Cigarette lighter electrical port question

I have an old car (92 Oldsmobile Elite) with a history of wonky electrical problems. The car has a single charging port for a cigarette lighter, but when I bought the car the lighter was not included (fine with me anyway, I don’t smoke). However, I would like to use it to charge devices on-the-go. Here’s my problem: I don’t know if the port actually works, as I don’t have the lighter to test it, and I’d hate to spend money on an expensive gadget only to find out the port doesn’t work. Can anyone suggest an inexpensive and safe way to test the port to confirm that it works, or have it tested?

Get an aftermarket lighter at the parts store (I think about $10 if I recall correctly) and see if it works.

Of course you could always check for voltage at the lighter housing’s power lead, but the meter would cost you more…and that lead is always “hot” so you’ll want to be careful doing this.

A 12V test light would indicate whether or not the port works, or a voltage meter.

Do you have either of those? You could make a test light with a 12V light bulb and some wire.

Or borrow a charger from a friend and try it.

I agree with the idea of getting a test light probe to test with. You can use it for testing other power issues in the future. Check the center pin of the socket with the probe. Be sure to tape most of the tip so it can’t short to the side of the socket.

It may be a power point and cig lighter may not work in it. Ask your friends someone probably has a gps or a light or a laptop with a car charger you can check it out with. If not for a couple of bucks there are test lights with 2 leads, as cougar says one lead goes to the center pin the other to the outside of the assembly or any ground. A quick stop at an auto parts store might give ou a free quick loaner of some sort or another. One would think it should work, and if not a fuse would be most likely to get it working.

stick a wet finger into it?

What about a cell phone charger? Surely you know someone with a cell phone and a car charger, right?

Another good idea, re mshugna sorry, not reliable

How about simply borrowing someone else’s cigarette lighter, stick it in, and see what happens.

You can also get a cheap (3 bucks maybe?) test light at Wal Mart, etc.
Often the radio memory is tied into the same circuit as the lighter so if the radio keeps the correct time odds are the lighter works.