When reading through a manual or how-to guide for car accessories, you may see a subject to a 12-volt car socket. Even though the better part of people uses 12-volt car socket daily, many people do not have any idea what it is.

They mention it as the cigarette lighter socket. Almost every car has at least one, and many newer car models and RVs have many of these sockets. However, today we will discuss how to replace a 12v car socket.

What is 12V Car Socket?

The 12v car socket or outlet has been standard in cars made in the USA since the1920’s. It refers to a cigarette lighter socket.

This power outlet’s target is to heat the cigarette lighter by direct current from the battery of your car.

Often modern vehicles come with a plastic dummy plug named as an extra socket of the lighter. Many products, like portable GPS units, cell phone chargers, and 12-volt tools, have been made to operate using power from these sockets. 

Why choose 12V Car Socket?

12V car outlets are used as a way to power electronic devices.

Newer cars have several power sockets for convenience. Sometimes they are covered with a plastic cap (12VDC). 

They work excellent for supplying power to different electronics such as cooling fans, vacuum cleaners, lights, and chargers. All of them need to plug into the socket. 

How To Replace a 12V Car Socket?   

What do you need?

  • 12V Car Socket  
  • Plastic trim removal equipment
  • Multi-meter

Step 1 (Disconnect the battery): 

Firstly, you need to disconnect the battery to remove the chance of a short circuit. Before replacing the battery, ensure to transfer the key from the ignition lock. 

Step 2 (Withdraw the plastic trim around the outlet)

It would help if you used a plastic trim removal equipment to lever the outlet out will get the job done.

Besides, if your vehicle needs to set up a fight and comes with a plastic trim around, attach the outlet in place. Nevertheless, you can get expert help if you do not know how to remove the socket from your car. 

Note: The Plastic trim removal devices are made to replace the plastic trim without scratching or breaking anything.    

Step 3 (Disconnect the old 12V socket)

Your power outlet comes with two cables: one positive & one negative. See the wiring graph of your car to decide the polarity of the wires or go through a multi-meter. 

Step 4 (Attach the new 12V socket): 

Once you identify the polarity of the cables, then it is time to connect the original 12V power outlet.  

Joining the cables could be easy if the new power outlet is OEM. Now enter the positive cable to the positive end and the negative cable to the negative end of the OEM socket.

Step 5 (Check the new plug)

Now you should test the voltage of the power outlet with a multi-meter. The internal socket should be ground, and the end of the plug should be power. Install the trim again if the polarity is accurate, and you have 12 volts at the outlet. 

Step 6 (install the plastic trim once again)

Luckily, reinstalling the plastic trim is a bit quicker and more exciting than removing it. It is the opposite process of removal. 

Step 7 (finish the 12V socket replacement) 

Put the cable connector onto the back of the 12v car socket as you have just replaced it.    

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): how to replace a 12v car socket

1. Is the car cigarette lighter a 12v socket?

The 12v power outlet is also known as a car cigarette lighter. It is the first method by which power is supplied to portable electronic devices like cars, recreational vehicles, trucks, boats, etc. 

2. How much does it cost to replace the power outlet in the car?

A new power outlet replacement will cost around USD 70 to USD 485. Usually, the project ranges from USD 132 to USD 287.

However, if you think you will get the help of an electrician to replace the power outlet in a car, you need to spend around USD 40 to USD 100 per hour.  

3. How do you test a cigarette lighter socket?

The easy way to test a cigarette lighter socket is to plug it onto the power socket. If the socket is working well, then the lighter will warms up and pops out. Also, you can use a light to test for power.  


There you have the ways how to replace a 12v car socket. Either way, the process needs only a few hours or so, depending on your performance level. Once you return the outlet, you are ready to start plugging in your 12-volt devices & accessories.


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