Things You Can and Cannot Leave In Your Car


Alex Braun is the editor of’s Eye of the Intern blog. You can read Alex’s weekly Coffee Run columns by clicking here.

It’s summer — and unless you’re one of those car freaks who carries Armor-All wipes in his shirt pocket, that means your vehicle will be collecting evidence of numerous trips to the beach, Wendy’s Late-Nite orders, and perhaps even casual sex.

Over the years, I have amassed a wealth of empirical knowledge on what happens to various objects when they are abandoned in a vehicle for a long period of time. Now, as one of the foremost experts in this blossoming field, I can pass these lessons to Socialites before you all learn the hard way.


Potato Chipschips

OK: A lot of people want their cars to smell like things: Lemons, vanilla, that gorgeously unnatural “New Car Smell,” etc. But if you prefer BBQ or Sour Cream ‘n’ Onion, I say go for it. Honestly, everything should smell and taste like barbecue sauce. Maybe not the opposite sex. But maybe.


Concert Tickets

NOT OK: You have to be worried about someone stealing them, unless the tickets are for an Amy Winehouse concert. But if it’s hot out, there’s also a risk of the tickets melting. Yes, tickets can MELT. Several summers ago, I left $55 DMB (I’m kinda embarrassed, but not really) tickets on my center console, really the only place that could guarantee I wouldn’t leave without them. Several days later, they had become physically and spiritually entwined with a CD jewel case — and when I tried to perform surgery, I mutilated the barcode, voiding the ticket. I forgot the rest of what happened that day, because it was a DMB concert. But I think I got in somehow with an extra. Anyway, don’t leave your tickets in the car.



paparazzi-2OK: Do they work? Not really. Are they tacky? Yes. But I have seen a number of bomb-ass examples of this car accessory since I moved to a warmer climate, and I’m very serious about acquiring one.



NOT OK: If your parking spot was monitored by alligators, Freddy Krueger and John Wayne Gacy, your iPhone still would be gone tomorrow. Same for your driver’s side window.



IT DEPENDS: How have they treated you this week? What’s the temperature outside? Are they old enough to open doors?




PROBABLY NOT OK: I know that half the point of having a cup holder is to be able to finish drinks whenever you feel like it. But leaving drinks in your car is asking for some big bullshit to occur. First of all, the average fast food cup is now made out of the same amount of paper as a Post-It note ( entirely made up). Heat only makes your refreshments more likely to leak (partially made up). And if you leave a soda can overnight in a freezing car, you’re pretty much dealing with a live grenade in the morning (not at all made up — try it).




NOT OK: It seems relatively harmless, right?  Most deodorant smells kind of the way you might want a car to smell (except for Axe, which smells like the absence of a father figure). Unfortunately, solid deodorant can shapeshift out of the container and – much like Spock – re-materialize as a solid object embedded in your upholstery. I learned this lesson with a great deal of heartache, but at least I can freshen up on the road now by rolling around in my back seat.

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