Can I get a 12 volt outlet installed in a car w/o one?

I recently received a Garmin Street Pilot c330 Navigation system as a gift, but my 1999 Subaru Legacy Wagon does not have a 12 volt outlet. Is it possible to get a 12 volt outlet installed in my car?

Secondly, I see adverts for 12 volt adapters that plug into dashboard cigarette lighters. My car has a lighter. Is this a practical option for me, or might it cause an overload?


Charles Watson

Plugging it in to the lighter socket will be fine as long as the plug fits securely and doesn’t wiggle around. As far as the electrical load, your lighter draws far more than the gps.

You can get a splitter that plugs into your lighter socket to run two low current 12 volt devices such as your GPS and a radar detector. Your lighter will not work correctly in one of these splitters because the splitter may be fused with a half amp or so fuse that will open when you attempt to operate the lighter which requires several amps of current. Also, the splitter will not have the needed bimetallic spring clip that grips your lighter until it gets hot and releases the lighter for you to use.

Yes, you can install or have installed an extra 12 volt accessory socket. Be sure to fuse it. Newer cars often have two or more 12 volt accessory sockets. One of our cars has three; one for the lighter plus two more.

Either of the above options will be fine, but if you still want to install an outlet, you can find them at reasonable prices at auto parts stores and Wal-Mart in the automotive section. If you are not up to installing it, you can have it installed inexpensively by your local mechanic.

The lighter socket is a 12-volt outlet. The navigation system is intended to be plugged into the lighter socket. There is no need to make any modifications to your car.

It comes with a standard 12 Volt plug that goes into any standard 12V cigarette lighter or power point in any modern car. You don’t need any additional adapter.

…unless he wants to light a cigarette.

He can always unplug the navigation system for a moment and then plug it back :slight_smile:

I have wired 12V plugs (with a inline fuse) directly into some cars to avoid having to use the silly lighter plug and have a wire stung across the car. Just a matter of buying the correct plug and wiring it to the desired location in the car.