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It’s common to charge your phone in your car when you’re on the go. Why not? Most cars have plenty of USB outlets and cigarette lighter plugs in which to provide plenty of go-juice for your beloved smartphone. However, you may want to reconsider plugging it when driving or riding in a car.

It could be a bad idea to charge your smartphone in a car

A pair of car chargers plugged in
A pair of car chargers plugged in | Getty Images

Charging your phone in the car could be a great risk, especially if you use the cigarette adapter. Reader’s Digest notes that the cigarette adapter outlet provides 12 volts of power. Joshua Sutton, the training manager for uBreakiFix told Reader’s Digest, “Smartphones typically use 5 volts when charging, which the adapter is normally able to safely regulate the voltage. However, if the adapter is malfunctioning or is not made by your phone’s manufacturer, it can send too much power to your smartphone and potentially damage it.”

You might not notice this type of damage immediately, but the phone’s battery will eventually degrade over time. Sutton also went on to say that over time, charging your smartphone in your car could damage the phone’s charging port or motherboard.

“A good rule of thumb is to always use your phone manufacturer’s official car charger to ensure the highest quality and proper power regulation,” Sutton said.

Using a power inverter can save your smartphone

A power inverter for a car
A power inverter | Getty Images

If you’re concerned about using the proper voltage when charging your phone in the car, you can always use a power inverter. Power inverters can detect rapid changes in the power coming from the car’s outlet and safely regulate the power that goes to your phone. These inverters are bulkier and more expensive than the traditional car charger, but they often have more ports and AC outlets that can charge laptops as well.

However, if you don’t want to spend the extra money to buy an inverter, you can always purchase a certified cable or adapter from the manufacturer. Keep in mind that a simple cord from Apple costs $19. But that’s far less than you could spend on a battery later on down the road.

If you don’t want to be distracted while driving, wait until you get home

Car chargers for sale at a store
Smartphone car chargers | Getty Images

If you don’t have the proper cable to charge your phone in your car, you can always wait until you get home to charge it. If anything, distracted driving is a huge issue, and fiddling with your phone while driving could cause an accident or worse. If your smartphone is dying and you can’t plug it in, don’t mess with it.

Instead, keep your eyes on the road and wait until you can charge it properly. Otherwise, you can always shell out the extra cash for a certified cable.


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