The article below is in response to the following narrative: I’ve been using the cigarette lighter adapter in my car on a pretty regular basis recently, but in the last few days it has stopped working in my car. My first suspicion is that there is a blown fuse, but I neither have the time nor the desire to take it in to be fixed if there is any chance I could simply do it myself. Please help me troubleshoot this issue.

Cigarette Charger in Car Not Working: How to Fix It


Test the Lighter’s Fuse

When the cigarette charger in car is not working, you will need to test it with a circuit tester. Start by placing or attaching the clip end of the test light to the socket’s outer frame. If you can’t clip it on, you can simply hold it there. Next, take the longer end of the tester and stick it all the way in until it touches the back of the socket. Try not to touch the sides as that would blow a fuse. If your light turns on, that means you’ve got power in that socket. If the light does not turn on, then the cigarette lighter socket doesn’t work and needs to have its fuse replaced.

In order to replace the lighter’s fuse, you will want to first locate your vehicle’s fuse box. There should be one just under the dashboard that will be home to the fuse for your cigarette lighter. After opening the fuse box, you will see a row of various colored fuses along with a diagram telling you which fuses go to what. Once you have determined which fuse needs to be replaced, purchase or find the fuse in your spares, and then follow your vehicle’s manual to replace it.


Check Inside the Lighter

Once you know the lighter’s fuse is good, you may need to check inside the lighter itself. If the cigarette lighter socket is not working, then you may need to look inside it to see if there is any debris or other random objects stuck down inside. If so, you may need to take the entire socket out (this can be accomplished by removing the trim on most vehicle models), and begin cleaning the socket with the proper materials. If after cleaning, the cigarette lighter socket doesn’t work still and you have already replaced the fuse, then you will want to move on to inspecting the lighter itself.


Inspect the Lighter

When the cigarette lighter socket is not working even after you have replaced the fuse and cleaned out the inside of the lighter’s socket, it might be time to consider if the lighter itself is faulty. Look at the portion of the cigarette lighter that can be pulled out of the socket and inspect it for burned areas or other types of debris. If it shows areas of any type of burning, then you may have short-circuited the lighter itself and need a new one. If there is any debris, then you will once again need to clean the lighter and try it again. If after cleaning the lighter, it still does not work and you have already replaced the fuse, then the lighter itself is probably faulty. Purchase a new lighter – double checking the make and model that will work with your vehicle – and test to see if the new product will work.


Turn the Ignition

Usually, as long as your keys are in the ignition, the cigarette lighters should have power going to them and thus should work properly. However, sometimes a device needs more power than a car that is just on battery. In this case, you should turn the engine all the way on by turning the ignition to ensure that the cigarette lighter is receiving maximum power. Should this last step still not help your device be powered by the cigarette lighter, it is possible your device is faulty and you may need to consider having it replaced. However, in general, after going through the above steps your device and cigarette lighter should be in prime working condition.

Watch the video below to see how these procedures are done:

  • The above basic checks should solve your problem, but you may need to use wiring diagrams for your vehicle to troubleshoot the inoperable lighter. Since the lighter is a simple circuit, it acts as a normally-open switch in a circuit that supplies voltage.

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