How Much Is it Bad to Leave Laptop in Cold Car?

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Leaving a laptop in the car is common for people, but how much is it good or bad to leave it in cold or hot weather in the car? That is the question that we’ll discuss today.

The answer is very simple: DON’T leave your laptop in the car in any weather condition (cold or hot), especially in extreme conditions. Remember, heat will affect more than cold.

Hot weather outside means too hot in the car, and extreme cold weather outside is almost the same when the car is parked for a long time. 

Hot weather will damage your laptop physically, and cold weather will cause internal damage like display screen, hard disk drive, motherboard, and keyboard etc.

The following article is useful for all laptops, either Windows, MacBook, or Linux.

How Severe Weather Can Damage Your Laptop?

There are many possible damages that can occur due to severe weather, i.e. in hot and cold weather. Apart from what is mentioned above, some possible damages are as follows.

1- Hard Disk Damage: If you have a conventional HDD then it may not spin properly and read or write data as expected. While if you try to use it in a severe cold then it can damage it permanently.

hard disk drive icon

If you have an SSD, it will also not work when it reaches 70 °C (455° F ). In the cold weather, it will also be affected when the temperature pulls down from 10° C. and onwards. 

2- Short Battery Life: When a laptop remains in the cold weather, its battery has to work hard to maintain its temperature and to keep it alive. It will lead to quick wear down and shorten its lifespan.

While hot weather can raise its temperature up to 50 °C and further high temperatures can damage it so badly that it can even explode as well.

3- Display Screen Damage: Usually, LCD display screens can withstand severe weather conditions, but there is always a limit. In hot weather it can sustain up to 80 °C and in cold it can bear 0° C to -5 °C. Further temperature can freeze its liquid.

dispaly screen

4- CPU Damage: Usually, low temperatures don’t bother CPU as they are designed to work from -40 C – 100 C before getting affected. Although in some parts of the world temperature decreases up to -70 C, then CPUs can have lower performance.

CPU - compute processor

5- Physical Damage: Severe heat can damage keyboard keys and could de-shape them easily.

6- Severe Winter: Cold weather makes wires more difficult to conduct electricity because the air is colder and denser. According to the severity of the weather, a laptop computer may crash or even freeze.

Can I leave my laptop in a cold car?

What are the temperature limits for a laptop?

If you own a laptop, then you should know the temperature limits for both hot and cold weather. For many good reasons, don’t leave your laptop in the car for long periods of time.

Normal Temperature Limit:  The normal temperature limit that a laptop can operate at is 50° – 95° F  OR (10° – 35° C).

Cold Limit: Less than 10° C (50° F) – Although It is not the lowest temperature that laptop can handle. Any temperature below this limit has the potential to damage your laptop. 

The lowest temperature a laptop can handle is 0 °C (32 °F) or the manufacturers suggest. The liquid in LCD can freeze as the temperature drops from the limit, will crack it and lead to permanent damage on temperature below this. 

Other hardware parts, like batteries, can have serious consequences.

It is applicable to most laptops, as every laptop brand has its own limits. You should consult a booklet or contact laptop brand support.

Hot Limit: greater than 35 C° – Its the limit for most laptops to operate normally. Any temperature above this can lead your laptop to disaster.

Note: Even if it’s 35 °C outside, but it rises inside the car, don’t leave it inside the car at this temperature, at least for a long time.

What temperature can damage a computer?

As mentioned above and almost as a universal rule, the safe temperature for laptops is 50° – 95° F  (10° – 35° C). Any temperature above or below normal limits may harm your laptop.

How to Warm Up a Cold Laptop?

If you have accidently left your laptop in the cold car for a longer time, i.e. more than 1 hour, then it can cause permanent damage. But if you have got luck then let’s try these methods to save it from cold.

1First of all, don’t place your laptop in a very warm area of the room, as it’ll build up condensation inside the hardware parts and it will cause serious damage. 

2Secondly, place the laptop at room temperature to get it warm and wait for a few minutes to a few hours,  depending upon the cold temperature. The goal is to maintain its room temperature level.

If the laptop is in sleep mode, then don’t open its lid immediately, it’ll automatically turn on the laptop. It could be harmful.

3–  Even when the laptop reaches room temperature, it might have condensation due to temperature rise, that can short the electrical parts inside. So, try to dry your laptop at this time with a hair dryer or air heater at low temperature.

4– Now, once you are sure about the room temperature and there is no possible condensation inside, turn on the laptop and keep observing for any malfunction. 

It is hoped that it will not have any malfunctions due to precautions adopted before.

How Can a Hot Car Damage Laptop?

Remember, the temperatures in a closed car can be doubled compared to outside. For example, It can reach up to double i.e. 60 °C (140 °F) or higher, when it is 35° C (90°F) outside.

Heat is actually the enemy of your laptop. That’s why laptops and desktop computers are equipped with a cooling fan and heat sink.

Although most laptop hardware components are designed to handle a hot environment, not all components have the same capacity. 

  • The battery material can be degraded by severe heat, resulting in premature failure.
  • Plastics can warp due to severe heat. 
  • The display screen can become discolored and malfunction as a heat exposure.
  •  High temperatures will cause laptops to age much more quickly.

Note: Never leave sensitive electronic appliances such as laptops in direct sunlight. As a result, the temperature inside it may rise higher than the temperature outside, especially if it’s dark cloured.

How long can a laptop stay in a hot car?

As you have read about the damage that a laptop can undergo while in a hot car. First of all, try your best to avoid a hot car; only when it is inevitable. It is advised that you don’t keep a laptop for longer than an hour in the car in any case.

In other cases, you will lose the laptop easily or it will damage its hardware parts permanently.

How to protect your laptop in the winter?

There are a few useful techniques to keep your laptop safe from winter prey, here are some of them.

Stay Away From the Cold Weather

Your first and foremost try should be to keep your laptop away from direct exposure to cold winds and severe weather. Either stay inside iglo/shelter or vehicle, warm house or any kind of other shelter.

In order to prevent your keyboard from freezing, you need to keep your laptop away from excessive dampness or wet from snow.

Warm Up Your Laptop at Room Temperature

If you bring your laptop inside from the cold, allow it to warm up to room temperature before you start it. In the same way, allow your laptop to acclimatize to the outside temperature before starting it.

Use a Laptop Case or an Insulated Bag

Whenever you have to travel through severe cold weather conditions, pack your laptop in an insulated bag or case to protect it from getting too cold.

Make sure your computer is protected by a well-padded and well-insulated case when moving about. There is a particular danger when the temperature drops below freezing and the wind can further lower the effective temperature.

Avoid Wrong Laptop Warming Techniques

Many people try to use available resources to warm up laptop in wineters. Such as pocket warmers or mug warmers etc. These devices can damage laptop by warming up with inappropriate hardware parts.

Use Laptop Warmers

May be its news for you, but there are laptop warmres available. Laptop warmers are specifically designed to keep laptops warm, so you should use these. It is wise to invest in laptop warmers since they have been tested to ensure they will protect your laptops safely.

Buy Rugged Laptops

The ruggedized laptop has been developed to withstand extreme weather conditions. You should consider a ruggedized laptop when you rely on your laptop and can’t depend on the weather.

Rugged laptops are a little more expensive as compared to normal laptops. These are also called “military grade laptops.”

These laptops are designed to be tested according to military standards to cope with weather conditions. 

How to protect your laptop in hot weather?

In summer, it becomes very important and crucial to protect your laptop, as it becomes difficult when the laptop is facing two way heat, i.e., from inside (CPU) and from outside hot weather.

When both heats are combined, specially inside the car then chances of damages are maximum. So, let’s discuss how you can protect your laptop in summer.

Why should you not leave your laptop in the hot car?

Due to the reason mentioned earlier, you should not leave your laptop inside the hot car, it can damage the battery, keyboard, display screen, and Hard disk drive easily.

Tips to keep your Laptop Safe

1- Avoid Heated Environment: You should not place your laptop or any sensitive electronic device at any hot place whether inside the car, outside, in direct sun, or near any kind of natural or microwave oven. 

As the inside temperature can get almost double compared to outside, making it a greenhouse environment. If it is inevitable to get a laptop outside the car, 

  • Park your car in the shady area or use sun shade on the windshield and sides.
  • Shutdown (not in sleep mode) laptop properly and
  • Let it cool for a few minutes,then fold a white cloth around to minimise heat absorption.

2- Use a Cooler bag: If you have to work in the field, on site, or due to some reason you have to leave your laptop inside the car, then use a cooler bag like this to keep your laptop cool. But follow the above three steps before placing it inside the cooler bag.

3- Remove Battery: If you expect the laptop to stay in for a while, then remove battery (if possible) and then leave laptop in the car. The battery is one of the most vulnerable parts, can’t withstand high temperatures, and can explode.

So, avoid and remove battery from laptop when placed in hot car.

4- Use Air conditioner: When you are travelling and it’s quite hot outside then turn on the car AC and use the laptop at the back seat to avoid direct sunlight from the windshield and to keep the laptop cool. 

It will also help when you park your car in a shady area and place the laptop inside the car. There won’t be much heat inside the car.

5- Clean its Vent and Keep it clean: Check all air vents for dust, and keep them clean. Pelite can also damage laptops in hot conditions.

6- Cool it down before using: Beware, when you take a laptop out of a hot car, don’t turn it on immediately, it can be harmful. Wait for a few minutes and let it cool at room temperature before using it for routine work.

Conclusion

If there is severe weather outside, then it becomes difficult to save your electronic devices. If you want to save your devices like laptops, then take appropriate measures to protect them.

We have discussed all the steps in detail. Try to implement them as much as possible to save your investment and data. For feedback, contact us or leave a comment below.

Founder and editor-in chief at Pielaptop.com. Adnan has numerous interest in laptop manufacturing technology, processors, graphic cards (GPU). He is also passionate about internet technologies like cloud computing, blogging, and special interest in Artificial Intelligence. He loves to read and write about these technologies. Twitter Facebook   |    Quora

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