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How To Change Car Cigarette Lighter Socket


In the ever-evolving landscape of automotive technology, the humble car cigarette lighter socket has undergone a transformation from its original purpose to become a versatile power outlet for various electronic devices. As the demands of modern drivers continue to grow, knowing how to change or replace a car’s cigarette lighter socket has become a valuable skill. In this introduction, we embark on a journey into the inner workings of a vehicle’s electrical system, exploring the step-by-step process of changing the cigarette lighter socket. Whether it’s to accommodate advanced gadgets, charge smartphones, or power essential accessories, the ability to replace this integral component empowers car enthusiasts and DIY enthusiasts alike.


Understanding the intricacies of the car cigarette lighter socket involves not only technical know-how but also a recognition of the socket’s pivotal role in enhancing the driving experience. From choosing the right replacement socket to navigating the electrical connections, our exploration will guide individuals through a seamless process. 

How To Change Car Cigarette Lighter Socket

Can you replace cigarette lighter sockets?

To start, shut off the car and fuse to stop power from reaching the lighter. Replacing a cigarette lighter socket is a relatively straightforward process and can be done by following a few simple steps. Here’s a general overview of how to replace a cigarette lighter socket in a car:


Locate the Socket: The cigarette lighter socket is usually located on the dashboard, center console, or in another accessible area of the car’s interior. It may be housed in a panel or trim piece that needs to be removed to access the socket.


Disconnect the Power: Before starting any work, disconnect the vehicle’s battery to prevent electrical shock or damage. This is especially important when working with electrical components.


Remove the Old Socket: Depending on the design of the socket, it may be held in place by screws, clips, or other fasteners. Use appropriate tools to remove any securing elements and carefully disconnect the wiring harness from the back of the socket.

Can you replace a cigarette lighter socket with USB? 

Yes, it is possible to replace a traditional cigarette lighter socket with a USB socket in a car. Many modern vehicles come equipped with USB ports to accommodate the charging needs of electronic devices. Here’s a general guide on how to do this:


Locate the Cigarette Lighter Socket: Identify the location of the existing cigarette lighter socket in your car. It is often found on the dashboard, center console, or in other accessible areas.


Disconnect the Power: Before starting any work, disconnect the vehicle’s battery to ensure safety. This is crucial when dealing with electrical components.


Remove the Old Cigarette Lighter Socket: Depending on the design, the old socket may be secured with screws or clips. Remove any securing elements and disconnect the wiring harness from the back of the socket.

Why is my car cigarette lighter socket not working?

A faulty fuse or bad wiring is also a common reason for a car cigarette lighter not working. This can be a result of extra amperage which makes it difficult for the socket to handle. Additionally, plugging in inappropriate devices can also cause wiring problems or may lead to a blown fuse.


If your car’s cigarette lighter socket is not working, there could be several possible reasons for the issue. Here are some common causes to consider:


Blown Fuse: A blown fuse is one of the most common reasons why a cigarette lighter socket may stop working. Check the fuse box in your vehicle and inspect the fuse corresponding to the cigarette lighter socket. If the fuse is blown, replace it with a new one of the same amperage rating.


Loose Connection: The wiring or connections leading to the cigarette lighter socket may become loose or disconnected over time, especially if the socket has been frequently used. Inspect the wiring harness and connections to ensure they are secure and properly connected.


Faulty Socket: The cigarette lighter socket itself may be faulty or damaged. Test the socket with a multimeter or try using a different accessory, such as a phone charger, to see if it works. If the socket does not function with any accessory, it may need to be replaced.

What is a car cigarette lighter socket called?

Your vehicle’s cigarette outlet, also known as a 12V accessory outlet, provides 12 volts of Direct Current (DC) power. DC power functions very differently from the Alternating Current (AC) power that comes out of your electrical outlets at home.

The car cigarette lighter socket, often colloquially referred to simply as the “cigarette lighter,” is officially known as the “accessory socket” or “power outlet” in modern vehicles. This socket is designed to provide electrical power for various accessories and devices, including but not limited to cigarette lighters.

As smoking in vehicles has decreased and electronic devices have become more prevalent, the usage of the accessory socket has evolved. Many drivers now use the socket to power devices such as GPS units, smartphones, dash cams, and other electronic gadgets.

Are all cigarette lighter sockets the same size?

Most, but not all automotive cigarette lighter sockets are the same throughout the world. Some require an adapter that I found to be extremely difficult, but not impossible to locate in the U.S.


Cigarette lighter sockets, also known as accessory sockets or power outlets, generally follow a standardized size and shape. The design adheres to the specifications set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). As a result, most cigarette lighter sockets are similar in size and should accommodate standard accessories.


The common dimensions for a cigarette lighter socket are approximately 21 millimeters (0.825 inches) in diameter. This standardization allows for compatibility among various devices and accessories designed to plug into these sockets.


However, it’s crucial to note that while the physical size is typically standardized, there can be variations in the electrical specifications of different sockets. For example, some sockets may provide higher amperage or wattage outputs, which can affect the compatibility with certain accessories. Additionally, not all vehicles may have the same number of accessory sockets, and some may have USB ports or alternative power outlets.

How To Change Car Cigarette Lighter Socket

What voltage is the car cigarette lighter? 

The voltage of a car’s cigarette lighter socket or accessory socket is typically 12 volts. Most automotive electrical systems operate on a 12-volt DC (direct current) power supply. Therefore, the cigarette lighter socket is designed to provide power at this voltage.


It’s essential to note that while the voltage is standardized, the amperage (current) may vary depending on the specific vehicle and its electrical system. The common fuse rating for a cigarette lighter socket is often around 10 to 20 amperes. Most devices designed for use in cars are designed to operate within the 12-volt range.


Additionally, some modern vehicles may come equipped with USB ports in addition to or instead of traditional cigarette lighter sockets. USB ports typically provide 5 volts, which is the standard voltage for USB-powered devices. If you’re using a USB adapter or accessory, it should be compatible with the 5-volt output from the USB port.

Which is positive and negative on a cigarette lighter?

For the 12 volt systems, the center contact is the positive terminal and the shell is the negative terminal. Most automobiles connect the negative terminal to the frame of the vehicle (negative ground). This configuration follows the convention used in many automotive electrical systems. However, it’s essential to exercise caution when working with electrical components in vehicles. Before making any connections or modifications, it’s advisable to consult the vehicle’s manual or seek guidance from a professional mechanic or automotive technician to ensure safety and prevent damage to the vehicle’s electrical system.

How do you test a cigarette lighter socket?

To test a cigarette lighter socket in a car, you can follow these steps:


Inspect the Socket: First, visually inspect the cigarette lighter socket to ensure there are no obvious signs of damage or debris that may obstruct proper contact with the accessory plug.


Select a Test Device: Choose a device or accessory that you know is functioning properly and compatible with a 12-volt DC power supply. This could be a phone charger, portable air compressor, or any other accessory designed for use in cars.

Plug in the Device: Insert the device’s plug into the cigarette lighter socket firmly until it is fully seated.

How To Change Car Cigarette Lighter Socket


Our journey into the replacement process underscores the importance of technical proficiency and a keen understanding of a vehicle’s electrical system. Beyond the mechanical aspects, changing the cigarette lighter socket is a gateway to personalization, allowing drivers to tailor their in-car power options to suit the demands of contemporary living.


In empowering drivers with the knowledge and skills to undertake such tasks, this process not only addresses immediate needs but fosters a sense of autonomy and connection to one’s vehicle. It transforms a seemingly mundane chore into a meaningful endeavor for DIY enthusiasts and car aficionados alike.



Vaishnavi vaish

Vaishnavi is an automotive enthusiast and writer with a passion for all things cars. With years of experience in the automotive industry, Vaishnavi brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Vroom's platform. Whether it's dissecting the latest car models, exploring industry trends, or delving into the intricacies of automotive technology, Vaishnavi is dedicated to providing readers with comprehensive and insightful content. From performance reviews to in-depth car comparisons, Vaishnavi strives to deliver accurate and engaging information to help readers make informed decisions about their next vehicle purchase. Explore the world of automobiles with Vaishnavi on Vroom and stay updated on the latest developments in the automotive world.

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