Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

Cigarette lighter only lights cigarettes

edited November -1 in Repair and Maintenance
My pride and joy, a 1994 Toyota Pickup is a great utility vehicle. No fancy radio nor cruise control. But from time to time a guy needs directions. When I plug in my gps power cord into the lighter I gets no juice. But it I push in the lighter knob it gets hot enought to light a pack of cigarettes. Do need to get some kind of retrofitted lighter to be compatable with the power cord?
«13

Comments

  • edited March 2011
    I actually have no idea but I'd guess that your GPS is too new to get plugged into a car lighter. New cars have in lieu of lighter (or in addition to a lighter) a port for accessories that isn't also meant to make a heater element glow bright red.
  • edited March 2011
    I had a 1990 Toyota Pickup. The lighter worked perfectly as a power port for accessories.

    You should get a replacement cigarette lighter. Yours is damaged. If it was used for actually lighting cigarettes, the bottom of the lighter is probably corroded and will not make good contact with the GPS power cord. The cigarette lighter uses the sides of the positive, not the center, to power the heater element. the GPS power cord uses the center.

    I had to replace my lighter on my 2000 Explorer because of this. When I bought it, the lighter worked, but no accessories would. Looking down the socket, you could see the corrosion and gunk build-up on the center button due to cigarette residue from someone actually using the lighter to light cigarettes. Replacing it was the easy option.
  • edited March 2011
    Plug in the cord. If it doesn't work, unplug it, rotate the plug about 1/8 of a turn, and plug it back in, making sure you have it inserted as far as it will go. If it doesn't work, repeat the process until it does. Usually this will get them to work. If not, then consider replacing the lighter socket or wiring up a second one just for accessories.
  • edited March 2011
    I support the corrosion theories. You can easily solve this problem by replacing the lighter unit. I do have done this twice on my '95. It resolves all such problems.
  • edited March 2011
    I think your plug is fine for the lighter, but not the GPS Style. A cheap alternative could be to buy a splitter (1 plug to 2 sockets) or a small extension. I have seen where the splitter or extension works in the old style lighter socket, and the new end works for modern conveniences.
  • edited March 2011
    I'm pretty sure it's the lighter socket not working properly. The aftermarket device makers design a universal plug to work in lighter/accessory sockets. My GPS has no problem working with any cigarette lighter socket or accessory socket. Those plugs are NOT that complicated.
  • edited March 2011
    Back in the day before they were power outlets, when they were just cigarette lighters, they were thinner in diameter than today's 12 volt power outlets. Hold your cigarette lighter next to the GPS plug, and I bet the GPS plug is wider.

    If I am right, I recommend you get an adapter, like an extension cord or one that lets you plug more than one device into the lighter. If the male end of the adapter/cord is narrow enough, it might fit into the lighter, allowing you to plug the GPS into the female end.
  • edited March 2011
    Look into the lighter socket.
    At the back center is a small metal button.
    Does it look shiny or is it dark and crusty?
    Try scratching it with a screwdriver.
  • edited March 2011
    In my '96 Toyota I have to put in the plug at a specific angle to get it to work, as Oblivion said. Try that.
  • edited March 2011
    Little trick here. Get an old fashioned wood pencil with an eraser on one end. Use the eraser to clean the center conductor of the lighter socket.
This discussion has been closed.