To charge or not to is the answer


To charge or not to is the answer

Our phones have long been an integral part of our lives and whilst using a mobile phone whilst driving is likely to land you in trouble with the law, simply charging our phones whilst out on the road has become second nature. So what’s different in a rental car? If you’ve nearly exhausted your phones battery on the flight and it needs a charge, perhaps to use google maps for navigation, or just to catch up some messages, charging from the rental car on your journey from the airport via the USB seems an obvious solution.

Do rental cars have USB ports?

Most rental cars are current model years and virtually all new cars now have USB connectivity enabling you to not only charge your phone in the car, but also connect to the infotainment system to safely enable hands free features whilst on the road or access the music from your phone. Whilst convenient and safe, when connecting your mobile via the USB port, you could also be potentially allowing the car to access to your personal data, call records, sat nav coordinates / locations and message logs. Some systems will automatically store this data (which is fine / convenient in your personal car) and it could be accessed / used by future renters or the car rental agency.

That’s not so say that it would be used maliciously, however in an age where personal data is highly valuable and also highly protected, you are potentially unknowingly exposing yourself (and your data) to risk. If you do connect your phone to your rental car via the USB or indeed bluetooth, we recommend checking the permissions on your phone / infotainment system and where you do allow access to your data, ensure you delete any data before returning the rental car.

Best way to charge your phone in a rental car

If you only want to charge your phone battery in a rental car, the safest way is via the 12v cigarette lighter point. 12v to USB adapters are cheap and widely available and will allow you to charge your device from your rental car without any access to your data.

Another option is to use a 'data blocker' device that plugs into the USB port in the car and allows your USB (male) to plug into. The data blocker prevents any data passing to the car and only allows for charging. These are also useful for public USB charging points such as in airports.