Let’s have a frank conversation.

Your car can handle extreme temperatures – it’s designed for it. But that’s not always true for the stuff you leave in your car. We all know that pound of hamburger from the grocery store shouldn’t be left in your trunk, but there are some not-so-obvious items you should definitely bring inside with you after you park.

Here are 7 things you should never leave in your car:

  1. Children or pets. You know this, but a little reminder never hurts. In hot weather, after just one hour the interior of a car can climb 40 to 50 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. That kind of heat can kill. Extreme cold can be deadly as well; children, the elderly and pets are most vulnerable to hypothermia.
  1. Electronics. Smartphones, laptops, tablets and other electronics don’t like extreme temperatures – they can damage your devices’ processors and reduce battery life. Regardless of the temperature, leaving your devices or any other valuable items in your car leaves them vulnerable to theft, especially if you leave them where they’re visible from the outside. For the same reason, don’t leave important documents in your car either (like your passport or the title to your vehicle).
  1. Sunscreen. Ironically, the active ingredients in sunscreen break down in extreme heat. So, sunscreen that’s been sunbathing in your car for hours may not protect you as well when you get around to using it.
  1. Medications. Extreme temperatures can alter the molecular structure of medications, which in turn can make them ineffective. For your health, keep all your medications inside.
  1. Plastic water bottles. When water bottles are subject to high temperatures, chemicals from the plastic can leach into the water inside. Though many bottled waters are now BPA-free, plastic bottles still contain other potentially harmful chemicals. Keep your bottled water cool, or better yet, use a refillable bottle.
  1. Wine or beer. You run errands at lunch, pick up a bottle of wine, and leave it in your car for the rest of your workday. When you return to your car, that wine or beer could be ruined – or worse, be all over the inside of your car. Temperatures over 78 degrees can change the composition of both wine and beer and leave it tasting sour, and pressure from heat can push the cork out of a wine bottle. Likewise, beer cans can explode in extreme heat or cold, leaving your car smelling like a party you never got to attend.
  1. Your keys. This one may seem obvious, but sometimes, on very hot or cold days, it’s tempting to keep the air conditioning or heat running while you dash into the gas station or convenience store. But it only takes a minute for someone to drive off with your car – and that could really make you lose your cool.

One thing you should always keep in your car: your proof of auto insurance. If you’re in need of coverage, Frankenmuth Insurance is here for you, through summer, winter, spring and fall.