We're all guilty of letting our iPhone battery run down to red--really, we should be charging it before we get to that dire point, but who wants to stop scrolling Facebook to find a charger, right? If you're constantly running on low battery then you also know that desperate times call for desperate measures. You'll take any charger you can get when you're not at home. I've borrowed chargers at restaurants, at my hair salon, at friends' houses. And if I'm on the road, I'll even use the dreaded car charger. Why is it dreaded? There are three reasons why the car charger is a *really* bad idea--and one of them is pretty scary.
Click to find out why you should avoid this >>
1. It doesn't charge efficiently
The first reason is the most benign--the car chargers are usually pretty inefficient at actually charging your phone, because people don't use the right charger for the job. If you grab any charger from the house and plug it in to your car USB, chances are it will simply maintain the level of charge you have if you're not using the phone, or if you are using the phone (say, for GPS) it will simply lesson the speed at which your phone is dying (it will still discharge).
This is frustrating, to say the least, but there's actually a few dangers to doing it this way:
2. It can drain your car battery
Yes, it's true--chargers, including your iPhone charger as well as tablets and laptops--can drain your car battery, leaving you stranded somewhere. "If your car battery is old and only holds a 2% resting charge, your phone could easily kill your car," Joshua Duffy, an electrical engineering manager with smartphone accessory company Scosche told TIME. Laptops and tablets can drain your car battery even faster!
Tip: to be safe, use an iPhone compatible car charger like the PowerJolt by Griffin.
And what else??
3. In rare cases, it can cause electrical issues
Many experts, like Aaron Vronko, CEO of Rapid Repair, an iPod and iPhone repair shop, don't recommend using car chargers because, "The 12 volt electrical system of cars used primarily for headlights and interior lights was not designed to handle the loads of modern cars with their big stereos, myriad gadgets and electronic features."
To avoid power surges and other electrical issues that could fry your phone, don't have your phone plugged in when you're starting or turning off a car because that's when the electrical spikes occur. Or if you have a car that uses an Auto Start Stop function for fuel efficiency, you should be especially careful about charging your phone in the car. Especially if the cord is frayed. You can cause damage to your phone or car electrical systems. Yikes!