Do I Have to Clean My Car for Pesach?

In an article for, Dayan Levi Yitzchak Raskin reviews the laws of cleaning and checking one’s car for Pesach.

Dayan Levi Yitzchak Raskin for

Whether one must clean a car from chometz and check it on the night of bedika, is not really a question, since it is a space in which you bring and eat chometz – at least occasionally. The question is really how you should check and whether it calls for a bracha.

Use of a lit candle in a car is risky, with upholstery usually being quite flammable, and a flashlight is therefore preferable. Some contemporary Poskim allow the bedika of the car to be done by day, as is the case with checking the pockets of our clothing (Nitei Gavriel, Pesach, ch. 21:1). There is, however, an advantage in searching the car at night, for then that searching may be included in the brocho recited at the onset of the search for chometz in the house.

The question remains, however, whether a bracha may be recited on the search of the car alone. This may be relevant for people driving intercity on the night of bedikas chometz. Having left their home before nightfall, they were unable to recite the bracha at home; by the time they reach their destination, their host may well have completed his bedika. So can they pull over at a service station en route, and fulfill their mitzva of bedikas chometz in the family car?

Some contemporary Poskim compare the search of chometz in the car to the search for chometz in pockets: Since the Torah’s command is to eliminate chometz “from your homes,” therefore no bracha is recited when searching for chometz in pockets (Mogen hoElef, siman 436). By extension – say some contemporary Poskim, neither should a bracha be said when searching for chometz in a car (Piskei Tshuvos, 433:7).

The said comparison is debatable, since a car is a space wherein people enter, spend time, and are protected from the elements. It is therefore comparable to a house or other premises, where we have a mitzvah min haTorah to search for chometz. Although you obviously won’t spend Yomtov in the car, the mitzvah to search for chometz applies even to premises that will be used on Chol haMoed only.

In practice, a car must certainly be cleaned before Pesach and checked on the night of bedika. In the unlikely case that the only place that one is checking is his car, one should ask their own Rov whether a bracha should be recited.

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