could break into your vehicle and use those documents against you. Identity theft and stolen credit cards can be huge headaches to deal with. Furthermore, personal records could also contain your name or home address, which could endanger you or your family.

Personal Electronics

Some thieves look for quick smash-and-grab opportunities, so keeping personal electronics such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, or portable gaming devices out in the open or on a passenger seat can be risky. Not only could thieves see this as an easy score, but some electronics are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Letting them sit in your car during cold winters or hot summers may shorten their lifespans.


Speaking of keeping things in your car during hot and cold temperatures, think twice about storing drinks in your vehicle. A container's liquid can freeze in the winter and expand when warmed up in the summer months. That might not sound like a big deal, but the liquid expansion can burst a bottle or can, potentially leaving you with a mess to clean up. Additionally, plastic water bottles exposed to hot temperatures in a car may become unsafe to drink. The plastic in the bottle can break down, leaving you consuming microplastics.

Flammable Materials

Extreme temperatures can also affect pressurized aerosol containers. Most containers of hair spray, deodorant, or other aerosols have warnings to keep them out of temperatures exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit. When exposed to such temperatures, the containers may burst, causing damage to your car. There have been reports of some aerosol cans violently exploding, shattering a vehicle's glass.


Certain medications shouldn't be stored at high temperatures or in the sun, meaning it's probably not a good idea to treat your car like a mobile medicine cabinet. The chemical makeup of medications can change with high temperatures, potentially making them less effective or even causing sickness.

This site is for educational purposes only. The third parties listed are not affiliated with Capital One and are solely responsible for their opinions, products and services. Capital One does not provide, endorse or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The information presented in this article is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but is subject to change. The images shown are for illustration purposes only and may not be an exact representation of the product. The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Capital One product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.
author photo
Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad is an award-winning automotive journalist who has contributed to several automotive, electric vehicle, luxury lifestyle, and technology publications. His work isn't just limited to the written word, as he's also hosted YouTube videos and podcasts. Having grown up in the '90s, he has a strong sense of attachment to that era's style, though he also loves to geek out about the modern, futuristic tech and powertrains rolling out today.