Stay in the car is an instruction given to Chuck multiple times with the first two seasons of the show in order for Chuck, a then untrained spy, to stay out of danger. The phrase quickly became a running joke within the show and a favorite with fans.
Most of the time Chuck ignored the order and left the car after spotting something outside the car or to help out his team. Other times the bad guy of the week found Chuck in the car and took him into their base at gun point.
- First used in "Chuck Versus the Helicopter", where Casey tells Chuck to stay in the car whilst he goes out and saves a captured Sarah from Jonas Zarnow. Chuck stays, but only for a few seconds until he becomes tempted to find out what is going on, and finds Sarah, as well as accidentally revealing himself as the human Intersect to Zarnow.
- In "Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp", Chuck is ordered to stay in the van whilst Sarah and Casey investigate Mei-Ling Cho. Chuck sees an old man in a wheel chair fleeing the scene and leaves the van to help him up his vehicle. It later turns out that he was the bad guy Mei-ling was after.
- In "Chuck Versus the First Date", when asked why he did not stay in the car, Chuck tells Sarah, "It's never safe in the car".
- Chuck Versus the Sensei, Sarah tells Chuck to stay in the car as she tries to find and help out Casey on his own vendetta and mission.
- Chuck Versus the Third Dimension, when Casey tells Chuck to stay and look after a tranquilized Tyler Martin, whilst he and Sarah go to track down the bombers apartment. Tyler wakes up and convinces Chuck to go out partying with him where two enemy agents threaten him and Tyler.
- "Chuck Versus the Best Friend", when Sarah and Casey simultaneously order Chuck to stay in the car while they try to protect the Chinese ambassador from Triad. When Chuck protests, Casey reminds him that he is "the poster child for friendly fire." Chuck nevertheless disobeys the order in order to save Morgan from Smooth Lau's henchmen.
- Used twice in "Chuck Versus the Colonel". First is when both Casey and Sarah scold Chuck to stay in the car as the two have each other at gunpoint, where Sarah is trying to rescue Chuck's dad and Casey is simply following orders to arrest Chuck and Sarah. The second time is when Casey finally agrees to help Chuck find his dad, and does it only on one condition, for Chuck to stay in the car. Sarah agrees.
- In Chuck Versus the Lethal Weapon, Chuck, Sarah, Casey, and Cole are being briefed about a consul dinner, where Casey and Sarah go under cover and Cole and Chuck stay in Castle to monitor things. Just as Chuck is saying, "At least no one is telling us-" when Casey cuts him off saying, "You heard the General--Stay in the bunker.'"
- Chuck Versus the Angel of Death, Chuck uses a form of this joke when he tells Awesome to stay with the Premier.
- Chuck Versus First Class, Shaw holds a meeting with Casey, Sarah and Chuck. Shaw believes Operation Bartowski has not progressed him into being a spy simply because the two handlers refuse to put him into action. Chuck agrees in desperation of being a spy, and tells his handlers to "Let me get out of the car".
- "Chuck Versus the First Fight", Casey uses it on Morgan telling him to stay in the car when he investigates the bank.