Can You Leave a Laptop in a Hot Car? (How to Keep It Cool)

In this day and age, portable tech gadgets are no longer a luxury but a necessity. For this reason, many of us own smart devices that can operate around the clock. Whether we use them for work or pleasure, the fact of the matter is that we like to keep them in our vicinity.

That being the case, we do not always have the time or the means to keep our tech pets in an ideal environment. And other times — we simply forget. This is particularly prevalent with larger gadgets such as laptops. After all, we cannot necessarily pocket them so we do not actively think about their preservation or the dangers that come with a lack thereof.

If you, too, have been found guilty of neglecting your laptop’s operational guidelines for one reason or another, this article is for you. Moreover, if you are a happy car owner who tends to leave their laptop inside the car and forget about it altogether, this article will undoubtedly prove a good read.

With that said, stick around. We are about to embark on a journey that will lead you to a better understanding of your portable tech companion. And on that note, let us see why keeping your laptop’s temperature down is important and how to do it inside a hot car.

Precautions to keep your laptop cool in a hot car.

Why Laptops Running Hot Spell Trouble

Your laptop is an awesome device that has all the necessary hardware pieces to keep it up and running neatly stacked beneath the keyboard. Sometimes, the laptop may feel hot to the touch in certain areas and that is to be expected.

Under normal circumstances, this means that your laptop has been up for a while or that you are running a more demanding program that requires additional hardware power. This is where the laptop’s internal cooling properties come into play.

That is to say, the thermal paste will keep the delicate components safe while the fans will ensure that the airflow remains optimal. In other words, the laptop’s inner workings will protect and cool the device to the best of their extent.

However, things may take a turn for the worse if your laptop is exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time. After all, the device can only do so much to protect itself. If you are not mindful of the laptop’s internal temperature, here is a list of issues that may arise.

Software failure

Looking to get one more quick task done before you hit the road? Well, not so fast. If your laptop is running hot, even the basic software will struggle to deliver.

That is to say, the hardware components of your laptop will not be able to perform as expected due to excessive heat. They will become sluggish and this may lead to unexpected software error messages popping up as well.

System failure

Your workflow is seamless and your creative streak is at its peak. Just one more line and — some other time perhaps. Because BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) has decided to pay you a visit.

BSOD is a lengthy Windows OS message that displays after a system crash. Of course, other operating systems have their own versions but in essence, they are all the same. While recovering your laptop after a system crash is not always an onerous task, it does mean that the issue was serious enough for the device to abruptly terminate any activity.

Hardware failure

Once a hardware failure occurs, you may have to kiss your laptop goodbye. Although most models can have their internal components replaced, such repairs are not necessarily cost-efficient.

Among the first laptop components to fall victim to high temperatures are the cooling fans. Subsequently, RAM, GPU, and CPU can follow. Moreover, other motherboard components and even the display may end up showing different signs of heat damage.

Laptop Temperatures vs. Car Temperatures — Frenemies?

Perhaps you have realized that some of the information above sounds all too familiar. In fact, you may have had similar experiences after retrieving your laptop from a hot car. Essentially, it is exactly as they say — trouble never comes alone.

By and large, laptops can work within a safe temperature range of 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. For all you Celsius scale rock and rollers, that would be 10 to 35 degrees Celsius. Anything above or below that range can not only be harmful to the device but its immediate surroundings as well.

With that in mind, you are probably aware of how hot a car can get during the summer or when parked in the sun. For example, on a 70-degree day, the car interior can easily hit 104 degrees. In brief, hot cars are nothing short of a death trap.

Before we continue — yes, you can leave your laptop in a hot car if you must. As to if you should — it would be better if you did not. However, keep in mind that you can minimize the risk of any unpleasantries by ensuring that your portable tech pet remains safe in a hot environment.

How to Keep Your Laptop Cool Inside a Hot Car

With that out of the way, here are four tips on how you can help you laptop survive inside a hot car.

1. Keep Your Laptop Out of the Sun

Generally speaking, if you have any electronic gadgets in your car, you should see that you park the vehicle in the shade. Ideally, a spot under a tree or someplace similar is recommended. However, if you are unable to find a natural source of shade, you can always opt for different types of sunshades instead.

Be that as it may, you should protect your laptop directly as well. There are a lot of laptop cases on the market and you are sure to find one that suits your preferences eventually. Having said that, you can also use a cloth as a viable alternative to cover your portable tech pet. Either way, unless you plan on using your device as a frying pan after you get back to your car, light-colored covers are your go-to.

2. Remove Your Laptop’s Battery if Possible

Modern devices come with lithium-ion batteries. While they are great in practice, they are also sensitive to heat. To further elaborate, high temperatures can bring about chemical reactions in the unit that will damage the battery irreversibly.

A heat-damaged Li-ion battery will result in slow charging times and faster degradation. Moreover, it can easily become a fire hazard, which will ultimately put both your laptop and your car at risk.

For this reason, it is better to separate the battery from the laptop if the device allows it. If not, keeping your portable companion out of the sun and following these tips will ensure that no accidents occur.

3. Power Off Your Laptop

A hot laptop combined with a hot car will result in a hot mess. The device generates enough heat in and of itself and does not need a helping hand to run any hotter.

That being the case, you should power off your laptop before leaving it inside the car. And by powering it off, we mean to turn it off completely. Putting it to sleep mode will not cut it because the device will still actively generate heat, albeit in smaller amounts.

However, if you are, for whatever reason, unable to power off the laptop, at least make sure that you have a laptop cooling pad nested underneath it. While this should not be your preferred course of action, it will help keep the device’s temperature down.

4. Store Your Laptop in a Cool Place

Leaving your laptop in the passenger seat is bad news because the sun is hardly the only enemy. Unless your car is a two-seater, there is a good chance you have plenty of room to store your laptop elsewhere — as you indeed should.

Since the trunk is typically the coolest part of the car, you should consider storing your portable tech pet inside. If the trunk is out of the question, putting it under one of the seats is your next option. And if you really want to up your chiller game, you can always opt for ice packs.

Still, remember that ice packs will ultimately generate condensation. Since it is unavoidable, you will need to prevent the condensation from coming into contact with your laptop. Because when it comes to electronic devices, water is just as bad as heat.

Stay Chill by Keeping Your Laptop Cool

Ultimately, the best way to keep your laptop cool in a hot car is to know your device specifications. That is to say, certain laptop models run hotter than others. Therefore, they generate more heat and may require a different approach to stay within the optimal operating temperature range.

All things considered, taking the necessary precautions to keep your laptop cool in a hot car will pay dividends. By doing so, you will not have to worry about the device’s or the car’s safety.

In the long run, your portable tech pet’s care products are not only inexpensive but multi-practical as well. To that end, early investment is the least painful investment you will have to make to keep your laptop operational.

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