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Tips on How to Fix The Cigarette Lighter in Your Car

  • Safety Tips
  • Xavier Sabastian
  • 6 minutes

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All cigarette lighter sockets are also 12v sockets. You should be able to connect a cigarette lighter inverter, cell phone charger, or any other 12v D.C. item to it. 

‘Cigarette: A fire at one end, a fool at the other, and a bit of tobacco in between.’

In other words, smoking is harmful to health.¬†Nowadays, the cigarette lighter in your car is not always used for smoking. However, it is common to practice utilizing a car’s cigarette lighter to power electronic devices while on the go.

Depending on the make and model of your car, the fuse for the cigarette lighter or accessory outlet may be called something else. However, many cars label the lighter fuse as “LTR,” which stands for “lighter,” and you can find it in the fuse box under the hood.

If your 12-volt socket stops working, one of the first things you should check is the charger you are using with it. Unfortunately, most car chargers don’t come with fuses or surge protectors.¬†

If the fuse on your cigarette lighter blows, you should still fix it or replace it. When a cigarette lighter socket stops operating or appears to malfunction, several issues may be the cause. 


Cigarette Lighter

Steps to fix your cigarette lighter

To get your cigarette lighter socket to work again, you need to check each possible problem and rule them out one by one. Some of these steps are easy and don’t need special tools, but you will need a test light or voltmeter to finish this diagnostic.

Here are the most important steps to take when your cigarette lighter doesn’t work:

  • Check for foreign objects:¬†Check to see any foreign objects in the cigarette lighter socket. If you find something like food, a small toy, or a coin in the cigarette lighter socket, carefully take it out. Do not reach into the socket with a screwdriver, tweezers, or any other metal tool.
  • Check the plug for power and ground:¬†You need a voltmeter or a test light. If you have the right tools and know how to use them, you can check the center pin of the cigarette lighter socket for power and the inside of the barrel for the ground. If there is no power, check the fuse.¬†
  • Use a different device:¬†Find a different 12V charger or device. It’s important to ensure the device works, so you should borrow something from a friend or family member they use often. If it doesn’t work, it’s likely because the socket doesn’t have power.
  • Plug in the cigarette lighter:¬†Plug the cigarette lighter in and turn it on. If your socket pops out while the coils are still very hot, that’s fine. If it doesn’t get hot, your outlet isn’t working.
  • Plug your charger into a different socket:¬†If your car has more accessory sockets, try plugging your charger into one of those to see if it works. If not, try using your charger in another car. Your charger may be broken if it doesn’t work in the other sockets.

No spark in the cigarette lighter? Check for unwanted objects

If nothing you plug into a 12v accessory socket works, you should first inspect the socket for obstructions. The quickest approach is to use a flashlight to inspect the socket visually.

One of the most typical causes of difficulties with cigarette lighter and 12v accessory sockets is when a coin accidentally falls into the socket. This may cause the socket to short-circuit and explode the fuse.

Happy Season 3 GIF by The Simpsons


Check the power source

If there are no obstacles in the socket, these are three possible next steps:

  1. If you have a cigarette lighter, it’s easy to plug in the adapter.
  2. The socket is powered if the lighter ignites and pops out.
  3. If you have a test light, you can also examine the fuse panel. 

If your 12v socket is an accessory socket and not a cigarette lighter socket, you cannot test it with a cigarette lighter. In this scenario, you will need to use a test light or multimeter. This is to determine whether or not there is power.

If the fuse is not blown and the socket provides electricity, there may be a problem with either the socket or the accessory plug you are attempting to use. The slack is taken up by spring-loaded contacts in the cigarette lighter and 12v accessory sockets, but if no contact is made, the accessory will not receive power.

How to deal with a damaged cigarette lighter fuse

In many instances, the fuse will be blown, which can be the result of a variety of problems. The situation is likely over if you discover a coin in the socket. If you did not, there might be a short elsewhere. Or you may have plugged in an item that consumes more amperage than the circuit is designed for.

Typically, the circuits are fused at 10 or 15A, which is less in the larger scheme. Some inverters don’t keep current demands below that level. In that case, plugging in electrical items may blow a fuse and stop the inverter from working.

The simplest next step is to change the cigarette lighter or 12v accessory socket fuse and observe the results.

  • If the fuse blows instantly, there is a short somewhere in the circuit.
  • Everything is initially alright and then the fuse blows when the inverter is plugged in. The inverter is likely to blame.

Due to the inverter limitations, you may prefer an inverter directly linked to the battery or fuse panel.

It’s easy to replace a cigarette lighter socket with a 12V USB port. But you might need help with the fit and finish. There are more or less direct replacements. You will have to cut into your dashboard or do some finishing work to make everything look nice when you’re done.

Here’s more info on¬†top-rated airport parking,¬†the best parking spots in your city, affordable¬†auto insurance, easy¬†auto refinance, and¬†high-quality car washes near you.


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