Is Having Wi-Fi in a Car Really Necessary?

Most new cars in the market today have Wi-Fi capabilities to seamlessly connect occupants to the outside world. Just like your Wi-Fi connection at home, having a wireless connection to the Internet in your car can enable you and your family to the World Wide Web at a moment’s notice. But is it really necessary to have Wi-Fi in your car?

Do you really need Wi-Fi in your car?

Facebook from a wirelessly connected smartphone in a car
Facebook from a wirelessly connected smartphone in a car. | ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

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The short answer is no, you really don’t need Wi-Fi in your car. But it sure is nice to have. According to Autotrader, having Wi-Fi is “probably unnecessary for most drivers,” but it’s convenient and can be a time-saver for business users. Also, if your family likes to take the occasional road trip to nowhere, having a good Wi-Fi connection could equate to hours of entertainment for the kids.

What is the point of having Wi-Fi in your car?

A man works on his laptop with a wireless connection in a car
A man works on his laptop with a wireless connection in a car. | Getty Images

As stated before, having a Wi-Fi connection in your car is a good idea if you have kids or need to conduct your business on the go. Here are a few ways that a Wi-Fi connection can come in handy:

  • Streaming movies: Your family can connect to Wi-Fi to stream movies in addition to using other apps like Amazon’s FireTV.
  • Business needs: A Wi-Fi connection can work up to 50 feet away from the vehicle, so if you need to use the Internet while on the job site, you can. It’s also helpful if you have to use your car as a mobile office.
  • Power outages: Having a Wi-Fi connection in your car can come in handy if you experience a power outage in your home.
  • Over-the-Air updates (OTA): A Wi-Fi connection in your car can enable the manufacturer to update the software, navigation maps, or other features in your car wirelessly. Tesla is best known for doing this, however, OTA updates are used in other cars as well.

How much does a Wi-Fi connection cost?

Most manufacturers include a free trial for Wi-Fi when you purchase a new car, however, in most cases, the service can cost around $10 to $20 a month. Keep in mind that the data is typically capped. For example, Toyota’s Wi-Fi Connect and Ford’s FordPass Connect allow for 2 GB of data per month. Although, many Wi-Fi providers do offer unlimited data plans for a higher fee. Just think of it like a cell phone plan.

Is a Wi-Fi subscription worth the monthly (or yearly) cost?

Man driving car and checking the smartphone in first person view.
Man driving car and checking the smartphone in first-person view. | Getty Images

Yes, if you have a family that needs to be constantly entertained or you need to conduct business from your car, then having a Wi-Fi connection is worth the cost. It’s also helpful in emergency situations or when software repairs are needed. However, if you’re typically alone in your car or have no need for a wireless connection, then you could be better off saving your money every month or every year.

Otherwise, having a Wi-Fi connection in your car isn’t really necessary. If anything, it’s more of a convenience to have during inconvenient times. In most cases, you’re better off just using your cell phone or tablet to connect to the World Wide Web like you normally do. Just don’t do it while you’re driving.

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