Picture this: you’ve been in the car all day, playing on your phone, when you realize it’s about to die. You plug it in to the USB port and let it charge for an hour, but your phone only hits a 15 percent charge. Shouldn’t it be higher than that? You’d think the USB port in your car would be designed to charge your smartphone at a reasonable rate, but, unfortunately, it just isn’t as powerful as you might think.

Not Ample

car USB portThe biggest reason why your phone isn’t charging is because of the USB port’s amperage. The higher the port’s amperage, the faster it’ll charge devices. Most built-in car USB ports aren’t able to produce enough juice, so multitasking with the phone while it’s charging will cause it to charge more slowly.

The USB port in your car only produces 0.5A (amperage) output, and charging-specific ports have 1.0A. Compare this to the majority of wall outlets found in your home, which are typically at 15 to 20A, and there's a big difference in charging speed.

A Fair Warning

If your smartphone does end up reaching a full 100 percent charge, you should immediately remove it from your car’s charging port. It’s not something you'd normally think to do since your phone is completely fine plugged into a wall outlet with a full battery, but it’s different in cars.

If you consistently keep your phone or device plugged into the car charger on a full battery, your device will gradually lose the capability to charge in the car. Cars use direct current (DC), while wall outlets at home use alternating current (AC). An AC system recognizes when a device is fully charged and stops electricity from flowing. A DC system can’t recognize this, so if it’s kept plugged in, the device will become overcharged and the battery cell will gradually degrade over time.

Bottom Line

USB car chargers just aren’t up to date with the latest technologies. As frustrating as it can be, sometimes we’re left with no choice but to sit and wait for our devices to charge.

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