A question that’s circulated around EV spaces for quite a while now is whether using third-party charging cables will affect your car’s warranty. This is an understandable worry, considering how some car companies and tech companies do get a bit weird over the use of third-party products. We’ve tried to answer some of the common questions owners seem to ask about third-party charging cables. Hopefully, these will be able to help you choose the right kind of cable from the right kind of third-party supplier, as well as knowing whether you can use third-party cables with your car at all.
What are the different types of charging cables that could be used?
There are a whole range of different types of car chargers you could get from a third-party supplier.
The type that’s typically supplied by a manufacturer from the factory is a Mode 2 charging cable. This one has a 3-pin domestic plug on one end to allow you to charge the car with a domestic socket. It also has a box that communicates between the connector plug and the vehicle’s plug, which is known as an In-Cable Control Box (ICCB).
Another type of charging cable you might typically buy from a third-party source is a Mode 3 cable. This allows you to connect a car to a charging station. The end of the cable that connects to the charging station will either be a Type 1 or a Type 2 connector. The standard for charging stations in Europe is Type 2, but European car charging stations can also take Type 1 connectors if necessary. Type 1 connectors are more common in Asian countries.
Finally, you can often get CHAdeMO charging cables from third-party suppliers. This type of cable is compatible with various different brands including Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Tesla. For Tesla vehicles, a CHAdeMO charger needs a modified Type 2 socket on the end that goes into the charging station. This is sometimes known as a Mennekes plug.
As a bit of an additional thing, many third-party vendors now sell Vehicle to Load (V2L) charging cables for cars that are capable of it. Whilst this doesn’t charge the car itself, it does allow the car to charge other devices using its own internal battery. This allows your car to charge or power anything that can be charged or powered from a domestic plug. This can range anywhere from charging mobile phones to powering camping equipment, powering power tools and even proper electrical appliances like fridges and washing machines!
Will using tethered charging cables void your warranty?
If using a tethered charging cable from a third-party supplier has caused damage to your car, there is a case there for the use of the cable voiding your warranty. There is a risk that a third-party cable could not be designed properly for your car, either due to an issue with the manufacturing of the cable itself or accidentally ordering the wrong type of cable for your car. An example of a third-party cable doing damage to your car would be if using the cable damaged the charging port pins.
Otherwise, unless the manufacturer has explicitly stated you can’t use third-party charging products with your car, using a tethered charging cable from a third-party supplier shouldn’t void your warranty.
Will someone know if I’ve used a third-party charging cable?
The only way anyone will know if you’re using a third-party charging cable is if you volunteer that information yourself. This is something that most owners who are savvy enough won’t do. If it isn’t explicitly stated by your car’s manufacturer that you can’t use third-party charging cables, though, you shouldn’t have to worry about keeping your use of third-party cables quiet.
Can I use the same charging cable on different cars?
Yes you can! Charging cables for cars are pretty much universal. If you have multiple cars that use the same kind of connector on the end that goes into the car, you can use the same charging cables across them.
Some third-party cables are marketed for multiple models from the same brand, or different brands within the same corporate umbrella. It’s not uncommon to see third-party cables for sale that are described as being able to work with multiple Hyundai and/or Kia models, for example. This is usually the case for V2L charging cables, as only certain cars at the moment are able to do this.
How can I choose a reputable third-party charging cable supplier?
When you’re looking for a reputable third-party supplier for a charging cable, you’ll need to check quite a few different things to decide which one is the safest choice to go for. You might have to compromise on certain things to get the best quality cable and making sure that you’re buying from a reputable company that won’t let you down.
A good place to start off is to have a look at reviews left by customers about the company and its products. Reviews are usually easily accessible through services such as Google Reviews or through the reviews left by customers on sites like eBay and Amazon. Reading reviews is very much worthwhile, as not only will they give you an idea of how good the cables actually are but also how the company is to deal with. If there are any issues with defective cables, bad customer service and/or deliveries taking much longer than expected, you’ll find it written down in a review! The number of reviews compared to the average rating is also worth looking at. If a company has an average rating of between 4-5 stars on Google Reviews out of a total of 100+ or 1000+ reviews, It’s pretty likely that the average rating is pretty accurate to how things really are. If the average rating is 4-5 stars but it’s based on only a few reviews or one singular review, you might want to be a tad wary.
Checking how long the company has been operating is usually a good thing to do as well. Typically, companies that have been operating for longer and are more established are more trustworthy than ones that have only just appeared. That’s not to say that this is always the case, as there may be outlier examples of newer companies who are very reliable and trustworthy, but it’s a good rule to follow anyway. Companies that have been operating for a long time also tend to have more online reviews than ones that are relative newcomers, so that helps with getting a more accurate picture of what the company is like to deal with too.
It’s a good idea to have a look at the pricing of whatever cables you want to buy from whatever company you’re looking at. Whilst cheap cables might look like they could save you quite a bit of money, cheap does not always mean good. Cheaper cables could be poorly made, or the factory that makes them could have poor standards of quality control.
As well as the pricing of the cables, you should have a look at the range of charging cables the companies you’re looking at can sell you. Some companies will sell a wider range of cable types than others. It may be the case that a company that is otherwise really good doesn’t sell the type of charging cable you want or need for your car.
How long is the delivery period of the cables you want to order? This might not seem like a massively important point, but it is worth taking into account. If the average delivery time is over 2 weeks, the cables you’re buying are likely to have been imported. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s something you’ll definitely have to take into account as it throws more complications into the shipping process.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure you check the cable’s warranty itself. If you end up having a defective cable or it ends up becoming broken quite soon after you’ve bought it, you could end up running into some issues if there are certain things that the warranty doesn’t cover.