Do You Keep Bottled Water Kept In A Hot Car?

How many of you have kept plastic water bottles in your car during the summer?

What does the water taste like after sitting in the heat of a warm or hot vehicle (even after it has cooled down)?

Answer: Plastic.

Even though today’s plastic water bottles are BPA free, the fact that you can taste plastic after it has warmed up is probably not a very good thing.

When these plastic water bottles heat up, something happens which apparently causes molecular leaching into the water to some extent.

Note: I’ve never noticed the taste of plastic in water bottles that have NOT been heated up.

So what can we do about it? It’s certainly a good idea to keep some water in your vehicle. But how do we overcome the potential issue of a hot environment causing molecular leaching into the water?

1. Use a cooler
2. Use glass water bottles
3. Use stainless steel bottles

I’ve used all three techniques with success.


Coleman 9 Quart Cooler
(holds 6 bottled waters)

It’s so convenient to simply buy a case of plastic bottled water and keep some of them in your car. Here’s what I do:

I have a convenient size hard cooler that fits perfectly on the floor in the back seat (in the middle). I believe it holds about 10 typical size water bottles.

I can simply reach back, flip the lid (which faces forward) and grab a bottled water.

The fact that it’s setting on the floor helps keep some of the direct sun off too. The white cover also helps reflect the heat of the sun.

Surprisingly, the water bottles stay relatively cool in there. Cool enough that I don’t get the plastic taste when I drink the water.

Note: Your results may vary a bit depending on your own weather / temperatures, where you park (direct sunlight or shade), and how long it sits in the sun.

Tip: A hard cooler is advised for in the vehicle because they typically have much better insulating value than soft coolers.

Tip: If you take out a water bottle and drink some of it, you will likely place it in your cup holder. Be aware that if you forget about it and leave it there in the sun (I occasionally do this!), next time it will taste like plastic. Better to put it back in the cooler.


My favorite material for any type of cup used for drinking is glass. Why? Because there is ZERO taste effect. Glass will not leach into the water or whatever you’re drinking.

I bought a few glass water bottles that fit in the cup holders. The thought being that I could get in the habit of filling them inside the house and could just keep them in the cup holder for convenience. It works.

However it does require remembering to always fill it back up.
That didn’t always work for me.

That said, glass is glass and the water will only taste like water!

(( Look for Glass Water Bottles ))


Similarly stainless steel is ‘safer’ than plastic in this regard. But you will have to remember to keep your water bottle filled. This is why I like the cooler method listed above.

(( Look for Stainless Steel Water Bottles ))

Note: I’m not suggesting with certainty that the plastic taste is truly ‘bad’ for one’s health. I am suggesting though that if you can taste it, means that you’re ingesting “it”, whatever it is… Food for thought.

Just keep them from overheating and you’re probably fine.
Use a cooler.