Car Cigarette Lighter Not Working: Common Causes and Fixes

Car cigarette lighter not working denies many drivers the convenient feature that allows powering various electronic devices while on the go. It gets frustrating when you plug in your charger or other accessories to find the cigarette lighter not working.

Car Cigarette Lighter Not Working

There are several common reasons why your car cigarette lighter may not function as expected. Keep reading this article as we will delve into the causes of a non-functional car cigarette lighter and appropriate fixes.

What Are the Common Reasons Your Car Cigarette Lighter Is Not Working?

The common reasons your car cigarette lighter is not working include a blown fuse, car cigarette lighter element, and socket issues. Faulty wiring can also disrupt the supply from the power outlet, leading to a non-functional lighter. Further, foreign objects inside the socket can obstruct the electrical connection.

Understanding these factors will help you troubleshoot and resolve the issue efficiently.

Here are the common reasons your car cigarette lighter is not working:

  • Cigarette Lighter Fuse Issues

A blown car cigarette lighter fuse is often the most common culprit behind a malfunctioning car cigarette lighter. Typically, a dedicated fuse connects the cigarette lighter to the vehicle’s electrical system.

Overloading the socket with high-powered accessories or using a faulty device can cause the fuse to blow. When the fuse blows, it disrupts the electrical circuit, preventing the lighter from functioning.

  • Cigarette Lighter Socket Problems

Car cigarette lighter socket issues may also prevent the lighter from working. In some vehicles, an additional fuse may be specifically for the car cigarette lighter socket. The car cigarette lighter socket fuse protects the socket itself and often comes separate from the main fuse that controls the lighter function.

More so, most cigarette lighter sockets have a limited capacity, and exceeding that capacity can cause the fuse to blow. If this fuse blows, it will result in the socket not receiving power.
Besides, over time, the socket can wear out, become loose, corroded, or accumulate debris and dirt, hindering the flow of electrical current. This can also result in a poor connection between the lighter and the socket, preventing it from working properly.
  • Faulty Wiring

Faulty or loose wiring connections that link the cigarette lighter socket to the car’s electrical system can cause the cigarette lighter to stop working. Over time, the wiring connections can get damaged or corroded, disrupting the socket’s power supply.

Reasons of Car Cigarette Lighter Is Not Working

This wiring issue can also arise due to accidents, poor installation, or improper handling of the wiring during previous repairs or upgrades.

  • Accumulated Debris and Corroded Contacts

Sometimes, the car cigarette lighter may stop working due to debris or obstructions inside the socket. Foreign objects, such as coins, debris, or melted plastic, can find their way into the cigarette lighter socket, accumulate, and cause a blockage.

These objects can interfere with the electrical connection between the device and the socket, preventing the lighter from functioning. In addition, corrosion can also cause a car cigarette lighter to stop working. Moisture or exposure to condensation can lead to the buildup of corrosion on the metal contacts inside the socket.

  • Defective Cigarette Lighter Element

The issue may sometimes lie with the cigarette lighter element itself. The heating element can wear out or get damaged, especially if it has been heavily used over time. If the lighter element fails, it will not produce heat or light up. This indicates that there is a problem within the system, resulting in the lighter’s failure to function.

  • Electrical System Malfunction

The car’s electrical system powers various components, including the cigarette lighter. A malfunction in the electrical system can affect the functionality of the cigarette lighter. The car’s battery plays a crucial role in supplying power to the electrical system. If the battery gets weak, discharged, or defective, it may not provide sufficient power to operate the cigarette lighter.

Malfunction in Car Electrical System

A loose or corroded battery terminal connection can also lead to a voltage drop or loss of power. Likewise, the alternator charges the car’s battery, supplying power to the electrical system while the engine runs.

If the alternator gets faulty or does not function correctly, it may fail to provide adequate power to the electrical components, including the cigarette lighter. Signs of alternator issues can include dimming headlights, flickering interior lights, or a warning light on the dashboard.

Short circuits occur when there is an unintended connection between wires carrying different electrical currents. If a short circuit occurs in the circuit that powers the cigarette lighter, it can cause the fuse to blow, resulting in the lighter not working. Similarly, grounding issues, such as a loose or corroded ground connection, can disrupt the electrical flow and affect the operation of the cigarette lighter.

How Do You Fix Your Car Cigarette Lighter Not Working Issue?

How you fix your car cigarette lighter not working issue includes checking and replacing the cigarette lighter fuse, cleaning the socket, inspecting the wiring, and replacing the cigarette lighter element, if necessary. With these simple fixes, you can restore functionality to your car’s accessory socket.

Below are some practical solutions on how to fix cigarette lighter in car:

  • Cigarette Lighter Fuse Replacement

Before attempting any replacement, you must learn how to check cigarette lighter fuse. Begin by locating the fuse box in your vehicle, usually under the dashboard or in the engine compartment. Consult your car’s owner’s manual to identify the specific fuse dedicated to the cigarette lighter. Once located, visually inspect it for any signs of damage, such as a broken filament.

If you detect a blown fuse, replace it with a new fuse of the same amperage rating. Then, test the replacement fuse to see if it is functioning correctly. This simple fix often resolves the issue. Above all, remember to turn off the ignition before replacing the fuse.

  • Inspect and Clean the Socket

Examine the car cigarette lighter socket for visible damage, corrosion, or loose connections. Ensure that you turn off your vehicle’s ignition before performing this inspection. If you notice any issues, such as bent contacts or loose wiring, gently adjust them using a small screwdriver or pliers. Be careful not to damage the contacts further. If you detect a severely damaged socket, you may need to consider consulting a professional to help replace it.

Cleaning the socket can restore proper contact and allow the cigarette lighter to function again. Before cleaning, carefully inspect the socket for any visible debris or objects. If you spot any, use compressed air or a small brush to clean the socket. Be gentle and avoid using sharp objects that may damage the socket or contacts.

Fixing Car Cigarette Lighter Not Working

For corroded contacts, you can try using a contact cleaner or a mixture of baking soda and water to clean the contacts. Gently scrub the contacts with a small brush or toothbrush and wipe away any residue. Once cleaned, try plugging in the device again to see if the lighter works. Likewise, turn off the vehicle’s ignition before cleaning the socket.

  • Check the Wiring

Disconnect the car’s battery safely to check the wiring and avoid electrical hazards. Next, remove the cover or panel surrounding the cigarette lighter socket to access the wiring connections. Then, examine the wiring for any signs of damage, loose connections, or corrosion.

Suppose you identify any issues, repair or replace the wiring as necessary. Ensure to secure and tightly fasten all connections. After fixing the wiring issues, reconnect the battery and test the cigarette lighter for functionality.

  • Check or Replace the Cigarette Lighter Element

If the above solutions do not resolve the issue, the problem may lie with the cigarette lighter element. To diagnose a defective cigarette lighter element, try using a different device or charger in the socket. If the alternative device works while the original does not, you should consider replacing the cigarette lighter element.

You can find replacement elements at automotive stores. Fortunately, the installation process is often as simple as removing the old element and inserting the new one following the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure you securely place the element to avoid electrical risks. Afterward, test the new element to confirm the car cigarette lighter now works as intended.

  • Seek Professional Help

If you have tried all the solutions mentioned above and your car cigarette lighter still does not work, you should seek assistance from a professional auto electrician. They have the expertise and specialized tools to diagnose and resolve more complex electrical issues. They can also ensure that the wiring and connections are properly inspected and repaired.


– What Is the Price Range for Repairing a Car’s Cigarette Lighter?

The price range for repairing a car’s cigarette lighter can vary depending on the intricacy of the repair and the availability of the replacement parts. However, on average, repairing or replacing a cigarette lighter socket can range from $50 to $150, including parts and labor.

If other underlying electrical system problems cause the cigarette lighter to malfunction, you may get charged higher. The cost can significantly increase if there is a need to troubleshoot complex wiring issues or repair a faulty control module. And this is because electrical system diagnostics and repairs often require more time and expertise.

– How Do You Go About Replacing Cigarette Lighter in Car With USB?

You go about replacing cigarette lighter in the car with a USB port by discarding the lighter component and inserting a compact 12V USB adapter. While certain 12V USB chargers are large and cumbersome, numerous alternatives have a slimmer profile, almost level with the dashboard.

Car Cigarette Lighter Not Working Details

Could a Faulty Car Cigarette Lighter Cause My Dodge Caravan to Not Start Sometimes?

A faulty car cigarette lighter may occasionally prevent your Dodge Caravan from starting. While this connection might seem strange, there are reasons why Dodge Caravan won’t start if the lighter is faulty. Electrical issues related to the lighter can disrupt the power supply to essential components, leading to intermittent starting problems.

Can a Faulty Cigarette Lighter Cause Dashboard Lights to Stay on When the Car Is Off?

A faulty cigarette lighter can indeed lead to dashboard lights staying on even when the car is turned off. This is because the car’s electrical system might be wired to the lighter, causing a constant power drain. It’s crucial to address this issue promptly to prevent a drained battery and potential electrical problems.


A non-functional car cigarette lighter can be frustrating but often has simple solutions. By understanding the common causes behind a malfunctioning cigarette lighter and employing the appropriate fixes, you can restore its functionality and enjoy its convenience.

Here are the vital points we mentioned in this article:

  • The most common reasons your car cigarette lighter is not responsive include a blown fuse, car cigarette lighter element, and socket issues.
  • Other prevalent factors, such as faulty wiring and debris or foreign objects inside the socket, can obstruct the electrical connection and prevent the cigarette lighter from working.
  • The practical solutions to resolve the issue of a car cigarette lighter not working include checking and replacing the cigarette lighter fuse, cleaning the socket, inspecting the wiring, and replacing the cigarette lighter element, if necessary.
  • In cases where your troubleshooting efforts do not resolve the issue, it’s best you seek professional assistance from an automotive electrician to identify and address the problem effectively.

Above all, always stay cautious while working with electrical components to avoid electrical hazards.

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