Effects of keeping a guitar in the car


My advice is to treat your guitar like a human passenger. If you wouldn't leave a person in your car with the windows rolled up on a particular day, then don't leave your guitar there either. Pick it up and carry it wherever you go.
Avoid leaving your guitar in your car in hot weather. Don't expose your guitar to prolonged high temperature or changes in humidity that your physical body can't stand. Remember that in many climates in the summer if you leave your car parked outside with the windows rolled up, the car, with no air circulation, becomes like an oven. The air in the car will reach temperatures high enough to kill people and animals--higher than 125 degrees Farenheit (52 degrees Celsius) when it is 100 degrees Farenheit outside in direct sunlight. Needless to say this will severely fatigue the wood in your guitar but will also cause expansion and contraction of the metal in the frets and the strings. It will also weaken the glue holding the wooden plates and braces together, causing the guitar to slowly fall apart.
If you want your guitar to play in tune with proper string height (action) you will also find yourself needing frequent adjustments to the truss rod as the neck and the metal truss rod bows or warps positively or negatively every time it is exposed to a large swing in temperature.
When I took my classical guitar anywhere in a car in the summer time in Atlanta, Georgia, I frequently had to deal with nylon strings that snapped from the fatigue of all the expanding and contracting due to the changes in heat.
I do not live in a cold climate, but I have read that in the northern US and in Canada, in the winter time, guitars suffer cumulative damage (particularly with cracked and crazed finishes) when they are taken out of a heated home, carried to a car in freezing weather to be transported, and then brought back into a heated home and taken right out of the case and played. I'm told you need to permit the cold guitar to remain unplayed in the unopened case until it slowly warms up and reaches room temperature. You should also de-tune the strings of the guitar before you take it out in cold weather because the metal strings contract in the cold.
With repeated exposure to extreme heat or cold, the tension on the neck and body from the strings will increase and decrease since metal expands and contracts with temperature changes much more than wood. The bridge, top, body and neck are already under considerable controlled tension from the strings; wide swings in temperature over time will weaken everything in the wood and the glue. In extreme cases with prolonged exposure, the bridge plate could come unglued or simply rip loose from the top, or the headstock could snap, or the neck block, where the neck is glued into the body, could pull away, changing the angle of the neck and rendering the guitar unplayable.


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