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Does pepper spray ever fail? The inside of a tear gas canister is like a squirt bottle under pressure. An intake straw dips to the bottom of the canister, into the liquid mixture. For this reason, the canister must remain fairly upright. If it's held upside down while spraying, only the propellant may escape. If the canister is sprayed upside down, it will loose pressure and may not be able to spray when you need it, even though you may be able to hear and feel the liquid sloshing around and you believe the can is full. Other canister failures are possible. The pepper spray nozzle may become clogged with lint or dirt. The trigger may break off. If left in a car on a hot day, a canister may be exposed to temperatures over 140 degrees F. Even if the it doesn't explode (which it might), this adverse condition may cause a leak or a loss of the pressure needed to fire the device. It could also shorten the life of the active ingredients.