Monday 9th March 2015
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Kwik Fit, the UK’s leading vehicle repair company, have undertaken a recent survey on charging electrical devices using a car battery.  The results were pretty interesting; 62%, that’s three in five drivers in the UK are charging their devices using their car battery.  Known as ‘i sapping’ this is a real drain on the battery, especially in the winter months when cars have a harder time starting due to the colder weather.  Kwik found that 38% of drivers charged their sat navs this way. Next up, 36% of drivers charged their smart phones, 15% charged other mobile phones, 10% charged their iPods or usic devices and 7% charged their iPads this way.

Charging sat navs in cars can hurt batteries

It may seem like a logical thing to do but the dangers of 'i sapping'  can lead to killing your battery as you are draining power from it as you charge these devices.  Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit said: “Many motorists don’t realise the effect devices plugged into their cars can have on a battery. Satnavs, tablets and other gadgets that are designed to make our lives more comfortable can actually have the opposite effect, by cutting short the life of even a new battery and leaving us stuck with a car that won’t start.”

It’s not just the ordinary devices that suck the life out of the battery but also the electronic gizmos that a huge number of modern cars have.  The most commonly installed devices in a car are climate control (26% proportion of motorist with this device fitted in their car), heated wing mirrors (20%) and heated seats (11%).  After this are built in sat nav (9%), built in phone charger (6%) and upgraded music system (6%).  These are what some of us would consider to be ‘luxury items’ and when you think that these new technologies are also sapping the strength of your battery they look less like a luxury and more like a burden.

Even heating and lights working in the winter months tax a battery’s power, so the less added strain you can give your battery the better. Short journeys don’t help batteries much either since the battery doesn’t get enough time to re-charge.

The findings also revealed that over half of UK drivers don’t check their battery during winter, something we at strongly recommend that you do.  Quite worryingly, one in three drivers in the UK believe that the battery is checked during each annual MOT.  This is not the case, an MOT doesn’t include a battery check.  It is up to you to check it yourself or to get your car serviced properly.

So it isn’t surprising to hear that Kwik Fit are reporting a higher increase in vehicles coming into their shops in the winter months with battery issues. More than one in five car batteries are over five years old and this is when a battery starts to lose its real power.  Kwik Fit offer free health checks on batteries so we recommend that you take them up on their offer.  If you find that you do need a new battery then contact