A fire extinguisher is one of the must-have safety tools in the car. In fact, in some states it is a written rule. It can be very useful in saving the lives of both humans and cars. However, some concerns also come with the extinguisher.
Such a concern is about keeping the extinguisher in a hot car. So can you leave a fire extinguisher in a hot car?
Yes, you can leave a fire extinguisher in a hot car. But some consequences are there. The lifespan of the extinguisher decreases due to the high temperature inside. Also, the discharge time of the extinguisher becomes quick. So one must take some precautions to secure the fire extinguisher.
This is just the summary of my discussion. I have also discussed the safety measures of a car fire extinguisher ahead. So keep scrolling!
Can You Leave A Fire Extinguisher in A Hot Car?
It is possible to leave a fire extinguisher in a hot car. We know that the safety of fire extinguishers is highly dependent on the surrounding temperatures. But the increased temperature inside a hot car will not affect the extinguisher. Because this temperature is within the safety range of the fire extinguisher.
Fire extinguisher manufacturers suggest keeping the extinguisher at a temperature of -40°F to 120° Fahrenheit. Any temperature within this range has little to zero effect on the extinguisher. Anyway, it can withstand a lot higher temperatures than this range in real life.
It has been found from laboratory tests that the fire extinguisher is completely safe from rupture up to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, the highest temperature inside a car on a summer day is quite lower than this value. The inside temperature can go as high as 138 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit on a hot day.
So, is a fire extinguisher safe in a hot car? As the extinguisher can withstand this temperature, there is no chance of its explosion or rupture. The extinguisher remains completely safe there. Moreover, the extinguisher will come in handy if your car is on fire due to an accident.
However, other factors of the fire extinguisher can be affected due to a constant high temperature. Let’s go through these effects in the next section.
Effects of High Temperature on Fire Extinguishers
Just like every other device, fire extinguishers also perform well when kept at their ideal temperature. But that might not be possible sometimes. Then the user will have to face some consequences. Here is a discussion on the most common effects of leaving the extinguisher at a high temperature.
The first issue seen in a fire extinguisher kept in high temperatures is decreased lifetime. The lifetime of the extinguishers depends on the elastomeric seals provided with them. These seals restrict the unintentional discharge from the fire extinguisher.
Anyway, the elastomeric seals are sensitive to heat & excess temperature. The temperature range is -60 ºC to 200 ºC. As a result, they are damaged when kept in a hot car. Thus the fire extinguisher leaks and the inside materials discharge out. Consequently, the lifespan of the extinguisher decreases.
The next problem the user might face is a short discharge time from the extinguisher. This is a performance issue of the extinguisher just like a fire alarm flashing without sound. The prime reason behind the quick discharge is the same as the reason behind decreased lifetime.
The elastomeric seals of the fire extinguisher get damaged if kept in a hot car. Then the discharge material inside the fire extinguisher comes out. As a result, the original discharge time will be shortened.
The extinguisher will not perform as expected during its operation in this condition. It will finish discharging before the expected time. This can result in serious calamities as the fire might not be stopped with a short discharge.
A very common question that concerns everyone is can fire extinguishers explode in heat? Yes, the extinguishers can explode in the heat. However, the possibility of an extinguisher explosion is near zero without an extreme accident.
I have stated earlier that the required temperature for rupturing is above 175° Fahrenheit. The inside of the car does not reach this temperature even on a hot day. Anyway, the situation can change if a problem like fuel leakage happens.
Then the car can catch fire and the temperature will rise very high. The incident of a ruptured or exploded fire extinguisher can happen at that time.
These are the issues that one might face by keeping the extinguisher in a hot car. The first two issues are minor and common. Whereas, the issue of an explosion is extremely rare and is not of great concern.
To keep the extinguisher in your car you must take some precautions for the safety of the extinguisher. Let’s check out the precautions without wasting any more time.
Precautions for Leaving A Fire Extinguisher in A Hot Car
It is impossible to resist the car from getting hot if you are not living in a cold country with year-long snow. So to save the fire extinguisher we must take some precautions. Here is a quick guideline on these precautions. These tips are equally useful as the rules for resetting the emergency light.
Keeping the Car in Shade:
The heat gained from the sunlight makes the car hot. You can easily prevent the sunlight by keeping the car under the shade. So practice parking your car under trees and other shades to prevent direct sunlight. Then the car will accumulate less heat and the extinguishers will be harmless.
Parking the car in a garage is more useful in this case. It is a lot cooler than outside, especially during summer. The internal temperature of the car will be low in this way.
Using Window Visors:
The window visor is an excellent car accessory that protects the car from wet weather. However, it is also useful in preventing the entrance of sunlight inside the car. Though partially, the visor can be very helpful in keeping the car temperature low. Thus, the extinguisher will also be safe.
Tinting the windows of the car is pretty common to reduce Ultraviolet or UV radiation. The laminated layer of these windows gives the car extra protection from sunlight. As a result, the inside of the car with tinted windows remains much cooler than the normal ones.
However, there are various governmental restrictions regarding tinted windows. So be sure about the existing law in your state before getting them. And if you choose to do it all by yourself you can get yourself a DIY Car Window Tinting Kit.
Using Superior Quality Fire Extinguishers:
The lifespan and quality of the fire extinguisher depend on its quality. High-quality extinguishers are much more resistant to excess temperature. On the other hand, low-quality extinguishers might collapse in high temperatures. So make sure to get the best fire extinguisher from a reliable shop.
Storing the Extinguisher in A Cold Place:
Various spots inside the car can be used to keep the extinguisher. But where is the best place to put a fire extinguisher in a car? The best spot to store your car’s fire extinguisher is under the passenger seat. As this will be easily accessible by the driver in the case of emergency and follows all the following criteria.
- Free from direct sunlight.
- Mounted properly for security.
- It can be accessed easily.
- Maintenance is possible.
These are the precautions you can take to keep the fire extinguisher safe. Follow the above-given tips to get the best from your extinguisher.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Can a fire extinguisher sit in the sun?
Yes, a fire extinguisher can sit in the sun. But it is not recommended to keep it in the sun without protection. A weatherproof box should be used to keep it outside. Otherwise, the functionality and performance of the extinguisher can decrease. Too high temperatures can also explode the device.
What kind of fire extinguisher for a car?
The small and powdered fire extinguisher is best for a car. The inside of a car is a limited space. So big extinguishers will cause problems. For this reason, car users should install a small extinguisher with a 1 kg to 2 kg discharge capacity. This amount is enough for dealing with car fires.
How long do fire extinguishers last?
The fire extinguishers last for 10 to 12 years on average. However, this period is dependent on the type and brand of the manufacturer. Dry fire extinguishers usually last for a long time. On the other hand, wet and pressurized fire extinguishers have a short lifetime due to valid reasons.
This is all I have on your query: can you leave a fire extinguisher in a hot car? I think that now you can handle the fire extinguisher of your car without many issues.
Make sure to learn the methods of using the fire extinguisher properly. Or else, you might fail to operate the device in times of emergencies.