'i-sapping' car breakdown risk for unwary motorists

Motorists charging sat navs, smartphones and iPods from their car’s 12v socket are at increased risk of battery-related breakdowns this winter, warns Kwik-Fit.

The automotive repair firm has dubbed the problem ‘i-sapping’.

More than three in five drivers are charging devices in their car using the 12v socket, with nearly four in 10 charging sat navs and over a third topping up their smartphones.

However, because batteries have to work so much harder in the winter, this extra drain is putting motorists at risk of breakdowns and non-starting issues.

The fact more than half of drivers do not get their batteries checked during winter is not helping, says the firm.

Communications director Roger Griggs said: “Many motorists don’t realise the effect devices plugged into their cars can have on a battery.

“Sat navs, 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.

“At Kwik Fit, we often see an increase in vehicles coming in with battery issues when the temperatures drop, normally to the surprise of the customer.”

The firm advises anyone with a battery more than five years old to get it checked – that’s “a usual turning point in a battery’s life”.