Why You Should Stop Charging Your Phone in Your Car

Odds are, you do it every day!

Whether you’re on a long road trip or stuck in traffic during a daily commute, a low iPhone battery could spell disaster for the bored driver. At first, it may seem harmless to plug your phone into your car’s USB port. But unless you’re desperate, charging your iPhone during your commute might be a big mistake. And by the way, here’s how to tell which apps are draining your phone’s battery.

The nature of charging your phone in your car poses a risk to your phone. Most people use the cigarette lighter, which generally provides 12V. “Smartphones typically use 5V when charging, which the adapter is normally able to safely regulate the voltage,” Joshua Sutton, uBreakiFix Training Department Manager, told Reader’s Digest. “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. Most of the time you may not immediately notice this damage as it generally affects your phone battery first, diminishing the health of the battery.” This is how you can charge your phone as quickly as possible.

Even though you may not notice the damage to your phone, it could be an expensive cost in the long haul. “The worst-case scenario is that it could damage your phone’s charge port or the motherboard itself, a very expensive proposition,” says Sutton. “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.” Here are a few hidden iPhone hacks you never knew about.

It’s best to do a bit of research into your vehicle and the cords that you’re using. If you’re still concerned about power output, Sutton recommends investing in a Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter. “It is can detect any rapid changes in power output from the car’s power outlet (or cigarette lighter) and safely regulate the power your smartphone receives,” Sutton says. “They are larger than traditional car chargers but are infinitely safer. It also has the added benefit of often coming with AC power outlets built-in to provide power to laptops as well.”

Most importantly, it’s not safe to use your phone while operating a vehicle. “Anytime a person’s hands leave the wheel or eyes leave the road, it becomes incredibly dangerous for them and the other people around them,” Brad Nichols, a technician at Staymobile, told Reader’s Digest. Bottom line: Play it safe, do your research, and wait until you get home to plugin. Next time, you’ll want to memorize the ten secrets to a better smartphone battery life.