Fact Check

Aerosol Can Damage

Photographs depict damage to automobiles caused by exploding aerosol cans.

Published Oct 13, 2003

Claim:   Photographs depict damage to automobiles caused by exploding aerosol cans.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2003]


Do you keep WD-40, hair spray, Off, Fix-A-Flat, etc. in your vehicle? If so, you might want to reconsider. The picture above is of a pressurized can that exploded in a person’s vehicle and imbedded itself in the back seat of the car. The temperature outside of the closed up vehicle was about 100 degrees F. What if you or a loved one had been sitting in that seat? Do any of your family members keep aerosol cans in their vehicles? If they do, please pass this warning along to them!

The incident pictured on the next page happened at a refinery in Beaumont. A deodorant spray can was left in the back of the vehicle that was parked in an open space in the middle of a hot, sunny day.

Without warning, the can exploded inside the car. Fortunately, no one was inside or near the car when it happened.


  • Do NOT leave pressurized containers (of any kind) in your vehicle where they can be exposed to sunlight!
  • You should always read and follow the manufacturer’s safety recommendations that come with the can.
  • Reporting incidents such as this can help inform personnel of possible risks and dangers both inside and outside the workplace!




Origins:   Certainly

aerosol cans left in automobiles (especially cars with tightly-closed windows) on hot days can reach temperatures sufficient to cause them to rupture with considerable force, enough to cause significant damage to a car and potentially injure a person in or near the automobile at the time of the explosion. In that regard, the advice given in the message quoted above is sensible enough.

Whether the photographs accompanying the warning reproduced above genuinely depict the effects of aerosol can explosions in automobiles is another matter, however. The bottom two photos look plausible enough, but we don't know their origins, much less know whether they truly document damage caused by an aerosol can exploding inside a car due to high temperatures. The top photo is both an unsourced and possibly staged image.

Last updated:   19 August 2011

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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