‘What are the things I shouldn’t keep inside my car’s trunk?’ [Newbie Guide]

Updated May 11, 2021 | Same topic: Automotive FYIs

The trunk may be for storage, but some things just don’t belong there.

A trunk is a defining characteristic of the typical automobile, especially on a sedan. Apart from forming part of the car’s silhouette, the trunk is a practical feature for stowing items away from the passenger cabin, as well as serving as an extra crumple zone when a rear-end collision occurs.

Car trunk

While handy for storage, a car't trunk is also hazardous to several things

But even if the trunk’s primary purpose is practical storage, there are still a number of things that shouldn’t be placed inside. This holds especially true when driving during the summer months.    

Perishable items

Whether fresh or cooked, food exposed to high ambient temperatures is vulnerable to accelerated spoilage, especially if no airtight or insulated containers are used. Plastic water bottles left in the searing heat could leach harmful chemicals into their contents, posing health hazards.

Vegetables

Food isn't going to stay fresh for long when locked up inside a hot trunk

Even medicine shouldn’t be exposed to heat, since this reduces their efficacy (and in some cases, like nitroglycerin tablets, can be life-threatening). If you plan on buying fresh seafood on an out-of-town trip, bring along a sealed box such as a cooler to keep heat out and odors at bay.    

Electronics 

Keeping a laptop or camera in the trunk secures them against thieves, but it won’t protect them from heat damage. You might find that your devices work inconsistently (or not at all) after being exposed to elevated temperatures. The built-in batteries could also lose their charge, leak chemicals, or rupture without warning.

Electronics

Heat is the bane of all electronic devices

If you must bring along gadgets to work or an out-of-town trip, use padded cases or bring them along in the cabin where the air-conditioning helps keep them at a stable temperature. Just don’t forget to secure them before leaving the car.    

Flammable materials

Lubricants, paint, even lighters with butane inside become fire hazards when surrounded by heat.

Spray cans

Flammable items, especially when stored within pressurized containers, are also at risk 

The ambient temperature might be tolerable, but the trunk’s confined space magnifies the heat, to the point where the air inside is hot enough to cause chemicals to expand within their containers, eventually triggering an explosion. Pressurized containers such as aerosol cans are also at risk of blowing up when stored in the heat for too long.

Pets and plants

If you’re not willing to spend a journey on a hot summer day locked up in a trunk, then the same goes for other living things such as plants and animals.

Dog in cage

Leaving your pet inside the trunk on a long drive is considered animal cruelty and a criminal act

Pets can sustain brain damage from heat exposure or even succumb to heat stroke in as little as 15 minutes, while potted purchases are vulnerable to dehydration and stress that no self-respecting plantito or plantita would want to experience. Transport pets or plants inside the cabin where it’s cooler, and if their presence isn’t required on a road trip, leave them at home.       

We keep track of the car-related things you should keep in mind at Philkotse.com.

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Author

Joseph has been a member of various car clubs since he got his driver's license in 2004 – old enough to remember riding in taxicabs with analog meters, but his fascination with cars goes way back. After nearly two decades of working in broadcast media, he shifted gears by coming on board as Philkotse’s first Filipino member and staff writer in 2017.

Apart from his role in Philkotse as Content Team Lead, Joseph has written episodes for Drive, which has been airing on CNN Philippines for five seasons running. He has also delivered content for various car dealerships based in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Jeep, Dodge, among others.

Keeping his hopes high and his revs low, he dreams about owning a Kei car when he retires. Hates slow parkers.

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