SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Ready or not, here comes the extreme heat!

We all know the inside of our cars can get very hot, but with the supplies people are keeping inside them during this pandemic, can things explode and catch fire or melt? Arizona’s Family went to find out.

Extreme heat

1) Can a water bottle potentially cause a fire inside your car? Answer: Yes

“If you have a piece of newspaper right underneath the bottle, that could essentially get a spark and create flames,” said ASU sustainability professor Ariane Middel.

Middel was part of a university heat study in 2018 and said the shape of the bottle in direct sunlight is what can cause the problem.

“Since the bottle has this round shape, that makes it essentially act like a magnifying glass, so the water inside concentrates the light, and it’s being refracted through the bottle,” she said.

2) Can aerosol cans with hairspray or deodorant explode in your car in the heat? Answer: Yes

Scottsdale Fire Captain Pete Tocco said the inside of a parked car could get up to 140 degrees on an extremely hot day, and that’s past what it takes for an aerosol can to explode.

“If those get up to 120 degrees, a lot of them will explode. So deodorant, hairspray, spray paint could cause issues with the car,” he said.

3) A lot of people have latex gloves or any sort of gloves inside their car right now when they go to the grocery store or go to the gas station, so can these kinds of gloves melt inside your car? Answer: No

Captain Tocco said they wouldn’t melt, but they could still be damaged.

“They can degrade, and they could rip, so anything that could degrade in the car in the heat...take it out,” Tocco said.

4) Can hand sanitizer actually lose its effectiveness if it’s sitting in the heat inside your car? Answer: Yes

“It is true that the alcohol as it becomes hot evaporates much quicker than water, for example,” said Middel.

Middel said the best way to prevent this from happening is to put your hand sanitizer underneath a blanket or underneath your car seat to get it out of sunlight, but the best way to make sure none of this happens is to take it all out of your car as temperatures soar this week.


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