Ok to leave chargers plugged in all the time?

My partner and I have a disagreement about phone chargers in the car. She leaves hers plugged into the lighter jack all the time, whether it’s being used to charge the phone or not.

I say she should only plug it in when in use. It seems to me that it can?t be good to leave it in all the time, even when the car is parked over night, etc.

She only charges the phone once a week this way anyway.

Who has the right idea here?

My personal belief, is that one should put their toys away when they are done playing. Leaving you phone charger out simply advertises, “Hey valualble stuff here, what else have I left laying about?”

It is not likely to hurt the charger or the car, although it would not be a good idea to do when you are going to leave the car parked for several weeks.

bejindy is right about the risk of having some break into your car. If for no other reason that is a good reason to put it away.

Your partner is. Not a worthy arguement IMHO.There is no issue leaving it plugged in all the time, the draw is barely anything when not charging and little when charging.

Your friend’s way is totally harmless. Perfectly all right. Whatever gave you the eccentric idea that this is a bad habit? Offer your apologies.

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there are actually two answers.

most newer cars have the cigarette lighter keyed on to power up ONLY when the key is on.

some cars have a second power outlet which is on all the time.

check which type (or both) you have and leave the plug in the ‘keyed’ outlet, that way theres NO worry about discharging the battery.

if you have a car which has one outlet which is powered on all the time (with no difference to key position) then the only reason to unplug it would be if you were leaving the car for over a week, or more)

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There is no harm in leaving it plugged in while the car is off. The power to the outlet is probably cut off when the key is removed from the ignition. Leaving it plugged in might lead to a miniscule amount of fuel use, but it isn’t worth worrying about. In fact, it is a good way to keep track of the charger. It is always in the right place when your partner looks for it. There are more important things in life to worry about, like which way to hang the toilet paper roll.

Most chargers keep on drawing current even when they are off and DC is a constant fire hazard. Be safe.

Doesn’t the fuse offer protection against the circuit being overloaded? What do you mean by “DC is a constant fire hazard”? What kind of deathtrap do you drive?

I’ve owned cars for 35+ years…and the last car I owned that DIDN’T disable the lighter jack was my Vega. Every car I’ve owned since then…when car is off…lighter jack has no power.

My car has one of each; one stays powered all the time, the other is powered only when the car’s on. They’re about 6" apart from each other.

The power draw is so low that removing it for that reason isn’t really logical (within reason; come back in 2 weeks, and you probably have a dead battery). But I’d still remove it, so you’re not advertising.

My philosophy is that unless someone is endangering themselves or others their own eccentricities should be accepted without argument, and they should not be judged for them.

Trying to convince others to act like we think they should is the bane of mankind.

Yes, but there is a chance (remote) that it would start a fire and it does not need to overload to do that. A simple AA battery will easily start of fire under the right/wrong conditions.

However I personally would not worry about it. I would be more worried about someone spotting it and deciding that might be a good place to steal a cell phone. It appears a lot of GPS units are being stolen when someone spots the cord or even just that round ring on the windscreen the mount leaves. Even if the cell phone is not in the car, it could cost you a new window.

MB that is a pretty good philosophy. it applies to car chargers, as well as politics. well said.
(and both car chargers and politics rate about the same on the world importance level too; IMHO)

Most American makes of car continue to give power to the car charging port even when the engine is off. All Japanese makes I’ve driven completely cut the power supply off to the car charger when the engine is turned off.

This thread is 9 years old, just let it die.


Sorry, that is just not true. The amount of current draw is probably less than 1 mA, miniscule. And there is no fire hazard for power at that level (12 mW or less),

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I suggest that those who don’t believe there’s a danger to leaving lithium ion batteries charging seek out and watch the recent NOVA special entitled “In Search of the Perfect Battery”. They discuss the dangers of lithium ion batteries with experts and participate in stress testing of the battery packs. Lithium ion batteries are surprisingly energy dense, and it seems that they form dendrites causing in some cases shorting, resulting in sudden discharge with dramatic results. The resulting discharge causes what can only be described as an explosion and fire. I was stunned when I saw the footage.

There is a scientist who has developed a lithium battery immune from this condition the NOVA special shows it being subjected to extreme destructive acts without even heating up. It isn’t yet on ready for the market, more testing has to be done, but it shows great promise.

After seeing this special, I would personally not leave a lithium ion battery charging in my car. Yes, NOVA did show a video of an SUV on fire as a result of the owner having left his phone charging in the car’s power port.

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Regarding TP orientation. Only over the top. No exceptions.

Why do you care? I don’t.