5 things you shouldn’t leave in your car this winter

10th Dec, 2021

With winter fast approaching, temperatures in the UK are already starting to plummet. For drivers, colder temperatures often mean blocked highways, slippery roads, and in the worst cases, that dawning realisation – I need to scrap my car. But while those are some of the most obvious concerns, many drivers aren’t aware of the dangers of leaving certain things in their car through extended periods of cold. Doing so can result in permanent and irreversible damage to the car in question – so here’s what to avoid!

Mobiles, tablets, and other devices

Most Apple and Android devices work best within an ambient temperature range between 0 to 35°C, so many now have a built-in feature to warn the user if the device is too hot or too cold. Leaving your smartphone, laptop, or PC in your vehicle overnight – when temperatures often fall below freezing – could lead to them having a reduced battery life or switching off altogether. Therefore, it’s a good idea to remove any valuable devices from your vehicle whenever you’re leaving it for an extended period.


Even if you don’t take medication regularly, it’s still best to bring them inside with you. While consuming medication that has been stored in a cold place isn’t necessarily dangerous, it becomes more difficult to determine whether or not it has worked as anticipated.

The risk is particularly pronounced for those who take insulin, as there is a bigger element of risk involved. If insulin is left in your vehicle overnight, and freezes as a result, it becomes ineffective. Once frozen it cannot lower your blood sugar levels as it’s supposed to, so it’s extremely important to bring it inside.

Cans (aerosols, food, and drink)

In a nutshell, aerosols do not respond well to extreme changes in weather, be that hot or cold. If left in cold temperatures for too long, aerosols can destabilise, which can subsequently result in the cans cracking or even exploding. The same can happen with canned food, alcohol, or soft beverages. The water in these products can freeze and expand. This means that may also explode, which can be doubly problematic if it thaws later on, which can leave you with an even bigger mess to clear up.

Wooden musical instruments

Wood is another material that’s vulnerable to cold, mainly because it expands and contracts. That can play havoc with delicate and precise constructions like musical instruments, so any that are primarily made from wood should never be left exposed to extreme cold, as it could be detrimental. If you’re lucky, the instrument may simply go out of tune, something you should be able to fix over time. However, if exposed to the cold for even longer, the wood can constrict, leading to shrinkage and potential cracking, essentially leaving the instrument unplayable and beyond repair.

Keep your fuel tank full

Given the fuel shortages that have struck the UK over the past few months, keeping your tank full is admittedly easier said than done. But letting it run low on fuel could result in freezing, which is exactly what you don’t want. If a tank is at least half full, this reduces the chances of the tank freezing dramatically, making it far easier to get the vehicle going. We’d always advise ensuring that your vehicle always has plenty of fuel available. It’s unlikely that the petrol will completely freeze but having plenty in your tank will prove beneficial.

Of course, sometimes it’s not the valuables inside the car that you have to worry about – but also the car itself. If it’s old enough or it’s seen its fair share of knocks and bumps, extreme temperatures might eventually end up putting it to bed altogether. And if that happens, rest assured that’s exactly where we can help here at Scrap Car Network. All you need to do is enter your car reg and postcode into the fields on our site, and we’ll get you an instant online quote before you can say cash for cars. It only takes a few seconds. Curious to find out how much your car is worth?

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