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Cell Phone Chargers Plugged into Cigarette Lighters

My wife and I have a long standing argument regarding keeping charger cords plugged into the lighter plug in our cars. I am of the opinion that you are asking for an electrical system problem by keeping the cord in all the time. My wife, obviously, disagrees. My feeling is that you have a direct link into a series of relays that can absolutely short out and lead to tons of trouble. Can you please either tell me to get over it or help support my opinion?

Get over it. You will not short out anything.

The only risk is if a device is hooked up and drains your battery. Some cigarette lighter outputs stay on when the vehicle is turned off, some stop supplying power when the key is turned off.

I wouldn’t worry about it, especially if the lighter socket is turned off with the key.

CELL PHONE battery discharging the car battery? What kind of cell phone do you carry?

Leaving something plugged in permanently won’t “short out and lead to tons of trouble”.

Get over it. There should never be any problems whatsoever. It would be like draining a rain barrel with a teaspoon.

The worst that could happen is it pops the fuse for the plug, usually 10 or 20 amps. You just can’t pull enough power to be a problem from a cigarette lighter. Worse is leaving it open and allowing a penny or dime one to fall in it.


many of us have a radar detector plugged in all the time and as mentioned the power usually goes off when the key is removed.

There are many import cars and trucks that cut the power to the cigarette lighter when the key is removed, and a lot of domestic that keep power to it all the time. But, I also leave the car charger plugged in all the time. It has an indicator light that tells me when it is getting power, and it gets power all the time. But,it has a 1 amp fuse built in, and it doesn’t draw enough to discharge my 5 year old battery in my 20 year old car, even after a few days of not driving it.

Dont’ know about cell phones, but my laptop instructions clearly state to NOT leave the charger plugged in when not in use, due to the fact that it will drain the battery. Now laptop car chargers have a “brick” in the charging cable, which inverts the 12v to 18v, so that may be a big difference.

Ain’t it a heck of a ride being married to strong-willed women! She must be Irish or German. The answer is going to be both favorable and unfavorable. It is very unlikely that a power cord in your car for an accesory is going to short out. But, it can happen if all the eliments conspire against you - and this happens routinely in anyone’s life.
In your favor I will tell a short story to make a point. I am 6-2 and my Irish wife is 4-11 and 3/4. We, rather, she has a GM product that has been a thorn in my side for years. She always adjusts the seat and mirrors before she starts the car, and for a year or so I kept telling her to start the car first because you never know when the battery needs that extra boost to start the car. I rescue her several times a year because of a dead battery. Let your wife know that as long as she wants to be stranded somewhere, you have no problem with her leaving things plugged in.
Oh, and the A/C and radio being up full blast, or the tank being on empty when you get into the car first thing in the morning…ain’t that just a riot! All of this is the exact reason why Lucile Ball was never allowed to drive.

Hahaha awesome!

Ha! I had this problem once. We had the charger plugged in while the truck was parked at Hawk Air (bush plane company near Wawa, Ontario) for a week while we were fishing. When we came back the vehicle’s battery was discharged, luckily the guys at Hawk Air jumped it for us. No problems before or after that with the truck’s battery.

I don’t even leave my cell phone’s wall wart plugged in all the time in the house. Not because of a big current draw, but because it will prematurely burn out the charger. Feel it. If it’s warm, then it’s drawing current. Chargers aren’t cheap.

AFAIK, power ports on domestic cars are always hot. Cigarette lighter ports are USUALLY switched off with the key.

When you shut off the car, does it cut power to the outlet? If so, there is no harm in leaving it plugged in.