Your laptop is essential to you for work, leisure, storing information, and much more, so you try to maintain it as much as you can. What happens when the weather is really hot, and you leave your laptop in the car?
How Long Should A Laptop Stay In A Hot Car?
You could leave your laptop in the car during hot weather for up to 8 hours, provided you keep it turned off and the battery taken out as an extra measure. If you need to leave your laptop in the car for that long, park in a shaded space to avoid direct sunlight.
What Happens If A Laptop Is In A Hot Car For Long?
Leaving your laptop for long, especially when exposed to direct sunlight and little ventilation in the car, can make it prone to damage. The plastic covering can become hot to touch and begin to melt in extreme heat.
Other laptop components like the battery, hard disks, LCD panel, and capacitors do not do well in high temperatures; they work best at room temperature and could be affected if left in the heat for too long.
Heat and computer components do not get along so well, which is why laptops come with a cooling fan. Temperatures above 86-degree Fahrenheit is a danger zone for lithium-ion batteries. The best thing is to keep your laptop away from heat as much as possible.
Tips To Protect A Laptop In A Hot Car
If you unavoidably have to keep your laptop in a hot car, or you foresee a situation like that, here are some ways you can keep possible damage to a minimum:
Invest in a cooling mat:
Cooling mats have fans that circulate cool air into your laptop when placed on it. You can purchase a cooling mat from computer stores like Newegg and online stores like eBay. Also, you can adjust the intensity of the coolness to your preference.
Cooling mats are very affordable, and you can even use them while you operate your laptop. It helps your laptop components perform better at a friendly temperature.
Switch off the laptop
An idling laptop generates heat- this combined with external heat is a recipe for some damage, so ensure your laptop is shut down properly before leaving it in a heated car.
Take out the laptop battery
Almost all modern electronics use lithium batteries, including laptops. Lithium batteries do not respond well to heat, as they are very flammable. The chemical reactions in the battery due to high temperatures can also cause irreparable damage to the battery.
Avoid parking under direct sunlight
As much as you can, avoid parking under direct sunlight. Direct sunlight on your laptop could damage the screen when exposed to it for too long. Try to park in the shade, and if that is not possible, use sun blockers or sun shades on your car windows.
What To Do If Laptop Was In Heat For Too Long
If, for some reason, you already left your laptop in a hot car for a long while and you have concerns – not to worry; there are some things you can do to make sure your laptop is fine.
Do not switch on the laptop yet
Avoid turning the device on just yet. Putting it on will only cause the laptop to generate more heat, and that is not something you want at the time. If your laptop was on or in sleep mode, shut it down immediately.
Inspect the laptop for any obvious damage
Do a visual check on the laptop, and feel for extreme hotness. Check the battery, the panel, and the screen for any signs of melting or a burning smell. Doing this can give you a hint if something is wrong.
Allow the laptop to cool on its own
Do not be in a hurry to cool the laptop down. Leave it to cool on its own at room temperature. You can leave it open with the battery out to air for a bit too.
After following these steps, turn on your laptop. If you notice lagging, hanging, battery, or storage problems, take it to an expert for diagnosis.
Different parts of your laptop respond differently to temperature changes. However, the recommended temperature range to keep your laptop is between 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best place in a car for your laptop is the trunk on a hot day. The trunk is a cooler part of the car, and it is not open to direct sunlight. It heats up slowly compared to the passenger area, so consider keeping your laptop in the trunk rather than the seat.
Asides from heat damage, this also prevents your laptop from getting stolen or slipping when you move. Another alternative is to keep it under the front seat, which is also away from the sun’s rays.
Gaming laptops should not be kept in temperatures over 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Gaming laptops are built quite rugged and generate a lot of heat internally. The specialized hardware features dedicated to gaming laptops are confined to the compact device, reducing ventilation.
If you have to use your laptop while in the car, let some air in by turning on the air conditioning or opening the windows. Not only will the laptop overheat, but even you will also not feel comfortable working in such a high temperature.
The internal heat generated, combined with the surrounding heat, is not suitable for your laptop. Also, you might get sweaty and have it dripping onto your laptop, and it is common knowledge that moisture and electronics do not interact well.